I know, I know, it’s only the beginning of August, but it really is time to start thinking about the fall. As you get your planning underway, please know I have so. many. things. to ease your prep load. Today, I’m featuring five essential items – my all-time favorites! – that might be helpful: Full […]

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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Learn what my messed up teeth (and a great podcast episode) taught me about why I judge other people and how we can bring that lesson to our students:

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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 […]

A global pandemic, a cross-country move, an identity crisis…yeah, it’s been a weird year. Everything’s upside-down and inside-out right now. Seemed like a good time to fire up the YouTube channel again: Let’s talk! What topics should I cover? What’re you struggling with? How can I help? I’ll do my best to turn your questions […]

Life is hard. Plans fall apart. People disappoint you. And yet… My latest obsession – Wondery’s Imagined Life podcast – details the struggles people faced before they became famous and it always leaves me hopeful. Part biography/part mystery, the program is a fun distraction with a guessing game quality. It’s also a helluva great example […]

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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UPDATE: This blog post was written at the beginning of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. Obviously, things have changed and many of us need lesson plans beyond just two weeks. If your school has been closed indefinitely, I hope this bundle of 12 free emergency distance learning activities is helpful. Take care of yourself, your family, and your students. Love you! Laura

Brace yourself. It’s coming. If it’s not already in your emailbox, it’ll be here soon – a message from your principal requiring two weeks’ worth of lesson plans that can be accessed remotely in case your school closes as part of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak.

Whether the virus actually shows up on your campus or not, it’s important we all stay calm. I’m the first to acknowledge that it’s annoying to write lesson plans you might not ever use, but it’s also wise and really shouldn’t take too long to pull together. If the ick hits the fan, you’ll be glad you have a plan. Continue reading

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