During last week’s video on class participation, I realized I needed to give more info about “Quarter Trios,” a routine that’s added fun, built community, and helped me run the classroom efficiently. Let’s do this thing! Continue reading

Today’s post comes from a recent email from a member of our community (used with permission); also, there’s a video version of my answer at the end of the post if you prefer to listen rather than read.

Laura,
Thanks for your great videos and materials. I implemented your essay codes this year and am very happy with the results! I was wondering if any of your videos cover class participation? I’m constantly running into the issue of trying to motivate all kids to participate rather than just the usual suspects.
Thanks again,
Ryan Continue reading

Some of us aren’t even on summer vacation yet and folks are already talking about planning for next year. I know, I know… Still, two emails arrived this week asking which teacher planner I use, so here’s a quick video to explain how I save a fistful of cash each year. And if you’re not ready to think about any of this until August, I’m cool with that, too. Continue reading

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

Ready for six more grading hacks? Let’s take a field trip this week as we talk about the importance of keeping you whole. Continue reading

The calendar isn’t lying to us; it really is time to update the syllabus and get into that back-to-school frame of mind. You might be curious how I run the show, so here’s a copy of my course outline along with an episode from my classroom management series discussing the eight words that comprise my classroom rules. Continue reading

Fellow English teacher Heather recently asked, “How do you do grades?” With her permission, I’m posting our email conversation in a Q&A format. Maybe you’re new to the classroom or, like Heather, just looking for a new approach. Either way, here’s a look at how I keep scores. Continue reading

I hate name games. Painfully awkward, these games have never magically connected me to people just because they’ve repeated, “Her name’s Laura and she likes llamas.” Nope. Not happening around here, people. For the first day of school, I usually start with a one-minute welcome and intro. of my background, have students make name cards they […]

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

Now that the custodians are done waxing the floors, we can get down to the business of setting up our classrooms. Well, most of us. Some teachers, like Carla who emailed me this week, won’t have a room of her own this year. What can she do? Continue reading