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Kristi Latimer is in her eighth year of teaching at Tigard High School in Oregon, where she teaches international baccalaureate senior English and freshman English. She is also an adjunct professor at Lewis & Clark College.
Kristi received her bachelor's degree from Reed College and her master's degree from Lewis & Clark College. After working in the nonprofit world, the revelation that she wanted to be a teacher came during coffee with one of her college professors. "When she opened her purse to fetch something, I noticed three or four novels, Post-its lining the edges, covered in her familiar handwriting. I immediately thought: 'I want my purse to look like that when I go to work.'"
So she combined her desire to help struggling kids and her love of literature and went back to school. "Returning to a high school classroom helped me reflect in new ways on my own education," Kristi says. "Growing up in a small town in Arizona, I did not always have access to the same educational opportunities that my students in Portland do. But I did have the support of family and some excellent teachers who believed in me and thought my love of language and writing might take me somewhere. I want to create a similar space for students to find their own voices, regardless of their path after high school."
Kristi recently told her students in freshman English class that she loves the constant surprises of teaching English. "No two days are the same. In fact, no lesson plans are ever the same, regardless of how carefully I write them. Once the students arrive, they bring themselves to the lessons and push my initial ideas. I also love that texts I have taught for years become new when a student notices something I have never seen. Their ideas remind me of the power of language. Nothing is more rewarding than seeing the face of a student who finally 'gets it,' especially when 'getting it' means finally finding his or her voice as a writer."
Kristi enjoys yoga, writing poetry, traveling, and spending time with her two children.
Kimberly Hill Campbell and Kristi Latimer:::100086
Beyond the Five Paragraph Essay
Love it or hate it, the five-paragraph essay is perhaps the most frequently taught form of writing in classrooms of yesterday and today. But have you ever actually seen five-paragraph essays outside of school walls? Have you ever found it in business writing, journalism, nonfiction, or any other genres that exist in the real world? Kimberly Hill Campbell and Kristi Latimer reviewed the research on the effectiveness of the form as a teaching tool and discovered that the research does not support the five-paragraph formula. In fact, research shows that the formula restricts creativity, emphasizes structure rather than content, does not improve standardized test scores, inadequately prepares students for college writing, and results in vapid writing. In Beyond the Five-Paragraph Essay, Kimberly and Kristi show you how to reclaim the literary essay and create a program that encourages thoughtful writing in response to literature. They provide numerous strategies that stimulate student thinking, value unique insight, and encourage lively, personal writing, including the following:
Close reading (which is the basis for writing about literature)
Low-stakes writing options that support students' thinking as they read
Collaboration in support of discussion, debate, and organizational structures that support writing as exploration
A focus on students' writing process as foundational to content development and structure
The use of model texts to write in the form of the literature students are reading and analyzing
The goal of reading and writing about literature is to push and challenge our students' thinking. We want students to know that their writing can convey something important: a unique view to share, defend, prove, delight, discover, and inspire. If we want our students to be more engaged, skilled writers, we need to move beyond the five-paragraph essay.
Mathematizing Children’s Literature
Sparking Connections, Joy, and Wonder Through Read-Alouds and Discussion