I won’t sugar-coat it… At first, my students were completely confused. That is 100% my fault because I gave them too much too soon.
It's almost time to begin the school year! This will be a short post to show you what we're starting the first week of school! Find out more: Level 1: Getting Started Level 2: Incorporating the Standards Level 3: Game On Level 4: Problem-Solving after the First Six Weeks Launching I'm using Google Sites to [...]
It's been a few weeks since I've updated you on my gamification progress. I'm happy to say, it's going well! In a way, I have "leveled up" by incorporating the standards for my class into my game. Since I'm in Texas, we use the TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills). Why do this? Why not? [...]
What is that big word in your title? Oh! Thank you for asking!
Today is National Teacher Appreciation Day, part of National Teacher Appreciation Week, an annual celebration of teachers that has been observed since the 1980s. To celebrate, I would like to thank the teachers who have most impacted my life from elementary all the way up to those I work with now. If it wasn't for [...]
Today (March 14th) is National Write Down Your Story Day. One of my stories is why I decided to be a teacher, which is not what I wanted to be when I was a kid. In truth, I wanted to be an archeologist for the longest time, but that dream ended in 8th grade after [...]
Happy New Year (and one month)!I haven't written much in quite some time, mostly due to being super busy. But I'm still here, and I'm going to get back on track! You read that right. I plan to get back to my writing so much so that you will be able to read my posts [...]
Welcome back to the final in the series of Red Pen Tidbits (click for a full table of contents)! I will likely revisit this title, but it will no longer be part of a series. Last time we looked at a few of those tricky Verb Tenses. This week as we embark on the end, we'll explore the proper [...]
Welcome back to Red Pen Tidbits (click for a full table of contents)! How has your practice with coordinating conjunctions gone? I hope it was wonderful! This week, we're looking into four pairs of commonly confused words. Sometimes it helps to have some way to remember them, so I'll offer up mnemonic devices when I can! What [...]
Welcome to your crash course in phrases of the dependent variety! Do you feel like you're at school, yet? Don't fret, there's no test. This time. Let's start with the basics: What is a phrase? A phrase is a word or group of words that expresses a single concept within a sentence. It is dependent, [...]
Earlier this week I was asked what it takes to set up writer's notebooks in the classroom: cost, time, content, etc. I shared why I use them in my post last year (The Wonderful World of Writer’s Notebooks), but this post is dedicated to the logistics. (You're welcome, Jeffery Frieden!) To start, let me say that [...]
Back in August, I posted about the changes I'd made to Writing Goals for the Classroom. I also mentioned that they'd probably change again (and hopefully improve) based on student feedback and personal growth. Well... It's time! We've adjusted the format from the first six weeks quite a few times, so I'll walk you through each [...]
When I was a student in middle school and high school, life was simple: go to class, write down the assignment, complete the warm up, listen to the teacher, take notes, read the assigned passages, answer the questions, turn in your work, and repeat tomorrow. Was every class like this? Didn't any class use other [...]
I don't know about you, but one problem for writers is a blank page. What do I write about? This question pops up all too often, and it can keep students from achieving their personal writing goals. Students have loved writing bingo in the past, so I created a Google Form for them to submit [...]
Why are we teaching? What keeps us teaching? What makes us come back after the break (especially after Christmas break)?
People write for all sorts of reasons every single day: send a text or email, leave or make a note, finish something for work or school, jot down a recipe, send a letter, balance a checkbook, make a grocery list, etc. I, too, write America. As a writer and teacher of writing, I'm also excited [...]
We all know that goals are important in our lives; they give us a purpose. Students need that, too. They need a purpose in the classroom, one they choose. I've been incorporating writing goals in our class for the last couple years. They have changed significantly from when I started due to student feedback and [...]
Poetry: a mellifluous word all by itself. Does it sound so beautiful the first time it's written down, though? Or is there a process for writing poetry? That's a hard question to answer. Some poets will say no. Others will say yes. The answer, however, depends on you and the purpose of your poem. For [...]
Too many ideas. A writer's best friend or worst enemy? We can ask the same thing of a first draft. Our hearts start racing and our minds start whirring after the first few sentences. We know we've got this. When does that feeling end? How many of these first drafts do we have? How many [...]
We've all heard of the mysterious writing condition that strikes writer's at the most in-opportune moments: Writer's Block. However, not every writer suffers from this epidemic. Some find their way around it before it even starts. How can they possibly overcome it before it starts? Do these ideas work after it's started? I am a [...]