Real Reading

  • • Students are reading poetry, novels and other narrative texts • Students are reading the newspaper and other highly engaging non-fiction texts • Students are reading speeches, technical papers, primary source documents, and charts and graphs • Students are reading a variety of sources on the same subject so as to compare and contrast what they’re reading • Students are reading more on their own and not just listening to the teacher read • Students are doing fluency-building and vocabulary activities that go beyond worksheets, sentence writing and dictionary work.

Real Writing

  • • Students are writing poetry and other creative writing forms in all classes (and not just research papers and 5-paragraph essays) • Students are writing more personal essays and reflections and fewer “academic” papers • Students are learning how to use word choice, tone and voice to bring their personal and academic papers to life • Students are learning how to use metaphor and personification to bring their personal and academic papers to life • Students are learning how to use active verbs and specific nouns to add detail to their personal and academic writing • Students are learning to focus more how interesting their papers are and less on how technically correct they are (mechanics, # of paragraphs, MLA, APA style)

Real Thinking

  • • Students are required to defend their own thinking instead of relying on the teacher to explain things • Students are asked to complete tests and quizzes that challenge them intellectually, to challenge their reasoning skills (and not just their rote content knowledge) • Students are provided rigorous vocabulary assessments that go beyond matching the words to the dictionary definitions • Students are asked to complete assessments in which writing is required to explain their answers • Students are asked to find the faulty reasoning in an argument made by an author, the teacher or a fellow student • Students are asked to teach concepts to other students

Real Speaking

  • • Students are speaking more and the teacher is speaking less (pairs, small groups, etc.) • Students are providing answers and the reasons behind their answers • Students are given time to articulate their answers without interruption from the teacher and other students • Students are constructively critiquing each other’s answers and each other’s thinking • Students are focusing a great deal on the words they use (and other’s use) to defend their thinking and not just their reasoning and support • Students are debating any number of topics relevant to the day’s lesson and speaking in impromptu fashions on any number of topics related to the subject area

About Me

  • Dr. Evans is the principal at a mid-size high school near St. Petersburg, Florida. He has formerly served as the Supervisor for Secondary Reading for Pinellas County Schools, the 23rd largest school district in the country. Before that, he was a teacher of high school English for 10 years. He has two bachelor’s degrees – one in journalism from the University of Florida and one in English from Florida Atlantic University. Both his Master’s Degree and Doctorate are in Educational Leadership from the University of South Florida in Tampa. He has served many times as a literacy trainer in his district and continues to serve in that capacity as a curriculum leader in his school. Before becoming a teacher, Dan was a journalist for two years at a small newspaper near West Palm Beach, Florida. His wife, Judy, was also a reporter at The Miami Herald. The two met at the University of Florida and worked as reporters and editors for the school newspaper The Alligator. They have one son named Connor (who is 9 years old and in the third grade). For fun, they like to read, camp and tease each other to the point of tears.

Talks and Trainings

  • HABITS OF MIND:
    Reading, Writing, Vocabulary and Thinking