Year in Review: Top 4 Most-Read Posts

For the most part, I ignore blog stats. I don’t have a “click funnel” or desire to shake you down for your email address. I give away a bunch of stuff for free and don’t require likes, follows, or tagging of friends in order for you to get the goodies. This may be bad for business (as I’ve been told by several unsolicited marketing folks who want to “fix” my blog), but it’s good for my heart.

Yet as the year comes to a close, I felt compelled yesterday to take a look at the 2018 numbers and I found two surprises:
1. I’ve actually uploaded 42 posts this year, more than I thought given my late fall slump. (Please know your patience is appreciated – yes, I’m still feeling wrung out.)
2. A lot of you, like me, aren’t getting enough sleep.

hoursWhat the heck, English teacher peeps? Why is 2 a.m. Monday the busiest time around here? Someone please explain because I have no idea.

Anyway, I also found a list of 2018 posts that earned the most traffic. Knowing an easy-to-write blog post when I see one, here’s a list of popular posts you might’ve missed the first time around:



1. Let Jason Reynolds Teach Your Class
YA lit. giant Jason Reynolds will entertain and inspire your classes as he masterfully demonstrates the power of rhetorical tools in action with these free materials. Need even more of a pull to get your students’ attention? Let them know that Reynolds is the writer who novelized Miles Morales, the newest member of the Spiderman universe a.k.a. Spider-Verse.


2. Let’s All Go to the Movies
If you’re teaching mythology, The Odyssey, or any storytelling unit, students always enjoy seeing how modern movies connect to Joseph Campbell’s monomyth, the Hero’s Journey. (Of course, this list includes Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man, and…yes…Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.) Use the free introductory slides and notetaking sheet mentioned in the post to help kids connect the dots.


3. Free H.S. English Monthly Calendars
As a wrap-up to the 20Time2018 project, I posted a set of monthly calendars to help folks assigned to teach English 9/English 10. It’s incredibly helpful to see how another teacher paces a class, no?


4. Oprah = Real-World Rhetorical Goodness
After Oprah Winfrey dropped her now-famous #metoo speech at the Golden Globes in January, I stayed up all night (hey there, fellow insomniacs!) working on questions to help students dissect her masterful use of metaphor, parallelism, pathos, and symbolism. For sure, she got a lot of us talking.

So, that was 2018. I hope you and your family are enjoying the holiday season and a restful winter break. I’ll be back in 2019 with more good stuff. In the meantime, you can revisit any of the 300+ posts from the past five years by browsing this alphabetical list. Teach on, everyone!

24 thoughts on “Year in Review: Top 4 Most-Read Posts

  1. Happy New Year, Laura. Looking forward to 2019.


  2. Barbara Garvey says:

    Wishing you health and happiness in the New Year!

  3. Cara Poelstra says:

    I appreciate all you post! Laura, you are a breath of fresh air and your materials are a blessing! Keep doing what you are doing! Thank you and have a blessed year!

  4. Likewise, Barbara! Thanks so much for sticking with me and the blog all these years. Glad you’re here with me. 🙂

  5. Thanks, Cara, for your kind words. 2018 was such a long, strange, awful, and lovely year. Definitely ready for this one to be done. Here’s to a great 2019 for both (and all!) of us. 🙂

  6. Thank you for another year of your great resources – I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again; you are an absolute Godsend. I was wondering if you had any thoughts on this issue. I teach in a province of Canada in which there is only one standardized test in ELA and it takes place in grade 9. For this last quarter, I have been drilling them and coaching them with multiple choice comprehension question practice – it’s not been a great deal of fun for any of us, but it is a requirement to graduate. For the next quarter, I want to do something that they are more likely to enjoy. We have already done the short story unit and we will be doing Romeo and Juliet in Q4. What of your units do you find is best received by your grade 9’s?

  7. Aw, thanks so much, Ben! From your question, I’m not sure whether your test prep needs to continue into this new semester, but I am going to hopefully assume that the exam is done. If that’s the case, prepare to have some fun with your kids this spring! My freshmen always love the Hero’s Journey work and, now that I’ve added a viewing of The Princess Bride to the mix, this is a homerun. Also, I hope you’ll consider bringing 20Time to your classroom. By far, it’s one of the best things I’ve added to my practice in the past five years.

    Here are links to these things:

    Happy new year! 🙂

  8. Lori Ruiz says:

    Laura, I’m not even in the classroom this year and I still follow your blog and look at your material! I always love to recommend your blog and material to fellow educators. Thank you for all the work you do to keep teachers engaged, fresh, and allow for more sleep!

  9. And thank you, Lori, for your kind words! We’re always here when you’re ready to come back. 😉

  10. Laura,
    Following your suggestions and implementing your awesome material is an inspiration and absolute blessing!
    Thank you so very much for making my life so much easier.

    Happy new year!

  11. Happy new year to you, Salome! Easing the prep burden for my colleagues is – absolutely! – one of my favorite things. So glad you found my blog and are making good use of the materials. We’re supposed to actually enjoy our vacations and weekends, right? 🙂

  12. sian l mcardle says:

    Happy New Year- thanks for the continuing inspiration Laura.

  13. Thanks, Sian! If you keep reading, I’ll keep writing. 😉

  14. Thank you so much for those links, Laura. Wishing you a joyous, burn-out free 2019.

  15. Maybe your 2 am Monday morning is Sunday afternoon in other parts of the world! 😉 Thank you Laura for being so uncomplicated and helpful. I’ve just finished my year compass booklet.

  16. Yes, Susann, I’m starting to realize my little ol’ blog has gone global – woo-hoo! So glad to hear the booklet was useful, too. For anyone curious, you can grab a free new year goal-planner at It’s cool stuff, y’all. 🙂

  17. Linda McKee says:

    Hi Laura,
    Thank you for saving my sanity time and time again! Love your blogs and TPT store! Saved my bacon a few times! Hope you have a wonderful 2019!

  18. Leah Muir Hermes says:

    What happened to your “Figurative Language in Pop Culture” activity?? I was excited to use it.

  19. Hey Leah,
    Yes, sorry to disappoint, but the video was taken down a month or so ago due to a copyright strike by whomever created it and posted it to YouTube. Since the video isn’t available anymore, I took my handouts down, too. Bummer, I know.

  20. Wow…thanks for the quick response. I had the handouts printed, but then couldn’t find the video. I can’t thank you enough for all of the creative and engaging resources. I dream of being able to make handouts look as amazing as yours…but what I most appreciate is that there is never an error and the content is rigorous while still engaging!

  21. Aw, thanks so much, Leah, for your kind words. Yeah, I was bummed when I saw the video was gone. Sigh…back to the drawing board.

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