Category: Uncategorized

The Gratitude Project (2018)

Last year, a few days before Thanksgiving, I began what I affectionately call “The Gratitude Project.” (You can read read more about it HERE and HERE.) Essentially, I forced my students–and myself–to carve out some time to reflect on the Good in our lives. We…

The Importance of Choice

Penny Kittle said,  “A book isn’t rigorous if students aren’t reading it.” This single statement has shaped my teaching career more than just about anything else. And for my first fifteen years, my students (and, chances are, probably yours, too) simply weren’t reading. I…

Authors Who Inspire

Since reading is the inhale and writing is the exhale, our Creative Writing class reflected on which authors have inspired the inner writers in each of us. Take a look at the community slidedeck that we created! (Use the control bar to control the…

When Numbahs Don’t Lie (2017-8)

Students can’t be reduced to a number. They can’t be defined by their results on a common assessment, reduced to where they fall on a state test, nor limited by their SAT/ACT scores. However, sometimes numbers don’t lie. With a towering goal of helping…

Teaching Style: The Art of Repetition

Most honors students enter my classroom in the fall with the ability to craft organized, error-free writing. Which is fabulous. However, most students don’t have the tools to take their writing to the next level. (And based on the Traits of an Honors Student, taken from the Honors…

The Gratitude Project–Part 2 (2017)

A few days before Thanksgiving, I asked my high school students to take an inventory of what they were thankful for this year.  They knew ahead of time that I would be sharing their lists, and, as promised, I emailed the class projects to…

The Gratitude Project–Part I (2017)

I’m sort of done with the news. Except for the whole I-don’t-want-to-be-ignorant part. With each shooting, political scandal, and social media war, it’s hard not to head into the holidays with a heavy heart. And our students feel it, too. Maybe more than we…

The Dangers of Landscaping

Teachers don’t have favorites. Sure, and Mom didn’t like me best because I was the baby. However, there are definitely those students whose growth leaves us beaming with pride, whose writing leaves a lasting impression, whose authenticity leaves us questioning how we can help fix…

When Numbahs Don’t Lie (2016-7)

Students can’t be reduced to a number. They can’t be defined by their results on a common assessment, reduced to where they fall on a state test, nor limited by their SAT/ACT scores. However, sometimes numbers don’t lie. With a towering goal of helping…

Explainer Videos 101

In a world of Common-Assessment-This and District-Determined-Measures-That, it’s more important than ever to allow our students to show their learning in  non-standardized ways as well. Enter: the Explainer Video. An Explainer Video is a real-world digital tool that can be found on virtually every…

PostSecret: Where Language, Art, and Vulnerability Collide

Sometimes the best ideas begin with a dream. And the PostSecret project is no exception. This ongoing community art project was born in 2005 to proud parent Frank Warren. After visiting Paris–where he experienced a lucid dream, he returned to the states and began disseminating postcards…

“We STILL Hear America Singing”: A Collaborative Poem

Our American Lit students are examining the role that individualism plays in American society. After studying Walt Whitman’s “I Hear America Singing” (and Langston Hughes’ response, “I, Too“), my juniors, as a class, created their own 21st century anthems below. They were too fabulous…