Did you know chart-topping singer Billie Eilish has Tourette Syndrome?
Gymnastics superstar Simone Biles takes medication for ADHD?
Kristi Yamaguchi, Olympic ice skating gold medalist and Dancing with the Stars champ, was born with clubfeet?

When a student is diagnosed with a disability, the news can feel overwhelming. The truth, though, is that a disability is just one of many factors that makes a student interesting and unique.

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Literary analysis is tough.

• “Explain how the author uses setting to establish the mood of this short story.”
• “Determine the narrator’s tone and present two pieces of textual evidence to defend your choice.”
• “Examine the writer’s use of the colors green and yellow as symbols that support the novel’s theme.”

I’m a literature nerd, so digging into these prompts would keep me happily engaged for days. Most teens, though, don’t share my enthusiasm, often because they don’t yet have the tools, experience, or confidence to articulate what they see in the works of literature we study.

The solution? Modeling and practice. Once teens start to see how the game is played, they quickly become more comfortable – and vocal! – in sharing interesting things they notice.

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Need to keep early finishers busy while the rest of the class catches up? Model a healthy stress reduction technique as students head into final exams? Help your own over-taxed teacher brain unplug for a few precious minutes? 

I built these not-too-cheesy coloring pages for you!

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Can you name the famous figures who faced the following?

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Need a no-fail list of book recommendations? Whether students are searching for a new SSR book to start the fall semester or you’ve been given permission to add more “modern classics” to your curriculum list, a great starting spot is this list of the 100 Best Young Adult/Y.A. Books of All Time just released yesterday.

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It’s fair to say July brought a lot of surprises to Team Randazzo – some bad, but mostly good:

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You want to add more current event materials to your classes, but you definitely don’t have the time to dig through the daily paper or online media to find school-appropriate stories that’ll actually get kids talking. That’s where the education staff at The New York Times has your back. I’ve enjoyed their Learning Network materials for years, but just this weekend I learned about a mother lode of goodies they’ve compiled for us.

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I know it’s vacation for a lot of my teacher-friends, so I’ll just set this here for you to explore when you’re ready. One of my go-to tools to take a class through a short story or dialogue-heavy chapter of a novel? Readers’ Theater! Here are the details about how to run the show: Click […]

“Hey Ms. R., that was pretty good…for a school movie.”
Yes, The Twilight Zone, that 60-year-old black-and-white TV show, earns what I call high praise from teenagers.

Before we get to my all-time favorite episodes to use as teaching tools, here are seven reasons to bring The Twilight Zone to your classroom:

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Note: This is an updated repost featuring some of my favorite October lesson ideas.

Since October has now become the “31 Nights of Halloween,” it feels like the right time to fold some spooky goodness to the literary lineup. Up first? A super-creepy Neil Gaiman story! If you don’t know Gaiman’s “Click Clack the Rattlebag,” lower the lights and get ready for a fun, scary ride. Gaiman shares it with us here:

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