Be sure to check out my new article on Edutopia.org!
According to an article from Ed Week earlier this year:
A survey by ACT finds that 89 percent of high school teachers report their students are “well” or “very well” prepared for college-level work in the subject they teach, while just 26 percent of college instructors say incoming students are “well” or “very well” prepared for entry-level courses.
Somewhere, there is a disconnect. High school teachers want to prepare their students for college writing and we feel that we are doing so. But college instructors aren’t seeing that on their end. That can probably be attributed to the fact that high school and college writing instructors rarely interact when it comes to pedagogy. There’s almost no line between high school English teachers and college writing instructors. Most high school teachers I know cobble together their knowledge of college writing from their own experiences and those that alumni share with them. But it’s time for that to change.
This summer, my colleague Michelle and I are trying to put together a writing roundtable and we need your help! We are looking for college writing instructors to join us in a discussion about the transition from high school to college writing. Our goal is to make that transition easier for our students and their college instructors. We’ve all heard the “rules”: no 1st person, no 2nd person, only use MLA, only use Chicago/APA, etc. It’s time to put an end to speculation and the broad generalizations. So if you are a writing instructor at the college level and can get to Freehold, NJ on July 8th, please join us!
I don’t read a lot of middle grade books now that I teach high school, but there are certain authors I always read. Kate Messner is one of those authors. A few weeks ago I finally got a chance to read her newest novel Hide and Seek. As usual, it did not disappoint.
The second in her series, this mystery is perfect for middle grade readers. José, Anna, and Henry are junior members of the secret Silver Jaguar Society, sworn to protect the world’s most important artifacts. In this adventure, they discover that the society’s treasured Jaguar Cup, which members have whispered about for generations, has been stolen and replaced with a counterfeit. The kids and their families soon rush to the rain forests of Costa Rica in search of the real Jaguar Cup. The adults try to keep the kids out of the mess, but of course that never works. When they are left on their own at an eco-resort, they begin their own investigation. Middle grade readers will find themselves on the edge of their seats as they race alongside José, Anna, and Henry, in search of the cup before it disappears forever!
Highly recommended for the fast-paced mystery, the realistic middle-school characters,and the amazing setting.
But here’s the thing. Kate is going to get me in trouble because after reading Hide and Seek I need to visit Costa Rica. In fact, the night I finished the book I emailed Kate and asked her where she stayed on her research trip and for any other advice she might have. That’s how good the setting is. That’s how magical Kate’s words are- she brings the rain forest to life. Plus, she shared a bit about her research trip here, here, and here!
I’m still looking into a trip to Costa Rica and I hope it happens in the future. If it does, I will thank Kate Messner for introducing me to the amazing eco-lodge profiled in Hide and Seek!