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This summer was full of change for the Randazzo family, as we traded the California coast for the beautiful mountains of Idaho. Bay Area real estate prices and my husband’s 14-hour work+commute schedule made the decision surprisingly easy, but it meant a BIG change for me, saying goodbye to the campus where I’d worked for 18 years. Continue reading

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I’m just not crafty. Sure, I can design a website (hello there, gorgeous) and know my way around Photoshop, but hot glue guns and chevron fabric terrify me. My 7th grade home-ec circular pillow turned out to be an amoeba. On occasion, I’ve used duct tape to hang curtains. And every time I move, my sister visits right away so she can rearrange my furniture. Continue reading

An email conversation from blog reader Lynn this weekend (used with permission) might help all of us as we set our classroom reading routines Continue reading

Now that the custodians are done waxing the floors, we can get down to the business of setting up our classrooms. Well, most of us. Some teachers, like Carla who emailed me this week, won’t have a room of her own this year. What can she do? Continue reading

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After finishing the “What I’m Teaching This Week” series for last year’s freshman English classes, several folks asked if I’d also share my agenda for my junior-level American Literature course. It’s been a year since I taught that junior class, but now that summer’s here I’ve had time to dig through my old calendars and pull everything together for you. Continue reading

Don’t get mad, but I’m starting to think that much of the misery of grading papers lies in the types of assignments we give. Take, for instance, the research paper. Here’s a typical assignment: Choose a person of influence and explain three ways that person improved the world.

This might become an interesting paper if the writer is actually excited about the subject; more often, though, my students don’t care one bit about Sam Walton, Andy Warhol, or Oprah Winfrey. Continue reading

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Last week, I received an email from a teacher about to enter her second year in the classroom. She’ll soon be on a new campus with two new grade levels, and she’s wondering how to manage it all. Continue reading