Thursday, February 24, 2011

What consequences work for incomplete homework?

Ms Dorothy,
I've had it with kids not doing their homework.  I've tried everything.  I've called parents, I've taken away recess, and I've even threatened to take away the class trip. I'm really fed up and frustrated. What kinds of disincentives work for other teachers?
- 5th grade teacher

I have answered a question very similar to this before

I say, if you are expending this much energy thinking up ways to punish students or parents (and let's not kid ourselves, a "deterrent" like missing the class trip is a punishment) it is time to reconsider the value of homework.

If the homework is meaningful, individualized, necessary, and engaging to a student he will do it and turn it in. 

If it is an assignment that is related to your teaching, the big test, grade-level standards, and "good practice for them" chances are that some percentage of your kids won't do it, or won't turn it in.

Less policing, more teaching.

Give up homework, or give up doubting they've done the practice they need,  and re-focus your energy on maximizing the gains from in-class time.  

Less proving, more learning.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

How do I get my kid to go to sleep?

Obviously you don't just answer education questions, so here is a parenting one for you.  How do I get my kid to go to sleep at night? He just can't seem to settle. I've tried a bath, warm milk, reading to him, leaving lights on, lights off, doors open, doors shut...and hours later he is still wide awake. It is getting harder and harder to wake him for school in the mornings. Do you have any suggestions?
- Dad of an 8 year old

It sounds like you are on the right path. Keep experimenting. There isn't one right answer for every child, and the best way to find what works for your son, is to keep trying to find what works for your son.

Some variables you might try controlling for are sounds, sights, textures and thoughts.  

In addition to lights on or off, you might want to spend some time in the space he sleeps and look for things that might be problematic. Sometimes room-darkening shades can be helpful.

Consider what can be heard from your son's room at his bed-time. Sounds from other rooms, or from the outdoors can be distracting.  Try using a fan, radio or fish tank filter to create white noise in his room, or earplugs to block all sound.

Many children have an extremely sensitive sense of touch. Sleep wear, bed linens, and "friends"  can all be innocent causes of distraction. Breezes, temperatures and moisture in the room can all be factors too. Try using a humidifier, it may even double as white noise.

It may be that your son's active mind is what prevents him from sleeping. White noise is often helpful for this, but monitoring what he is reading, reading to him from soothing books, or even giving him a challenging question to ponder as he goes off can help with this.

Sometimes a change in room arrangement can help too. A mattress on the floor is helpful to get kids to settle in to sleep, and reorienting the bed can be the answer too.

Experiment with as much as you can to find what helps him, but remember that his natural body rhythms will be changing in the next few years, and his body clock may not align with the demands of his school schedule. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

How do I get my child over her fear of the school bus?

Ms. Dorothy,
My daughter is terrified of riding the school bus home at the end of the day. She says she is afraid she will fall asleep and miss her stop. She also says the big kids on the bus scare her because they are really rowdy and out of control. I know she is only in Kindergarten, but I can't see this getting better any time soon, and I can't see driving to get her forever!  Help?
- Mom's Taxi

If your daughter is truly frightened of riding the bus, maybe picking her up is your best option for a while. The stress of worrying about it will impact her learning, and until you can address all of her concerns, the best thing is probably to help her relax about the trip home.

Finding an older student who lives in your area that can be in charge of her might be helpful when you think she is ready to give the bus a try.

Offer to hire this student as a babysitter to escort your child home. Have the older student meet your daughter after class and walk with her to the bus, ride with her, and walk her home from the bus stop. This could go a long way toward relieving your child of her fear of the big kids.

Talk to the bus driver and explain your daughter's concerns. Sometimes a seat up front behind the driver is reassuring to younger students. The bus driver may simply not be aware of the situation.

Ask the principal to meet with 5th and 6th graders who ride the buses and remind them of how overwhelming it can be to a young child who has never been allowed to ride without a car seat before, to suddenly be unbuckled in a bus with children she doesn't know.

Perhaps a little awareness training will help all the students in the school.

Meanwhile, keep driving, and keep talking about how much you like those older students and how much fun it might be when she is bigger and ready to ride with them. 

Changing her mind about the things she needs to be afraid of may be all it takes.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

How do I help English Language Learners in Writer's Workshop?

