Gamification in the Classroom: Level 3 — Game On

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: Implementation after the First Six Weeks (TBA) Launching I'm using Google Sites [...]

Gamification in the Classroom: Level 2 — Incorporating the Standards

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? [...]

Red Pen Tidbits 10 (the end): Using articles — a, an, & the

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 [...]

Red Pen Tidbits 8: Commonly Confused Words

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 [...]

7 Types of Phrases That Add Detail to Your Writing — Author Toolbox

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, [...]

4 Steps for Setting up a Writer’s Notebook (Classroom Edition)

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 [...]

Writing Goals for the Classroom — 2018 Edition

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 [...]

Empowering Students One Phase at a Time — Innovative Teaching Academy

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 [...]

3 Personal Fallacies of Writing a First Draft – Author Toolbox

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 [...]

Avoiding Writer’s Block in 4 Steps

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 [...]