ADVANTAGES

When I became a teacher many years later, I did what a lot of new teachers do; I emulated the bad practices of my own past teachers...even the practices that I hated as a student. For five or six years, especially when we were reading literature, I forced my kids to write in journals using my prompts, not allowing them to discover their own prompts. In 1996, I began working on my Master's Degree, and that was the year I enrolled in a Summer Teaching Institute sponsored by the greatest organization for improving teaching practices: the National Writing Project. My local chapter--the Northern Nevada Writing Project--had me research and create a 90-minute presentation that I was required to deliver to fellow professionals for the purpose of trying to help them see why they might change a current classroom practice. I researched better ways to maintain a classroom "journal program, and I happily discovered there were new schools of thought about using writer's notebooks instead of journals. How I wished that my tenth grade teacher had known about this similar-yet-different learning tool.

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