Kindergarten Readiness: 10 MORE Things Your Child Should Know

Last week, I explored the academic side of Kindergarten readiness. But school readiness is not all about regurgitating facts because some things just cannot be measured. One child's brain development differs from another's, but there are many things that teachers look for that have nothing to do with intelligence. Here are 10 more things to [...]

Lit Circles in the Middle: Procedures for Middle School Literature Circles

This is my second year trying Literature Circles with my students. The first time, two years ago, I had seniors. They were extremely motivated and self-sufficient. I gave them a checklist of things I wanted them to produce, I sat in on their discussions, and they went really well. This year I am trying it [...]

Kindergarten Readiness: 10 Things Your Child Should Know

It's almost Kindergarten readiness screening time for my school, and it is exciting to see the new faces that will walk through our doors come September. But it can also be a very frustrating time for Kindergarten teachers because it seems that our little angels with their shining eyes enter with an ever-shrinking knowledge base. [...]

Using Literature Circles with YA Historical Fiction

As English teachers, we are constantly told that "choice matters" and "choice gives students a voice." Multiple experts (Kelly Gallagher, Penny Kittle, Donalyn Miller, Nancie Atwell, Harvey Daniels, just to name a few) have written multiple books and articles on the topic. But I think many teachers struggle with how to incorporate choice into a [...]

Bringing Kids Together

Each teacher has a favorite. Favorite subject, favorite activity, favorite lesson.  Three years ago I started one of my favorites.  Each year we start January with "Where I'm From".  The students reflect on where they are from and what makes them who they are.  While reflecting on themselves and where they are from, students can focus [...]