Are you tired of reading persuasive and argumentative essays that are superficial and poorly written? Would you like to inspire your students to think more deeply about their ideas? Follow these steps for teaching persuasive & argumentative writing- and get much better results: Start with … [Read more...] about Teaching persuasive & argumentative writing
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
The gallery walk was probably one of my most used teaching strategies. If fact, it was rare that my classroom walls weren't full of posters my students had created during a group discussion that ended with a gallery walk. Why did I love it so much? Because the preparation for it - as well as the … [Read more...] about The Gallery Walk
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
There are too many things we need to teach in English. An outsider might look at the three strands - reading, writing, and speaking - as doable. Only three, right? But we all know that there are many, many layers to each of these strands, and it takes time for students to hone the skills they need … [Read more...] about Teaching reading and writing together
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
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