Changing to Webinar-Style Education: Is it possible?

Changing to Webinar-Style Education: Is it possible?

What do we need to do to really connect to this generation of students? How can we inspire them to accomplish and learn without feeling like we need to do it for them? Can we use the new forum of webinars, workshops, and blog articles with condensed and concise information to hold their attention and get them to do more quality work? Just the other day on an education forum with veteran female Marines, one young woman vented about her fellow college students: “Kids are SLEEPING IN THE FIRST ROW! And when one of my professors calls out a kid by name to answer a question and he gave him this stupid look and didn’t even say a word. SAY SOMETHING! Then we had an essay due last night (an easy essay!) and almost the entire class asked for an extension. Which I get when you really need it! But some of these kids said they just didn’t get around to it in time 🤦🏼‍♀️ Plus 90% of the students I come across have NO respect. Y’all, it’s driving me up a wall. I can’t.” Okay, maybe this is an individual circumstance, or maybe it is a generational issue, or maybe it is because the teacher did not set clear expectations. But maybe, just maybe, we teachers need to admit that the old way of doing things is NOT WORKING!!  Let’s consider that maybe we teachers can use the instant gratification and technological advances of this age to improve our delivery rather than complaining that these students just don’t get it. Because they do.  They do get it.  They...
Teaching Writing is Hard!!

Teaching Writing is Hard!!

What’s so hard about it? Why do English teachers struggle with teaching writing? What can we do about it? What’s so difficult about teaching writing? For most writers, we are so passionate about writing and practice is so much that we learn the skills without realizing it. Think about it like this: What is something that you love so much, practice so often even though it is challenging to learn, and people say to you that you make it look easy? Just because you make it look easy does not mean that it is easy. It’s the love that you have for it that drives you to learn the skills to accomplish it EVEN when it is difficult. That is how writers feel. We cannot not write. So even though it is extremely hard to learn the skills and to keep writing when everything in us wants to quit, life is better when we write. We cannot not write. Just like you cannot not do what you love. That said, writing is HARD!!! The skills that we have had to learn to be good writers have come with failure after failure… these failures you don’t see because they are in our literal or virtual trash bins. Why is it so hard to teach writing? Many times for writers, as you can imagine with your thing, it is hard to understand someone who is not as passionate about what we love. It is also a challenge to identify the steps that we have taken to become good at writing. Sometimes, teachers of writing are better at inspiring writing than we are at...
How to Analyze Expository Texts Through the Rhetorical Appeals

How to Analyze Expository Texts Through the Rhetorical Appeals

Downloadable Worksheet Time— Rhetorical Appeals: for analyzing expository texts!! Who else is excited?!? One thing that I promised you is that I would provide worksheets and activities for you to practice college writing at home at least once a week, so here is the first of many. Description of Rhetorical Appeals Activity: This worksheet is meant to give you a beginners knowledge of how to discuss and identify rhetorical appeals in an expository text.  Expository texts are any text that is non-fiction: newspaper articles, informational journals, blogs, magazine articles are just the beginning. Note: At a later time we can discuss how any types of videos or audio recordings can also be analyzed for rhetoric. Activity: Analyze a newspaper article for rhetoric. Objectives: Students will begin to see that any text can be analyzed for rhetoric. Students will have a beginning knowledge of the meaning of ethos, pathos, and logos. Directions: Print out or find a newspaper article that you are interested in. Use the printable to discuss or write the answers to each question one by one.  Know that each question will have an answer and each answer might be challenging to find.  Look beyond the obvious!! Skip any questions that you are really struggling with and come back to them later. After you have completed as many questions as possible, go back to the ones you skipped. One that you might struggle with is this: What does the author want you to do with the information? Most likely, he/she wants you to change your opinion on a subject, describe. Think about some additional questions about the author:...
Why Another Writing Curriculum?

Why Another Writing Curriculum?

