Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Writer. July 07.

The following ideas are from The Writer magazine, July 2007.

Literature..... Classics..... "Our classics are classics partly because the characters are complex, not easily dismissed, not redeemable." Mary Troy. Wrt (Jul. 07), 5.

Writing..... Writer's block..... Elfreida Abbe, editor of The Writer: Here's a different way to start writing--start anywhere in your article in which you are interested, not the beginning. She cites an article in the July 2007 issue of The Writer by Meredith Sue Willis. Wrt (Jul. 07), 6.

Writing..... Publishing..... In a letter to the editor, reader of The Writer thanks the editor for not breaking articles and sending them to some place at the back of the magazine. Keeps them all in one place. [I might add, the articles are also mercifully short, concise and clear. RayS.] Sally Chetwynd. Letters to Editor. Wrt (Jul. 07), 7.

Literature..... Hemingway..... "Hemingway's fictional aging boxers and over-the-hill toreadors, trying mightily to hold on against time and younger rivals, are central to his mystique as is his trademark spare prose style." C Leddy. Wrt (Jul. 07). 8.

Writing..... Publishing..... "The beginner [writer] often persuades himself that a rejection means that the editor does not know his job, or that the manuscript is too good for the magazine." Alice M. Horn. Wrt. (Jul. 1937). Quoted in Wrt (Jul. 07), 9.

Writing..... Internet..... Check out "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing" at

Writing..... Revising and Editing..... H.G. Wells: "No passion on earth, neither love or hate, is equal to the passion to alter someone else's draft." Quoted in Wrt (Jul. 07), 12.

Literature..... Frankenstein..... "Dr. Frankenstein's approach was certainly original: he took an assortment of body parts, stitched them together, zapped the piecemeal cadaver with voltage--and presto! a monster was born.... We see him not so much as a monster but as a misunderstood creature, an outcast among men, who suffers and therefore inflicts suffering. Frankenstein's monster has endured because in a strange way, we sort of feel for the guy." E. Goudge. Wrt. (Jul. 07), 13.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

English Journal. May 2007.

A couple of interesting ideas in this issue on student journalism and plagiarism.

Speaking.... Critical Thinking..... The key to critical thinking lies in formal debate. D Hooley. EJ (May 07), 18-19.

Curriculum..... Discipline..... If you're going to have rules you need to give the reasons. CM Vettraino. EJ (May 07), 26.

Writing..... Journalism..... Student newspaper adviser: require solid objective news story before allowing opinion piece. J Ewell. EJ (May 07), 32.

Writing..... Journalism..... Guidelines for student reporters: What do I already know abut this? Where can I go to verify what I have heard? What background information do I need? Who else should I talk to? Where else can I go for expert information--locally or online? What specific questions will I ask in the interview? What follow-up questions can I predict? What form am I writing--news, feature, staff editorial, column? J Ewell. EJ (May 07), p. 33.

Curriculum..... Extra-curricular..... Volunteer to advise an extra-curricular activity you like or the school will do it for you. WD Baker. EJ (May 07), 37.

Curriculum..... Interdisciplinary..... Ask teachers from other subjects to join you in working with English-related topics. L Williamson. EJ (May 07), 51-57.

Writing..... Plagiarism..... Is there a clear consensus on what constitutes plagiarism? PL Thomas. EJ (May 07), 82.

Writing..... Plagiarism..... Students--and teachers--need to define clearly with examples what plagiarism means to them. PL Thomas. EJ (May 07), 82-83.

Curriculum..... Global English..... Teaching English in other countries should begin with learning the culture of the country. S Prosek. EJ (May 07), 98-101.

Friday, June 1, 2007

English Updates: English Journal. March 2007.

Why this Blog?
English Updates is for English teachers who can read brief summaries of ideas from professional literature and can then adapt these ideas to their own teaching situations. If readers need more information than the idea, then they will need to purchase the publication. English Journal is published by the National Council of Teachers of English and can be found on the Internet at

Curriculum..... Professional..... If teachers object to mandates with which they disagree, they are told that they do so because of their own selfish interests. L Reid. EJ (Mar. 07), 12.

Curriculum..... Professional.... Develop an action-research teacher publication in which local teachers' studies are published. L Reid. EJ (Mar. 07), 12.

Literature..... Response..... Student was not interested in why Huck and Jim went down the river, but she was interested in why the book was so often banned. [Students can approach a reading assignment for different purposes. RayS.] L Reid. EJ (Mar. 07), 12.

Writing..... Process..... "As much as Don[ald Murray] tried to describe his process of writing, it was its elusiveness, its unexpectedness, that truly fascinated him." T Newwkirk. EJ (Mar. 07), 14.

Literature..... Blogs..... Teacher sets up blogs on issue in classroom and students comment on it. No last names to protect the identity of the students from outsiders. [Method of encouraging discussion. RayS.] E Kahn. EJ (Mar. 07), 17.

Literature..... Response..... In encouraging students to respond to literature, teacher encourages them to write as they really speak. [Could make them conscious of how they really speak and how that language contrasts with formal writing. RayS.] T Gardner EJ (Mar. 07), 19-21.

Literature..... Criticism..... Black students criticize the curriculum for their having to read only white writers. SP Carter. EJ (Mar. 07), 23.

Literature..... Culture..... Encourage African-American Read-in: read excerpts from black literature, ssr, storytellers, book reading aloud. SP Carter. EJ (Mar. 07), 23.

Language..... Dialects..... Students collect words from the dialect they speak. M Crotteau. EJ (Mar. 07), 27-32.

Curriculum..... Electives..... Unit in which teachers are allowed to teach minicourses on their favorite topics. H Moorman, et al. EJ (Mar. 07), 33-38. [Why not? RayS.]

Writing..... Research..... Students write a "You are there" book. L Roessing. EJ (Mar. 07), 50-55.

Writing..... Evaluation..... Rubrics are factory-style assessment. M Wilson. EJ (Mar. 07), 62-66.

Literature..... Film..... Student read scenes from a novel or play and then watch the scenes in the film. PJ Coencas. EJ (Mar. 07), p. 70.

Literature..... Response..... Have students annotate as they read. Use sticky notes. Helps students connect to the book. MD Brown. EJ (Mar. 07), 73-78.

Writing..... Interest..... Judges the interest level of each student in writing from 1 to 4. Then adapts to the interest level of the individual students. RL Lipstein and KA Renninger. EJ (Mar. 07), p. 79-85.

Writing..... Writing across the curriculum..... Develop a writing policy school wide. R VanDeWeghe. EJ (Mar. 07), 94.

Curriculum..... Teaching..... "...teaching is all about stealing good ideas from other people. However, I can't just steal an idea and expect that it will work smoothly in my classroom." P Pennock. EJ (Mar. 07), 101.

Writing..... Audience..... Reminder that defining audience can have positive effects on writing instruction. TP Bigelow. EJ (Mar. 07), 108-109.