The man who created Roget’s Thesaurus, Peter Mark Roget, was born on January 18, 1779, a date loquacious scholars celebrate as National Thesaurus Day. (Thanks, Alex E., for the heads-up. I had no idea this was a thing.) Though my research failed to unearth the authority who had the power to make such a declaration, it seems like a nice thing to remember the retired doctor whose passion project helps us all sound a bit more erudite. 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

Our ELA Facebook friend Heather Nicole Teraila just posted the results of a super-cute characterization activity her students completed on The Outsiders Continue reading

New(ish) teacher Kelli was wondering this week how to help her middle schoolers slow down and gather their thoughts before writing. Our email conversation led me to build this free set of tools that’ll hopefully help all English teachers. 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 […]

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

If you want to use TEDTalks in your classroom but aren’t sure how to make them work, help has arrived! Continue reading

Teenagers are self-absorbed. I get that. (Heck, most adults we know are also pretty focused on themselves, no?) Nevertheless, I’ve been troubled in the past few weeks with some of my students’ inability to give concrete examples as they try to support their opinions. Continue reading

Last week, Stanford researchers released a “bleak” report showing that more than 80 percent of students can’t determine the difference between real and fake news. (Alas, it seems this is something adults struggle with, as well.)

The severity of students’ lack of media literacy was shocking to the study’s authors who were “taken aback by students’ lack of preparation…Many assume that because young people are fluent in social media they are equally savvy about what they find there. Our work shows the opposite.”

What to do about this? I’m going to start by Continue reading

One the gaps in my instruction has been the lack of a specific focus on Greek and Latin roots, prefixes, and suffixes in my vocabulary program. I (mistakenly) figured by the time students reached high school they’d been hammered with roots/affixes in elementary and middle school, but a crunchy moment from the spring semester revealed […]