Posts

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Cults...Do you belong to one? Well if you're a teacher and you don't know about this one, lend me your ear! Cult of Pedagogyis a website that is committed to "making you more awesome in the classroom," which by any English teacher's standards is an understatement. Cult of Pedagogy features blogs, podcasts, and videos that are all centered upon enriching, enlightening, engaging, and I've run out of "e" words. Anyway, let me take you through the blog portion of this site:

Blogs- the blogs are separated into three different categories: The Craft; Go Deep; and Teacher
Soul. Each of these categories is further separated into different educational topics such as: Instruction, Classroom Management, Technology, Learning Theory, Leadership, Career and PD, Book Reviews, Hot Topics, Attitude Adjustments, Working Together,Inspiration, and Stories. My favorite educational topic is the Instruction one. This particular page offers information on the most effective …
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards...I'm sure if you have been through the process, you probably felt a little sick just reading those words, but then you reminded yourself of all the benefits you now reap because of your certification! If you haven't obtained your National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification, now is the time! Here are three, solid reasons why you should pursue NB Certification:

#1 Growth: When you are in the middle of the process, you swear you aren't learning anything, and you would like to pull all of your hair out, particularly eyelashes. You also hate watching yourself on the videos because you have weird mannerisms. Oops, maybe that was more of a personal experience. BUT... When you are on the other end of the process, you understand that even though it might have been a bit painful, you grew and learned so much about who you are as a teacher. Here are some things I learned: A. How I'm not as great of a teacher …
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Seesaw...no, not the kind you find on a dilapidated playground. I'm talking about the Seesaw  Website/App. This website/app was recommended to me by our librarian who is uh-mazing! This resource can be used in many different ways but most teachers use Seesaw for feedback, reflection, assignments, and assessments. Here are a some ways you can use it in your classroom:

1. Flipped Classroom:Seesaw allows teachers to post a recording of themselves instructing on any particular subject. Teachers can then use this recording and post it as an “activity” and ask students to watch it and take notes at home. When students return to class they can focus on what they’ve already learned from the video and move forward with an activity. This minimizes the time the teacher spends “instructing” and leaves more time for discussion, questions,  and/or important activities during the small amount of time in a period/block.

2. Technology Gallery Walks: This is my favorite way to use SeeSaw. I use it a …
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Controversy...I love controversy just as much as any Real Housewife from Bravo TV; wait that's drama not controversy. Anyway, controversy in a classroom can be an eye-opening experience for students, but it takes an abundance of scaffolding before students can have meaningful, civil discourse. So where do you start?

Before one can dip her pedicured toes in discussion strategies like Structured Academic Controversies, one must first teach her students how to listen and talk to one another (click here). I think some people have this idea that we don't have to teach children how to listen, but have you been around any children lately? Why do you think we are now teaching SEL strategies? Moving along, students need guidance when it comes to what active listening is. Before even getting into the discussion part, introduce your students to active listening: "pay attention, show that you're listening, provide feedback, defer judgement, and then appropriately respond" (mi…
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Standards...I'm sure that caught your eye (insert sarcastic tone); it most likely prompted an eye roll, but we all know how important standards are to our teaching. So I ask you these questions: How do you know what you are covering when? How often are you covering the same standards, and what standards are you not consistently covering? And finally, how effective are your units in being the vehicle to help your students become proficient in these standards? Now I got you thinking, or maybe now is the time you go back to Facebook and begin scrolling or trolling again. Well don't because I'm about to make your life easier!

Many of us know to use the backwards design (click here for more info.) method when planning which means we start with the standards and objectives in mind, but are we consistently keeping track of the standards we are covering in each unit? A few years ago, I started keeping track of how many times I cover each standard throughout the year, and then I ass…
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Art in English...Say what? Years ago, when the Common Core Gods created the standards, they placed the "Integrations of Knowledge and Ideas" strand under Reading Literature. Part of this strand states students should "Analyze the representation of a subject or a key scene in two different artistic mediums, including what is emphasized or absent in each treatment." For years, I just ignored this thinking to myself 'What good could analyzing art be in English?' Stop booing me; I realized I was wrong!

After having a come to Yeezus moment, I realized that teaching students to analyze different artistic mediums involves a similar skill set related to closely analyzing literature. When analyzing literature, we tell students to read closely looking for specific details  to better understand the text. We also ask them to consider an author's craft and structure and how the craft and structure helps to reveal important elements of the piece.  Analyzing art can fu…
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I-n-d-e-p-e-n-d-e-n-t, do you know what that mean, mayne? If not, I'm talking about independent reading. It's BAAAAACK... I think there was a time in my career when I felt like silent, independent reading in my classroom looked like I was taking a 15-20 minute break, and I didn't want my evaluator to walk in and see the students just reading! How dare I let them read in class, but I don't care how it looks anymore because it is soooooo good for students.

Here is why I'm bringing back silent reading and more independent reading, in general, as a routine in  my class: Kelly Gallagher and Penny Kittle published a book called 180 Days. In the book, they discuss mapping out a year of reading and independent reading was something they stressed the importance of over and over again. Independent reading doesn't just mean students get to choose whatever book they want to read, but we also teach them how to choose books, read books, understand books, develop an identity a…