Embracing discomfort is making me a better teacher

Embracing discomfort is making me a better teacher
Why is it so difficult to take our own advice? I have high expectations for my high school English students. I have even higher expectations for myself. Perfectionism is the antagonist in my story that can swoop in and either push me forward or become a stone wall appearing too impossible to climb. Take a... Read more »

Engaging students in learning does not start or end at school

Engaging students in learning does not start or end at school
Student engagement is a popular subject in education. The questions teachers hear the most include the following: Are you using engaging activities in class? Are you ensuring students are fully engaged in the learning process? The missing ingredient here is the students themselves. Being engaged can be defined as being involved in an activity and being... Read more »

How to ignite kids' passion for learning

How to ignite kids' passion for learning
I recently read an article about how young people should not be given summer reading assignments because they stifle curiosity, creativity, and do not allow young readers the freedom to choose a book they want to read. The writer’s message was something like if the schools do not promote curiosity during the academic year then... Read more »
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Weathering the final days of a school year

Weathering the final days of a school year
Since my last blog post in mid April, the weather has dipped into the 20s, hovered in the low 30s and 40s and then reached highs in the 90s. Inconsistencies like that can downright slap consistency in its face. A spring more like ‘sprinter,’ as a student of mine coined one day in class, can... Read more »

The fine line between teaching and enabling

The fine line between teaching and enabling
This week I introduced an activity that teaches seniors how to cite research articles they will use in their research papers. I broke this lesson down into very manageable parts, but you would have thought I asked the students to write a 10-page essay in 10 minutes. I was met with responses such as this:... Read more »

Teach them process and they will learn how to learn

Teach them process and they will learn how to learn
I recently introduced the process essay to my senior writing class. I do not always teach this essay format, but this year I have really been thinking a lot about how to better guide students towards really learning what process means. The problem as I see it from a teacher perspective is that for many... Read more »
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Thinking before communicating: a new graduation requirement?

Thinking before communicating: a new graduation requirement?
Student A enters the classroom and proclaims, “I don’t want to be here. I hate where I sit.” The student then proceeds to emit commentary throughout class even as the teacher begins the day’s lesson: “This assignment is stupid,” she says. “I don’t like anyone here.” This is not reality TV; however, some days teachers... Read more »

Teaching connectivity, humanity has little to do with a wireless connection

Teaching connectivity, humanity has little to do with a wireless connection
Teachers are consistently trying to find ways to connect how they teach to what their students find interesting. Educators seem to be fixated on social mediums as the portal through which we find that connection. I, for one, have worked hard to figure out how to use mediums such as Facebook and Twitter to get... Read more »

The artistry of grammar

The artistry of grammar
When we focus on the details, we often gain a better view of the big picture. So what happens when we are in too big of a hurry or too fixated on looking at our iPhones to notice the details that, combined, make our worlds beautiful? Details are everywhere and in everything. They are the... Read more »
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Listening Skills 101

Listening Skills 101
The world is loud. It is louder than I ever remember it being. When I was driving home from work yesterday, I not only could hear the music wafting from the car in the lane next to mine, but also I could see the car shaking. Sometimes I leave my living room and come back... Read more »