The Engaging Classroom

    • Teaching Tips

    Note-Taking for Digital Writing

    Note taking is an important skill, and is included in the Common Core Anchor Standards for Writing under “Research to Build and Present Knowledge.”  While taking pen to notecard may be the traditional way to develop a research paper, my classroom is 1:1 Chromebooks, and I wanted a way for students to be able to work on their research outside the classroom, collaborate with peers, and not worry about losing any (or all!) of their work.
    • In Other Words

    Learning Through Serving the Community

    Service-learning is a way of learning with the head, the heart, and hands—a learning that transforms students.
    • Quiet! Teacher in Progress

    Getting to Know Them: What Kind of Readers are Your Students?

    One of the best parts of our job is getting to hang out with a lot of really cool kids all day.  I know sometimes they might forget their homework, or start a fight or, hey, even poop in their pants, but aside from all that most of them they are pretty fabulous.
    • Teaching Tips

    Keeping Communication Open Year-Round

    Now that we have subscribed to Kidblog, our teachers have access to the blogging site year-round to help acclimate our students to utilizing the blog.
    • In Other Words

    Justin Stygles: Light the Fire in Your Students' Eyes

    We shape the future—that is about as tried and true as clichés can be, but it’s very true. As we all prepare to start school again, from Mass Customized Learning to Units of Study to Teacher Evaluation Frameworks, there is one thing that never changes above all else. Are the students ready to come back and are they excited to have YOU as their teacher?
    • Teaching Tips

    'You've Got Mail:' Correspondence at Its Finest

    Our future conversations evolved into something we never expected. Our students developed wonderful friendships via old fashioned pen and paper letters. Thus began the Pen Pal Project.

    • Putting Books to Work

    Putting Books to Work: Where Things Come Back

    John Corey Whaley’s debut novel Where Things Come Back is the winner of the 2012 William C. Morris, and Michael L. Printz awards. The reader may struggle to see parallels between the different characters in the two stories, however, the plots eventually come to focus.
    • Teaching Tips

    Building a Foundation for Writing Success

    Students should start from a successful point and writing should increase in difficulty and rigor throughout the year. Each student will have individual starting points and individual growth, but class whole-group lessons will benefit all. Students may start with writing their names, progress to writing predicable text and repetitive sentences, to constructing stories at varying lengths.
    • In Other Words

    Hard-Copy Graphic Novels Are Vital for ESL Students

    The spread of apps on so-called ‘smartphones’ and other slightly larger handheld devices have enabled readers to view and read massive amounts of content online. But what about adolescent English language learners (ELLs), especially those emigrating and or fleeing from much poorer societies?
    • Teaching Tips

    More Ways to Pitch Graphic Novels

    Have you ever encountered a parent, a teacher, or a librarian who does not support graphic novels? I have. Whenever someone questions why I promote graphic novels, I pull one of the following resources out of my hat...
    • Quiet! Teacher in Progress

    Quiet! Teacher in Progress: Free Your Mind

    Back-to-school is a wonderful time to reflect on what works for you as a teacher as well as what you would like to do differently this year.
    • Teaching Tips

    Best Ever Literacy Tips for Teaching Informational Text Structures

    Focusing on text structures is worth the effort because research suggests that understanding text structure strengthens overall comprehension and may also provide students with models for writing.
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