Today’s Q&A post comes from an email this week (used with permission) from Sherrie, an English teacher who is thinking about adding Quarter Trios to her spring semester classes. Quarter Trios is a game-based classroom management tool I use to build community and increase student enthusiasm for our work together. You can learn more about the strategy here.

Hi Laura,
I really want to implement the Quarter Trios, but I have so many questions that I don’t even know where to begin. Here are my most basic questions:
1. What if someone refuses to participate? If I randomly chose the group members and they end up with someone not interested in competing, that can give a bad taste at the very beginning.
2. Unfortunately, we have a lot of cheaters or “just-get-byers” who will take advantage – like, “Oh, we found that grammar mistake, too.”
3. Do they get a handout of the options they have to earn points? Or are they just announced randomly throughout the semester?
4. It does sound like a paperwork nightmare as far as points are concerned. Can all groups turn in, say, a grammar mistake for a point? Or just announce if it is a “first group to post something” gets the point? Continue reading

For the most part, I ignore blog stats. I don’t have a “click funnel” or desire to shake you down for your email address. I give away a bunch of stuff for free and don’t require likes, follows, or tagging of friends in order for you to get the goodies. This may be bad for business (as I’ve been told by several unsolicited marketing folks who want to “fix” my blog), but it’s good for my heart.

Yet as the year comes to a close, I felt compelled yesterday to take a look at the 2018 numbers and I found two surprises: 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

Today’s post comes from a recent email (used with permission, of course) from a member of our community:

Hi Laura,
I purchased your 9/10 curriculum and it’s going extremely well. My 10th grade students love their weekly routine and SSR. However, I have a situation where I’m seeking your advice. Recently, a parent contacted the guidance counselor and wanted to switch from my gen ed class to an honors class because she said her son was bored and wasn’t feeling challenged in English class. The guidance counselor told her it was too late in the semester to switch him to an honors class, but the counselor also told me about the request and asked me to “give him more work.” Continue reading

Today’s post comes from an email I recently received from Tanya, one of our newest English teacher colleagues (used with permission):

Hi there! I’m a first-year teacher and I’ve been a fan of your blog since I started my credential program. Your first day stations activity was a life saver! I was hoping you could give me some advice.  Continue reading

Ever wonder how to complete a Book Talk with a student when you haven’t actually read the book? Continue reading

This one’s for Nikki, Rose, Marc, and all of the other teachers out there who have agreed to take on the (hopefully rewarding) task of mentoring a student teacher. Continue reading