Community Story

Tisha Ortega

Hartsburg, IL
I have always believed in writing across the curriculum, but ReadWriteThink has helped me make that a reality in my Spanish classroom.
Tisha Ortega's Story

Finding the "Write" on ReadWriteThink

I have been a Spanish teacher for almost 20 years, and I had always taught at large, urban schools. When I started teaching at the small, rural school where I work now, I was asked to teach a middle school English writing class in addition to my Spanish classes.

At first, this was quite a challenge for me. I really had to think about new methods of teaching and different types of goals for my students than I had used in my previous teaching experiences. I think I had some old-fashioned ideas as to what teaching writing meant. Luckily for me, someone recommended that I check out

ReadWriteThink has helped me make my classroom a much more dynamic place and has helped my students enjoy the writing process. There are so many useful resources, and my students love the student interactive tools. At the end of every school year, my students create a portfolio of different samples of writing they have done throughout the year. Quite often, their favorite pieces of writing are the poems they created with the Acrostic Poems and Diamante Poems interactive tools.

I have realized that my Spanish students should be writing as well, and I have used many of the ideas I found on with them. One of their favorites is the lesson Beyond “What I Did on Vacation”: Exploring the Genre of Travel Writing. My students create a travelogue as they imagine a journey traveling through a Spanish-speaking country.

Next school year I am going to be teaching a composition class for Heartland Community College at my high school for our high school students. I know that will be a valuable tool in teaching that course as well!


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When I am not teaching, I enjoy spending time with my daughters and our calico cat, Lainie. I also love traveling to Mexico, reading, and writing poetry.

Almost any of the activities on can be modified for any school subject.

The student interactive tools can be especially helpful in the classroom for a teacher who does not have expertise in teaching writing. The interactive tools show the students how to accomplish the writing tasks step by step and provide helpful examples.

A great way to incorporate writing across the curriculum is to pair up with another teacher. For example, a social studies teacher and an English teacher can work together on teaching biographies.