I get it.  Writing Curriculum all seems to have been done before, but has it? I have looked through curriculum after curriculum claiming to prepare students for college writing.  However, the curriculum is filled with text after text of comprehension questions that, in all honesty, are a waste of time. Comprehension questions, once students are in high school, teach students ZERO skills that are useful in college.  Professors in college will never ask students to answer comprehension questions, and students will not remember how those questions were formed in order to use them. Why are we still giving students comprehension questions then? Maybe teachers think that it’s a good assessment to find out if the student actually read the text.  Maybe they think that it will teach them something.  I’m honestly not sure.  Most likely, it is just something “we’ve always done.” Even requiring students to write a summary of the text should begin to dwindle at about 9th grade.  EVEN if they are lower-skilled readers.  Yes, I said it.  Even lower-skilled readers should stop doing summaries when they begin high school. Why should the students not do summaries and comprehension questions, you may ask? In my experience teaching some of the lowest skilled readers: including English as a Second Language students and students with learning disabilities, ALL students can learn to pull quotes from the text, respond to them and decipher what the author is doing… all when taught how to do it. These useful skills are learned regardless of reading comprehension.  And I may add that by teaching these skills, students may actually improve in their reading...
What is Rhetoric?

What is Rhetoric?

Everyone uses rhetoric.  Rhetoric is the way that we talk to convince people of what we want them to believe. Rhetoric is not only a formal persuasive speech. Each day we live, every moment we communicate we are attempting to convince others to believe us.  We try to convince them to believe that we are who we think we are by the way we speak, dress, and behave.  If we believe that we are kind people, we will speak kindly to people, we will dress nicely, and treat people with kindness and generosity. We believe something about ourselves and the world and want other people to believe that, too. In this world, we can’t believe that we are kind, say that we are kind, but at the same time treat people badly and convince people that we are kind. We are who we say we are, act like we are, and look like we are through our facial expressions and other nonverbal communication.  If we do not have all three of these aspects to prove what we want people to believe about us then people will be skeptical. This is the Ethos, Pathos, and Logos of Persuasion Ethos is the speaker’s credibility.  If we want to be perceived as a kind person, we must be credible as a kind person.  We must treat people nicely, be generous and patient.  The moment that we don’t do one of these things, our credibility goes down and people begin to question whether we really are who we say we are. Pathos is the emotions that we create in our audience.  In this...
Why Inquiry-Based Lessons?

Why Inquiry-Based Lessons?

You’ll notice quickly that I do not create lessons or activities that do not require some sort of inquiry or critical thinking process.  Throughout my years of teaching students have always said things like, “Ms. Moody, why don’t you just give me the answer?”  It makes me laugh because I realize that no I don’t make it easy by giving them the answer. I don’t mind because I know that the strategies that I teach students will help them in the long run. In this world of instant information, our teaching and learning methods MUST change.  Students, when they want to find out information, can get the knowledge immediately.  The way we gather information has changed so must our teaching methods. 2 Things to Realize about Inquiry-Based Lessons 1.In order for a student to desire knowledge they must first realize that they are lacking something: it could be a skill or a piece of knowledge that is required to complete a task.  When students realize that they NEED information for a task the higher the probability of knowledge retention.  Think: a teenager can memorize every detail of a video game but refuses to memorize science facts for their test.  This student has realized that they must know certain facts in order to complete a task that they are interested in, so they are much more motivated to find and remember the information. Don’t we want students to retain the information that we give them? Don’t we want them to be able to build skills in order for them to survive without us? 2. The second benefit to an inquiry-based lesson...
Thrive Write’s Guide to Writing a Literary Essay…

Thrive Write’s Guide to Writing a Literary Essay…

when you think you can’t.   My skill is teaching people who think they can’t write how to write.  Give me a classroom full of gang members and kids just out of juvenile hall to give me the challenge of getting them to write.  The thing about most English teachers with “regular” kids is that they don’t necessarily need to teach writing the way that I have had to learn to teach writing.  Most English teachers can give a writing topic and the students will at least attempt a response.   They might be having trouble with structure, or grammar or spelling, but they start with something that they can work on.  When I give writing assignments, my students freeze and sometimes attempt to overthrow the school with anarchy.  They have no strategies, no confidence, nothing to help them get going.  Now I’m generalizing the majority of the population; I have had a few poets thrown in there of students who were so-called naturals, but the majority of my students need to learn all the steps that many people take for granted that we think everyone does before, during, and after writing. Who is this for? I have tutored adults of all ages with this program.  This is not strictly for high schoolers. They are strategies that anyone can use for just about any literary writing topic. If any of my students read this, they will simply be reminded of the strategies that use daily.  Most people who are writers, do many of these steps already, so they can be used to learn from scratch or as practice.  My ultimate goal...
How to have an Intellectual Conversation

