I just received a question about how I grade homework, and I realized my answer was a bit long and might even require a blog post. So here I am. The teacher wanted to know if I gave a summative grade (counts in the average) or a formative one (for feedback only). The short answer is that IF I … [Read more...] about Why I don’t grade homework
Let's get real here. Reading workshop is the greatest thing for getting students hooked on reading, but there are a lot of moving parts that can get hard to juggle, right? There are mini-lessons to give, and conferences to have, and close reading to be modelled. And, on top of all that we're … [Read more...] about Book Talk Hacks for Secondary Teachers
One of my greatest tools for classroom management is pretty easy to implement: giving students a break partway through class. I know some will say that high school kids should be able to sit and concentrate for 75 minutes, but you know what? I disagree. I know I don’t sit well for that long - and … [Read more...] about Giving students a break
Unfortunately, many of us are ruled by the calendar and the clock, and we end up rushing to get curriculum covered. However, if we spend time early in the semester, setting students up for success, they will gain confidence and be ready to learn and grow. And, that will allow us to get more done … [Read more...] about Setting Students Up for Success
English language arts is a very skills based course. Because of this, we end up teaching the same skills over and over across the grade levels. So, if you have a great lesson, one that works well, is it ok to use the same lesson for different grades? Absolutely. Obviously, you won't be … [Read more...] about Using the same lesson for different grades
We've all been there: classes that are chatty, rambunctious, and hard to manage or engage. They make every day a challenge, and leave you wondering if teaching is really for you. Some classes are harder to deal with than others, but I have a secret for you that can help you get better at dealing … [Read more...] about The Key to Classroom Management in Secondary Classrooms
Engaging is one of those buzzwords that you are probably getting sick of hearing, right? Everything is supposed to be "highly engaging," so kids will get excited about learning because class is just so much fun. But have you ever wondered this: is our job really about engaging, entertaining - or … [Read more...] about Engaging, entertaining, or educating?
The other day, I posted a photo of one of my rubrics in Google Classroom, and I got a flurry of response - and lots of questions about whether I have them for sale. I don't and I won't. However, I'd love to give you some help with creating your own rubrics for Google Classroom. Why don't I sell or … [Read more...] about Rubrics for Google Classroom
Today's post is all about another issue I hear a lot about: reading workshop and classroom management. Giving kids the ability to choose their own books can be a beautiful thing. However, a lot of problems can ensue if they choose not to read them and choose to distract others instead. I've been … [Read more...] about Reading Workshop and Classroom Management
Do I have to read all of the books for reading workshop? How do I assess students if I haven’t? I get these questions a lot, and they are ones that I definitely had myself when I started reading workshop. I used to worry that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with all of the books that my students … [Read more...] about Do I have to read all of the books for reading workshop?
Teaching students to be independent learners is an awful lot like parenting. When you are trying to get a four, eight, or fourteen year old to clean up their toys, take out the garbage, or make their lunch for school, it's often easier and less stressful just to do it ourselves. There are fewer … [Read more...] about Teaching students to be independent learners
I know you feel it. Kids are just not as easy to engage these days. In fact, dealing with student apathy is one of our biggest challenges. We can blame it on a lot of things, but that just won't get us anywhere other than worked up and discouraged. Instead, what can we do about it? 1. Build … [Read more...] about Dealing with Student Apathy