Apr 18

Effectively teaching reading skills

Great recent blog post from Grant Wiggins who (again) argues against using formulaic “strategies” for teaching reading. He argues that the very word “strategy” is used in a sloppy way too often. We’d get better results from teaching the student to choose whatever techniques, strategies, tactics or skills would dissect the reading most effectively. Read more for the details here.

Mar 28

Teaching Struggling Writers


Mar 23

Five Things I Learned in Creative Writing Class


Loved this article! 

Mar 02

Reading Blog!: The Winds of Change: Thomas Kuhn and the Revolution in the Teaching of Writing by Maxine Hairston -


“The traditional paradigm. First, its adherents believe that competent writers know what they are going to say before they begin to write; thus their most important task when they are preparing to write is finding a form into which to organize their content. They also believe that the composing is…”

(via dtfranke)

Feb 23

Conference Takes New Approach to Writing - SUNY Cortland -

Writing Conference applies directly to writing in all classes, K-16, applies Common Core writing mandates, and emphasizes writing to learn in all content areas.  

Feb 22

Are you registered for the Writing Matters conference? There’s still time!

Hello everyone!

The Writing Matters conference is fast approaching! A conference sponsored by Seven Valleys Writing Project, this conference will have workshops, seminars and other presentations to assist CNY teachers learn about teaching writing in their classrooms.

We’ll have merchandise for sale as well as an assortment of teaching writing books for sale!

We are still looking for presentors and attendees. But hurry, because registration will close tomorrow!

So, hurry and sign up now for the Writing Matters conference, March 8th, at SUNY Cortland!  


Feb 18

Reading Blog!: Write Beside Them by Penny Kittle -


“For 10 minues out of each 90 minute class, we read a book. Any book. A comic book, magazine, anything […] And when we wrote, it was about what we wanted to write about […] Mrs. Kittle emphasized embracing your own literacy; owning what you write, reading what you want.” pg 4

I really liked this…

Found this by a student reflecting on what it’s like to write in class. Thoughts?

Feb 09

Creative Writing Prompts For Your Classroom

Hello everyone! 

I’m Allison Best, 7VWP’s intern for the semester! Dr. Franke asked me to post for this blog daily, so in my first post, I’m going to talk a little bit about what got me inspired and interested in writing and link to a site with some of my favorite writing exercises!

Here’s the website: http://www.warren-wilson.edu/~creativewriting/Prompts.php

What I love about this collection of writing prompts is it’s a combination of all of my favorite ones from throughout my educational career. The one thing that I always dreaded, especially in High School, was when we’d begin class with a free-write. Sometimes it was for a grade; sometimes it was just to warm us up before class started.  It was overwhelming to write about anything I wanted. I’d psych myself out — is this worth writing about? Is this even interesting? Should I talk about my morning? What’s the point? Unless I was feeling particularly inspired that morning, I would slack off and either write nothing or nothing that I cared about. 

My teachers would say that to have a free-write was to remove the stress, the pressure, to just get the feel for writing down. The thing that got me inspired as a young writer, however, wasn’t the freedom to write; it was the interesting, quirky, and sometimes restrictive writing exercises. Like writing a story with only monosyllabic words; writing about a given person, an item, and an activity (my favorite story was about a man waiting in line with a single pearl earring in his pocket).  Using details to describe people – “what’s the name of an old lady who volunteers at an animal shelter, who wins a million dollars on a scratch off?”; “what’s the desk look like of a person six months sober?”.

These things inspired me. And talking about the writing exercises pushed me to look at the world, my environment, my books, my life for all the little subtleties and nuances that make writing so profound and exciting and fresh. My teachers let me write about how chores suck, about my boyfriend of one month (and soon after, my new ex-boyfriend), about my rollercoaster relationship with my sister, about friends using drugs and having sex. They let me write what was pertinent to me, but they made me do it differently. They pushed and prodded and didn’t accept average.

Not even with my writing exercises.


I hope you enjoy the list!


Oh, and something else that’s cool? A link that shows you how to make your own quill pen! This is pretty awesome too! 

Jan 17

Grant Wiggins on Stupification

How can institutions think creatively and generously?  


Dec 18

Memoir Writing Workshop

Finding Our Way into Memoir

Presented by Sarah Marcham and Jacqueline Franke

“Anyone who survived childhood has enough material to write for the rest of his or her life.” – Flannery O’Connor

Join us on Saturday, January 5th as two local teacher-writers, students of both the Seven Valleys Writing Project’s “Summer Institute” and Marge Piercy’s Memoir Lab, share a series of writing activities designed to tap into your life experience and start you on that memoir you’ve always been meaning to write.  We will explore the power of writing seductive openings that invite readers in and also create focus and direction for the writer.

There is no cost associated with this workshop.  Coffee and light breakfast starts at 8:30.  Held January 5 from 9-12 in the Beard Building (9 Main Street, Cortland, NY).  Pre-register at BT BOCES MyLearningPlan.