Ms. Dorothy,
I am looking for help with my writer's workshop. I am a first year kindergarten teacher, and my class is mostly ELL students.  Do you have any suggestions for making my teaching more understandable to these students?
- K Teacher

Writer's workshop, especially the way Lucy Calkins' Units of Study  instructs, is very supportive for all learners. She provides examples and modifications for use with English Language Learners directly.

Some things that you find helpful in other curricular areas will also help with Writing. Repetition, movement, illustrations, music and modeling are supportive of all young learners, and especially those with limited English.

  • Demonstrate what you expect to see.  

  • Repeat important phrases and have the class recite along with you.

  • Add actions to go with specific words and act it out with the class.

  • Draw or find pictures to go along with words to build associations.

  • Have physical objects that go with different concepts to help build connections between the words and the ideas.  

  • Make up sing-songs to repeat often that help tie the learning together

Remember, it is kindergarten, and it should be fun! Don't be afraid to get silly with them!

There are also websites like Starfall that provide auditory and visual supports at a kindergarten level for pre-readers and pre-writers. 

Some of the best practices for teaching English Language Learners in Kindergarten, are also helpful for young native English speakers.  Especially when it comes to learning to write!  

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How do I plan for a visually impaired student?

Ms. Dorothy,
What do I need to know about working with a visually impaired student? This guy starts in my class next week and I'm a little nervous that I won't know what to do to support him.  I'm sure he has an IEP, but I was hoping you'd have some suggestions of places to start.
- 1st grade teacher

Well, there are some modifications you can make right off the bat, but you will need to know exactly what his visual challenges are, and what recommendations are on his IEP. 

Preferential seating is something you can expect is on his plan. 

Make sure that he is seated close to where you are writing or presenting, and that there are students near him that you expect to follow directions exactly. This is often the first, best option for students with hearing or vision impairments so that they may see and hear your instructions, and then have other students to observe and mimic.

Another consideration might be the size of the text he is expected to work with. Books, worksheets, directions etc. can all be enlarged to make them easier to see and read.

He is a first grader, so you don't need to be nervous. When it comes to this age group, you know what you are doing.  Just get this guy's Educational Plan in your hands as quickly as possible to be sure you are meeting his specific needs.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

How do I prevent unsolicited advice about my picky eater?

Ms. Dorothy,
My child is a very picky eater.  My problem is not so much about getting her to eat, it's about all the advice I get from everyone.  We can't be anywhere - relatives homes, restaurants, malls, parks - that someone isn't telling me how to make her eat!  Right now, it is work for me to make sure she gets enough nutrition, but I don't mind doing the extra work.  It is no one else's business, but it makes me doubt myself over and over when I get all these "helpful" bits of advice.  What do I do?!
- A Mom

As long as  your child is getting the nutrition she needs, ignore them all.

I know, easier said than done, but letting all those people get to you will only make issues about food more stressful for you.  Your stress will do more harm to your daughter than any lack of green veggies ever could.  

Believe in yourself. You know what you are doing.  Keeping your child healthy is your job, and you are doing just fine. 

When others offer you suggestions, just say "thanks, but we are doing fine" and mean it. 

If you act doubtful, and really listen to their ideas as if you are looking for a magic solution, you will just get more advice.

Tune them out and go on with your business.  They will see that you don't want their help - they may not agree with you, but they will get the message. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

How do I stop a child using foul language?

Ms. Dorothy,
My 2 year old nephew has gained a lot of language and some curse words. His newest word is the F bomb. How do we get him to not use those words? Telling him it is not ok to say that word just makes him say it more.
-Toddler Sitter

Words that offend people are often the ones we don't want to hear our children using.  

Unfortunately, a two year old only knows the words he has heard, so the problem really doesn't belong to him.

Your sons and his parents are all old enough to know and be cautious about the use of such words, though it seems they are comfortable to use that word in front of the 2 year old.  Addressing the issue of role models seems to be your best bet right now.

The two year old is having fun saying a word that gets a reaction out of people. He has no idea what that word is about or for. 

It is time that the rest of the family learn to curb their language.

Start a fine jar, and make everyone in the household drop a quarter in the jar each time they use a word you would rather the little one not learn. Use the money to buy a vocabulary builder game and help everyone practice for college entrance exams.

But don't expect the little guy to refrain from using the words he hears, you just got him talking, and he is doing exactly what he should!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

How do I get a sleeping child to get up to use the toilet?

