His Google Doc will “disappear”

There’s a long list of middle school distractions to get through before Eric’s story will be finished. Don’t buy a house in Oklahoma. That was the first line of an essay resting on the screen of a laptop checked out to Eric, a seventh-grader in my middle school language arts classes. It stopped me inContinue reading “His Google Doc will “disappear””

When sixth-graders are asked to “Confirm Their Humanity”

Are there really robots out there writing poetry?   It seemed like a crazy request last week when my students were uploading their poems to a publisher of youth poetry. After writing poems about their favorite places… in a comfy chair in their bedroom, on a sturdy branch in an oak tree in their backyard,Continue reading “When sixth-graders are asked to “Confirm Their Humanity””

Our field trip to a local 9/11 memorial

Plus: a few things my students didn’t know about 9/11 On Wednesday, Sept. 12, I took my eighth-grade students to a local college to view the 9/11 memorial there. I have wanted to do this for a couple of years and finally, this year the stars aligned: my lesson planning fell into place, a fewContinue reading “Our field trip to a local 9/11 memorial”

I’m finally trying out Planbook for my lesson planning

I’ll let you know how it goes.   Late last week (Thursday night?), I began experimenting with Planbook, the online lesson planning program. I had heard about it from a teacher-friend of mine who is in her second year of teaching. Obviously, all these new apps for teachers don’t always get discovered by veteran teachersContinue reading “I’m finally trying out Planbook for my lesson planning”

Save time. Always be planning.

I started this Triangle Fire bulletin board in May. I’m not usually that organized.   At the end of the school year last May, my seventh-graders started our Triangle Fire unit, a study of the 1911 tragedy in New York City that killed 146 young, mostly female immigrants. The fire had unknown origins, but ricketyContinue reading “Save time. Always be planning.”

Three Points I Pull from “They Say I Say” in My 7th & 8th Grade ELA Classes

  I came across this book, They Say I Say (Third Edition, 2015), when my son’s college English composition instructor required it for his freshman-level course. I thumbed through it, read a few chapters, and found some very concise passages written to help students solve probably the number one problem that I see in theirContinue reading “Three Points I Pull from “They Say I Say” in My 7th & 8th Grade ELA Classes”

It never hurts to ask

…for  chocolate and caffeine. Here’s a photo of the summer to-do list that the maintenance staff at my school taped to my door over the summer. It contains a list of the chores that were scheduled to be completed over the two and half months that are quickly coming to a close. One day overContinue reading “It never hurts to ask”

I love this back-to-school poetry project for 6th-graders from YA author Kate Messner

It combines poetry and revision (and publication!) “The Sometimes Poem” is one of my favorite ways to start the school year with my sixth-graders. I’ve used this project for two years running and I plan to use it again in August. It includes three skills: poetry techniques, revision, and submitting for publication. I credit children’sContinue reading “I love this back-to-school poetry project for 6th-graders from YA author Kate Messner”

Understanding Laura Ingalls Wilder through historical context

There’s a standard for that, and students are mastering it. There are two reading standards contained in the Missouri Learning Standards that address the historical and cultural contexts of the literature that students in grades 6-12 read during their education. One standard, coded RL3C, specifically requires students to be able to explain how a story’sContinue reading “Understanding Laura Ingalls Wilder through historical context”

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!”