I just don’t know why people teach Language Arts as if there are no skills to be gained. We have all come to the understanding that maths and sciences are skill-based and should be moved through in an organized fashion. But for some reason, with writing, grammar, and reading, we think that if we just keep throwing “themed units” at students, they will pick up mastery. This is damaging and downright stupid. I decided a long time ago that my students do better when I teach them the “how-to-do-it-iveness” of the arts. They go from hating to read to not being able to wait to get to the next book. They go from hating to write to begging to be allowed to do the next step, even on their own time. Once they have the skill, they burn past the boring. They write essays that I actually enjoy reading. They make me laugh, and more importantly, they make me think.