The Engaging Classroom

    • 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...
    • Teaching Tips

    Tips for Gamifying Your Classroom

    In the fall of 2012, during my first semester as a middle school language arts teacher, I taught my classes as a multi-player game (MPG). At the start of the year, I invited my students into a world I'd created and dubbed Veritas, and I asked them to take part in an adventure that would weave together tales from our literature study and narratives of their own making.
    • Putting Books to Work

    Putting Books to Work: THE CART THAT CARRIED MARTIN

    THE CART THAT CARRIED MARTIN is an easy to understand look at the funeral of Martin Luther King, Jr. The story follows the funeral processions of King that happened in an unusual way. A man of great principles and convictions had a humble beginning and his funeral procession mirrored this fact.
    • In Other Words

    This I Resolve in Annum Comminus Summa

    As with most folks, when the New Year strikes I reach down deep, look into my heart and make commitments to the twelve months ahead that I hope won’t implode by Martin Luther King Day. This year is no different. And being that we are now in Annum Comminus Summa (that’s Latin for Year of Common Core, btw…or so says Google Translate), here’s a list of a few things I hope to gain mastery over...
    • Teaching Tips

    Can We Play Now?

    When I meet up with a group of teachers it is difficult to get us off the topic of teaching in today’s classroom. There are so many opinions about new standards, testing, teacher evaluations…the list goes on. We have a hard time talking about anything else because we are so consumed by the changes we see in our work lives.
    • Quiet! Teacher in Progress

    Resolve to Own Your Fabulous

    Happy New Year, everyone! (Although, really, I see the world through the eyes of a teacher and therefore firmly think of the “new year” as starting in September, but we can roll with convention a bit, can’t we?) How are you doing on making (and keeping) those resolutions? Broke one already? Have yet to come up with one? Well, I have an idea to add to the list. You ready? Stop self-bullying.
    • In Other Words

    Make Prediction Your Favorite Formative Assessment Strategy

    As part of the team who collected data for MOSAIC OF THOUGHT, I was exposed to prediction as a piece of comprehension. Since then, I have found prediction is a useful formative assessment strategy from different perspectives.
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