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 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

I’ve started reading again. After a moment of unpleasant reflection when I publicly admitted I’m an English teacher who doesn’t actually read much, I decided to make a change. The uncomfortable truth is that we give our time to the things that matter most to us. Reading and thinking about books? Yup, that matters to me. Instagram […]

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

You’ve wrapped your last major unit and final exams are still a week away. You could spend five days playing Review Jeopardy (uh…no, thanks) or you could grab some of these tried-and-true resources that’ll keep kids focused until finals. Continue reading

It’s late April. State testing is done (whew!), upperclassmen are ramping up for A.P. tests, and everyone’s just wrung out. How about we take a bit of time on an upcoming Friday and destress with this free poetry/coloring activity that’ll make all those hard-working moms out there feel good? Click the image to grab a […]

Today’s post starts in the kitchen. Like most normal people, I hate doing dishes. It’s gross and I’ve fought (and failed) for years to convince my husband and kids that their definition of “clean” is slacking…I mean, lacking. Hey, the job isn’t done until you’ve also wiped down the stove top, amIright? Continue reading

(While I’m spending spring break finishing my 20Time2018 project, here’s an updated repost sharing ideas and tools to celebrate the upcoming National Poetry Month in April. Enjoy!)

Of course we should fold in some extra poetry lessons to celebrate April as National Poetry Month, but who has the time? With state testing and AP exam prep, this month is a bullet train, whipping by with scary speed. But what if we slowed that roll just a bit? April’s also supposed to signal warmth and new growth, the perfect time to dig some rhyme. I know we all have a lot to do, but here are a few easy options to help our English teacher tribe add more poetic voices to our curriculum. Continue reading