How to teach students what “be specific” means

It’s about naming things Be specific! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written that on my students’ essays, poems, and narratives. They know the importance of adding relevant details and crystal clear descriptions to their writing. We talk about it all the time, after all. In fact, “add more detail” and “be moreContinue reading “How to teach students what “be specific” means”

One road-tested way to connect with your students

Put a “lotion station” on your desk   If you’re wanting another way to connect with your students, try adding a small box of lotions to your desk or wherever it might fit best in your classroom. Male English teachers (all five of you out there) can try this, too! Find a couple of macho-scentedContinue reading “One road-tested way to connect with your students”

I’m still using and really, really liking Planbook

Here’s my follow-up post about my online lesson planning I’m still using Planbook! Every day, I can enter my lesson plans for the next day, the next week, the next month, and even the next year. If I like how I did something, I just copy it into the future and voila! it’s done. (ClickContinue reading “I’m still using and really, really liking Planbook”

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”

My closet can wait

I’m ready to take full advantage of the final two weeks of summer Two days ago, I drove to school and made my first entrance into the 2018-2019 year. Three eighth-grade girls were there waving at me from the front door as I loaded up my arms with bags from the back seat of myContinue reading “My closet can wait”

Follow me on Instagram!

Find me at elabraveandtrue I just returned from a professional development conference and the teachers I met there are like me: we’re gradually starting to make the mental shift in anticipation of in-service days and the first day of school, which in my district is August 16. So, as the summer winds down and schoolContinue reading “Follow me on Instagram!”

When my class is your class’ punishment

Since when should writing be a form of punishment? This happens every so often: I’ll be talking to other teachers about some discipline issue they experienced during the day where they had to dole out some kind of punishment. More times than I want to remember, they’ll say something like, “So I made him writeContinue reading “When my class is your class’ punishment”

“So are you calling us stupid?!”

Teaching the standards takes time; so does building trust.     “So are you calling us stupid?!” a middle school student asked me two months into my first year of teaching. Her eyes bore straight through to my heart. It was 9:15 a.m. on a Monday during my first year of teaching in a smallContinue reading ““So are you calling us stupid?!””