Basically, I have little idea what to do in the classroom. The more guidance I am provided, the less clearly I understand what I ought to do. And I have a feeling I am not alone.
Am I supposed to teach my kids how to properly punctuate an appositive phrase? Yep. And how do I know that? Because it says so right there in the English Language Arts standards.
So, am I supposed to teach a kid that they should live their life with a sense of passion and purpose? I'd… Continue
Added by Alan Sitomer on July 31, 2009 at 5:30am —
Is it okay to have limitations?
Is it okay not to be the most cutting edge, 21rst century tool wielding teacher on the planet without having aspersions cast on my professionalism?
Is it okay to not be the most phenomenal teacher of persuasive writing, expository writing, autobiographical writing, compare and contrast writing and creative writing ever to hold a dry erase marker?
Is it okay to feel hurt when my kids feel hurt by the budget cuts, impacted… Continue
Added by Alan Sitomer on July 30, 2009 at 12:31pm —
I love sports. I love hoops, football, baseball, boxing, soccer, hockey, tennis and so on. And when I mean "and so on", I mean, I can watch table tennis, badminton, lacrosse, rugby and golf.
Yep, I can watch golf.
But I only like to watch when there is level competition. If a game is a blowout, it's off. If a team has a 35 point lead heading into the 4rth quarter, a 3 goal lead late into the second half, an 11 run lead in the bottom of the seventh, I am usually… Continue
Added by Alan Sitomer on July 29, 2009 at 10:41am —
As I write my next YA book right now, I am weighing some deep principles of story. And as I do, I realize that the reason these deep principles of story apply so well to the world of tales is because they apply so well to the real world -- to life, if you will.
For example, today I am probing the world of rich characters and what truly motivates them. Now most characters have some form of inner conflict going on in their lives -- especially when we meet them in the early… Continue
Added by Alan Sitomer on July 28, 2009 at 5:30am —
ELL students need structure in writing. I tried to come up with a structure for 6th graders that would provide different types of sentences too, so the students could learn sentence variety in a structured format. I would love to get feedback on the creation as well as new ideas from others.
The structure looks something like this (in paragraph writing):
First sentence- question to get the reader thinking
Second sentence- simple or compound sentence
Third sentence-… Continue
Added by Tianna Ritzman on July 27, 2009 at 2:03pm —
There is most certainly a very interesting tidal wave on the horizon. And in the mighty seas that are swirling these days in education, that's no small feat (to create a potential tsunami that is teacher evaluation, that is. See here for the Obama chides California article
which this blog post references).
Now, I have no problem with accountability.… Continue
Added by Alan Sitomer on July 27, 2009 at 5:30am —
An acquaintance (not a friend) of mine ate a local restaurant the other day -- at "Joe's" -- and had a bad experience. And then complained to me about it. The food, the service, the blah, blah, blah.
So, what is my opinion now of that restaurant? In an ideal world, I'd remain free of her input and go and judge it myself. However, all of us have so much going on in our lives that we often reply on the input of others to help us shape our own opinions of… Continue
Added by Alan Sitomer on July 23, 2009 at 5:30am —
A part of my teaching life is paralyzed by feelings of perpetual professional inadequacy. And I feel like I am not alone.
I mean I finally get a grip on how to effectively teach theme and then I recognize the value that incorporating a classroom wiki could have. So I learn how to add this tool to my growing digital teaching arsenal but realize that there are some really high qualities insights to be gained by doing a bit more reading on using inquiry in the classroom. So I… Continue
Added by Alan Sitomer on July 22, 2009 at 5:30am —
In the war of digital vs. paper books, it looks like the paper tigers actually keep packing punches no one might have quite suspected they held in their arsenal. 8 tracks buckled like an accordion at the sight of cassette players. VHS tapes folded like a beach chair at the sight of DVD's. But paper books, what have they done as the digital enemy intruder sought to encroach upon their territory?
