In my own classroom, the library has never really functioned the way I wanted it to in my dream scenario. The time, effort, and focus that it takes to truly run the library the way it deserves to be run never really seemed to be worth it. I am already dedicating so much time to other things that the classroom library feels like a chore. That corner of the room is always a disaster. I never know what’s there -- it seems like all of the good, favorite books disappear and I’ll I’m left with are the random books from garage sales that I’ve never read (and no kids want to read either!). But when I was a young teacher, I believed that MORE BOOKS meant a BETTER LIBRARY. I have decided that this simply cannot be true.
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We have all been to our fair share of professional development that has felt like a total waste of time. Yes, even a PD junkie like me who finds the sunshine in everything can admit that. But boring PD doesn’t have to be that way, and admin needs to know this. This summer, I had the pleasure of both presenting and attending one particularly groundbreaking event: the Keeping the Wonder Workshop. This full-day workshop is leading the charge as an example of how PD for English teachers can be invigorating, inspiring, and infectious.
I don’t know about you, but I LOVE WATCHING HAUL VIDEOS. Truly. Grocery hauls, Target hauls, makeup hauls, you name it, I LOVE IT! There’s something so satisfying about watching other people unpack their shopping.
These back to school hauls I watched straight through in one afternoon and I knew that I absolutely had to share about them here. Because these are teachers doing back to school hauls, there’s something even more satisfying about watching these videos: each video gave me a unique idea to take into my classroom, and not all of them even required shopping!
The “summer slide” is a powerful force that knocks students off track who were making progress. Students struggling with literacy all school year fall further behind during the summer months when the “faucet” (an analogy described by the Brookings Institute) is turned off. We NEED to do something, but in high school, we face a plethora of challenges.
For this article, I interviewed teachers on social media and drew from my experiences at two different districts. Here are the problems I found and some solutions that I propose. I’d love to hear your feedback and additional suggestions because we are in this together!
As the school year comes to a close, you might be looking at your calendar thinking, what on earth am I going to do with these random extra days? Or maybe you have room on your calendar for a final unit, but no idea what to do with your students. I’ve got your solution right here! Here is a roundup of 13 ideas for ELA mini-units and lessons that can effectively and meaningfully fill between 3-5 days at the end of the year.
Over a decade of teaching, I feel like I’ve heard it all! This year, however, I feel like I’ve found a new and sustainable way of reframing how I look at annotation. Yes, it does involve some tech, but don’t be intimidated! It’s a low-tech approach and works on multiple devices.
Teacher burnout is a real thing. Exhaustion from the myriad demands placed on our shoulders year in and year out can make anyone question why on earth they started in this profession in the first place.
As a teacher in the US, the winter break gives me a chance to reevaluate my “why” in teaching. Why do it? Why work so hard? Why work to the point of burnout every single year? When there’s actually time to slow down and remember the answer to that question, the answer is so simple - why? Because I love watching kids learn. That’s it. It’s that simple. And when does burnout start to feel so painful? It’s when the job has become something other than dedicating time to helping students learn and experience new things.
Whether I’m starting a brand new school year, returning after winter break, or even just starting a new quarter, there’s always this itch in my gut that tells me to take a breather on those first few days together to regroup and reset our classroom culture and community. It’s vitally important to take the temperature of your classroom - has it been feeling toxic lately? Are students there to be the best versions of themselves? Are we having fun but not working hard? Are we working really hard and don’t know each other at all?
When I first started teaching, I remember trying so many different ideas all the time in my classroom. It was exhausting running a new small group scenario or differentiation strategy several times per week, and over my many years of teaching, I’ve come to master a handful of strategies that are versatile and work EVERY time (at least NOW they do!). For me, learning stations are the way to go. I’d say at least once a week, I have my students engaging with content through a learning stations setup and I love it.
#MomLife is new to me this year, so this will be my very first Mother’s Day! The journey through motherhood has already (in just five and a half months!) surprised me with a joy that I could never capture in a sentence.
To celebrate, I’d like to share my list of my FAVORITE Fictional Moms. These moms span from childhood picture books to blockbuster hits, from traditional mother figures to nannys and caretakers. Here are my favorite fictional moms and how they exemplify and celebrate the real moms in our lives.
If I'm being honest, I'm equal parts filled with embarrassment (this song was my JAM!) and truly sweet nostalgia. Sometimes it's hard to remember what it felt like to be in high school. This song and music video bring me back to that ultra vulnerable moment when we were all desperately trying to hold on to our high school days and pretend like we weren't shi*%ing our pants thinking about college (or lack of college plans!).
If you want to make this year special for your seniors, I've rounded up some great ideas, products, and projects that just might do the trick. Let us know in the comments below what YOUR favorite Senior Sendoff idea is!
Right about now, everyone's turned to the "leggings only" mentality: not only have we decided to stop putting together Instagram-worthy outfits and Pinterest-perfect lessons and procedures, but we're starting to cut corners and cover them all up with a nice, flowy dress.