How to have an Intellectual Conversation

Whether you are the one who wants to increase the depth of your intellectual conversations or you want to teach your students or children, there are things you need to know: Learn to have an intellectual conversation. You can use a resource like the conversation place mat or use some of the free resources I have on my Teachers Pay Teacher page here.  I am a huge fan of using templates and sentence starters.  I have found that if we give the students the words to use then they are able to confidently enter the conversation. Know that everyone is welcome to join the intellectual conversation. Are you a fan of music?  Do you know that there is an intellectual conversation going on between musicians? They respond to one another in an album  They respond to rumors or expectations that people have of them. Think Taylor Swift. Intellectual in this sense just means that they are talking about subjects that only a core group of people are involved in and completely understand. The same type of conversations are happening in the intellectual circles.  College is an opportunity for you to join that conversation.  Everyone is welcome at that circle.  All you need is the words to join. Learn to ask good questions. Socrates said, “The only thing I know is that I know nothing.”  If Socrates can say that and base his whole intellectual platform on asking questions, you can, too. If you don’t know what to say, ask a good question. The two here can be used in just about any context.  Try it and see what happens:...
What I’m here for: To Help Students Build Writing Skills and Confidence

What I’m here for: To Help Students Build Writing Skills and Confidence

I struggle with wanting to help everyone with any need they have.  I know that at the core of my being is a person who just wants to help drive others to success.  Not in the pushy way, but in the way that is like, “What can I do to help you succeed?” way. As I narrow my focus to what I’m good at doing, I think about a quote I heard last week from The Quote of the Day Show that I love: Find out what you’re good at without trying, and then try! John Addison It seems so simple but it blew me away!  I realized that I need to focus on what I’m good at. So what am I good at doing better than anyone else I know? Teaching writing to struggling or frustrated writers. I know 3 things that have stopped students from being successful: They’ve lost their confidence. Teachers generally inspire writing, few know how to teach writing With the right writing strategies, they can be confident writers Students don’t write because they have been beat down with the red pen. They have been told to write essays or papers, and then when they try, they get their paper back covered in red ink.  Some schools actually teach writing line-by-line but students still don’t know what to write when it comes down to it. I have learned that to help a student write, they must first know how to read and second how to discuss what they read.  I will say this over and over again: if someone can talk about a subject, they...
How Can Creatives Complete Tasks?

How Can Creatives Complete Tasks?

Another morning, another idea… or five. But what about that money making idea that you had last week that you know would be big and you are 75% done? That’s just not as exciting anymore… THIS ONE will be it!! THIS ONE will make me big!! Each time that I’m writing or creating, I have the tendency to have 5 or more ideas while I’m working on my main project of the day. I can be all over the place. And if I’m working with someone, I can bring them on my wild ride of ideas and get them a bit overwhelmed. Who else relates? In an attempt to regulate my own creativity and imagination I will share with you a list of things that I attempt to do to keep focused (the key word is attempt): Create a running idea list and outline when needed. I am unable to stop my mind from running while I’m doing anything. This list came about while working on a project that I’m actually getting paid for, and I had to continually open up new google docs to write titles and outlines for blog posts (note: I’m sure there is a better way to manage my blog posts but this is my current, inefficient way). To do this I keep a notebook (or three) with me at all times!! Lists, ideas, business ventures… it all goes in there, in a semi-organized fashion. Next, I create first-draft titles and outlines when necessary. I can add my unforgettable quotes, outlines, web resources, or next steps within the document. Finally, I go back to it...