Help Catholic families in Atlanta!

Posted: July 31, 2014

You can help jump start an education revolution! Saint John Bosco Academy is on a mission to raise $750,000 by September 1 to buy a new building for their Catholic hybrid school in North Atlanta.

The innovative hybrid school blends the best of home education and the best of the traditional classroom environment. It works so well that they have outgrown their current location (where I taught!)  They need to raise funds for a permanent home!  Please help!  They have grown from 40 to almost 250 students in 5 years. Currently, they lease space from a Christian school whose enrollment is also growing.  They no longer have the space to rent to SJBA! They need to act quickly and they need your help to raise funds for a permanent location. See their donation page here.


St. John Bosco Academy from SJBA on Vimeo.

Teacher Says, “It’s not our fault!”

Posted: February 14, 2013

And it’s not. Kenneth Bernstein recently explained his opinion on the problems with No Child Left Behind, with regard to writing and testing, in Academe: “Students arriving in our high school lacked experience and knowledge about how to do the kinds of writing that are expected at higher levels of education…The AP course required that a huge amount of content be covered, meaning that too much effort is spent on learning information and perhaps insufficient time on wrestling with the material at a deeper level.”

In Ms. Scribbles Workshop, the student is encouraged to wrestle with the material at a deeper level, which will lead to the kind of writing that is expected at higher levels of education.

No Child Left Behind: A Decade Later.

No Child Left Behind: A Decade Later.


“Guided Mastery”

Posted: December 2, 2012

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I received an email yesterday from a grandfather who homeschools his grandson. He said, “Your program looks interesting, but I don’t understand exactly what you do.” I watched a TED Talk recently called “How to Build Your Creative Confidence” and thought it was highly relevant to what I do in my workshop.

Albert Bandura (1925-    )

All writing is creative, whether you are writing a research report, a financial analysis, or a poem. For many people, old and young, a lack of creative confidence impedes their ability to write. Many people grow up to believe they are “just not the creative type,” based on something their teacher said in third grade or based on their interest in accounting.

In the TED talk, CEO David Kelly explains that we need to start seeing all people as naturally creative. He believes (as I do) that creativity is not the special domain of a precious, gifted few. Kelly helps people from all walks of life conquer their fear of creativity using a process called “guided mastery.” It was was developed by Albert Bandura, one of the most influential psychologists of all time. The idea is that if you guide people through a series of steps that allow them to experience small successes, they will gain confidence and “self-efficacy,” which means “a person’s belief in his or her ability to succeed in a particular situation.”

The step-by-step process I use in workshop works in much the same way. By breaking down the writing (creative) process into simple steps, students can experience daily successes and develop an attitude of: “I can do this!”

The Hochman Program

Posted: November 26, 2012

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The October issue of The Atlantic ran some feature articles on “what’s working” in American schools. One, “The Writing Revolution,” is about a school-wide writing program that was developed at a small private school in White Plains, New York, and implemented at a failing school in Staten Island, with great results. It raises some important questions. When did “literacy” come to mean, strictly, “the ability to read”? And when did we start confining writing instruction to Language Arts? The Hochman Program sounds like a writing teacher’s dream: “Every instructional hour except for math class is dedicated to teaching essay writing along with a particular subject.”


David Brooks at The New York Times wrote an article last week called “The Campus Tsunami,” about a coming move toward online learning in higher education.

He writes: “Research into online learning suggests that it is roughly as effective as classroom learning. It’s easier to tailor a learning experience to an individual student’s pace and preferences.”

I second that!