bulletinboardrandazzoEach morning, I post a fresh sheet of “tearable puns” on the bulletin board outside my classroom door, and as the day unfolds a wide variety of kids (some of them are my actual students, but many more are unknown to me) swing by the board to help themselves to a daily chuckle. Continue reading

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If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you know that the spring semester around here means 20Time, a passion project where students spend 20% of class time for 12 weeks working on an individual plan approved by their peers. Continue reading

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One thing that surprised me during last spring’s testing season was the heavy use of computer-voice instructions and listening passages on our state’s Common Core-style exam, the SBAC. I hadn’t really taught listening as a specific skill set, yet my students’ scores told me that they needed help there – badly. Continue reading

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PLEASE NOTE: The contest has now ended. Congrats to our drawing winners, Prairie Girl and Gloria Autran! The free posters are still available at the link listed below. Thanks.

Happy holidays, blog friend! In this season of gratitude and giving, it’s my pleasure to spread some joy by sharing a little thank-you gift with everyone and giving a really big thank-you prize to two lucky blog readers. Continue reading

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My friends over at TeachersPayTeachers brightened this week by posting one of my blog articles. If you’re not already familiar with the “Crazy Essay Week” approach I use with my juniors, you’ll definitely want to check out TpT’s latest blog post Continue reading

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Fast forward to next Friday, mere hours before our two-week winter vacation begins. What are many teachers throughout the school doing? Pressing “play” on their DVDs, white-knuckling it to the 3:00 bell. You know it’s true. Last year, when my fourth period freshmen arrived, they bragged that they’d spent the morning watching Elf and Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and then they asked which movie I was going to show. Sorry, kids, I’m not that teacher. Continue reading

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I’m not even a minute into my right-after-lunch sophomore class when it starts – the quiet tee-hee of laughter among a handful of students, clearly the cool kids enjoying an inside joke.

“Okay, okay, let’s go,” I say, directing attention back to my vocab warm-up on the whiteboard.

Soft snickering continues. Undaunted, I launch my introduction of the word “tenuous.”

“Tenuous, an adjective, means really thin or insubstantial. If something’s tenuous, it’s definitely in need of strengthening.” Like my hold on this class, I think. Continue reading