Ms. Dorothy,
How do you get a 3 year old to get up at night and go pee in the toilet? 
- Tired Dad

Your best bet may be to have him drink a full glass of water before he goes to sleep, and talk about how his body will process it, and make him feel pressure that will wake him up.  

Often children sleep through the need to use the toilet because their bladder never gets full enough for them to feel the urgency to wake from a sound sleep. Cutting off liquids after a certain hour only makes this worse because the body continues to produce urine, just smaller amounts.

Rather than waking up to carry him to the bathroom in the hopes of building a habit, and rather than just giving up and putting him in pull-ups, maybe helping him to understand what is happening in his body is a better route.

The book Dry All Night is a great resource picture book for this discussion, and really helps to train a child to attend to what his body is doing. It is written for parents and slightly older children because bed-wetting isn't considered unusual for a 3 year old who is just learning and still needs lots of uninterrupted sleep.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

When is it okay to intervene on behalf of a child?

Ms Dorothy
The other day I was in the doctor's office when an older couple came in with an almost 2 year old. They were obviously grand- or even great-grandparents of this little girl. She was very active (of course) and friendly and wanted to walk around and talk to people. She wanted to come over and talk to me. grandparents said no, and threatened her with a spanking. ____ just couldn't sit still. Grandpa smacked her hands, saying 'no', telling her to sit. I couldn't help get involved a bit, and suggested maybe looking at a book. That helped for a bit. Until the book was over and ____ wanted to come visit with me. Grandpa smacked her again. Grandma said,'shame on you' and things just got worse. I couldn't stand it, but did not know what to do! Is there anything to be done when one witnesses such a glaring ignorance of normal, acceptable developmental behavior and horrific parenting? People are so staunch in their defense of their parenting styles...
-A Child Advocate

Consider that a positive pre-supposition can make finding a solution easier because it diffuses your own emotions about the situation.  

A lack of understanding about normal developmental behavior is really at the heart here. These grandparents are acting out of loving concern for the child, and not with an intent to harm her. Coming from that perspective can really help re-frame the situation in a way that opens opportunities to help. 

Starting a conversation with them, and sharing your background as a teacher might ease their concern about the child talking with strangers, or give them a chance to share their concern about her spreading germs to you (this was in a doctor's office after all.)

Whenever a situation concerns you, whether ignorant or malicious, the best approach is often to diffuse the attention on the child by engaging the adults in a conversation. 

Sharing your own, very similar, experiences is often the best way to make an ally of someone who's behavior or mind you want to change: even if you have to make it up.

Tell them about how you were really firm with your own child till you learned that this behavior was normal, and how hard it was to realize that they just can't be still at this age. Compare notes on when your own daughter would talk to strangers everywhere, and how  you had to learn to keep a close watch on her till she was old enough to understand the danger.  

If they see you empathizing with their circumstances, they are more likely to be open to your input.

Friday, February 11, 2011

How do I keep up with teaching all this new technology?

Ms. Dorothy,
How am I supposed to keep up with all the changing technology and expectations for integrating it in school? There is just so much, and every week it seems like there is something new I'm supposed to learn to do and share with my kids. I'm still not convinced they should be on the internet at all in elementary school.  You aren't a kid, and yet you seem comfortable with all these changes. Can you help me think about it differently?
- A Teacher

It is so hard for great teachers to do things half-way. Your impulse is to be an expert at it before you bring it to your students, so that you can help and support them, and that perfectionism can get in the way of taking on something new.

The fact is that you can learn alongside your students. They may even be able to help you! You don't have to be a master, just willing to give it a try.

Don't worry, you won't break the internet if you do it wrong. 

Consider this; your students are going to need these tools to be successful in the future, and delaying their exposure won't make them safer. 

Teaching children to be aware of how public and permanent the internet is will make them more savvy users in the future. And the fact is, that all these technologies are going to change and develop in the years ahead, and your students will need to develop the habits of learning, changing and adapting to new things in order to continue to be successful. 

Don't worry about keeping up with all of it, just jump in and begin exploring.  If you wait till you master it, you'll never teach it, because "it" is a moving target!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

How do I help my Kindee pass the spelling test?

