Gratitude Makes Us Feel Good

When I was a new teacher, I needed a lot of support. I didn’t have much to offer in return. It felt terrible to be constantly in need. Then I discovered the power of gratitude. Thank goodness my school climate has improved dramatically, but when I began teaching in 2003, it was a hard place…

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Adobe Voice for Classroom Videos

Look at what I created in just a few minutes: I have been searching for ways for students to make digital stories quickly and easily. I think my search has ended.  The answer is Adobe Voice for the iPad.

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Writers’ Workshop Mini Lesson – Introducing Characters

Student writers often have trouble getting started.  While they may have some interesting opening lines, it’s much harder to introduce their protagonist in an engaging way. In this inquiry based writers’ workshop mini lesson, students study the way professional writers handle this problem.

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Making Classroom Board Games Without Lifting A Finger

Kids playing educational board games in class

I love playing games at school. I create lots of classroom board games to help students learn academic vocabulary, review concepts and discuss ideas. Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? It doesn’t have to be when you have the kids do the heavy lifting – mentally. Last week’s lesson was a great example…

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Kindness Campaign Part 2

Celebrate Kindness on Valentine's Day-1

In my last post, I wrote that my plans for Valentine’s Day would center around the “Celebrate Kindness” campaign initiated by youThink. I explained my plans to create a lesson around this and had my students hand out “Kindness Cards” instead of Valentines. The lesson gave my students a forum to discuss the fact that…

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Celebrate Kindness This Valentine’s Day

Alternative to Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day at my middle school means cards, candy, balloons and stuffed animals. It also means lots of kids who feel left out. In years past I’ve given each student a card to help offset their feelings of marginalization. Does it help? I don’t know. This year is different. This year, we’re going to use…

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