Working with middle school writers at our library this summer, I’ve found a few storytelling tools that are too awesome not to share. Continue reading

Looking for your next summer read? The awesome folks at YALSA, the Young Adult Library Services Association, have pulled together their list of the most popular books of 2019, as chosen by teen book groups from schools and public libraries around the U.S. The top 25 nominees are listed below (click here for a PDF of […]

Years ago, a friend told me that starting a blog is like adopting a baby dinosaur. Sure, everyone wants a baby dinosaur. I mean, think of the cuteness. The trouble, of course, is that a baby dinosaur grows bigger (and bigger!) and the not-as-cute critter still needs to be fed and the poop still needs […]

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

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

One thing that surprised me during last spring’s testing season was the heavy use of computer-voice instructions and listening passages on our state’s Common Core-style exam, the SBAC. I hadn’t really taught listening as a specific skill set, yet my students’ scores told me that they needed help there – badly. Continue reading

I’m not even a minute into my right-after-lunch sophomore class when it starts – the quiet tee-hee of laughter among a handful of students, clearly the cool kids enjoying an inside joke.

“Okay, okay, let’s go,” I say, directing attention back to my vocab warm-up on the whiteboard.

Soft snickering continues. Undaunted, I launch my introduction of the word “tenuous.”

“Tenuous, an adjective, means really thin or insubstantial. If something’s tenuous, it’s definitely in need of strengthening.” Like my hold on this class, I think. Continue reading