So you are all over the idea of independent reading. Maybe you've even decided that you want to ditch the full class texts and do reading workshop full time. You've stocked your shelves, and you have your mini-lessons and activities ready to go. There's only one problem: you are having a super-hard … [Read more...] about Getting students to read
How would you like to get your students engaged on the first day of school and make them really happy to be in your class? Instead of going through the typical back-to-school routine of explaining the syllabus and class rules, try something different that will capture your new students' interest … [Read more...] about 3 ways to transform the first day of school
A chatty class can be a big problem as we all know, but so is one where you can't get students to engage. In fact, based on my style of teaching, the latter is my least favorite issue to manage in my classroom. However, I have learned some strategies over the years that can jumpstart even the most … [Read more...] about What to do when students won’t talk
We all know that student apathy is at an all-time high. However, that doesn't mean we just throw up our hands and say it's pointless. In fact I've got one simple student engagement strategy that just might make a difference in your classroom. This strategy requires no prep, no photocopying, and … [Read more...] about Student Engagement Strategy: try this one thing
Ok, English teachers. If you haven't heard already, there's a new tool out there that students can use to plagiarize - and it seems like a real game changer. It's all the talk in staff rooms and on social media posts, and teachers are worried. The hard reality is that as technology improves, the … [Read more...] about What can English teachers do about ChatGPT?
“Is this for a grade?” “Does it count?” If you’ve been counting, you are well aware that you could retire early if you got a dollar for every time you heard one of those questions. The constant barrage of them may even have you believing that if you don’t grade something, your students won’t do … [Read more...] about Get students to do work that’s not graded
One question that I get a lot about reading workshop is this: what should my mini-lessons look like? There is no one-size-fits-all approach to crafting these bite-sized presentations, but there are some steps you can rely on. So, read on to get my five steps for a great mini-lesson. What goes in … [Read more...] about Five steps for a great mini-lesson
We've all been there: you wake up feeling terrible, and you have no idea what to get a sub to do with your class. So, you drag yourself to school because it takes more effort to come up with a lesson plan. I'd love to help you stay home and look after yourself the next time that happens, so I'm … [Read more...] about Emergency Sub Plans
I've been teaching an education course for the last four years, and every time the students express that their greatest worry is about classroom management, I tell them that it's most teachers' greatest worry too (did you have your back-to-school nightmare this year?). Since I know that the … [Read more...] about 5 Quick Classroom Management Strategies
Don't let them see you smile until Thanksgiving! How many of you got that advice when you started teaching? And how many of you thought it didn't sound quite right? I certainly didn't think it seemed like a good way to build relationships, but I also didn't want my classes to be out of control. So, … [Read more...] about Classroom Management: do you need to be strict?
It is beyond frustrating when students don't pass in their work - or don't do their work in class. First of all, they aren't building the skills they need, and they put themselves in danger of not passing the course. And because you aren't assessing their work, you don't know if they are really … [Read more...] about Getting students to complete their work
My guess is that you have come dangerously close to losing your cool over cell phones in your classroom. Maybe you have even totally lost it with a student who won't put one away. I certainly have, and instead of risking my job and my sanity, I found some ways for dealing with cell phones in the … [Read more...] about Dealing with Cell Phones in the Classroom