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

Some of us aren’t even on summer vacation yet and folks are already talking about planning for next year. I know, I know… Still, two emails arrived this week asking which teacher planner I use, so here’s a quick video to explain how I save a fistful of cash each year. And if you’re not ready to think about any of this until August, I’m cool with that, too. Continue reading

Note: This is an updated repost featuring some of my favorite end-of-the-year lesson ideas.

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

Today’s post starts in the kitchen. Like most normal people, I hate doing dishes. It’s gross and I’ve fought (and failed) for years to convince my husband and kids that their definition of “clean” is slacking…I mean, lacking. Hey, the job isn’t done until you’ve also wiped down the stove top, amIright? Continue reading

I hate name games. Painfully awkward, these games have never magically connected me to people just because they’ve repeated, “Her name’s Laura and she likes llamas.” Nope. Not happening around here, people. For the first day of school, I usually start with a one-minute welcome and intro. of my background, have students make name cards they […]

When Norman Ollestad was 11 years old, he was the sole survivor of a Cessna airplane crash in the mountains north of Los Angeles. Last week, one of my freshmen finished Ollestad’s memoir, Crazy for the Storm, and was so enthusiastic during our SSR book talk that I felt compelled to research Ollestad and find […]

The Supreme Court is in the news today, as Judge Neil Gorsuch was officially announced last night as the president’s nominee to fill Antonin Scalia’s vacant seat. Looking to emphasize the importance of the court in my students’ lives, I launched a discussion last week about the upcoming changes to the bench and what rights […]

Fast forward to next Friday, mere hours before our two-week winter vacation begins. What are many teachers throughout the school doing? Pressing “play” on their DVDs, white-knuckling it to the 3:00 bell. You know it’s true. Last year, when my fourth period freshmen arrived, they bragged that they’d spent the morning watching Elf and Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and then they asked which movie I was going to show. Sorry, kids, I’m not that teacher. Continue reading

Since we’re early in our novel study, I asked my freshmen to work in their Trio Teams to find a line from ch. 4 that they found interesting or meaningful. When Team 5, the International Bureau of Brains (IBB = their first name initials put together), shared the line above, my classroom exploded with a […]

Is it just me or does the spring semester always zoom by twice as quickly as the fall? We just finished fall finals and the new semester officially launches Tuesday. In Room H-9, that means we’ll soon be enjoying Greek mythology, The Odyssey, some Shakespeare, and – my new favorite – 20Time! Monday No students […]