Many of us will present “The Gift of the Magi,” O. Henry’s tale of gift giving and self-sacrifice in December, and friend of the blog Kate McCook just shared a link to a 15-minute film that beautifully modernizes the classic short story. “I came across this lovely short film set during the Greek economic crisis,” she emailed this week. “I’m thinking of showing it to my class for a little treat and exposure to world culture.” Thanks, Kate, for sharing the good stuff – this one’s definitely going into my rotation, too. Continue reading

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

In 7th grade, my friend Sarah plugged her older brother’s copy of A Nightmare on Elm Street into the VCR at a sleepover and I haven’t been okay since. Scary movies? Nope. No, thank you. I’m such a chicken, I shut my eyes during commercials for horror flicks. I mean, you heard the new Halloween movie opens this weekend, right? Count me o-u-t.

Books, though, are different. Somehow, the images in my mind aren’t as gory as those on the screen and good short stories don’t rely on cheap jump-scares; instead, there are heavy things to actually think about and I suppose that’s my favorite kind of terrifying. Continue reading

I’ve started reading again. After a moment of unpleasant reflection when I publicly admitted I’m an English teacher who doesn’t actually read much, I decided to make a change. The uncomfortable truth is that we give our time to the things that matter most to us. Reading and thinking about books? Yup, that matters to me. Instagram […]

(While I’m spending spring break finishing my 20Time2018 project, here’s an updated repost sharing ideas and tools to celebrate the upcoming National Poetry Month in April. Enjoy!)

Of course we should fold in some extra poetry lessons to celebrate April as National Poetry Month, but who has the time? With state testing and AP exam prep, this month is a bullet train, whipping by with scary speed. But what if we slowed that roll just a bit? April’s also supposed to signal warmth and new growth, the perfect time to dig some rhyme. I know we all have a lot to do, but here are a few easy options to help our English teacher tribe add more poetic voices to our curriculum. 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

If you caught last night’s Golden Globes, you were treated to this heartstopper of a speech by Oprah Winfrey. If not, watch it now. I’ll wait. Continue reading

Do yourself a favor and allow this master storyteller to tell you about his senior prom. Hasan Minhaj, you may know him from The Daily Show, takes us back to 2003, when he was a Muslim teen growing up in mostly white Davis, California. No spoilers here, but I promise his story is one that’ll get your kids talking. Continue reading