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

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

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

You ready? Day 1 starts soon, so let’s talk about some lesson plan ideas for the first five days of school:

Continue reading

Today’s topic comes from an email exchange (used with permission) with one of our colleagues in the art department:

Hi Laura,
I was just watching your video on troublemakers and how to handle them. I really appreciate the refresher. I used that technique at the beginning of my teaching career but in recent years got caught up in students’ non-stop bad behaviors and basically gave up out of exhaustion. I’m an art teacher and will be starting at a new school in a couple of weeks. It’s a dream job. My strength is content knowledge not discipline. But I want this year to be the beginning of a new era for me, so I’ve been doing my own form of professional development this summer. Continue reading

Apparently, it’s turned into the Summer of Video around here, so let’s keep the momentum rolling. This week, I’m talking about TeachersPayTeachers.com, a tool that can restore our free time, make us more thoughtful about our classroom practices, and connect us to an international network of teacher friends. Continue reading

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