I teach writing at Lafayette High School in Lexington, Kentucky. For sixteen years, I was a straight English teacher, doing time in both AP Lit and AP Lang, Chapter I reading, ACT prep, RTI-Reading Plus, regular/general, college bound/honors, American-British-World Lit classrooms, battered and bruised by standardized, institutionalized, cookie-cutter approaches and teaching to the test.
But then I landed a job teaching writing as an elective in a performing arts magnet program, the School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCAPA) which is embedded at Lafayette. All day. Every day. W-R-I-T-I-N-G. Stories. Poems. Vignettes. Screenplays. Novels. Essays. Craziness on the page.
Teaching is a bit of a stretch for what I do in this job. I am mostly a life coach, an editor, the classroom barista, moral compass (ahem), and workshop facilitator. The kids do all the work; I just hang out, hold hands, harangue and cajole when necessary, and put ridiculous grades into our district’s data system. I love my students. To them and to the teachers out there who are looking for writing lesson plans, I dedicate this blog.
The format is simple. I will fling a writing lesson at my students and see what happens. Sometimes nothing but a giant concrete egg will happen. Sometimes amazing, shimmery things with wings will happen. But whatever happens, I will post a few of my students’ pieces here along with my lesson plan.
Fellow teachers, I hope you find something here you might try even as the hounds of standardized testing stand baying at your door. Throw them a bone, shut the door, and turn your kids on to the greatest test of all – their imagination against a pristine, white sheet of paper. Let stories rule the day.
Love this, Liz…I can’t to see what emerges — be it eggs or angels!
Thanks Vicki! My kids are pumped too.
I have to say that when you interviewed with us, the clouds DID part and angels DID sing. We all felt it, too 🙂 You are a blessing to the SCAPA creative writing kiddos.
But what about Dick Schuck?
BEEL DOZIER!! So glad to hear from you. Hope you are well. How is Ed Hawkins these days? We need to have lunch soon and catch up!
I stumbled upon your blog as I was seeking out ways to incorporate more creative writing in my classroom. I’m a first year teacher (educated in Kentucky, living in Savannah) and I’m finding your posts so refreshing and so inspiring to read! Thank you!
Thank you Bonnie! I hope to blog more frequently in the coming days. Now that school is out, it’s time to reflect! (and blog 🙂
Hope you had a great first year!!
Liz, I need help with integrating technology into the writing curriculum…can you help a girl out????
Yes, I will write a blog about this soon… maybe today! I use technology for publishing and collaboration with student writers a lot. Are you familiar with Alice Keeler’s website? http://alicekeeler.com/ She’s a great resource and her website is a treasure trove of great ideas that can be adapted for ELA and writing. Hope your summer is going well! I’m sorry I was so tardy on replying to this question. It looks like you posted this in MAY!! Yikes – and it’s been hanging out here in my “pending” comments since then.
I’m so glad I found your blog. I wish I could go back to high school and have you as a teacher. I love how you describe your work. thanks