What does summer vacation mean to you? We can all agree that teachers work really hard.  But, our summer “to do” lists are often full of more work!  Closets to be cleaned, files organized, lessons planned, books to be read…the list is as bottomless as a pile of papers to be graded! Encourage the teachers in your life to take some time this summer for themselves.  Relax, enjoy the outdoors, read just for fun (to quote my sister:  “Every book… Read more »

The last quarter of the school year can be exhausting.  If your school has testing, there may be several weeks left in the year that you and your students are watching the clock. Try out something fun to end the year. 1.  Go back to September.  Think about the ideas you had at the beginning of the school year that somehow got pushed to the side.  Dust them off and try them out!  Wanted to do interactive notebooks but didn’t… Read more »

I am not artistic, but I love to decoupage.  Collage and glue — right up my unartistic alley! A few summers ago I made this stool for my classroom.  My students loved it but were only allowed to use it as the “author’s chair” when they were reading something they’d written to the class.  Fellow teachers borrowed it for poetry readings or special events, and it was easy to toss it in my car at the end of the year… Read more »

Book Talks Books talks are a great way to reinvigorate reading in your classroom.  Students enjoy talking about the current books they’re reading without a lot of additional folderol (ha!  I didn’t know that was a real word!). I have my students present book talks once a month.  I post a sign up sheet for two or three a day — it’s a great way to start class, get students comfortable with public speaking, and get my students new titles… Read more »

You can and should teach poetry all year! Here is how.

T.S. Elliot may have written that “April is the cruellest month,” but January through March can be pretty ruthless!  Snow days interfere with the flow of your class and students feel antsy if they can’t get outside because of wind chill factors.  Not to mention that anything happening outside the windows of a middle school classroom is infinitely more interesting than what’s going on inside:  “I see a squirrel!”  (All students rush to the window.  Lesson over.) A fun quick… Read more »