Read a Banned Book. Now.

Actually, many of us already have. However, let’s continue the tradition of FREADOM and celebrate our right, our students right, and everyone’s right to READ!

I always try to talk with my students about BBW and tell them about what it is, why it matters, etc. How will you celebrate Banned Books Week?


Positive Footprints

As you all know, I feel very strongly about helping kids understand how to create and why to create positive digital footprints. I’ve thought about this topic a lot, and yet it’s something that is still weighing heavily on my mind. [Maybe it’s because the means in which we work digitally is constantly changing???]

Anyway, I’m seeing more and more kids not understanding what their digital footprint is all about and how it can/will affect them now and down the road. I know that I stress it a lot when I work with my students and try to emphasize it’s not about culling their creativity, but a way to push them to think critically and post information that is appropriate (and in a way that still gets their point across). So, I’m curious…how are others helping their students develop positive digital footprints? How can we keep kids motivated to produce and stress to them they can still “own” that digital space (without them not being “googled well”)?

The Power of Positivity

I finally am back up and running after moving into my new place AND moving into my new school/classroom. To be honest, I’m exhausted, ha! However, I am so incredibly excited that I cannot even begin to explain exactly how I’m feeling. Nevertheless, I’ll give it a try 🙂

My new school is one of the most positive, energizing environments I have ever seen. The support I have already received is like none other, and everyone is truly on the same page. (Did I mention that there is TONS of cross-curricular writing taking place? I love that reading and writing skills are focused on so heavily in every discipline!)

Positivity is so incredibly important in all we do as educators. It’s contagious. So, as we all begin school next week (or in the next few weeks for many of you all up north, ha!), just remember the power of positivity!

ps I wanted to share the funny video clip below with you all…it’s one we viewed in our orientation on differentiated learning. Enjoy!


Digital Essays

I’ve been intrigued with the idea of a “digital essay” ever since Jim Burke posted an example of one awhile ago. When I asked him what his assignment sheet included, Burke said that he didn’t really have a “formal” one and just told the kids to create. I think the biggest reason I’m drawn to the idea of a “digital” essay and what that “format” might encompass (beside my love for rhetoric and comp!) is the fact that I see this format as one that would be more real-world applicable in many ways versus a traditional essay for English class.

When I tried it out with my students Continue reading

More ideas on grading essays

I’m always interested in how others handle the paper load that comes with being an English teacher. I’ve tried many different techniques myself ranging from jing videos to tablet pc mark-up options and Word commenting, as well as good old fashioned pen and paper (oh, how I LOVE my teal pens!). I also have had to learn to curb my copy editor mode and bite back the frustration of seeing a draft paper with all of my copious remarks land in the trash can 5 minutes after I hand the essays back.

As I think most teachers do, I strive to find new techniques to test out here and there especially if I think one might help with a particular assignment or even class. (I also like to get feedback from the kids on what Continue reading

Lit vs. Lang

I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to teach Lit this year! However, at first, I was a bit nervous about the differences between AP Literature and AP Language. And then I reminded myself: reading is reading and writing is writing!

One of the things that my students struggled with the most (particularly in regards to Lang): the multiple choice questions. One of the key words that always messed them up involved picking the “best” answer. Many would talk themselves around the correct answer. In my opinion, stressing MC strategies is helpful; however, I think it all comes down to Continue reading


That’s right…things have been crazy around here for the month of March. With almost 3 soccer games every week, placement essays for next year’s classes, first major writer’s week (in two weeks!), and TONS of other things going on, my blog has been sadly neglected.

HOWEVER, the yellow notebook is covered in post-it notes and I have a LOT to share that I will get up here over break (which is next week, whoohoo!!!).

A few things for now…

– Sophomores are LOVING Hugo’s Les Miserables. And I love their enthusiasm.

– Just introduced the senior final BIG project…I absolutely cannot wait to see what they create!

Looking forward to getting the details and other pieces down here soon! Stay tuned:-)