978-793-1553 fitz@johnfitz.com

Teaching Traditional & Modern Skills for Reading, Writing, Creating, Performing & Publishing in a Digital World 

 

Fitz’s Crafted Word Blog

Living a Literate Life

John Adams and Me

    From the deck of my sister’s house on the Oregon coast, I can see the breakers lumbering in as the heavy morning fog slowly burns away. In true west coast style, I brewed a coffee that is strong...
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The Concord Town Dump

When I was a kid it was the dump. Every Saturday morning my father and I would pile a week’s worth of trash into the back of our Plymouth Fury station wagon and head the to the Concord town dump....
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Remember the Time

Write what you know. ~Mark Twain       I don’t always practice what I preach, especially when it comes to the simple, unaffected, and ordinary “journal entry.” Much of my reticence towards the...
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What Writer’s Do

This is perhaps the biggest thunderstorm that I haven’t been in.  The lightning is flashing and bolting to the ground, and the thunder is booming in every direction—though it is all five miles...
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Don’t Do It

          I was eighteen and designing a production line for making stepladders at Fitchburgh State College—the only college I could afford, and probably the only place that would have me. I...
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Build It & They Will Come

I'm sitting here thinking of that old baseball movie where Kevin Costner builds a baseball field in some remote cornfield, and by the magic of the game itself, people begin to flock to that...
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The Art of Collaboration

Danny, Jimmy, & Me   & The Art of Collaboration I      Mrs. Roeber never seemed to let Jimmy go outside, which, to my thinking as an 11 year old, was why he was so smart.  Most days after...
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Keep The Passion Alive

The Power of Descriptive Writing Tell Your Story           Our minds shift gears when filled with imagery: either we slow down and smell the flowers or we shift into a higher gear, and our minds...
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A Reflection

Close Your Eyes & See          A lot of things in life fall short of the mark, but thoughtfulness has never let me down. For some forty years I have faithfully kept journals of the wanderings of...
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Creating a Digital Workflow

So much of school can—and often is—hard, but what should be easy, should be made easy. Finding, creating, and submitting assignments should be easy. Receiving timely assessments and grade updates...
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The Power of Simplicity

Years ago I wrote in my journal that my goal in life was to be small, be simple, be wise, be happy, and above all be ready. I cannot honestly say that I have achieved all of these goals, but these...
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The Gift of Words

If you want to learn to write well, start writing and do not stop. If you do not want to learn to write well, this will be a wasted class—empty time leading towards a deeper emptiness. We are all...
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Ah, grading…

I am just about to sit down, sip on a cup of tea and grade your essays. Sometimes it is daunting to look at the list of submissions--then look at all the other things in life I need to do--and find...
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Fitz-Style Journal Entry

https://youtu.be/yUrdAFKiNmI Upload the Fitz Style Journal Entry Rubric How To Create a Fitz Style Journal Entry Set the Scene & State the Theme; Say what you mean, and finsih it clean      When...
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Appophobia

Appophobia: A lingering fear and distrust of apps Always do what you are afraid to do. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson We have evolved into what we are because we have somehow learned to balance mistrust and...
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Remember the Time

Write what you know. ~Mark Twain   I don’t always practice what I preach, especially when it comes to the simple, unaffected, and ordinary “journal entry.” Much of my reticence towards the casual...
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Freshman: A Trip To the River

  It seems like somethings is always obscuring view. My eyes try to wrap around the gnarled trunks of swamp maple lining this river. My poor students are somewhere between lost, aggravated and...
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The Heroic Cycle

The hero cycle is not a rubric created for storytellers; it is the primal urge of all people—across ALL cultures—to experience within their own lives the transformation of being a hero.  Every...
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8th: Nobody Told Me to Read “The Odyssey”

Some of the words you’ll find within yourself; The rest, some power will inspire you to say. The Odyssey, ~Book 3, Lines 29-20   Nobody ever told me to read The Odyssey—and that was the greatest...
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9th: Writing a Persuasive Essay

The Art & Craft of Persuasion  “How do I know what I think until I see what I say?” —E.M. Forster There is probably no more organic a writing form than the persuasive essay. The stories are as...
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The State of Maine

I wrote this short story about twenty years ago after hearing an old folk tale retold by Jerry Bell. I took the gist of the story and remade it as a story set in a prison in Maine to retell myself...
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Passion…

Does this video really have anything to do with English? It was posted by a friend--who is easily the most talented musician I know--so I watched, more out of a shop teacher's curiosity of "how...
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Me & Rocky…

