writing

nine ways to speed up grading, save time, and get your weekends back!

9 Ways to Save Time while Grading Student Writing

I recently saw an Instagram image of a teacher’s stack of grading for the weekend — next to a ruler.  She had three inches of grading to do (insert sobbing here!). When you were getting certified to teach ELA, they didn’t tell you the unspoken secret:  you will be doing a LOT of grading.  A […] Read more…

15 ways to teach gratitude in the classroom.

Ways to Teach Gratitude in the Classroom

You don’t need an advanced degree to know that we can benefit from practicing gratitude.  As a teacher, you are in a unique and powerful position to help your students consider, think about, and practice gratitude. The benefits of developing gratitude (for all of us): improved relationships better health better sleep less stress improve empathy […] Read more…

Three Fun Writing Activities to Charge Up Students

Need to charge up your students?  Here are three quick fun writing activities you can use to engage them at any time.  They are great when: there are 20 minutes before the assembly starts one class gets ahead of another – and you need a “holding” lesson until you can get your classes aligned students […] Read more…

5 ways to teach descriptive writing to your students

Five Ways to Practice Descriptive Writing

As a writing teacher, you probably feel like your mantra is “show don’t tell!”  Getting students to write descriptively is a real challenge.  Here are five writing challenges and prompts to try. 1. Do they understand what you mean by descriptive writing? (and can they find it?) Here is where a mentor text will help.  […] Read more…

How to create a yearlong plan to teach (all the) writing

A yearlong plan will help you teach (all the) writing; it will save you time and energy — and help you remain accountable for what you’re expected to teach this year. The yearlong plan – your map Your district or school may provide you with a year-at-a-glance (yearlong plan) that provides you with quarterly writing […] Read more…

Get your students excited about research with these seven steps.

How to Get Your Students Excited about Research

              Research should be fun!  Yet it often involves restricted topics, rules, and requirements that can limit a student’s natural curiosity and enthusiasm.  Encourage students to follow their questions by implementing simple, small research activities about topics they are curious about. Go Old School:  Use Research Notebooks I loved […] Read more…

Upcycle school supplies to create a fun notebook or journal.

Year-End Project: Upcycled Notebooks

The end of the school year or semester is wonderful and exciting …except for the waste. Rather than having students chunk their partially used notebooks into the recycling bin, have them upcycle them by creating new notebooks.  Students can create their own reading journals! Earth Day was just a few weeks ago, so students just […] Read more…

Create a fun journal jar for your students.

Make your own Journal Jar

A journal jar is a great way to offer students choices during writer’s workshop or journaling time. I’ve always loved using a journal jar.  In the past, my journal jar consisted of topics written on strips of paper and stuck into a jar.  Students could pick a slip, glue it to the top of their […] Read more…

Use a Writing Scheduler to keep writing projects under control.

Teacher Talk: Keep Writing Tasks on Track

Remember September?  When the school year stretched out before you — lots of time to do lots of teaching. Then, suddenly, it’s January.  Testing (might be) looming in the near future, you have a pile of standards to get through…why are there so many daily distractions that keep us from teaching content material?!  And let’s […] Read more…

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