Lesson Plans

How to write unit plans that you'll actually use

Unit Planning (for units you’ll actually use)

Teaching with a unit plan makes your weekly lesson planning a snap.  It also helps you organize and plan your year.  Here are some quick steps to unit planning that will really work! If you’ve already created a year long plan, you’ll use that to pick the unit you want to create.  If your yearlong plan […] Read more…

Use a time audit to help students manage their time

Strengthen Student Time Management Skills with Time Audits

If you assign homework, even if it’s just daily reading, you’ve probably encountered this excuse for incomplete work: “I didn’t have time…” Perhaps you’ve even had parents send notes or emails repeating the same thing — their child didn’t have time to complete homework. Kids are busy — that’s true, but are they managing their […] Read more…

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…

Host a Teach-In for Earth Day

Earth Day ♥ Earth Day is a wonderful celebration, and perhaps your school is extending activities for more than one day.  But, we all want every day to be Earth Day!  That’s why extending Earth Day into a “teach-in” is a great way to end the year.  What’s a Teach-In…Sounds Hippy-ish Get out your love beads, […] Read more…

Refresh your semester with these three ideas!

Teacher Talk: Refresh your Second Semester

My favorite yoga teacher, Melanie, likes to say, “The left side is the side of wisdom.” Meaning that after you’ve held that grueling series of poses on the right side, you are now going to hold them on the left…and you know what’s coming!  Calling it “wisdom” instead of “dread” is certainly a more positive […] Read more…

How to Teach Creative Writing All Day

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 […] Read more…

Weather Poems

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 […] Read more…