Teaching Students to Write a Good Email in the Age of Artificial Intelligence (and Revising Lesson Plans for AI)

Computer covered with sticky notes

My first How-to-Write an Email lesson plan from a place of grouchy tough love.

A decade of teaching high school English overlapped with thousands of book-related pitch emails: Please read my work. Please help me sell my book to a publisher. Please let me come on your show or podcast and talk about my work. Please, Mr. or Ms. Intern, pass this email on to your boss and don’t just immediately delete it.

Each email had to be just personal enough, just professional enough. It needed enough detail without running too long. The mechanics had to be perfect.


A 3-Part Micro-Challenge for Educators Who are Nervous about A.I.

Road with lightning in the distance

In all honesty, it took me a while to get here myself. 

At the time I’m writing this—early April, 2023—I’ve spent about two months stockpiling articles and podcasts to help me learn more about A.I. These materials ranged from enthusiastic to to apocalyptic, from dismissive to practical.

In fact, there was only one thing they all had in common: I was avoiding them.


Maintaining (Or Regaining) Your Sense of Possibility

Empty School Hallway

I taught freshman English for six years, six class periods each year. 

In every one of those classes, we read Romeo and Juliet.

After the steep learning curve of my early years, this was a relief. I was a pro now! I had lesson plans I could reuse with only minor changes.

A couple of years after that, I was even more of a pro; I barely even needed to look at the lesson plans. I gave the same explanations and told the same jokes at the same point in each chapter. 

By year six I had memorized the exact point in the audiobook where we could hear saliva coming out of the voice actors’ mouths.


What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Grading

Organize Your Workspace / papers

The best grading is specific, constructive, and back in students’ hands in a timely fashion. Most teachers agree with this. Research shows this. And, let’s be honest, you knew it anyway.

So why haven’t you finished grading that pile on your desk?

And why is grading the part of the job most likely to cover your kitchen table, ruin your weekends, and never, ever be finished?