tea and books

6 Commitments for De-Stressing My Life

I am an expert in is feeling stressed out. I would describe my baseline emotion as a constant low-level panic. Sometimes family members ask me, “What are you so stressed out about?” The answer is nothing and everything. I’ve always been a worrier. That’s my personality. Chronic stress can lead to a variety of real […]

Trying Out Mastery Grading

What I Was Thinking Pretty much anyone who has been teaching a long time has figured out that traditional grading systems don’t work. Last spring, during my nineteenth year teaching 7th and 8th grade English, I decided to do something about it. Without getting too deep into my disillusionment with traditional letter grades, I’ll just […]

Top 5 Things I Learned at CSLA 2019

First of all, I learned way more than five things at the 2019 California School Library Association Conference, but I don’t have a ton of time to write, so…five it is. Who does not love a good conference? There’s something about the feeling of collegiality and enthusiasm you get from being around people who are […]

Not Another Poster Project

What I’m Thinking About: Students need to do research. They need a way to report the facts they’ve learned. Posters are a time honored way for students to show what they’ve learned with a little bit of artistic panache. That said, how many poster projects does the typical junior high student complete in a year? […]

4 EASY Digital Tools for Starters and Exit Tickets

When it comes to entry routines—whether we call them starters, bell ringers, or do nows—I have tried every system you can think of. Now that my students have iPads, there are even more options. Over the past year, I’ve experimented quite a bit with different digital tools for formative assessment and engagement.  This blog will […]