I Experienced How it Feels to Have a Learning Disability…This is What it Was Like

I’ve worked with students who struggle with learning disabilities for many years. If school was always easy for you, like it was for me, it can be hard to relate to the challenges these students face. Frustratingly, I often meet teachers, parents, and other students who seem to lack empathy and patience when working with students with disabilities. When one of my co-workers introduced me … Continue reading I Experienced How it Feels to Have a Learning Disability…This is What it Was Like

Five Ways to Engage Kids at the End of The Year

As spring fever begins to set in, teaching becomes much more difficult. Students and teachers alike are reflecting on the year gone by, but mostly dreaming of summer. Here are five ways I like to keep students engaged at this time of year: Writing thank you notes to school staff members. This is a great way to show gratitude for all of the people who … Continue reading Five Ways to Engage Kids at the End of The Year

Help! My Students Can’t Define Words Using Context Clues!

My middle school students struggle daily with the task of identifying unknown words. Students who don’t spend a lot of free time reading are especially at risk for lacking vocabulary knowledge, and there is only so much time in the school day to teach all of the words students should know. I like to share this image with my students at the beginning of the … Continue reading Help! My Students Can’t Define Words Using Context Clues!

Why We Need to Read Aloud to Big Kids

“Reading is the skill.” –Doug Lemov, Teach Like a Champion. As kids get older, teachers tend to do fewer and fewer read-alouds. This robs students of a valuable experience and makes them feel that reading is no longer fun. There are so many reasons why I make reading aloud a priority in my middle school classroom. I have always found that middle schoolers and high … Continue reading Why We Need to Read Aloud to Big Kids

Can America Teach Like Finland?

The teacher community recently came together on social media (with the hashtags #readlikeateacher and #teachlikefinland) over Timothy Walker’s Teach Like Finland: 33 Simple Strategies for Joyful Classrooms. He writes about his experience teaching first in the United States and then in Finland. The premise of the book is that Finland outranks every country in the world in student performance on reading, math, and science as measured by … Continue reading Can America Teach Like Finland?

Five Free ELA Printables for Flu-Season Sub Plans

Flu season is upon us, so I wanted to compile some of my favorite free resources for last-minute sub plans. Everything I’ve chosen is 100% free and ready to print. These resources don’t take a lot of explanation, and can be easily implemented by a sub. They’re purposeful and provide practice on important skills. Read on! Erin Cobb has a series she calls “Short Story … Continue reading Five Free ELA Printables for Flu-Season Sub Plans

The Hands-On Formative Assessment Strategy that Students and Teachers Love

Halfway through my first year of teaching, a student asked me, “why don’t we ever do anything fun in English class?” I knew I had a problem. Next door, the math teacher was running games and activities several times a week, but I felt like I didn’t know where to start with that in ELA. My favorite strategy I’ve discovered to encourage collaboration and interaction … Continue reading The Hands-On Formative Assessment Strategy that Students and Teachers Love