Ms. Dorothy,
My son is in Kindergarten and has started taking spelling tests.  I'm dumbfounded.  Is that normal now? And either way, do you have any suggestions for helping him memorize the spelling lists so he can pass the tests, it's kind of a big deal in his class.
- A Mom

Spelling lists and spelling tests are becoming much more acceptable practice in kindergarten.  

The fact that memorizing the spelling of words in lists for a test has very little transfer to writing in context at this young age doesn't seem to matter.  

Lists generated from the actual writing of Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade students can be helpful for learning to spell because they are words the child is approximating and needs help to straighten out.  

Lists generated or dictated by computer, curriculum, or published books of lists, are much less likely to support and transfer to a student's writing. And taking tests on these lists of words, regardless of how they are derived, will not support or increase accurate spelling in daily writing. Careful and explicit individual instruction on them in context will.

The trick to scoring well on a spelling test, is to drill the letter-by-letter spelling of the words orally and in writing, approximating the administration of the test as closely as possible, and giving a final practice as close to test time as possible.

The tricks to learning to spell words are to; find them in books, practice using them in written sentences - including writing with magnetic or other movable letters, discuss how the word is spelled and why it is or isn't spelled as it sounds, picture it before trying to write it, and look at it after writing to see if it looks like it does in books.

The one biggest support to learning to spell is reading. The more your child reads, the more words he recognizes in books, the more likely he will be able to spot his own errors and correct them.

To pass the test, make sure you drill him on the way to school on spelling test day.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

How do I deal with an 8-going-on-15 year old?

Ms. Dorothy,
We are having a big issue with ______ right now.  She is 8, and back-talking, and not doing what she needs to do around the house to help out. Everything has become such a huge battle that ends in yelling and tears.  She acts like she doesn't care at all anymore. I can't take it any longer. There is tension with her right now and I don't want it to continue. I am also a little worried about how she is going to act when she is a teenager! Any suggestions about how I can empower her with responsibility and save my sanity?
- Mother of a Daughter

These may be the first hints of what is to come. How you move forward and handle this now is certainly going to shape your relationship with her through those teen years, so it is important to stop and think and make some careful choices.

Your daughter is deciding some things about who she is, and about power right now, and is watching for your reactions.

Here are the two most important rules; they were true when she was a newborn, and they are still true now, but the stakes have changed. 

1. ) Pick your battles (not everything is worth it! It just isn't, and bigger battles may lie ahead!) 

2.) If you decide to get into a battle - do not lose. (and sometimes that means giving up before the fight - see rule #1) 

One way to approach this would be to sit down and re-negotiate what her responsibilities are, and when and how she gets holidays from them, and what it means to not hold up her end.

Write up a contract, and then don't get angry when she breaks it. Be kind and loving and gentle and understanding and just point out that these were rules she agreed to. 

Make sure she gets to have some say in making the new agreements. It can't be all about you setting the rules and her having to live by them. There has to be some space for you to give up something you want or it isn't a compromise, and she won't feel like she got anything out of the deal. 

The bottom line is that she has no choice and no power and no control - except over her emotional outbursts. Give her something else to have power over and then follow through.

The control you give up by raising the conversation to that level will be worth it in trade for what you will get over the long term.  

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

How do I stop tattling in my classroom?

Ms. Dorothy,
What do I do with tattle-tales in my classroom?  It's just never-ending and exhausting.  
- Teacher

It is important to establish with your class that there are some things that they should tell about. Without that, turning away "tattlers" could be a real risk. 

Students should know that anytime they feel that terrible pit in their stomach, it means the fear is real and they should alert an adult.

They should also know that most of the time, they have the power to resolve the situation themselves. 

Take the time to build a routine and some procedures for students to peacefully resolve conflicts. Using a regular place and a ritual that takes some of the heat out of situations is helpful. Practice language patterns like "I messages" that supply your students with the tools to talk about what is upsetting them.  Brainstorm solutions with your students, and act out scenarios so they can see a model of what it looks like to work through a problem.

Sometimes it helps to turn the whole situation on it's ear and invite the tattler to consider the offender's feelings. Wondering, with a child, how many bad feelings someone must have to think that taking someone else's good feelings will help, can be a powerful perspective changer.

Monday, February 7, 2011

How do I help my middle child feel loved?

