Random Name Selector, a Great Way to Include Everyone


Every now and then, we need a way to ensure that a student may randomly be selected for something. It doesn’t always have to be reading, or answering a question. These are often a “gotcha” thing. You can use it for positives as well.¬† Continue reading

Vocabulary… Teaching versus Giving


Vocabulary lists. These are the things that students often hate more than anything else, and perhaps there is some justification for that. We have all been guilty of giving the dreaded list at some point in our careers. In fact, I still give a list, I just treat it differently than I did before.

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@Newsela and @InsertLearning, a Powerful Combination

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PLEASE NOTE: DOCENTEDU IS NOW CALLED INSERT LEARNING. Look for an updated post soon on how to make use of this powerful tool.

In the past, I have written about both, Newsela and DocentEDU. At the time, I suppose one could say my vision was still developing regarding how to best utilize each tool. I have spent some time tinkering, playing, and trying to break them. I am happy to say, that not only have I found the perfect combination of each, I have utterly failed to break either… and I’m pretty good at breaking stuff.

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Google Newspaper Archive, a Primary Source Paradise

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Have you ever struggled with finding good primary source material for students? As an English teacher, I teach a lot of literature. I have always taught a good bit of non-fiction as well, but the reality is, there are times I wish I could teach more of it.

With the advent of Common Core, or College Career Readiness Standards, or whatever catchy name your state has given them, non-fiction text has probably become a much larger part of the expectations.  History teachers are expected to pick up a significant share of that load, through the reading of primary source materials.

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Using Google Forms for Back to School Night


So, we had our back to school open house. As usual, the school was abuzz with excitement. It’s a treat to be able to meet all of our parents, a treat we really should find a way to do more often.

I decided that I would do away with the old fashioned sign in sheet. It seemed to make little sense to have parents fill out a paper sign in sheet when we are a paperless classroom. We wanted to give them an idea of how their kids are expected to work this year, so we did open house in our rooms paperless style.

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Google Classroom… a few little tips.

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My school year is under way. I understand that many districts around the nation, and the world, are not in session right now, but that time is coming, so be ready.

This is my second year using Google Classroom, and my third year being a paperless classroom. The experience has been a learning lesson the entire way. This year is no exception, but if we aren’t learning, what are we doing?

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Vocaroo and You… Easy Classroom Uses of Audio

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Have you ever wanted kids to make a speech? Maybe present a book report? What about getting a bit more daring, and making a sort of radio announcement, maybe a speech for running for student council?

Odds are, you have. Odds are also pretty good that there have been times when a few students didn’t want to do it because they were not comfortable in front of a group. While that is something we need to work through and build confidence for, we can still allow them the opportunity to present their material in a meaningful way.

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Today’s Meet Teacher Tools, worth the upgrade?

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First of all, allow me to apologize for the delay in posting. School has started, and I need to figure out a workable schedule for blogging, teaching, and preparing lessons.

So, today is the day. I decided to bite the proverbial bullet. I have been using Todaysmeet.com for a while, and have loved the backchannel discussions that I was able to have. I’ve used it with students, during professional development seminars, and anywhere else I could get away with it. To be honest, I thought this tool was just about as great as sliced bread.

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Back to School Tips for Teachers

For many of us, it’s that time of year. Back to school season is here. Here in the south, we started Monday with our staff development days. Teachers are running rampant all over trying to get classrooms ready. I’ve done this a few times, well, 15 or so, and I still get antsy and excited at the beginning of each year.

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