Posted in Posts I've Borrowed

Reading Allowed: Ten Compelling Middle School Read-Alouds by Maggie Bokelman — Nerdy Book Club

In today’s teach-to-the-test climate, some administrators discourage or even prohibit classroom read-alouds, especially for secondary students. I don’t have to trumpet the benefits of reading aloud to followers of “The Nerdy Book Club,” but what can you do if you’re told there’s no time because there’s too much “important” material to cover, or because the […]

via Reading Allowed: Ten Compelling Middle School Read-Alouds by Maggie Bokelman — Nerdy Book Club

Posted in Regular Update

Almost Time

If you weren’t aware, it’s almost time for the school year to start. I’m excited for the school year to start; I always am. I love taking new classes and buying new school supplies. I genuinely enjoy writing papers and making note cards and completing projects. Maybe that’s a little weird, but it’s genuinely me, and genuine is important.

This year is a little different. This year I’m on the other side of the desk. I’m finishing grad school and student teaching this fall. Then I’ll be a certified teacher and able to go get a big girl job. And that’s kind of a big deal.

I’m really excited for student teaching. I have seventh and eighth graders which is exciting. And I know for a fact that I’ll get to teach them narrative writing in October which is really exciting for me because I love writing.

I love reading when I get to be the reader. But I’m finding that I love both sides of writing. I love actually writing, and I love teaching writing. I think it’s great to get to teach students about writing and help them find their voice.

School starts next week in my neck of the woods, and I’m really looking forward to it. What about all of you?


Posted in Classroom Ideas, Food for Thought, Teaching Techniques

Homework Calendars

I like calendars a lot. I’ve always liked calendars. Everyone who knows me knows that I love school supplies; back to school shopping is one of my favorite times of year. I have my planners(s) and my wipeboard calendar, and not only do I use them, but I love them. I live by them. If it’s not in my planner, chances are I won’t be there. I’ll forget. I’ll schedule something else. I’m also really big on color coding. Different colors for birthdays, due dates, exam dates, etc. Calendars and organization are my jam.

Now that I’ve made myself out to be the true and giant dork that I am, I’m going to refocus this onto school and the purpose calendars serve there.

In the past, I’ve had teachers provide homework calendars. I’m not talking about the schedule that comes in a college syllabus, even though those are fabulous. I’m talking about an actual calendar (a monthly print out typically) with every step of a project planned out.

This might seem like a lot. It might seem like overkill. But I think that there are two scenarios where a homework calendar such as this would be great.

The first scenario is middle school where students are thrust into learning organization and time management. A homework calendar might really help them see how to break down a project and manage their time. Obviously we want students to be able to figure this out for themselves, and we want them to figure out what works for them. But especially that first year of middle school they might not know what that is. They need guidelines and guidance as they figure this next stage of life out. Over time I would want to transition students from a homework calendar all filled out to a homework calendar that they fill out, but they need to see that demonstrated for them first.

The second scenario could take place in any grade. The homework assignment in question might be a research paper, a debate, a TEDTalk. It would be a project that students haven’t necessarily done before, and it would be a project big enough to potentially be intimidating and overwhelming. I want to demonstrate to students what the stages of this project are and how to break these stages down into manageable pieces. I want to teach them the skills that they will need to succeed either as they further their education or as they enter the workforce where there are projects that need to be managed and deadlines that need to be met.

As a teacher I want my students to succeed. If I can help them do that by teaching them life skills and time management tips and tricks, I want to do that for them. I really think that sometimes homework calendars are the way to go.