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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S-U-M-M-E-R is finally here. Yes, I’ve scheduled a few fun things with the family and I plan to spend plenty of afternoons reading in the hammock (Hillbilly Elegy, you’re up next), but I’m also already planning a big ol’ project for the new school year Continue reading

Note: This is an updated repost.

You’ve wrapped your last major unit and final exams are still a week or so away. You could spend five days on Review Jeopardy (um…no, thanks) or you could grab some of these tried-and-true resources that’ll keep kids focused until finals. Continue reading

I can’t draw, but this 90-second tutorial makes me feel like I can: Continue reading

Friend of the blog (and real-life homie) Annette just shared a link to this surprisingly challenging quiz from the folks at Mental Floss where we must determine whether a line comes from our favorite Dark Romantic era writer or a modern “emo” band. Continue reading

Today’s Q&A post comes from an email this week (used with permission) from Sherrie, an English teacher who is thinking about adding Quarter Trios to her spring semester classes. Quarter Trios is a game-based classroom management tool I use to build community and increase student enthusiasm for our work together. You can learn more about the strategy here.

Hi Laura,
I really want to implement the Quarter Trios, but I have so many questions that I don’t even know where to begin. Here are my most basic questions:
1. What if someone refuses to participate? If I randomly chose the group members and they end up with someone not interested in competing, that can give a bad taste at the very beginning.
2. Unfortunately, we have a lot of cheaters or “just-get-byers” who will take advantage – like, “Oh, we found that grammar mistake, too.”
3. Do they get a handout of the options they have to earn points? Or are they just announced randomly throughout the semester?
4. It does sound like a paperwork nightmare as far as points are concerned. Can all groups turn in, say, a grammar mistake for a point? Or just announce if it is a “first group to post something” gets the point? Continue reading

In this first week of the new year, it’s wise to pause and look back at the previous year as we figure out what we want to accomplish next. Around here, January means prep for 20Time, a passion project that’ll carry us through the spring semester. (More about 20Time2019 will be posted later this month. Working on some plans, y’all…)

Today, I’m sharing a handy organizer created by a bunch of humanity-loving Hungarians that could help us – and possibly our students – accomplish significant goals. Continue reading