Today’s drop of brilliance comes from Jess, a fellow bookworm and middle school English teacher. With her permission, I’m sharing a tangible and beautiful way to motivate your kids to keep reading their SSR books. 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

Can you name the famous figures who faced the following?

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So…yeah…it’s been nearly four months since I changed out the bulletin board, but last week I visited the giant color printer at Media Services and you can follow along a video field trip Continue reading

Wanna have some nerdy English teacher fun? Of course you do! Continue reading

Our ELA Facebook friend Heather Nicole Teraila just posted the results of a super-cute characterization activity her students completed on The Outsiders Continue reading

Want to amuse and motivate your kids? Let’s build a Famous Failures bulletin board! Continue reading

To help combat Stale Bulletin Board Syndrome, I built this little poster to add some “pop” to my classroom’s entry board. Continue reading

bulletinboardrandazzoEach morning, I post a fresh sheet of “tearable puns” on the bulletin board outside my classroom door, and as the day unfolds a wide variety of kids (some of them are my actual students, but many more are unknown to me) swing by the board to help themselves to a daily chuckle. Continue reading

Now that I’m on the other side of 40, the value of failure is obvious. Although painful at the time, it’s clear to me that my greatest moments of growth always came after I fell on my face. Continue reading