Ms. Dorothy,
How do I show my son (3) that despite the fact he now has an older and younger sister (I just had a baby 8 wks ago, he was the baby before this, older child is almost 5), I still love him the same, and the reason I spend less one on one time with him is not because I love him less? I have not changed much of his life other then the obvious things. Any further advice?
- Busy Mom

Sounds like it is time to make a point of planning "dates" with each of your family.  

You already have some scheduled family time every night, but picking out one night a month for each of  you to get some one-on-one time could really help.

You know that an occasional Mom/Dad date night is essential for your marriage to stay healthy. 
What about taking one family hour a month for Mom/oldest to do something just for them? Once a month it is Mom/middle, and once it's mom/baby. Once a month Dad/oldest get a date time, Dad/middle, and Dad/baby.

Mapping out the calendar so that everyone knows when their time is coming gives everyone plenty of warning and time to choose how to spend the date. Picking and re-picking what to do with that time adds excitement, and the planning itself seems like personal time because the focus is on what you'll do together alone.  

You don't even have to go anywhere. Just close a door and put up a "private" sign up and give your full attention and focus to the one you are with.

Eventually, you may want to add "girls night" and "guys night" to the mix.

All of this will make the "family time" even richer because you will have experiences away from each other to share.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

How do I stop my child from stealing and lying?

Ms. Dorothy, 
How do I get my 4 almost 5 year old to stop lying and stealing? She has seperaration anxiety because of issues with her biological mother (I'm her stepmother but her full time caregiver as well, have been for 2 years) and that in itself has challenges with tantrums and such, but the stealing and lying has carried into school and visits with other relatives. Can you help?
- Mom and Stepmom

The first thing you'll want to do is to make sure you aren't taking her offences personally.  These behaviors are attention seeking, and are not about you, but about her pain.

It may seem as if this is about what she is taking, but it is really about what she is needing.  

She is trying to fill an emotional hole with physical things. If you can address this now, you may save her many years of struggle later.  

Try reading the book Have You Filled a Bucket Today with her and talk about how her actions impact others around her and also come back to change how she feels about herself.

While you work on the real underlying issues, talk to family and friends and school about how what she is doing is not malicious, but is misguided. Explain that anything she takes she will return, and that you are working with her on changing those behaviors.

If it isn't about punishment for her, you can devise a way to talk about what she has taken that she needs to return, each day. Together you can come up with ways for her to make it up to the people she has hurt.

When you focus on what she can do to feel content, rather than on the superficial actions she is taking, she will need these behaviors less.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

What do I do when my child throws a fit?

Ms. Dorothy
I have a 4 year old who has recently become very easily agitated over little things and screams like he is on fire if you try to hold him or calm him down. When he becomes agitated he is inconsolable and has become violent, he throws, hits, scratches and bites. This is not just towards me but his older and younger brothers. I have tried removing him from the situation without giving in, especially if it is over something little like his brothers playing with a toy he wants that was in another room or over food to eat for dinner. I am at a loss for what to do please help!
-Concerned Mother

Angry and frustrated children often feel they have no control. He wants what we all want; to feel that he belongs, and right now he is finding his place through these fits.

He is less interested in the thing he says he wants than he is in your reaction, and if the problem is escalating to actually hurting his siblings, he needs something done right now.

Instead of saying "No," try giving him some choices. You set the limits, so you have the real control in the situation, but he will see that he has some power to make decisions if you let him have choices.  

Offer this cereal or that for breakfast, or a choice between hot and cold cereal.  He has the power to choose, and to choose which fruit goes on his cereal. These are real decisions and involve him in the meal making, and give him a true sense of belonging.

If you ask "what do you want" he will not understand why cake is not a valid choice and will have a fit when you say "No."  

Try being clear about times for things. Rather than saying "No. We are going to eat lunch before we go to the park"  to his request, try "Yes. We will go to the park. And now it is time to eat lunch." The change from focusing on what he can't do right now to what he can do, and when, may help to sort out some of his frustration.

It is important to hold your own temper and give him the attention he craves when the situation is not out of hand. Try to anticipate when he is likely to have a fit and set up an opportunity for different choices before things are out of hand.

There are some great ideas about how to make these changes and keep your cool in the book Positive Discipline.  Check out the website too for some immediate pointers.

Friday, February 4, 2011

How do I get my child to want to read?

