826 Digital for High-Quality, Engaging Writing Activities

The team at 826 has done it again. I know this has been out for awhile but I finally had a chance to peruse the lessons and writing activities available at 826 Digital. This FREE platform has a ton of exciting writing lessons, projects, and “spark” for students in grade 1 to grade 12. Actually, […]

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 […]

Digital Writing with iPads: Googly Tip #1 = Using Google Keep for Research

What I’m Thinking About: My school district went 1:1 with iPads this fall. After of years of struggling to schedule time with the Chromebook cart or in the computer lab, my students finally have consistent, daily access to technology. The main challenge, and this is for teachers more than students, has been learning how iPads […]

A Case for End-of-Year Portfolios

I am a big believer in portfolios, especially writing portfolios. But, like teachers everywhere, I never have enough time to teach everything I think my students need. It is tempting to skip the end-of-semester portfolio. We already did the writing once. Why should we do it again? I know it takes time, but I don’t skip […]

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Where’s Your Evidence?

I teach seventh grade. In my universe, citing evidence is not intuitive or automatic. It is a skill we work on all year with varying levels of success. Students love to say how they feel about something they’ve read. They don’t always love supporting that idea with evidence from the text.To be honest, I haven’t […]

Academic Discussion Norms

Class Discussions That Run Themselves

What I Was Thinking… Much of my classroom instruction revolves around the fifteen cognitive strategies Carol Booth Olson describes in her book The Reading Writing Connection.  If you have not yet heard of Olson’s strategies, they name and explain processes strong readers and writers undergo as they build understanding. For specific details about cognitive strategies, click […]