Wondering how to teach digital literacy? Teach your students how to use internet resources, think critically, and evaluate websites. A list of ten ways to strengthen digital literacy in your classroom. Number 2 is my favorite!

The internet is a wonderful place where you can learn all kinds of amazing things. The internet is a terrifying place — where you can learn all kinds of amazing things. Both of these statements are true!  Parents and teachers alike can see the benefits and perils of online information for children.  When our students are young and there is good parental and classroom control, using the internet is not too scary or dangerous.  But take a step into the… Read more »

    The first day of school is full of organizing, paper passing, and expectations.  While kids are happy to reconnect with friends, the business of the first day can be draining.  That’s why playing a game on the first day is a great way to engage students. I play Scattergories throughout the year with my class as a review game, but it’s also a great way to start the school year.  If your students will  work often in cooperative groups… Read more »

Get ready for school with this top ten list!

A Top Ten List for Back-to-School for ELA Teachers It’s back to school y’all!  (or as our students love to say, “All of y’all!”) Whether you’re a new or seasoned teacher — or somewhere in the middle — you’ll find you’re quickly caught up in the current of the school year.  Don’t forget to take a few minutes to set your goals and priorities for the year. I wrote this list for my nephew, who was preparing to start his… Read more »

When I was in middle school, I remember the excitement of hearing my teacher proclaim dramatically that today we would do “Creative Writing” as if it were a magical, once-a-year event (which, unfortunately, it was!).  I loved “creative” writing so much that I wrote my own stories at home.  Sure, school had plenty of writing practice, but it was reports, papers, essays…nothing that captured my attention like “Creative Writing!” Hopefully in today’s classrooms, “creative writing” isn’t something that we do… Read more »

After my post yesterday on the Periscope App, I spent some time brainstorming ways teachers could use the app in their classroom and school.  I’ve come up with quite a list, if I do say so myself! School Use for Periscope 1.  Principal morning message to teachers.  Rather than sending out a daily email to teachers, the principal could create a scope.  Think of all the positive energy a happy, enthusiastic scope would be to teachers. 2.  Email blast from… Read more »

Since last week, the Periscope app has been all over the Facebook pages, Instagram feeds, and blogs that I frequent (though it was launched in March). Periscope is a video that you share with viewers.  Viewers can interact with you by adding comments or floating hearts (so delightful!).  The video is available for 24 hours.  Viewers = the entire planet!! Like any new piece of technology, teachers immediately begin wondering how they can use it to meet the needs of their students…. Read more »

I’m participating in A Dab of Glue Will Do’s “Winner Wednesday” giveaway today. I’ve chosen Reading Badges:  Use genre stickers to motivate reading  for the giveaway.   I love this product because it motivates students to read a variety of genre– and adds a bit of competition to the mix.  There are 16 badges — 4 badges celebrate reading achievements or favorite books.  Just like those Boy Scout and Girl Scout badges that encourage kids to try new things and learn new… Read more »

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”4″ gal_title=”freedom”] After finishing the last post about how a writer’s notebook differs from a writing journal, I was thinking about how choice is so important to students. It’s difficult to allow students to choose what to write when we have to teach a narrative, a persuasive essay, an argument, comparison contrast, etc. etc. Not to mention, students need to learn how respond to a timed writing prompt. It is often easier to just give the assignment and move… Read more »

  At some time in your students’ academic lives, they have probably kept a journal.  Journals are wonderful teaching tools — they help students reflect on their learning, expand their understanding, make hypotheses…and so on.  The great thing about learning journals is that nearly any discipline can use them — math, science, social studies.  They are a flexible, wonderful teaching tool.  A journal prompt directs the student’s writing to address a specific task. But a writer’s notebook is a different… Read more »

The world of teachers very well may be divided into those who organize with binders and those who organize with folders. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, but if you’re in the binder camp, there is one tool you cannot live without:  a high-quality three-hole punch. This is an “essential” tool.   I received this “serious” hole punch as a gift my first year of teaching — I’d put it on my “wish list” and was lucky enough to… Read more »