Take your foot off the brakes, but keep your eyes on the road~FitzOnce, back in my days as a logger, I cut through a big white oak. I didn't realize that the trunk was mostly rotten and hollow until...
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Thanksgiving

https://youtu.be/V9H1ItMXuLQ  Thanksgiving I am surprised sometimesby the suddenness of November:beauty abruptly shedto a common nakedness—grasses deadenedby hoarfrost,persistent...
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Openings & Closings…

Both 8th grade and 9th grade are working on opening paragraphs, and I bet more than a few of you are a bit stumped on how to start. Some of you may even be working on a conclusion.Wouldn't that be...
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Transitions

 To Create Effective Transitions in Essay Writing The Power of a Natural and Logical Flow        The crazy thing about transitions is that we are already masters of transitions. All of us have been...
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The Yankee Cannonball

I stood in a long line waiting with Pipo for his first ever ride on a roller coaster. Things that move in strange ways are a big deal to him. When he first came to live with us, he was eight years...
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The Poet’s Arrow

As with most poets trying to write a poem—in any style— the difficult part is getting started. In the complex swirl of life there might seem to be too many options, or not enough, and so a young...
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The Paradox of Rubric-Based Writing

     What a boring title…rubric-based writing…I am sure this would be a big seller on Amazon: “Buy Now and Save on Fitz’s Narrative Paragraph Rubric!” Frustration guaranteed! Used by hundreds of...
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Read…

Read... The modern cheap and fertile press, with all its translations, has done little to bring us nearer to the heroic writers of antiquity. They seem as solitary, and the letter in which they are...
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Welcome to The Crafted Word

     I have been teaching, writing, playing and performing for over thirty-five years, while during these last ten years I have been given the time and space and support (and funds) to create a...
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WRITE

Don't Do It I was eighteen and designing a production line for making stepladders at Fitchburgh State College—the only college I could afford, and probably the only place that would have me. I...
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CREATE

 Appophobia Appophobia: (n) A lingering fear and distrust of apps Always do what you are afraid to do.~Ralph Waldo EmersonWe have evolved into what we are because we have somehow learned...
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SHARE

Digital Damnation   As teachers, it is critical that we teach our students how to leverage the power of the web to create, cultivate, and curate positive digital footprints in and out of the...
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COLLABORATE

The Art of Collaboration I  Mrs. Roeber never seemed to let Jimmy go outside, which, to my thinking as an 11 year old, was why he was so smart.  Most days after school, I’d rush two houses down...
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ASSESS

Thoughts on Assessment      Assessment is a terrifying word. I know my students fear it is just a softer term for the harshness of grading–an even more terrifying word, but if we do not assess...
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Reflect

Close Your Eyes & See      A lot of things in life fall short of the mark, but thoughtfulness has never let me down. For some forty years I have faithfully kept journals of the wanderings...
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Teach Like a Shop Teacher

 Teaching Traditional & Modern Skills for Reading, Writing, Creating & Sharing in a Digital World Create a Better Classroomfor You & Your Students Teaching Traditional & Modern...
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Reflecting on Literature

     I am constantly asking my students (and myself) to reflect on the literature they, and I, read. As I have grown older—and not necessarily wiser—I find myself only reading literature that I am...
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Tell your story. Tell it well.

Some thoughts from the trenches...         Not everything can be put into a box. For years I have been trying to teach middle school and high school age boys “how to write” by using a series of...
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The Silver Apples of the Moon

The most powerful and enduring connection we share as a human race is our desire and need to share stories. We engage in the art of storytelling more than most of us ever realize; whether we are describing our kids’ soccer games, critiquing the latest HBO series, telling a ribald joke, or remembering a long lost friend, event, memory, book, or experience.

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It’s time for a change…

https://youtu.be/6W7xnYQGlg4 Let the chips fall where they will...My entire adult life has been spent writing personal essays. I fact, whenever I write anything else—a song, a poem, or a story—I can...
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The Uses and Abuses of Rhetoric

So What’s Your Point?The Uses and Abuses of RhetoricKnowing that you do not understand is a virtue; 
Not knowing that you do not understand is a defect.
—Lao TzuNobody likes to be wrong, and for...
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Assess

A Shop Teacher’s Thoughts on How To Create True Assessment    Assessment is a terrifying word. I know my students fear it is just a softer term for the harshness of grading--an even more terrifying...
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Making a Poem Better

     So, you finished your “poem” in whatever genre of poetry you are writing, and you turn it in and proudly think, ‘There is no way any teacher can grade me down...
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Grading

"Don't let school interfere with your education..."~Mark Twain      Grading is that part of a teacher's life that should bring some kind of solace to our work. No doubt, it is an...
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