how to use rafts to teach writing

Why RAFTs encourage creative writing

Use RAFT prompts engage students in creative writing responses to engage students in writing that is exciting and imaginative. All writing should be creative — no matter what the subject. But, too often the prompts we provide our students are dull. No wonder we’re nodding off as we grade! By using RAFT as a formula […] Read more…

What are you teaching in September

What to teach in September

Capitalize on the energy and enthusiasm students (and you!) have at the start of the year — and plan middle school activities and your September lesson plans that will help you establish routines and set expectations for a successful year. What will your September lesson plans look like? The problem with September We start the […] Read more…

How to run successful book talks

Book Talks in Middle School

Books talks are a great way to invigorate reading in your classroom.  Students enjoy talking about the books they’re reading, and this can create a reading “buzz” in your class. Here are the steps to creating successful book talks with your students: What are book talks? Before you launch into them, what are they? Book […] Read more…

tips for successful independent reading in middle school

Independent reading in Middle School

If you want your students to read – or read more, check out these suggestions for making independent reading more successful. First: get to know your students as readers Start the year by giving your students a short survey. My favorite questions are: How do you feel about reading? Why? What is hard about reading? […] Read more…

top ten tips for back to school

Top Ten List for Back-to-School

There is nothing like a top ten list for back to school to get you ready for the start of a new year! 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 […] Read more…

Decoupage a Classroom “Author’s Chair”

Decoupage a boring stool or chair to create an author’s chair that will give your students a special place to sit and share their writing. Here’s how: 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 […] Read more…

Healthy teacher habits

Healthy Teacher: 9 Tips for Eating Right

Make healthy habits one of your top priorities this school year! Here are nine tips to help you do just that! Your classroom is decorated, supplies are sorted, the Dollar Store has been ravaged, class lists are printed, lockers assigned, books sorted…yes, you feel ready for your students. But something is missing. It’s not the […] Read more…

Tips for better classroom management

5 Tips to Better Classroom Management

A “perfect” class doesn’t just happen.  It is created through consistent, compassionate, and well-planned classroom management strategies. Here are five tips to help you get started! When you’re studying to be a teacher, you dream of a classroom filled with eager, well-behaved children enraptured by your carefully-crafted lessons.  Then you step into your first classroom…and […] Read more…

Tips for preventing teacher burnout and improving your teaching life

Avoid teacher burnout: unwind!

Teacher burnout is real — and it is easy to feel like you’ve used up every bit of your energy and reserve at the end of a stressful semester or school year. Here are some ways to get back your energy. It happens to all of us — we have a stressful year of teaching. […] Read more…

Tips and checklist for organizing the end of the school year.

End of the Year Teacher Checklist

No matter what time of year school ends for you, there seems to be an endless list of items to do before you can head off for vacation. After the fun of the end of the year, this year-end teacher checklist will help you wrap up your year. Build your checklist Before you start throwing […] Read more…

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