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

What if every teacher had the right tools to do this job?
What if we all had a hard drive full of current, relevant, rigorous lessons?
What if we were treated like professionals and not expected to dig into our own (meager) paychecks to supply those tools? Continue reading

The man who created Roget’s Thesaurus, Peter Mark Roget, was born on January 18, 1779, a date loquacious scholars celebrate as National Thesaurus Day. (Thanks, Alex E., for the heads-up. I had no idea this was a thing.) Though my research failed to unearth the authority who had the power to make such a declaration, it seems like a nice thing to remember the retired doctor whose passion project helps us all sound a bit more erudite. Continue reading

When my freshmen strike these words from their literary analysis writing, they (miraculously!) start to sound like young adults. Continue reading

This week’s drop of awesome comes from Cam Milleson, the blog’s middle school teacher friend in Kernville, California. Cam’s kids are working on a suspense narrative, so she built the following progress-tracker Continue reading

This week, I’m continuing the occasional “How to Write” series with a look at the power of an essay’s conclusion. English teacher friends, here is the three-sentence formula that often turns a B+ essay into an A- in my classroom: Continue reading

Ready to dig into some nuts-and-bolts of essay writing? Let’s talk about how to help our middle school and high school students write strong intro. paragraphs. Note: This format works great when teaching literary analysis, argument, and research essays, but narratives are a whole different story. (Heh…see what I did there?) Continue reading