Ok, so the plays are over four hundred years old and the language is difficult. Kids will let out an audible groan whenever the teacher announces that Shakespeare is next. So why are his plays still on almost every high school English syllabus?It’s a question that a colleague of … [Read more...] about Is Shakespeare Still Relevant?
It's time for the Secondary Smorgasbord again, and this month's topic is fresh ideas. So by now you may be scratching your head at my title. An essay? You might be thinking: There’s nothing fresh about that!However, it’s not the product that’s fresh in my room, it’s the … [Read more...] about What’s Growing in My Classroom? An Essay!
Welcome to my blog hop about what really matters in teaching. Read on and be sure to check out the other great ideas below!This year has been one for the record books. As a Canadian teacher, I am no stranger to snow days and snow banks, but both piled up like never before this … [Read more...] about Snow Days, Ticking Clocks and Teaching What Counts
So much of what we do in English class requires students to do higher order thinking, especially when close reading. That's why I spend a lot of time at the beginning of every year teaching students how to analyze text. When I was in high school, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, my English … [Read more...] about Teaching Students How to Analyze Text
In honour of The Literary Maven's linky, I'm reposting this entry from my old blog:Like many teachers across the country, I just spent the last two days in meetings. After a summer of relaxation and moving to the beat of my own wishes, I was required to sit for hours in a hard plastic … [Read more...] about Learning on the Move
I love free-writes and quick-writes and O'Connor's quote sums up why. Students often struggle to express their ideas, often for a variety of reasons: they don't care, they don't want to take the time to think about it, or they just don't know. When teachers give them these low-stakes and … [Read more...] about Free-Writes & Quick-Writes–One the Best Tools in a Learner’s Toolbox
When I assign a research paper—or any research assignment, we never start in the library or computer lab. That’s because I want the students to spend time thinking about what they want to say in their papers. I don’t want to read essays that are just a stitch job, a weaving together of ideas, facts … [Read more...] about Getting Ready to Research
I'm going to admit, although I love the idea of the Socratic seminar, I have not felt really successful with teaching my students how to do them. In the past, most have been boring and stilted, as students mechanically did what they were asked to do, with little engagement in the discussion. … [Read more...] about Tweaking My Socratic Seminar Approach
It seems like an odd thing to do: plan to be sick. In fact, those of us who work in germ factories hope to avoid it at all costs. But it happens, precisely because we do work in germ factories. Twenty-thirty bodies jammed in one hot room, using the same door knob, pencil sharpener … [Read more...] about Planning to be sick?
What's the best way to get our students to engage in deep and meaningful learning? I don't have the answer, but I do have a lot of questions. And it's my curiosity and desire to learn that drives my search for that answer.When you have students with that innate curiosity, it's a … [Read more...] about Now That’s a Good Question!
Even though we have had very few days together this snowy semester, it will not be long before I meet with my students' parents. When I do, I will be using something that worked really well in the past.Last semester, in preparation for our parent-teacher conferences, I had students do a … [Read more...] about Make your parent conferences more meaningful
This semester, I've decided to approach my novel studies differently, whether it be for independent reading or for full class novels. I've always loved the idea of interactive notebooks. I love to cut and paste and doodle and create. And I know many of my students do too. But I … [Read more...] about Feeling the Love with Reader’s Notebooks