The Engaging Classroom

    • 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.
    • In Other Words

    Keeping It Real: A Plea for Holistic Teaching

    The festive season is upon us and we know that primary teachers across the land are flat out trying to keep some academics going, amidst the Christmas concert preparations—pardon me, Winter Celebrations. Then it’s the small gifts for parents, special art activities, and so on.
    • Teaching Tips

    To Teach Writing, You Have to Be A Writer

    I, like many people, did not have a love for teaching writing. Not because writing, as a subject, is not interesting, rather writing requires grading/scoring stacks of papers with a wide variation of writing abilities, styles, and attitudes.
    • In Other Words

    Making Motivational Reading Choices

    Teaching children to read and write is a challenging and complex process; however, without considering student motivation it becomes a daunting task. Motivation is often overlooked and is one of the most essential components of helping children grow as readers and writers.
    • Quiet! Teacher in Progress

    A Love Letter to Teachers

    To Those Who Give It Their All on a Daily Basis:
    Let me start by saying thank you. Thank you for showing up each and every day, not just on holidays, and giving it your all. You are magnificent and deserve a moment to celebrate YOU.
    • Putting Books to Work

    Putting Books to Work: WANT TO GO PRIVATE?

    Abby is a seemingly typical 14-year-old girl whose story begins as she discusses her fears about starting high school the next day with her best friend, Faith. Faith, however, is excited about this next step in their lives and she embraces high school and new friends with enthusiasm, leaving Abby to feel more and more isolated.
    • Teaching Tips

    Vocabulary Voyage: How a Spontaneous Lesson Became a Favorite Strategy

    Every teacher knows that the best-laid lessons can sometimes go awry. Instruction that has been planned to the very last detail, with an impressive array of modeling, differentiation, and gradual release of responsibility can fall apart once it’s presented to students.
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