Three printable templates for Where I’m From poems

Plus photos and links to help you plan Where I’m From poems from the author and poet George Ella Lyons… you just can’t write enough good things about them. That’s why this week I’ve decided to post twice about these poems that were a mainstay in my middle school ELA classes a few years ago.Continue reading “Three printable templates for Where I’m From poems”

The stories the artifacts tell: my new 9/11 lesson plan

Artifacts connect the 9/11 attacks to the loss of innocent human life I believe in teaching students about the September 11th terrorist attacks. It seems that up until a few years ago, students had an intrinsic desire to understand it better. Still, it seems that their desire to learn about 9/11 is waning, especially amongContinue reading “The stories the artifacts tell: my new 9/11 lesson plan”

When you finally visit a place you’ve taught your students about for years

I searched through lower Manhattan to find the Triangle Shirtwaist Co. building There’s nothing like visiting a place you’ve only read about in books. Last week during spring break, my daughter and I visited New York City primarily to visit the City College of New York, where my daughter will begin graduate school next fall.Continue reading “When you finally visit a place you’ve taught your students about for years”

My number one most effective writing assignment: Gallagher’s AOW

Nothing works better to build writing stamina. If there’s one assignment I would never give up it would be the AOW, the Article of the Week. Gotta have it. Gotta do it. I can’t imagine teaching without it. You may have heard of AOWs. They’re pretty well-known among English teachers. They were developed by KellyContinue reading “My number one most effective writing assignment: Gallagher’s AOW”

How not to feel guilty about showing videos before a break

Plus: the movies we watched the final two days before Christmas break Every teacher knows the feeling. You’re in the final week of school before Christmas break. There’s no point in starting something new, and often, you’re finishing up a project or unit and you need a couple of extra days for the late workContinue reading “How not to feel guilty about showing videos before a break”

A Poetry Project that Draws Connections Between the Fires at Triangle Waist Co. and World Trade Center

The Essential Questions: How can history inform public policy? How do people prevent past tragedies from reoccurring?   Based on those essential questions (developed with help from our school’s art teacher, Joan Edgmon, by the way), I’m sure that some may think I’ve forgotten that I teach Language Arts. They may even wonder if I’mContinue reading “A Poetry Project that Draws Connections Between the Fires at Triangle Waist Co. and World Trade Center”

Past to Present: How Triangle Fire Connects to 9/11

History won’t be boring if we show how it affects students’ lives today   Reading and writing about the Triangle Waist Co. factory fire allows middle school language arts students to make connections between events from more than one hundred years ago to more recent events. This is the unit my 8th-graders will be startingContinue reading “Past to Present: How Triangle Fire Connects to 9/11”

Back-to-School with 8th-graders: A Unit on Triangle Fire

Resources for teaching about the event that put a fire alarm in your classroom On August 15, my 8th-graders will pick up where we left off in May—with a prelude to our study of the 1911 Triangle Waist Co. factory fire and its societal effects. During the last few days of school, we watched aContinue reading “Back-to-School with 8th-graders: A Unit on Triangle Fire”

Better the second time around: Whippersnappers

We’re jumping into year two of this 7th-grade PBL project We’re doing it again! My seventh-graders will again this upcoming school year be writing the content for a newsletter for kids called Whippersnappers. It’s an activity my students produce in partnership with the White River Valley Historical Society, a regional organization based in Forsyth, Mo.Continue reading “Better the second time around: Whippersnappers”

Dear Teachers: Share your work with the world.

Let others know what you’re doing in your classroom. A colleague of mine, Dr. Keri Franklin, founding director of the Ozarks Writing Project, a site of the National Writing Project, and also director of assessment at Missouri State University, recommended that I send some issues of my seventh-graders’ Whippersnappers newsletter,  to the director of the SmithsonianContinue reading “Dear Teachers: Share your work with the world.”