The Engaging Classroom

    • In Other Words

    Making Connections with Students, Teachers & Community

    Teaching is all about making connections, connections with your students, connections with other teachers, and connections with your community.
    • In Other Words

    Coming to Our Senses: Balance and Creative Learning

    As teachers we get caught up in that rush of many demands, but children and parents will thank us if we can ourselves present a calm demeanor. As educators our job is to step back and find this balance—to give adequate time to each lesson. In some ways “less is more.”
    • Putting Books to Work

    Putting Books to Work: TAR BEACH

    Lesson ideas around Faith Ringgold's book about the dreams of an eight-year-old girl in Harlem.
    • Putting Books to Work

    Putting Books to Work: THE HOUSE THAT GEORGE BUILT

    THE HOUSE THAT GEORGE BUILT takes K-5 readers on an informative and fun journey back to the early days of the White House. The creation of the most famous house in America is revealed in picturesque step by step progression...
    • In Other Words

    The Impact of a Teacher’s Praise

    I began writing THRONE OF GLASS at age sixteen, but my journey began years before that. In fact, I never would have had the courage or confidence to attempt writing a novel if it wasn’t for my 7th grade teacher.
    • Teaching Tips

    Is Common Core Too Challenging for Kindergarten?

    I have been a teacher for quite a while. I truly love working with my kindergarten kids. Every year there are new challenges to teaching, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are definitely one of these challenges. But not in the way that many people think.
    • Quiet! Teacher in Progress

    Tech in the Process, Not Just the Product

    If you are wondering what Digital Learning Day commemorates, let me fill you in. Digital Learning Day promotes giving every child the opportunity to learn and grow in a dynamic digital environment every day. Every. Day. Translation? Asking kids to “type up” one piece of writing a year is no longer enough.
    • In Other Words

    The Odd Angle: Finding the Story in History

    To even think about writing a novel on some of these subjects is daunting just because they have been written about so much. From an author’s perspective the stories seem almost threadbare or worn out from so much exposure.
    • Putting Books to Work

    Putting Books to Work: BALL DON’T LIE

    Sticky is a young teenager trying to find his way and make sense of a world where he feels alone. He suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder, which embarrasses him, so he just can’t help doing certain things over and over until they “feel” right.
    • Teaching Tips

    Start Small to Make Your Dream Classroom a Reality

    Raise your hand if you’d like to create a “picture-perfect” classroom—a place where your students are engaged and responding eagerly. A place where you hear the “Oh, man! We have to clean up already?” comments when your students just want to keep going.
    • In Other Words

    Learning to Live with the Basal

    In 2009, when I returned to classroom teaching after spending ten years away as an educational consultant, I came back to a school where I was required to use a core-reading (or basal) program, a program very similar to the one I was required to use almost 20 years earlier. In 2010, after one year of using this basal program, my frustrations were many.
    • Putting Books to Work

    Putting Books to Work: ODETTE'S SECRETS

    While living in Paris, Macdonald became intensely interested in what life was like for French Jews during WWII. She was particularly drawn to the lives and stories of Jewish children. She began reading avidly about this time period and discovered that...
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