In Atlanta area?

Posted: April 22, 2014

This summer I will be running an intensive, in-person, five-paragraph essay workshop for the most intrepid 8th and 9th graders in Atlanta.

What: five paragraph essay boot camp!

When: Friday mornings in JulyThe Donut Corporation vintage ad

Where: Sandy Springs

Why: Because it will make the school year less painful.

How are you going to get students to do this on Friday mornings in the summer? Um…donuts?

Email me for details!


New Student, New Slogan?

Posted: February 25, 2014

I received an introductory email from a new student this morning, and it really made me smile. He writes:

“I like the subject reading and writing. I like writing because I have so much stuff going on in my head. I write so my head does not explode! I like writing.”

Ms. Scribbles’ Workshop: Keeping kids’ heads from exploding since 2011.

Summer Course

Posted: February 18, 2014

I am excited to be teaching an online course this summer for students grades 10-12 on The Hunger Games and Christian Nonviolence through Kolbe Academy. Click here to read a full course description.


How to Disagree Civilly

Posted: January 15, 2014

I wrote a post today for the Kolbe Academy blog on “How to Disagree Civilly” and the importance of tone in written communication. victorianWe live in a digital world where so much of our communication is happening through writing. With so many social networks and online classes, with so many opportunities to converse and debate with a wide range of people, it seems we should be ushering in a new era in which the exchange of ideas is encouraged and appreciated more than ever! Unfortunately, potentially productive debates and disagreements, especially when they happen in online forums, on comments boards, or through email, quickly devolve into petty squabbles and pseudo-intellectual jousting matches, leading to contentiousness, hostility, dismissiveness, and derision. This article includes some helpful tips on how to maintain a tone of civility in your written words in this world of digital discourse!

I’m still here!

Posted: September 23, 2013

Hello! I have started a new part-time job teaching with Kolbe Academy in the last month, so I have had to cut down on blogging. But I’m still here. Ms. Scribbles’ Workshop is open for business. Feel free to contact me and enroll your child (or yourself!) at any time.


Ms. Scribbles

Precious Inheritance

Posted: August 27, 2013


“Writing well used to be a fundamental principle of the humanities, as essential as the knowledge of mathematics and statistics in the sciences. But writing well isn’t merely a utilitarian skill. It is about developing a rational grace and energy in your conversation with the world around you.

No one has found a way to put a dollar sign on this kind of literacy, and I doubt anyone ever will. But everyone who possesses it — no matter how or when it was acquired — knows that it is a rare and precious inheritance.”

The Decline and Fall of the English Major, The New York Times, June 22, 2013


Posted: July 29, 2013

I received this on Sunday, July 28, 2013. It made my day!

Ms. Scribbles,

I hope your summer is going well!  I just wanted to thank you for all your help with my essays, especially the SAT practice essays.  I have taken 2 practice SAT test this summer through a tutoring program and the first time (early June), I received a 530 on the writing portion.  The next test (a few weeks ago-after the workshop) I received a 690.  What a drastic improvement in scores!  Thank you for your assistance; I had no idea how to write a good SAT essay until your help this summer.  Thank you so much!

God bless,

Teenager lands book deal

Posted: June 26, 2013

People think you have to be old and gray to write a memoir. Not true! Maya Van Wagenen proves them wrong.

The Genius of Youth

Posted: June 14, 2013


Did you know that Langston Hughes was only 18 when he wrote his famous poem, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers”?  He had just graduated from high school. Here is a recording of him talking about where the poem came from and why he wrote it. He also reads it for us!

You are never too young to be a “real” writer. I am constantly amazed by what my students produce with sufficient time and attention given to their writing.

Langston Hughes, 1902-1967

Langston Hughes, 1902-1967

Lovely Summer

Posted: June 7, 2013


“Summer afternoon – summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”



- Henry James


“Come with me,” Mom says. “To the library. Books and summertime go together.”

- Lisa Schroeder


“Green was the silence,
wet was the light,
the month of June trembled like a butterfly.”

- Pablo Neruda

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”

― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

“There’s an air of love and of happiness / And this is the Fresh Prince’s new defintion of summer madness.”

- Fresh Prince, Summertime