8
May

Teaching

Why Read?

     If you haven't yet heard my speech on the importance of reading, it's time. I am a BIG proponent of making sure students are reading to improve their skills and comprehension, increase their vocabulary, make life connections, and enjoy the pleasures of getting lost in an adventure or traveling to another place or time without ever leaving their seat! […]

Motivation Cards

Whenever I come across a new way to motivate students, I hold onto it like a lost treasure. I haven't yet found the silver bullet of motivation that works for all students, but I've found something discreet that works for me across multiple age groups. One day, I wrote a note on a 7th grade […]

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

I had an opportunity to spend time celebrating Dr. Seuss Day with a class of second graders.  It's amazing how timeless Dr. Seuss books are - and how timely. We read The Lorax, which brings a strong message to light regarding how we all need to take care of our natural resources. The students are […]

Launching Our First Literacy Fair

Over the summer break, our district toyed with the idea of holding a Literacy Fair during the school year. Much like a Science Fair, the event would consist of each classroom (Grades Kindergarten through 8th) showing off their writing process and samples of their work.  Seemed pretty straightforward. Now we just had to break the […]

Working with Young Writers

One of the things I look forward to each year is my after-school Writing Club.  For 10 weeks, middle school students (aged 12-14) sign up to spend an hour after school with me just...writing.  Luckily, my district recognized that not all students are involved in sports so they agreed to allow me to host a […]

Novel Study: My Experience with THE GIVER

Every year I revisit the novels I want to read with the 7th and 8th grade classes I teach. There are so many new novels out there that middle school students can relate to that cover topics that they are dealing with right now in their lives: bullying, relationships, family dysfunction (or their perception of […]

November Writing Challenge - K-8 (modified NaNoWriMo challenge)

If you haven't heard of it, November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. It's a time for buckling down, setting some word count writing goals, and spitting out an entire novel in one month's time. While I admire anyone who can actually do this (and it would require almost 2000 words a day!) while […]

#rockthedrop: Promoting Teen Reading

I love getting my colleagues involved in helping to get kids to read more. So when the annual #rockthedrop campaign rolls around, I put the call out to all teachers in the building to help out. No matter the subject area, reading is a vital component of learning. All teachers know this, so when the […]

Writing with Senses - Descriptive Writing

One of the first things we try to drill into the heads of young writers is to "write using senses" - describe for the reader using sight, sound, smell, touch.  This is one of my favorite activities for demonstrating to students how they can do that, and all it takes is a trip to the home […]

Middle Schoolers Love Mythology!

If there is one thing I can count on with each new class that I get every year, it's that they will love mythology.  No doubt that they know more than I do about it, as the characters are all around them in video games, movies and books. They are the experts, so my 8th grade Mythology […]