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...
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...
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:...