Many of us will present “The Gift of the Magi,” O. Henry’s tale of gift giving and self-sacrifice in December, and friend of the blog Kate McCook just shared a link to a 15-minute film that beautifully modernizes the classic short story. “I came across this lovely short film set during the Greek economic crisis,” she emailed this week. “I’m thinking of showing it to my class for a little treat and exposure to world culture.” Thanks, Kate, for sharing the good stuff – this one’s definitely going into my rotation, too. Continue reading

Note: This is an updated repost.

A few years ago, I shared my P.E. department colleagues’ inspired use of stations on the day before we left for Thanksgiving break. Here’s that old video, in case you missed it:

Last year, I adapted their idea and brought the same holiday fun to our English/Language Arts classes. Here’s how! Continue reading

Note: This is an updated repost featuring some of my favorite end-of-October lesson ideas.

In 7th grade, my friend Sarah plugged her older brother’s copy of A Nightmare on Elm Street into the VCR at a sleepover and I haven’t been okay since. Scary movies? Nope. No, thank you. I’m such a chicken, I shut my eyes during commercials for horror flicks. I mean, you heard the new Halloween movie opens this weekend, right? Count me o-u-t.

Books, though, are different. Somehow, the images in my mind aren’t as gory as those on the screen and good short stories don’t rely on cheap jump-scares; instead, there are heavy things to actually think about and I suppose that’s my favorite kind of terrifying. Continue reading

This week’s video, inspired by YouTube commenter Kelli, is all about those kids who won’t stop talking when it’s time to get to work. Warning: It’s been a long week and this video is a rambling mess. Still, it’s honest and I’m too tired to re-film. Here’s what happens when I go off-script: Click here […]

Apparently, it’s turned into the Summer of Video around here, so let’s keep the momentum rolling. This week, I’m talking about TeachersPayTeachers.com, a tool that can restore our free time, make us more thoughtful about our classroom practices, and connect us to an international network of teacher friends. Continue reading

I know it’s only July, and I also know you’re probably already thinking about the fall. Today, let’s talk about a routine that helps successfully launch class Continue reading

Today’s post comes from an email I received this morning from Connor, a college student (used with permission):

Hi Laura,
I’m currently a sophomore in college and I have to decide whether to teach middle school English or high school English. What made you choose high schoolers over middle schoolers? Are there any tips you can give me to help me decide?
Thank you,
Connor Continue reading