Dear President Obama

Dear President Obama, I watched the 2012 Democratic National Convention. I listened as Michelle told of your ritual of reading letters from ordinary (perhaps extraordinary, too) Americans each night. She said that you believed these letters are a key to being better informed. That impressed me. I hope you don’t mind if I publish my […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }

Beyond Another Brick in The Wall

In my first years of teaching, I was still learning the ways of students whose veiled ulterior motives were not always obvious to me. However, as I listened to Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in The Wall yesterday on the radio, I realized suddenly that when my English 11 students in 1991 were begging me to […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }

Books I haven’t read, and won’t

People say “life’s too short” to refer to numerous things they choose not to do. Life’s too short to …. just fill in the blank with whatever you think is a waste of your time. For me, life’s too short to read bad books. I never did read the Twilight series, even though many of […]

Read full story Comments { 1 }

You Will Live Many Lives

What follows is the text of my farewell speech, written as part of the final AP English Literature project. We all wrote farewell (valedictory speeches) and delivered them formally in the auditorium. It was a unique experience. See the Wordle I created from all of the speeches in the post below. You Will Live Many […]

Read full story Comments { 2 }

AP English Speeches, A Wordle

I wanted my senior AP English Literature class to have an important experience for their end of the year project, something after the exam that would be personally meaningful. I also recognized that public speaking was not something we focused on in AP, but a skill they would need again and again in the future. So […]

Read full story Comments { 2 }

Mother’s Day, Poetry, and Technology

Take a moment to write your mother a hand-scribed note, suggests The Academy of American Poets ( To help you, they’ve created six lovely blank note cards (pdf files to print). In addition, you can choose from a nice array of Mother’s Day appropriate excerpts from poems to include as an epigram to get you started. […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }

The danger of quantifying everything!

Well, I heard a new one today. But first, the context. I had just handed back English 11 essays, for which I did not use a rubric. Instead, I used a traditional means of feedback. I circled, underlined, and pointed out obvious errors (fragments, run ons, point of view errors, etc.). I made comments about […]

Read full story Comments { 7 }