As a member of this Online Book Club, you are expected to post to the book blog at least once per week between now and July 11 -- that's six weeks. You should finish your book before then, and you will meet during the Institute in your groups to extend the discussion and plan how to present the book to the others in the Institute.

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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Inches and Half Inches (Chapters 1-2)

My students do not write in pages. They write in inches, or half-inches. Sometimes, with great efforts on their parts and mine, they write as much as half a foot. (Jane Juska, 532)
This. So much this.  One of my last papers in college was my 97-page thesis, so when I entered the classroom, I had absolutely no sense of how long "even" a page might be for my students. That wasn't the real problem, though. The problem was more that I was assigning writing rather than teaching it. Naturally, that meant a barrage of questions like "A paragraph is five sentences, right?" and handwriting of ninth graders that suddenly needed two lines. I'm not saying that I have nightmares about this, because I don't. At least, not anymore...
It seems almost indisputable that reading and writing fuel and fortify each other, in part because they depend o the same cognitive processes. (585)
This is one of my biggest frustration points, and it goes hand in hand with the concept of mentor texts. My students, generally speaking, do not read much outside of school, and while the other departments have made strides in incorporating reading into their everyday work,  it's still a struggle. Thus, because we have a block schedule, it's perfectly conceivable that my students may only be reading three times a week, otherwise known as when they have my class.  I don't bring this up to complain. Rather, if anyone has ideas about increasing student reading for fun, I am all eyes.
I had never heard of Barry Lane before reading this book, and so when the authors referenced his YouTube videos (1004),  I knew that I had to look them up immediately. This is what I found. I'm not sure I would show this video to teenagers, but I feel it's an excellent mentor video for trying to teach the same "explode the moment" strategy. I could see this being fun to do as a kind of exercise with gifs or Vines or short pratfall clips, everyone practicing with the same moment.

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