Things were truckin’ along nicely during first period this morning when I realized I hadn’t yet sliced up my sonnet topic slips. I’d made the copies last week and left them on my desk, but, distracted by some juicy before-school gossip with my hallway teacher friends (we’re going to find out the name of our new principal at tomorrow night’s school board meeting – oh, the drama!), I hadn’t quite finished all of my prep work. Continue reading

If you teach Fahrenheit 451, you might be interested to know that I just posted three great tools that’ll make your job so much easier. Continue reading

Constantly plugged into their phones, it’s easy to assume that our students are mashed-potatoing their brains with endless streams of Snapchat and gangsta rap. While it’s true there’s a large scoop of junk in their digital diets, I’ve been delighted over the past week or so with some high-quality links and sites students have shared with me. Continue reading

Learning lessons from my first experience with stations, I’m happy to report that my second lap around the track with this technique was more successful. Right before we left for our two-week winter vacation, I used Poetry Creation Stations with my freshmen. The result? Oh, this one’s a keeper. Continue reading

You may recall that last week was pretty lousy around here. Needing to end the week on an up-note, I added a last-minute modification to my Friday lesson plan, a move guided purely by self-interest. As it turned out, the plan worked – my funk is officially over. Continue reading

I used to hate poetry. Seriously. For the first decade of my career, I pretty much ignored it. Too much sap. Too much angst. Too much manufactured depth for the sake of feeling like we’re deep. I knew I was supposed to care about the white chickens and that red wheelbarrow, but I just didn’t. Continue reading

In the Venn diagram of my life, my “Mom” and “English teacher” lives overlapped beautifully this week when my daughter’s middle school hosted a Poetry Night. Venn

Parents were invited to join their tweens for a two-hour dinner and wordsmithery event. After a quick potluck and opening remarks, we were given time to get creative at a dozen different poetry creation stations Continue reading

Way back in elementary school, we all made acrostic poems. These were the go-to move for teachers who needed us to make something (anything!) for Mother’s or Father’s Day. You remember. The result was always a rather cheesy poem, something like: Continue reading

Even the most reluctant students love creating “found” poems, also known as blackout poetry. All you’ll need to fill an entire class session is this Prezi (click here to download a FREE copy from my shop), dark markers or crayons, and a few newspaper pages or photocopies of a few pages from any novel you’re […]

Is there an English teacher out there who doesn’t love the 1989 Oscar-winning film Dead Poets Society? Doubtful. I first saw the film when I was high school senior (go ahead, do the math) and wanted to both marry Mr. Keating and be Mr. Keating. Well, I married Mr. Randazzo instead, but I’ve definitely added a healthy dose of Keatingness to my teaching style. Continue reading