The Engaging Classroom

    • 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.
    • Teaching in ACTion

    Have You Participated in a Twitter Book Club?

    Twitter booksMarjie Podzielinski from IRA's Advisory Committee of Teachers (ACT) recommends #titletalk, #sharpshu, #txlchat, and #IRAchat Twitter chats.
    • In Other Words

    What the ConnectED Initiative Looks Like in Real Life

    President Obama’s ConnectED Initiative has taken full flight in Huntsville City Schools as our district continues the 1:1 learning journey into year two of digital learning. Moving to a 1:1 digital learning environment has invited educators into the world of today's students...
    • In Other Words

    Use Edu-Gaming to Develop Reading Proficiency

    Classroom practices are constantly changing. From loose-leaf paper and no. 2 pencils, to iPads and gaming apps, it’s important that teachers are evolving with the times and instructing children in ways that are conducive to their individual learning styles. Students who are uninterested and unmotivated have impacted us all.
    • In Other Words

    Always a Place for Picture Books

    I often rail against the grown-ups who want to push their children out of picture books too early. At first I feared that I was becoming that which I preach against, but I reassured myself that I had remained in tune with my daughter's comfort level.
    • In Other Words

    The Reading Experience: Where Are Our Children?

    On a rainy day, I curl up in an overstuffed armchair reading a good book while munching on a chocolate crunch bar. I travel through dark forests looking for a mysteriously lost key with Nancy Drew. I search unexplored territories in the land of Narnia with Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy.
    • Quiet! Teacher in Progress

    Student Struggles: Let it Marinate

    Lately, every conversation I have with teachers centers on their frustration that many of their students struggle to initiate, complete, or problem solve any sort of task independently. Let’s see if any of this sounds familiar, shall we?
    • Teaching Tips

    With Classroom Clocks Ticking, Is there Time for Fictional Text?

    Many of us grew up listening to and learning from fiction. In fact, we have wonderful memories of those stories, and there is a certain comfort level we associate with them. However, the current educational emphasis is focused on the use of informational texts. With research and the English Language Arts Common Core State Standards (ELA CCSS) encouraging us to use more informational texts with children, is there any time left in our classroom for fiction?
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