Literary analysis is tough.

• “Explain how the author uses setting to establish the mood of this short story.”
• “Determine the narrator’s tone and present two pieces of textual evidence to defend your choice.”
• “Examine the writer’s use of the colors green and yellow as symbols that support the novel’s theme.”

I’m a literature nerd, so digging into these prompts would keep me happily engaged for days. Most teens, though, don’t share my enthusiasm, often because they don’t yet have the tools, experience, or confidence to articulate what they see in the works of literature we study.

The solution? Modeling and practice. Once teens start to see how the game is played, they quickly become more comfortable – and vocal! – in sharing interesting things they notice.

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I know, I know, it’s only the beginning of August, but it really is time to start thinking about the fall. As you get your planning underway, please know I have so. many. things. to ease your prep load. Today, I’m featuring five essential items – my all-time favorites! – that might be helpful: Full […]

You want to add more current event materials to your classes, but you definitely don’t have the time to dig through the daily paper or online media to find school-appropriate stories that’ll actually get kids talking. That’s where the education staff at The New York Times has your back. I’ve enjoyed their Learning Network materials for years, but just this weekend I learned about a mother lode of goodies they’ve compiled for us.

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Learn what my messed up teeth (and a great podcast episode) taught me about why I judge other people and how we can bring that lesson to our students:

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I know it’s vacation for a lot of my teacher-friends, so I’ll just set this here for you to explore when you’re ready. One of my go-to tools to take a class through a short story or dialogue-heavy chapter of a novel? Readers’ Theater! Here are the details about how to run the show: Click […]

Ever think about launching a TpT shop? Today’s post will answer some questions and maybe even give a gentle shove of inspiration to help you finally get started.

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English teachers! Keep your high school students engaged in class right up to the last day of school. Links to all of the items mentioned in this video are listed below.

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A global pandemic, a cross-country move, an identity crisis…yeah, it’s been a weird year. Everything’s upside-down and inside-out right now. Seemed like a good time to fire up the YouTube channel again: Let’s talk! What topics should I cover? What’re you struggling with? How can I help? I’ll do my best to turn your questions […]

Life is hard. Plans fall apart. People disappoint you. And yet… My latest obsession – Wondery’s Imagined Life podcast – details the struggles people faced before they became famous and it always leaves me hopeful. Part biography/part mystery, the program is a fun distraction with a guessing game quality. It’s also a helluva great example […]

“Hey Ms. R., that was pretty good…for a school movie.”
Yes, The Twilight Zone, that 60-year-old black-and-white TV show, earns what I call high praise from teenagers.

Before we get to my all-time favorite episodes to use as teaching tools, here are seven reasons to bring The Twilight Zone to your classroom:

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