Archive by Author

Beginning to Review, Revise, and Revisit

I am beginning the slow and deliberate process of updating and refining the website after having neglected it for the last few years. The demands of teaching and writing the last three years have knocked me off course, but things are settling into place and it is now time to circle back around and clean […]

Document Design: Show Them What Success Looks Like

I will be blogging periodically about something that has long been an emphasis and interest of mine: the importance of designing documents that make clear what we want and, in the process, improve our instruction by making us more consistent. To some degree, this new emphasis stems from workshops I did around such design concepts […]

Designing Better Lessons?

I haven’t much time to discuss the image below but wanted to share something I am doing this first week, which I cannot yet promise to keep up but is showing promising benefits for me and those with whom I collaborate at school. I wanted to create a lesson plan template online that I could […]

What’s in Your Syllabus?

I have been thinking carefully about my own syllabus for my Senior English class this year after looking at those of other teachers. Some teachers’ syllabi run as long as six pages, which is a lot of paper. The question is what one wants to and can accomplish through such a document. I want to […]

TBD: Further Inquiries into Effective Questions

by Jim Burke The previous post about “Teaching by Design” (TBD) and its connection to developing more effective questions continues to fascinate me this week. Here are some additional questions to share as I keep tweaking and trying them out with the class as both close reading and class discussion questions. Will continue to share […]

Teaching by Design (TBD): Asking Better Questions

by Jim Burke What we put in students’ hands in class is the point of greatest influence: it tells them what to do or what we expect them to know. I have written before about Webb’s Depth of Knowledge model and what I called the A-List vocabulary on previous blogs. Asking questions is its own […]

Re: Defining Reading

by Jim Burke I had the great pleasure of a long conversation with Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein last weekend while in Chicago. In addition to discussing our forthcoming high school edition of “They Say/I Say”: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing, we spoke of a problem we all agreed is a serious one […]

Dear Parents: Why I Write Letters to the Parents of My Students

by Jim Burke I am a parent of a 21-year-old young man (studying Arabic in Jordan for the year), a 19-year-old son (majoring in Business), and a newly-turned-15-year-old daughter who is a freshman at a big public high school in San Francisco (the same school her grandmother, who lives with us, attended 75 years ago!). […]

What the Common Core Assessment Questions Might Look Like

by Jim Burke I scoured various Common Core State Standards assessments by Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) and Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) to better understand the type of questions they might ask. Below are some samples of the types of questions I culled from these assessments (all available online […]

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