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Read Kittle's stories of teaching and learning. Then write your own. I plan to.
- Tom Romano, author of Crafting Authentic Voice
For twenty years Penny Kittle has woven together artful teaching and a love of language, celebrating the written word with classes from elementary school through graduate school. Now, she shares the stories of students with whom she's celebrated, struggled, and learned. More than a teaching memoir, The Greatest Catch is a close-up look at how to teach powerful lessons and how to learn powerful lessons from teaching - especially from teaching writing.
Kittle teaches her students that writing is a tool for developing their intellectual, academic, and emotional selves, and in these essays, she shows how both she and her students' lives have been profoundly influenced by writing. You'll look over her shoulder as she tries to win over a mischievous third grader, works with a fifth-grade alcoholic, and attempts to make sense of her profession as she watches secondary students drop out of school. And in each instance, you'll see how writing can provide an outlet for difficult feelings, build connections and community, or foster resiliency in writers of any age.
Best of all, The Greatest Catch is a model for your own professional development. In addition to her inspirational and pragmatic stories, Kittle includes Craft Notes that demonstrate how she composed her essays so that you can use the same strategies for your classroom life. You'll find these tools immediately useful for structuring reflective writing that helps you uncover the many layers of meaning in your work, just as Kittle, herself, has.
Join Penny Kittle in the journey of a teaching lifetime and learn from her experience. Begin with any essay in The Greatest Catch or read it cover to cover. You'll find that no matter where you start you'll end up at the same place: inspired to teach, write, and learn.
introduction: water and dawn and bait
my first Steelie
stopping at a lunchroom table
our last day of school
just when I thought I knew everything
no evidence of achievement
honors: a teacher's reeducation
Kleenex and marriage and learning to teach
do the math
a narrative in two voices:
part I: the traffic cop
part II: Ken's story by Ken Fowler
one large to go, extra cheese
afterword by Chris Crutcher
Using Quick Writes to Find Stories
Watching My Word
The First Try
Using Narrative Scenes to Develop Structure
Studying a Mentor Author to Learn About Voice
Finding the Right Voice for the Piece
When a Line Sends My Piece in a New Direction
Staying True to the Story
Answering a Reader's Questions Pondering Different Angles for a Story
Teachers' Writing Group
The Use of Metaphor
Working Through Endings
An Adverb Hunt
Reading Out Loud
Proofreading for Word Proximity