Dear Poet Project


I love this idea from the Academy of American Poets! Students read and respond to the poetry of poets who serve on the Academy’s Board of Chancellors. What a great opportunity to connect students with writers. There are specific instructions here for any other teachers or librarians who are interested. Select letters with receive a … Continue reading

Letters About Literature


Here is a plug for one of my favorite writing activities and contests for students. For Letters About Literature, students are asked to reflect on the value a book has brought to their life – how has it changed their view of themselves or the world . I love the topic. I have had students … Continue reading

Examining Character


We were looking at character in my eighth-grade English class. We had done the standard – what they do, what they say, what others say about them, but I wanted them to look deeper. I wanted my students to draw conclusions and see the patterns and meaning behind the character’s behavior. Because that is when … Continue reading

Book Pass


Thursday was our annual book pass for the eighth graders. I love the concept of a book pass. I have seen them done many ways for many ages, but the purpose is always the same – let your kids touch and look at the books. If you are interested in doing a Book Pass for … Continue reading

Powerful Beyond Measure

Peacock multicolor plumage

I have been thinking about this quotation a lot – as a teacher, as a parent, as a writer, and as a human being. “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We … Continue reading


Water  column

Tomorrow is my fourteenth first day of school as a teacher. I was thinking back to my early years of teaching. My first evaluation as a student teacher said that I smiled too much: “It might give the students the idea that you are a pushover” according to the my mentor for the semester.  A … Continue reading



I took my son Jack to Serenity Animal Sanctuary last week to do some research for my second YA fiction book. After months of sitting at my desk, wrestling with the sights sounds and smells in my head, I decided that it was time for this city slicker to get out in the country and … Continue reading

Taming of the Shrew


I took my son to the Junior Players production of Taming of the Shrew. To prep him, I gave him the following summary – it’s about a girl named Kate who doesn’t behave very well. I worried – I worried that it was too soon. I worried that he would get bored. I worried that … Continue reading

This I Believe

Dandelion seeds in black and white

I have been teaching a short summer class where the students are asked to find the core of what they believe and share it with the world through several writing pieces. We used the This I Believe essays as a model. If you haven’t seen these or heard them on National Public Radio, check out … Continue reading

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