When Norman Ollestad was 11 years old, he was the sole survivor of a Cessna airplane crash in the mountains north of Los Angeles. Last week, one of my freshmen finished Ollestad’s memoir, Crazy for the Storm, and was so enthusiastic during our SSR book talk that I felt compelled to research Ollestad and find […]

Across the globe, folks will celebrate Earth Day this Saturday (April 22) with lots of community clean-up and educational events. Let’s bring some of that spirit to our classrooms with a high-interest, easy-to-deliver lesson that’ll get teens thinking about the world outside themselves. Continue reading

Last week, I was having coffee with my neighbor-friend Jenn, who works as a therapist, and I noticed some adult coloring books on sale at the shop.

“That’s trendy,” I said.

“And therapeutic,” she replied, going on to explain how she often has her teen and adult clients color during their counseling sessions. She even gives some sheets to stressed out clients to complete as homework. Huh. Since everything in my brain circles back to my classroom, I thought, “Okay then, let’s give it a try.” Continue reading

If your district’s like mine, we’re both trapped right now in the long March toward spring break. Some days, we just need to catch our breath and Vanessa, my science department friend over at Biology Roots, has put together eight tips to keep in mind if you’re in need of a sub day. (#7 is my favorite!) Continue reading

Teenagers are self-absorbed. I get that. (Heck, most adults we know are also pretty focused on themselves, no?) Nevertheless, I’ve been troubled in the past few weeks with some of my students’ inability to give concrete examples as they try to support their opinions. Continue reading

The Supreme Court is in the news today, as Judge Neil Gorsuch was officially announced last night as the president’s nominee to fill Antonin Scalia’s vacant seat. Looking to emphasize the importance of the court in my students’ lives, I launched a discussion last week about the upcoming changes to the bench and what rights […]

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