You need a “Why I Teach” binder

My ultimate self-care tip for teachers Get a three-ring binder. Any three-ring binder will work. And it doesn’t have to be new. Just dig one out from the bottom of your desk or repurpose one that’s full of handouts from that PD conference you went to last fall. Y’know, the one where they taught youContinue reading “You need a “Why I Teach” binder”

Just in time for back-to-school: Three templates for Where I’m From poems

Plus photos and links to help you plan Back-to-school is the perfect time for Where I’m From poems. I’ve decided to repost this article from last May to help you add this great activity to your opening days. Where I’m From poems from the author and poet George Ella Lyons… you just can’t write enoughContinue reading “Just in time for back-to-school: Three templates for Where I’m From poems”

A book cover analysis: a fun back-to-school reading task

When it’s too soon to ask questions about plot and character On Tuesdays in my independent reading class, I prepare a text-based question for students to answer in a paragraph or two on paper. I ask them to do their reading, keeping in mind the question, and then at the end of the house, theyContinue reading “A book cover analysis: a fun back-to-school reading task”

Exploding a Moment: How I show students this revision strategy in action

Seeing is believing with my “before and after” handout First things first: THANK YOU, BARRY LANE! Barry Lane’s video where he retells the story of “Jane Wilson’s poured milk memory” is one of my all-time favorites to introduce my students to the idea of exploding a moment. Exploding a moment is one of Lane’s signatureContinue reading “Exploding a Moment: How I show students this revision strategy in action”

This One-Pager Works Wonders

Get to know your in-class and remote learners quickly Thanks to Spark Creativity! for this awesome “biographical one-pager” idea that I used last week when school started on Thursday. Read this blog post for all the details and printable downloads. As a mentor or example, I projected mine (see above) on the whiteboard and weContinue reading “This One-Pager Works Wonders”

The New York Times announces its 2020-21 student writing contests

And get this: most are now open to middle school students! Yes! The student writing contests hosted by The New York Times’ Learning Network are back! In addition, most are now open to U.S. middle school students starting in sixth grade (for international students, ages 13-18). A couple of weeks ago, I wrote this postContinue reading “The New York Times announces its 2020-21 student writing contests”

Use this ‘Hamilton’ article to teach six poetic devices

Thank you, Wall Street Journal, for this amazing resource Buckle up, poetry lovers! This Wall Street Journal article, written by Joel Eastwood and Erik Hinton and published on June 6, promises to brighten your poetry lessons with some Broadway style. The article showcases the hip-hop/musical theater/American history mashup known as Hamilton, written and created byContinue reading “Use this ‘Hamilton’ article to teach six poetic devices”

The New York Times announces two new writing contests

Both ask students to record their lives in the year 2020 Last Thursday, I attended a webinar titled “Giving Students a Voice: Teaching with Learning Network Contests.” It was hosted by The New York Times’ Learning Network. Teachers from around the world gathered online to get the skinny on a total of ten student writingContinue reading “The New York Times announces two new writing contests”

Six writing prompts for Article of the Week essays

Offer students more ways to respond If you’re a fan of Article of the Week (AOW) assignments and student choice, then this post is for you. Side note: If you’re unfamiliar with the AOW assignment, scroll to the bottom first for a quick explanation and here’s a link to my post about how I useContinue reading “Six writing prompts for Article of the Week essays”