Quickwrites Are For All

Ever find yourself looking for a quick activity that has value for your learners but doesn't require a lot of prep or extra work on your part? I think most educators find themselves in this position occasionally, whether it is an activity to kick off the class period, the learning session, or the conference workshop. A powerful but often overlooked tool in our arsenal is the quickwrite. Some of you are already thinking, that's great, but I don't teach English. I know, but the quickwrite is a flexible tool that all subjects, except maybe physical education (PE) and fitness/conditioning, can use daily, weekly, or periodically.

Color Me Impressed

As I prepared my room for the new school year back in August, I did a lot of thinking about the hallway bulletin board that is under my control. I hate doing bulletin boards, generally speaking. In this post, I walk through the process of creating an interactive bulletin board for students to color.

Creativity: A Skill We All Need to Foster and Protect

Believe it or not, and I am constantly surprised by the number of educators who don't believe it, the research is clear on all of the ways that students' success, creativity, and growth are harmed by extrinsic motivators. This leaves many educators, including my research partner, Kristy Graber, and me, searching for ways to eliminate rewards while equipping students with the gear needed to strengthen these areas. This can be especially challenging considering how prevalent rewards are in daily life. Here is the last portion of our research paper that I have condensed into a blog post.

Everyone Needs a Throwing Partner

My son Ryan plays travel baseball and high school baseball, and he is fortunate to get to play both of those with his cousin Hayden. They are three weeks apart in age, so they naturally get to do a lot of things together. However, having the same throwing partner for both the travel team and the high school team is pretty cool. Your throwing partner is important, so having the right one is crucial.

Creativity: A Much Needed Skill

"I'm not creative" is something I have heard everywhere I have taught, uttered by student and educator alike. In fact, one of the first things that drew me to Dave Burgess, author of Teach Like A PIRATE, was his stance on creativity. In his book and in person, Dave talks about creativity and the hard work it entails.

Classroom Community Building

Relationships between students and their teachers are important, but so are the relationships built in class between classmates. While pacing guides and other curriculum demands can become overwhelming fast, there are some easy ways to work in relationship building too. New students popping in throughout the school should definitely be a reminder to add team building or relationship building into your plans, but the truth is that all students benefit with regular or periodic activities that help them get to know their classmates.

10 Interviewing Tips for Educators

Spring is around the corner, and in the world of education, that means we will begin to say goodbye to friends and colleagues and begin welcoming new ones. Maybe you will be the one leaving this year, maybe you are the one doing the hiring. Whatever the case, we are all familiar with the spring routine in schools. Let’s take a dive into the two areas and ten tips that make a candidate stand out above the rest.

5 TECH Inclusive Platforms

If you have never considered how tech can make your class more inclusive, I encourage you to do so. If you have considered ways to meet the needs of your students in more diverse ways while helping to build a positive culture in your class, then this post may be just a refresher for you. I will briefly feature Pear Deck, Buncee, Microsoft tools, Wakelet, and Flipgrid to show how these tech tools can help you create that inclusive classroom we all need.

I Call Cap On That

I am a big proponent of turning over areas of lesson designing to students. While I head into class with a clear outline of what I want students to accomplish, I am more than willing to give them the opportunity to refine the details of my plan's execution. When it comes to building game elements into a lesson, my students are the pros at making it more fun for them while at the same time, retaining or enhancing the impact on their learning. So take the following learning activity, try it in your classroom, then encourage your students to find ways to improve it.

Microsoft Literacy Tools and More

As an English teacher, reading as always been a love of mine personally, as well as a focus of mine professionally. As a high school teacher, though, I have not been taught HOW to teach the reading skills. My expertise is in the analysis and comprehension of texts, so when the district begins to talk about having the English teachers facilitate reading intervention, I throw up my hand to point out that I have no literacy training. I'm probably not the only teacher this has happened to, and if we're being honest, it is up to everyone in a district to ensure all students can read and have the tools necessary to help them be successful readers.