Posted in Food for Thought

Annotating in Books

I’ve written about annotation already. I think it’s a really important skill to have and to teach regardless of what the subject matter is. I think it’s an especially important skill to teach if you’re teaching English, because so much of English revolves around analyzing and talking about texts. And at the end of the day I like to consider myself a pretty decent annotator. I’ve had a lot of practice, and I’ve come up with techniques that definitely work for me. But there’s one pretty massive thing I struggle with. I don’t like writing in books.

As an English major and a future English teacher, this is kind of a big deal. In these areas of life we annotate our books to remember what we felt and what we thought so we can share it with others. And I don’t like to do that.

I have no problem with putting sticky notes in my books. Nor do I have any problems with writing on articles and print outs. But I have a really hard time actually writing in a book.

I think it stems from growing up an absolute book lover. Writing in books has always kind of seemed like defacing them. It’s always made me cringe and squirm.

I’m working on it. I have certain books I allow myself to annotate in. Maybe one day I’ll be a full fledged annotator.

What’s your stance on annotating?

BB

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Posted in Classroom Ideas, Teaching Techniques

Journal Prompts

I like journaling. I think it can be a really powerful and important tool for students. It teaches them the power of words and writing, and it gives them a voice they may not have known they had. I also understand that free writing can be difficult for students, can get them off task or off topic, or simply might lead to results you never wanted. That’ where journal prompts enter the picture.

Here are a few things that are great about journal prompts:

  • They give students something specific to write about.
  • They allow you, the teacher, to control the conversation.
  • They can lead to really great discussion.
  • They’re a great entryway into class and what the lesson will be about.

Chances are, I could ramble on and on about why using journal prompts in your classroom is a good idea. I could certainly expand upon each of the prompts I just mentioned. But sometimes brief is the best way to go, the way to get the point best across.

BB