Quick and Dirty Exam Review

Gulp!  Next week is End of Course exam for Texas high school teachers.  The kids either know the content or they don't.  It's too late to cram a year's worth of learning into a week.  However, we can prepare the kids for test format and expectations. I've created a quick presentation to give ourselves a... Continue Reading →


Persuasive Essays that Shine

Time for STAAR EOC Persuasive Essay Tricia Ebarvia, in her blog entry “'Teachable Alternatives' to the 5-Paragraph Essay" for Moving Writers, revisits Gretchen Bernabei's kernel essays, making them more relevant for older students.   Ebarvia provides sensible, real-world text structure alternatives to the five-paragraph essay formula and generously shares her resources.  Authentic mentor texts are now... Continue Reading →

Free Little Library

When your classroom library outgrows your shelf space...  First World problem solution!  Minnesota teacher Gerrie Nielson shares her love for reading with her campus by keeping an empty locker filled with free books donated by the school and city library.  Brilliant!

Differentiating Instruction

If you have English Learners or Special Ed students in your classes reading significantly below reading level, this web site may help:  Rewordify. This site adjusts the Lexile of any reading selection.  You either select classic literature in public domain or cut and paste your own reading material into the online service.  Anything.  Articles, poetry,... Continue Reading →

Performance Dip

Most of us have at least a couple of weeks under our belts this school year.  If your new school year is anything like all of my startups, you have been directed asked by your administrators to implement some initiatives. Teachers love new initiatives.  We love going to PD. We love receiving a big binder... Continue Reading →

Safe to Smile

The first day of school sets the tone.  If you come across as an old-school ogre, it'll be Christmas before you're kids will feel safe around you.  So smile.  Make a positive first impression.  Build relationships.  Start as you mean to go on. Begin school on day one with your most engaging, well-crafted lesson.  Include... Continue Reading →

Fake Reading

I just read a great article that offers tips to combat "fake reading" and to build genuine reading stamina -- something our kids are sorely lacking. In Berit Gordon's article "Choice Reading and the Class Novel: The Cure for Fake Reading," she advocates teaching close reading skills through teacher-selected passages of class novels.  To build... Continue Reading →

Reading and Writing Strategies

AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) has done an awesome job scouring the planet for research-based best practices designed to optimize student learning.  They've sequenced and bundled these strategies so students could be explicitly taught how to learn.  But, the strategies are great in isolation when used to support non-AVID lessons that need scaffolding. I've searched... Continue Reading →

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