Please allow me introduce you to Andy Weir’s tasty morsel of a short story called, “The Egg.” The story, part sci fi/part philosophy, is a quick 1,000-word read that might be a good match for your classes this fall. Although not particularly religious, the story centers around a God figure talking to his supernatural child. […]

I’m hard on my books. Argue if you want, but a spine is meant to be cracked. Oh, yes, I dog-ear pages (the horror!), underline passages, scribble phrases in the margins that mean nothing to anyone but me.

You already know, books can be a tool to help us figure out this weird world, but I worry many of our teens don’t feel the same. To them, books are a drag, a literal weight in their backpacks offering nothing relevant to their lives except slightly stronger shoulder muscles.

Let’s try to change that. 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 […]

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

What if every teacher had the right tools to do this job?
What if we all had a hard drive full of current, relevant, rigorous lessons?
What if we were treated like professionals and not expected to dig into our own (meager) paychecks to supply those tools? Continue reading

Sure, we know that Lord of the Rings, Hunger Games, and Harry Potter are modern examples of the Hero’s Journey, but there are a l-o-t of other popular films that also fit Joseph Campbell’s monomyth. A few that may surprise you: Continue reading

Didya hear? John Green just announced that he’s releasing his next book, his first in five years, on Oct. 10. It’s called Turtles All the Way Down and tells the story of Aza Holmes, a 16-year-old girl with mental illness who investigates the case of a fugitive billionaire. The title, apparently, has to do with […]

My freshmen are wrapping up our study of The Odyssey this week, and I couldn’t help but share their adorable efforts on a recent in-class activity. Like a proud parent who tapes gold-star papers to the refrigerator, I often post awesome creations on my classroom’s back wall of cabinets. Make it onto the cabinet display? […]

You know the drill. You give your class a chapter for a novel to read for homework, or maybe you start reading a chapter together in class and then you want your students to finish the chapter as homework. The next day arrives and (maybe) a third of the class has actually done the reading. Most of the kids sit there, silently praying that a more studious kid will answer your questions. The non-readers like to do that fake-interested head nod thing, as if they agree completely with what the smart kid just said.

Enough of this. Continue reading

Recently, I’ve added a non-fiction element to complement each of my literature units. Yes, the emphasis on informational text in the Common Core standards was the impetus, but the former journalist in me was more than happy to dig into the periodical archives and unearth some gems. The non-fiction lesson that twisted my students’ hearts […]