classroom

Beyond the Test: 10 Innovative Ways to Assess Secondary Students

Beyond the Test:  10 Innovative Ways to Assess Secondary Students

Are your students moaning and groaning over taking another test or writing another essay? While these are tried and true methods for assessing many skills, I have been on a mission to find more innovative, unique ways of assessing student growth and learning.

15 Computer Games to Target the Common Core in Secondary ELA

15 Computer Games to Target the Common Core in Secondary ELA

“Can you please tell my son to stop playing video games?”

I’ve heard this desperate plea from parent after parent during parent teacher conferences for the past several years.  “All he wants to do is play video games and not study,” they say in desperation.  

The Writer's Notebook in Secondary ELA: Introduction & FREE Guide

The Writer's Notebook in Secondary ELA:  Introduction & FREE Guide

The Writer’s Notebook is the heart of the English classroom. It is the place that holds a student’s reflections on literature and life...

Setting up & Assessing Book Club in Secondary ELA: FOUR FREE GUIDES FOR SUCCESS!

Setting up & Assessing Book Club in Secondary ELA:  FOUR FREE GUIDES FOR SUCCESS!

Book club is now considered to be one of the “best practices” in English Language Arts.  Book clubs differ from traditional literary circles in that they are less teacher-directed.  The students take on the responsibility of selecting their roles, making their assignments, keeping track of their reading, and much more. 

The Case for Poetry in Secondary ELA

The Case for Poetry in Secondary ELA

Poetry tends to be polarizing among educators, parents, and students.  The word either makes a person smile or cringe.  But why is poetry so polarizing? 
 

50 Pieces of Literature about Christmas for Secondary ELA

50 Pieces of Literature about Christmas for Secondary ELA

The season of Christmas is upon us, and it is a season of the year that has inspired the setting of many iconic pieces of literature.  The religious iconography of the holiday symbolizes themes of rebirth, renewal, sacrifice, forgiveness, grace, and the archetypal character of the chosen one...

5 Tips for Getting Started with Teachers Pay Teachers

5 Tips for Getting Started with Teachers Pay Teachers

About three to four years ago, I opened my very first Teachers Pay Teachers account. I figured that since I was already putting the time and effort into creating curriculum content for high school English... 

3 Annotations for Deeper Reading

3 Annotations for Deeper Reading

Active and purposeful highlighting and annotating is an important skill that can enable greater success in being able to comprehend a text.  Of course, there is an ongoing conversation as to whether or not highlighting in particular detracts from comprehension...

The Three Levels of Thinking: A Reading Strategy for Complex Texts

The Three Levels of Thinking:  A Reading Strategy for Complex Texts

One of the most important skills we teach across all content areas, not just in English class, is how to comprehend complex texts.  It is probably the most crucial skill that we can teach in our classrooms because... 

The Power of ONE: A New Approach for GROWING Your TpT Shop

The Power of ONE:  A New Approach for GROWING Your TpT Shop

First of all, this title has multiple meanings, but the purpose of this blog is to give some useful tips to teacher-authors who need help managing, organizing, and growing their TpT shops...

Last Minute Lesson Ideas for All Content Areas

Last Minute Lesson Ideas for All Content Areas

I always try to have a solid plan for my classes, but sometimes, a day sneaks up on me where I don’t have anything planned, and I’m scrapping to fill it with something enriching and meaningful.  And, if I’m being completely honest...

Teachers: Five Ways to Work in Exercise at School

Teachers:  Five Ways to Work in Exercise at School

Do you struggle with getting in at least three quality workouts during the week?  Are you like me and bring your gym bag to school everyday...

 

Interactive Notebooks are NOT Just for English Class!—Why They Matter in Every Content Area!

Interactive Notebooks are NOT Just for English Class!—Why They Matter in Every Content Area!

I’ll be the first to admit that when I’ve seen other teachers doing interactive notebooks with their students, I thought of them as more of an “art project” than anything educational.  But then...  

The Writer's Notebook: Integrating Technology in Three Easy Steps

The Writer's Notebook:  Integrating Technology in Three Easy Steps

The Writer's Notebook is an essential tool for the ELA classroom as a facilitator for the writing process. It makes the teacher's job easier and more efficient to assign and assess work, and it helps...

Managing Make-up Work in the Secondary Classroom: Six Steps for Success!

Managing Make-up Work in the Secondary Classroom:  Six Steps for Success!

It took me about four or five years of my teaching career to figure out an efficient system for navigating make-up work.  And as the technology got better, so did my ability to keep up with my absent students...  

 

From MACRO to MICRO: Using Backwards Design for Lesson Planning in Five Steps

From MACRO to MICRO:  Using Backwards Design for Lesson Planning in Five Steps

Understanding by Design is one of the most fundamental texts and philosophies for planning a lesson and being a teacher.  We all know the importance of planning lessons around the skills objectives and learning targets...

Choosing a Writer's Notebook Philosophy: The Purists vs. the Hybridists

Choosing a Writer's Notebook Philosophy:  The Purists vs. the Hybridists

The Writer's Notebook has become a cornerstone of the English classroom over the past decade and has been touted by NCTE, The College Board, The National Writing Project, The Young Writer's Project, and others as a necessary component in the writing process...  

Teaching Students How to Write Commentary for the Literary Analysis Essay

Teaching Students How to Write Commentary for the Literary Analysis Essay

Writing commentary is undoubtedly the most difficult part of writing any essay.  All other parts of the essay are more formulaic in nature.  But when it comes to commenting on evidence...

Monkey See, Monkey Do: How Group Think Affects Learning

Monkey See, Monkey Do:  How Group Think Affects Learning

As I was driving home today, I listened to an interview with Jonah Berger on WNYC about his new book entitled Invisible Influence:  The Hidden Forces that Shape Behavior.  It fascinated me, and...

Three Things NOT TO WORRY About at the End of the School Year

Three Things NOT TO WORRY About at the End of the School Year

It's finally almost here!  SUMMER!!!  You're grades are turned in, you've said goodbye to your students, and all that remains is a war-torn classroom with the remnants of the life that was once there...