Today’s post comes from a recent email (used with permission, of course) from a member of our community. For privacy, I changed her name.

Hi Laura,
I hope your summer is going well. I’ll be starting my third year as a Freshman English teacher this year. My question, however, has more to do with my students than content area. I have a few students who will be repeating my class this year because they did not turn in work. I was wondering if you had any advice about how to motivate these kids. I know a few of them have things in their personal lives that they are having trouble with. Do you know a way to help them focus on school when they are in the classroom?
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Yesterday’s EdCamp “unconference” left me with a notebook full of ideas and a brain that needs to marinate awhile to determine which bits of info/tools will be a good match for my classes. In the meantime, let me share one of the coolest things about the day – the event’s structure. Continue reading

Usually when I find a chunk of text to use for a close reading, I’ll typeset the passage on a fresh page, using wide margins and triple-spacing so my students will have lots of room to write. I am limited, however, in the number of copies I’m allowed to make each year, so I’m thinking […]

I’m always impressed by singers who passionately belt the same song, night after night, concert after concert. Don’t they get bored? I mean, how many times can Sting sing “Roxanne” before he stops caring about that red light? Hasn’t Beyonce grown tired yet of all those ringless single ladies? Performers have been on my mind […]