News, Notes & Inside Info from a Children’s Book Author

Archive for the ‘In the Classroom’ Category

Donalyn Miller’s “The Book Whisperer” Reaches Cultural Icon Status

Friday, November 22nd, 2013 Posted in Around the Web, In the Classroom, Readings | No Comments »


I met Donalyn Miller at a Literacy Conference in Ohio. She was the keynote speaker and I came away impressed, inspired, and determined to read her book, THE BOOK WHISPERER: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child. I started reading it ...

The Problem with Math Problems, Common Core, Standard Tests, etc.

Monday, June 10th, 2013 Posted in Around the Web, In the Classroom | 1 Comment »


I've been meaning to write an epic post recounting my visits to schools this past year. The things I've seen, the things I've learned, but gosh, I keep watching it slide down my list of things to do. In short: * It's ...

KINDNESS: My Trip to the 2013 Youth Writing Festival at Calvin College

Thursday, April 25th, 2013 Posted in In the Classroom, School Visits, Uncategorized, bullying | No Comments »


I just returned from a wonderful, two-night trip to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where I was invited (by Gary Schmidt!) to participate in the 2013 Youth Writing Festival at Calvin College. At one point it looked exactly like this: As my Nation of ...

Nice Article Based on My Recent School Visit to Fair Lawn, NY

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013 Posted in In the Classroom, School Visits, the writing process | 2 Comments »


A local reporter, Tracey Putrino, sat in for one of my presentations during a recent school visit to Fair Lawn, New Jersey. The school itself was spectacular, warm and clean and bursting with pride, one of the sweetest elementary schools ...

OVERHEARD: “I guess science is my favorite class — I just wish it wasn’t so serious.”

Thursday, January 24th, 2013 Posted in Around the Web, Family, In the Classroom, Middle School Life | 3 Comments »


Lisa had asked Maggie, grade 6, about her classes and received the above reply. Which at first struck me as a hilarious thing to say about science. It was like saying, I don't know, math should be funnier. Social studies, ...

The Perils of Skype: There’s the Giant “Oz Head,” for Starters

Monday, December 10th, 2012 Posted in In the Classroom, School Visits | No Comments »


Let's start with the horror: Run for the hills, people. On a Thursday morning in late November, I Skyped with students in Pine View Middle School, somewhere in Florida. The basic setup was that a small number of students gathered in the ...

I May Have Just Met the Best 6th-Grade Poet in America

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012 Posted in In the Classroom, School Visits | 8 Comments »


When I speak at schools, a teacher will often come up to ask if I wouldn't mind wearing some kind of amplifier/microphone thingy around my neck for a student who is hearing impaired. And of course I don't mind. I put ...

For Teachers: 13 Ways of Raising Your Hand in the Classroom

Friday, January 20th, 2012 Posted in Around the Web, Fun Clips, In the Classroom | No Comments »


Teachers will like this. All teachers, every one. There will be universal "like" on this little clip. [youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2YPBQCHV7E] You can find more of her charming, off-beat clips, here.

Essential Listening: “Middle School” as featured on THIS AMERICAN LIFE

Saturday, November 12th, 2011 Posted in Around the Web, In the Classroom | 2 Comments »


It's been a busy month, with many school visits and almost no real writing. On Sunday, tomorrow, I'm heading to South Carolina, a trip that begins with three presentations in a middle school. So I thought I'd share my highest ...

Photo Dump: Three Days in Williamstown

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011 Posted in In the Classroom, School Visits | No Comments »


I recently enjoyed a three-day visit to Williamstown, Massachusetts. I visited three schools: Lanesborough Elementary (where we forgot to take photos), Mount Greylock (grades 7-8), and Williamstown Elementary. It was particularly fun to interact with such a large range of ...