Writing about writing—by the Write Source staff

Reading and Writing…for the Fun of It

“Your sense of freedom and play will infuse your writing with energy, and that energy will make your words enjoyable to read.”
—Jack Heffron, author of The Writer’s Idea Book

I still remember, even after all these years, sitting in Ms. Nowitski’s Advanced English class as a high school junior. She was having us develop a research paper following the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee research guide. She waxed eloquently about research skills and, of course, stressed the importance of understanding everything about the research process so we could—ahem—succeed at the next level. (more…)

Making the Grade

Yesterday I stumbled across an article about college students getting miffed when they didn’t get an “A for Effort”: “Student Expectations Seen as Causing Grade Disputes.” I find it a difficult attitude to understand; it breaks down as soon as it’s applied to the working world. A building doesn’t care whether an architect tried her hardest—the design either stands or falls. A gall bladder doesn’t care that a surgeon did his best—the cholecystectomy is either a success or a failure. So why are students reaching college with this unrealistic attitude that if they read the material and show up for class they deserve an A? (more…)

Thinking Like an Artist

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
—Albert Einstein

In one of my recent blog entries—”Just Imagine“—I stressed the importance of creative thinking in the classroom. Since then, I’ve done a bit of research on creativity, focusing mainly on the artistic process.

I first turned to “Thinking Like an Artist” in Mind Matters: Teaching for Thinking by Dan Kirby and Carol Kuykendall. This book has been around awhile (Heinemann, 1991), but it’s still one of the first things I turn to when I have thinking on my mind. (more…)

Best Advice for Struggling Writers

It’s somewhat ironic; just as I was about to post this blog about helping struggling writers, I read “Best Practices: Students in the Driver’s Seat” by Anthony Cody (Teacher Magazine, January 14, 2009). Cody promotes inquiry-based instruction and problem-based learning, two practices that give students a great deal of control over their learning. I, too, advocate these practices and have, in fact, written about inquiry-based instruction myself: “That’s a Good Question” (October 6, 2008) and “Planning Less, Learning More” (October 23, 2008). (more…)