Ms. Dorothy,
My daughter's teacher wants her to do more reading at home because she is below grade level in reading.  I've tried taking her to the library to find books at her level, but I can't seem to make her read them.  What else can I do?
- 3rd grade Mom

The library is a great start! 

Third grade is a pivotal time when reading focus changes from learning to read, to reading to learn. Right now is when making up lost ground can make the biggest difference in school success.

See if  you can find books about things she is interested in. Even if they are at a more challenging reading level than she can handle alone.

Try reading with her: it is amazing what a huge difference a little time spent with a book and someone you love can make in a child's attitude toward reading.  

You can read aloud to her and talk about books that are above her reading level, and you can support her reading a book by reading alongside her and helping her when she comes to sticky parts.  

When she finds something that interests her and is at her level, ask her to read aloud to you and talk about it with her.  Then try having her read on her own and come back and tell you about it.  

I've posted some other suggestions about making sure your children see you reading so they have a good role model at home, and there is some research that suggests having lots of books in the home makes a difference. 

Building toward independence by building up a desire to share reading is time well spent right now.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

How do I establish procedures for my class?

Ms. Dorothy,
I am almost finished with my teaching practicum, and though I won't be starting my own class till the Fall, I've been thinking about all the little routines of the classroom.  How do you go about teaching all those daily things about bathrooms and snacks and pencil sharpeners at the beginning of the year? I'm nervous I won't be ready.
- Student Teacher

There was a great post recently on Edutopia about this with some decent suggestions.

Something to keep in mind is that if you start out by teaching some simple procedures for these routine situations, they won't become a problem for  you later.

There is a wonderful book called The First Six Weeks of School for the beginning of the year that many brand new teachers have found extremely helpful - it's also useful for teachers who need to re-group and establish procedures that weren't there before.

Keep in mind that it isn't just about having rules and regulations in place, it's about establishing rapport and making sure that needs are met in the classroom.  Students shouldn't feel the need to "escape" your class if you are focused and prepared and the learning is engaging.  

If you begin from the assumption that what you are doing, what you are having them do, is engaging and interesting and worthwhile work, then you can also assume that a request for the bathroom comes from genuine need. 

When in doubt, consider an office situation. Would you have regulations in place about the use of the bathroom or watercooler in your office?  What might they look like? Would you have a set time when all the female workers could use the rest room?  Would the entire office staff wait outside the bathrooms and go one at a time because it was "bathroom break time?" Would you limit the number of times each staff member could use the bathroom in a day? Would you time their trips to the bathroom?

If the bathroom or fountain is a place to meet an actual need, it should be used when it is needed.  
Try keeping a pass by the door that students can take as they exit, so you will know when someone is out.  

If you are concerned about interruptions during teaching, consider again the office. Would someone be comfortable to get up in the middle of a presentation and exit to use the bathroom?  Would they raise their hand and give a signal to do so? Would you expect them to have gone before or after the presentation?  

Consider presenting these questions to your students when establishing routines of respect for your room. Chances are that students will understand the need to remain in the room during a lesson and to discretely exit when necessary during an independent work time. 

If you find that students are racing to grab the pass when it is returned, stop what you are doing and re-group.  They are simply not engaged in whatever you have them doing and you need to do something differently.

You've already figured out that if you spend the time up front on creating how things are done in your room, you will have more peace long term.  You're going to be fine!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Where can I find Reader's Theater Scripts?

Ms. Dorothy,
I would like to do some Reader's Theater with my class.  They are a pretty dramatic bunch, but are struggling with reading fluency.  Where can I find some good scripts?
- Third Grade Teacher

The IRA (International Reading Association) & National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)'s  site Read, Write, Think is a great resource for information about Reader's Theater. They have a link for a website with free printable scripts as well.

Literacy Connections
has more resources on the subject, and links to a lot of script sites.

You can also write your own scripts from familiar folk tales and stories, or make it a project for the students to write their own. Have Fun with it!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

How can I help with writing composition homework?

Ms. Dorothy,
Those sites for math help were great! Now what can you suggest for English Composition?  You know ______ has always struggled with writing.  What can I do to help?
- Middle School Mom

I just read a couple of things today with some suggestions for you. 

You'll find a list of tips here for better writing, as well as links to some other resources.  

This post has some wonderful thoughts about journaling, and there is a list of prompts to practice with here.

Let me know more specifics about what you are working on, and I'll see what else I can offer.