It’s April and English teachers and media specialists across the country are celebrating National Poetry Month with their students. Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are all bubbling over with ideas and resources, so to add to the mix, I’ve pulled together a list of my favorite activities from years past. It doesn’t come with pictures, anchor […]

In the process of reviewing data from the new statewide progress-monitoring assessments, my principal and I found an area we could tackle for schoolwide improvement: morphology.  It’s kind of a scary word if you’re not a reading teacher, but it’s actually something we can (and do) teach across the curriculum all the time.  We just […]

Years ago, in the early days of online gradebooks, I taught many students who took a learning strategies class as an elective. In that elective, they learned study skills and had time to complete assignments for other classes. The teacher required her students to complete weekly progress reports for the rest of their classes. The […]

It’s January, albeit the end of January.  Most people (whether they’ll admit it or not) thought about changing and improving with the new year.  It’s a natural inclination–probably spurred on by targeted advertising and social media.  Change–specifically positive change–is necessary for growth or progress. I’ve always appreciated that as teachers we have plenty of opportunities […]

This is the third post in a series focused on improving our practices for reading during class. First, I offered some do’s and a don’t for in-class reading assignments. Then, I shared some online sources for free supplemental texts. Here are some options you can use to gauge your students’ understanding of the texts they’re […]

Last week I wrote a list of tips for including more reading in your lesson plans, but I didn’t talk about what to read.  Obviously, your textbook is a good start, but there are so many interesting sources of additional texts that may deepen your students’ understanding while engaging them a little more than dry […]

Getting kids to read in class is often a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. One of the biggest obstacles may just be your approach–so let’s start with what not to do:  Don’t: Round-Robin or Popcorn Read.  Beyond the primary grades, students should NEVER be asked to read aloud a text they haven’t read […]

By far the most creative thing I did this year was the final exam I created for my leadership class–a cross between a virtual scavenger hunt/escape room and a test.   I had done a lot of research into digital puzzles and creating escape rooms while helping a colleague earlier in the year, and although I […]

Yesterday evening I found myself in the pool, playing inner-tube-tossing games with my 11-year-old daughter.  I didn’t want to go swimming.  After one-week back at school, and one more to go before the students arrive, I have a multi-page to-do list that grows each time I talk to someone (including myself).   As she modeled and […]

As we continue to shift to blended/distance learning, many of us have discovered how easy it is to take the worksheets we created in Word (designed for the copy machine) and upload them into Google Docs to assign them digitally to our students. That’s the easy part. What’s not so easy is the review/grading. Students […]