Menu

About Gretchen Wing

Gretchen Wing is a retired high school English and Social Studies  teacher who spent most of her 20 year career in Tacoma, Washington. She holds a bachelor's degree from Harvard University and a Master's from the University  of Washington.  Now a baker at Holly B's Bakery on Lopez Island, Washington, Gretchen is pursuing a new career as author and singer-songwriter. She has published two young adult novels,  "The Flying Burgowski" and "Headwinds", and she blogs at  "Wing's World: Will Backpack for Chocolate".

  • The Parent Letter: Sometimes, the Basic Approach to Struggling Students is the Best

    Posted By Gretchen Wing | May 31, 2017
    iStock-483184589-blog

    Remember when the Reagan Administration directed the Department of Agriculture to cut school lunch funding? When ketchup was briefly labeled a vegetable? Those were the days. A dark joke circulated in the education community then was: “If a miracle drug were discovered that made children school-ready every morning and increased their chances of success, the administration would surely fund that drug, right? Turns out, that miracle drug exists…just don’t tell the Ag Department. It’s called FOOD.” That ultra-basic approach—fed children learn better than hungry ones—has a counterpart in the realm of individualized strategies for dealing with struggling students. I’m talking about those students teachers spend extra time with, conferencing, phone-calling, tutoring, disciplining, or all of the above. During my 20-year high school teaching career, I attended plenty of trainings about behavioral strategies, and some about learning deficits (such training being sadly rare in the high school sphere). I did one-on-one reading practice (in case that student simply couldn’t read very well); I used extrinsic motivation (“Finish your essay and you get to take the classroom chinchilla home for the weekend.”). The most effective thing I did, however, came from no inservice but gut instinct: The Parent Letter.

    Full story
  • Versatile Comprehension Strategies: Using Extended Metaphor Across Disciplines

    Posted By Gretchen Wing | Apr 05, 2017
    iStock-534188171-blog

    "Teaching poetry to kids of any age is a blast. Simile? Think of your least favorite subject and your least favorite chore and combine them with “like.” Personification? Give that chocolate-chip cookie a tone of voice as it calls you to eat it. Metaphor? If your sister were a dog, what kind would she be? During my 20 years of teaching high school English and Social Studies, however, I found the power of metaphor stretched far beyond poetry. When extended, a metaphor is more than a descriptive tool; it becomes a system for comprehending and articulating complex concepts.

    Full story