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Lesson Planning

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How the Keeping the Wonder Workshop Can Change the Future of Teacher PD

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.  

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Summer Reading:  5 Problems & 5 Solutions

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Summer Reading: 5 Problems & 5 Solutions

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!

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Teaching Annotation with Google Keep

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Teaching Annotation with Google Keep

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.

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Poetry Mashup

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Poetry Mashup

If there is one thing that is constant among generations of teenagers, it is the love of music.  And if there’s one thing that English teachers know, it’s that music is the perfect gateway to getting students into poetry.  Today, I’d like to share an awesome poetry/music pairing to try in your own classroom:  Carl Sandburg's “Chicago” meets Patrick Stump’s “This City is My City”.  The Literary Maven has an incredible blog post out about poetry mashups (coming in April!) with lots of suggestions from other ELA teachers, but I wanted to share my mashup here in a bit more detail for you all.

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Six Ways to Create Warmth in your December Classroom (and still take care of business!)

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Six Ways to Create Warmth in your December Classroom (and still take care of business!)

There’s a lot more to teaching in the month of December than just cute holiday sentiments.  This time of year is challenging for so many reasons; from the looming horror of final exams to the downright awful cold weather (remember, Chicago girl here!), December is a teaching challenge of focus, measuring learning from the entire semester, and finding ways to authentically remember the heart of the season in our classrooms.

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Can your class write 30 poems in 30 days?

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Can your class write 30 poems in 30 days?

If you love poetry, and you're a little bit competitive (like me!) then I have just the challenge for you!  How about jumping on the #30poems30days Challenge!

This year in creative writing, I've decided that I want my students to have access to as many different styles of poetry as possible.  That's why I've narrowed down my 30 favorite types of poems to teach - and I'm going to teach them all in just 30 days!

 

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 The YouTube Scavenger Hunt

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The YouTube Scavenger Hunt

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.

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