At least a few times per semester at my Esteemed Place of Employment, I will have a conversation with a student in the Writing Lab that goes about like this: “Who’s the audience for this paper?” I ask. “Mr. Johnson,” replies the student, if the student replies.* “Okay. What does it mean to write something … Continue reading What Does it Mean to “Know Your Audience”?
First of all, readers, I get it: it’s been a long time. Some of those reasons (pandemic teaching) you can probably guess, others perhaps not, but my point is that I am fully aware that every time I write a post, I promise that I’m going to update more regularly, and every time, I don’t. … Continue reading Writing Exercise: The Company Mission Statement
Today we’re going to combine a couple of my hobby horses - good writing and board games - into a bizarre hobby horse chimera that might be distressing to look at, but will show us how, in addition to its many other benefits, good writing helps us have fun with our friends. We’re going to … Continue reading Case Study: The Board Game Rulebook
Every so often, my students will ask for my opinion regarding a writing matter on which I have no opinion - and that’s tough, because as anyone close to me can tell you, I have opinions on most things! But since these come up from time to time, and I will continue to resolutely not … Continue reading Five Writing “Controversies” I Will Not Engage
Hello, loyal (or occasional, or brand-new) readers! You’re all craving some good news, right? We may be smack in the middle of the times that try men’s souls, but there is a silver lining to it all, which is that I’ll be updating the blog more often now that I’m stuck at home! There, you … Continue reading Writing Exercise: Tonal Mix ‘n Match
I am delighted to announce that DATW now has its own Twitter account! If you like what you see here and are on the Twitters, please follow the blog at @DATW_blog. Also, if you like what you see here, it would mean a lot if you would share our posts and tweets when they come … Continue reading Follow us on the Twitters!
Well, we took another break, because we went on our winter vacation, and then we chaperoned a four-day school trip. Such is teacher life. Back to work we get! When last we left our heroes, we were discussing strategies for teaching students to write thesis statements that won’t cause you to beat your head against the … Continue reading Teaching the Strong Thesis Statement, Part Three
After the usual end-of-semester descent into grading hell, we are back with the promised Part Two of our series on thesis statements! One of my projects with my students this month has been to get them to write shorter introductions, so in the spirit of that exercise, let’s get to the point: 2. Ask questions … Continue reading Teaching the Strong Thesis Statement, Part Two
This week, I asked my Facebook readers to suggest a topic for the blog and several people, especially my teacher pals, hit me with a lot of simmering angst about thesis statements and how students can’t write them. There are dozens of online guides about how to write a good thesis statement, so I’m going … Continue reading Teaching the Strong Thesis Statement, Part One
It feels like the most commonly taught wisdom in English classes, especially in the lower grades of high school. “Start your essay with a hook.” Okay. Interesting. What’s a hook, exactly? “It’s an engaging opening sentence that grabs the reader’s attention.” Okay, sounds good, if a little vague. How does it do that? “It gets … Continue reading Against the Essay Hook