Simply fire back more shots across the bow than anyone might have expected they… Continue
Added by Alan Sitomer on July 21, 2009 at 5:30am —
I can't say I am the biggest fan of Facebook. Maybe I am just from a different era, whatever. And not to sound like a snob (I know, too late for that, right?), but I can't say that I am all that into striking up really long social network conversations with people I only kind of knew as bare associates 20 years ago. But ever since I joined Facebook once upon a time ago, I get all these "remember me" notes that seem to require 15-20 minutes of thoughtful written response if I am going… Continue
Added by Alan Sitomer on July 20, 2009 at 9:51am —
I'm working on a new book now. A comedy for YA readers. (Nope, not gonna tell... yet. Everything stays in the lab until it's ready to be tasted.) So much of the stuff I have written has been "raw, deep, edgy YA grit" that I am dying to flex some other writing muscles and show I am not a one trick pony.
Thematically, I've done
gangs, immigrants, racism, sports, and on and on.
So I thought to myself,… Continue
Added by Alan Sitomer on July 18, 2009 at 5:30am —
I’m letting folks know that I have just published a new book on my website (jimdefilippi.com). Like all the other books there, Everyday Malfeasance can be downloaded for free in maybe a minute.
For those of us who do not enjoy reading an entire novel off a computer or e-reader screen, Everyday Malfeasance might be a better choice. It is a collection of very short pieces I have done for various places through the years. Each one can be read in one shot, with very little effort or… Continue
Added by Jim DeFilippi on July 17, 2009 at 2:10pm —
As Jim Burke has mentioned - quite brilliantly - writers today (and of the future) will require compositional skills in formats that consist of 3,000 words, 300 words, 30 words, 3 words and no words. (I am paraphrasing here; he's much more eloquent.)
The point is, that literacy is increasingly more diverse than ever and the challenges we face preparing our kids to successfully tackle the demands behind placed upon them are both dynamic and shape shifting.
Added by Alan Sitomer on July 17, 2009 at 11:34am —
I've read scores and scores of books on the art and science of teaching. Many of the big names, lots of small ones, folks who have had some genuinely brilliant stuff to say and others who struck me as flat out nincompoops. But I think that one of the most important things I have taken away from all my "studies" is something about which everyone in our profession needs to be frequently reminded.
We flub. We mess up. We make mistakes... on almost a daily… Continue
Added by Alan Sitomer on July 16, 2009 at 5:30am —
Had an exceptionally interesting conversation today with my literary agent
about the need for an interesting villain in fiction. He spoke quite eloquently about the idea that the strength of a hero is really predicated on the force of opposition that your hero must face. After all, a weak villain doesn't require any great, spectacular heroism to conquer -- and this a problem with a large majority of the slush pile… Continue
Added by Alan Sitomer on July 15, 2009 at 11:32am —
Hmmm....any awesome suggestions?
Added by Daniel Stowell on July 14, 2009 at 9:57pm —
I am immensely proud of this picture. The people you see include 1) Jacqueline Woodson, an author who has won the Caldecott Medal, the Coretta Scott King Award, the Newberry Honor Medal, and the Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Achievement as given by the American Library Association 2) Ann Martin, President of the American Association of School Librarians
Added by Alan Sitomer on July 14, 2009 at 5:30am —
I was a featured speaker on the President's Panel of AASL this Saturday for the American Library Association's annual conference. (Took place in Chicago this year... what a town!)
So much great info, so many great people and so many great, mind-blowing ideas came at me from so many different directions that it's virtually impossible to keep up.
Yet, through the speaking, the book signings
, the… Continue
Added by Alan Sitomer on July 13, 2009 at 11:04am —
Some of my favorite memories as a child were playing games with my family.
Saturday night in the summertime was the best. Dad would break out the snacks and Grandma and Grandpa would come over and play Scrabble
, or cards (Pinochle, Euchre, or Uno). I vividly remember playing games for hours on end because I often missed my favorite show line-ups of the evening: Love Boat
, Fantasy Island
, and The Twilight Zone
In my eyes, Grandma… Continue
Added by Amber White on July 10, 2009 at 7:00am —
No one asked me but...
Considering that a bunch of high-fallutin', really smart, really accomplished folks are now getting together to concotuate national standards (and you wonder why they didn't invite me to the party?) I figured I throw in my own 2 cents.
All I ask is that they give me one standard. Just one. The rest, I'll leave to the professionals.
Standard 1.0: Have fun!
That's right, have fun. Enjoy your class, enjoy your… Continue
Added by Alan Sitomer on July 10, 2009 at 5:30am —