New in 2018: YCTWriting.com
YCTWriting is an updated, slimmed down, and more tightly focused version of the old YouCanTeachWriting site. When I created that site in 2008, I expected my audience would be newly minted teachers.
I was shocked by who showed up.
The vast majority of site visitors were veteran teachers with 15 or more — often many more — years in the classroom. Those classroom veterans didn’t need to be taught how to teach: They just needed to know what to teach so that all their students who completed are able to write expository prose competently. The revamped site is for that sort of teacher of teens and adults.
See more on the YCTWriting.com FAQs page.
New in 2017: PenPrompts.com
PenPrompts is a website about using writing prompts as a teaching tool for teachers of any other classes that usually fall into the required course category in high school or college. The focus of PenPrompts is getting students to think analytically and critically about the subject matter they are studying.
English teachers can use writing prompts, but so can math teachers and computer science teachers. PenPrompts discusses use of both formal and informal writing prompts to get students to dig deeply to understand and apply course content. Most of the site’s information had been scattered throughout my old YouCanTeachWriting website.
PenPrompts.com’s emphasis is on teacher created prompts directly tied to the teacher’s goals and objectives. People who get their prompts from Teachers Pay Teachers or some other buy-a-lesson website won’t find PenPrompts to their liking.
New in 2015
The Writing Teacher’s ABCs provides help for new, scared stiff, nonfiction writing teachers. Everything they need to know to get started teaching teens or adults to write nonfiction is laid out from A to Z.
Instead of telling everything new teachers might need to know, I’ve focused on the least they need to know.
My experience, and that of others who were thrown into teaching writing without any preparation other than the title of the required text, is that if new writing teachers can keep two weeks ahead of the students, they can get through the course.
The experience of teaching will provide all the rest of the information they need.
The chapters don’t need to be read in A to Z order. For example, someone worried about whether they can possibly succeed as a writing teacher can go directly to chapter Q to find the necessary qualifications for teaching nonfiction.
The Writing Teacher’s ABCs is available from in three digital formats: EPUB for iPad and other ebook readers and phones, MOBI for Kindle, and in pdf format for computer viewing. Visit the #ABCwrite page at LeanPub to learn more about the content and select the amount you wish to pay for it.
Updates in process
Slated for updates soon are two of my most popular earlier publications, Shape Learning, Reshape Teaching and Talk It Out.
Shape Learning, Reshape Teaching takes the instructions teachers in any discipline need to know about informal writing and applies it to English teachers’ biggest challenge: getting students to apply “grammar rules” correctly in their own writing. If you can use informal writing to teach and assess writing mechanics, you can use informal writing for any aspect of a English/communications curriculum.
Talk it Out is a set of questions to guide pairs of teens or adult students in planning nonfiction writing collaboratively. The second edition student materials consist of 30 questions that structure a peer conference so one student can talk another through planning an essay.
The questions are formatted so they can be printed a sheet of 30-up labels. In addition, Talk It Out second edition includes digital access to the questions for students outside class or in bring-your-own-device classrooms. The questions fit all nonfiction genres required by the Common Core State Standards except narratives.
Bullying isn’t just a behavior problem. It’s also a communications problem. Bullying Begins as Words gives teachers 12 nonfiction writing prompts about the verbal and nonverbal communication that occurs in bullying situations and elsewhere.
Each prompt is accompanied by a learning standards chart that shows teachers how it aligns with educational objectives, including Common Core State Standards, and discussion of how to deal with the challenges students will face in using the prompt.
Grammar Abusers Anonymous is a guide to help mature teens and adults study grammar using their own flawed sentences as practice. The 12-step program can be used with any grammar text or with online resources.