Creative Writing Prompts That Will Get Your Students Writing (Particularly Boys) and Don't Suck!

Hi Everyone!

I hope you are having a wonderful September, and you have not been affected by these awful hurricanes that seem to not want to leave the islands and the mainland alone.  My thoughts are with those who have been affected by Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

My very good friend and collegue, Mrs. Jayne Traver, actually inspired this blog post.  Jayne is teaching an 8th grade creative writing course for the first time this year. When Jayne first found out she was teaching this course over the summer, she called me with such excitement because she is in the middle of writing her novel, and she couldn't wait to share and inspire her kids with her skills and techniques. She was also hoping her students would be able to inspire her as well, helping her gain momentum in her novel writing while her students worked on their own projects. This was also the first time our building has ever offered an elective like this for our 8th graders, so it was really energizing.

Teaching Your Students to Elaborate on Their Writing & Thinking

Hi Everyone!

As many of us are readying our classrooms to return back to school, I wanted to share something that works in my classroom when it comes to having your students elaborate on their writing and thinking.  This is usually a difficult skill for students, especially for middle school students. Middle school students do not always have the cognitive maturity to make deep inferences, and their explanations are usually vague and lack thoroughness.  Let me share with you with works in my classroom with elaboration:

Normally, in writing, our students elaborate when responding to a quotation, text-based evidence, and literature (fiction & non-fiction), and this goes for any subject.  Again, when we ask our students to elaborate on their thinking, it usually falls short.

I use a two-step method:

Using Prezi in the Classroom-For Students & Teachers

Hi Everyone!

This week, the Secondary Series is presenting a week long series of Back to School Tech Tips.  Each night, a few of our girls are presenting for 10 minutes on an awesome tech tip you are not going to want to miss.  If you have not signed up to be part of our Secondary Series, you can find the link here.    The best part of our Tech Series is if you complete and answer the exit questions for the entire series, you can earn PD hours as well as a chance of winning a $50 gift card!!

Tonight at 7:20 CST/ 8:20 EST, I will presenting on the tech tip topic, "Using Prezi in the Classroom-For Students & Teachers".  You have to come and see this, and I may even blow your educational mind!

What is Prezi?

Unbelievable ELA Professional Development on Facebook Live You Don't Want to Miss!

Hi Everyone!

As many of us approach the half way mark of the summer, I wanted to share with you some AMAZING Facebook Live English Language Arts series that will be starting at the beginning of August.  Believe me.  You are not going to want to miss these!

I, along with many other incredible English teachers, are going to be sharing some very helpful back to school tech tips and teaching strategies that will help you get your classroom off the ground, as well as help you implement some new strategies and programs into your classes.

Using Pixar Short Films in the English Language Arts Classroom

Good Morning!

I just wanted to share with you that I went live on Facebook yesterday discussing how to use Pixar Short Films to teach and review literary terms. I am part of the Secondary Series group, where we discuss, post and share tips and ideas on using technology and creativity within the English Language Arts classroom. The broadcast was about 10 minutes, and you can find it right here.

I also wanted to share with you some of the worksheets and freebies I shared with the viewers.  I love using the Pixar Short Films in my class because they are quick, funny and an engaging way to intrigue my students to learn.  As I explained in the video, one of the first items I like to review is literary devices because we use them all year long.  I have never been a write-the-notes-from-the-board type of teacher, as I find this technique anticlimactic and rather boring. In addition, the kids do not learn a thing from just copying notes, and it is the application that is the most important.
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