Posted in Regular Update

An Update

You may or may not have noticed that englishnook is slowly evolving. This blog began as a school project but has evolved into something that I truly and 100% love. I want this blog to be a success. As I move forward in my career I think it’s more and more important to have this resource to share what I’m learning, what I’m reading, what websites I’m using, and everything else.

I’ve taken out some of the pages that seemed irrelevant. I’ve worked hard to add more resources to the resources page and articles to the articles page. And I’ll keep adding. And I’ve been posting, and I’ll keep posting. Somewhere along the way I lost my mojo with this blog, but it’s back now, and I can’t wait to see where the next year takes this blog.


Posted in Food for Thought, Teaching Techniques

Bringing Social Media Into the Classroom

In my experiences, social media is one of those tricky things. It’s everywhere right now. Everyone has social media accounts – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr – especially students. Students have social media. Students understand social media. They know the formats and how to use it. It’s a major part of their lives. Social media isn’t something that’s going to go away any time soon; we as teachers should see if we can find ways to embrace social media and use its powers for good.

I know this might sound crazy. Generally we’re trying to keep social media out of the classroom. It’s one of those teenage evils like cell phones and the internet (depending on whom you talk to.) But I’m not talking about letting students go on their social media accounts during class time. That’s really the last thing I’m advocating. Allowing students to do that would most likely end badly. I’m talking about finding ways to build lessons around social media and the text being read in class.

Yes. This is something that can be done with some creativity and ingenuity. It’s something I’ve done before, and it works well. I think that using social media in the ways I’m about to explain is a great thing to do because it’s something that students can connect with, even if they aren’t necessarily connecting to the text being read.

What I’ve done with social media has students going nothing with computers or their phones or technology in any manner, shape or form. Unless, that is, you give them permission to do so.

What the wonderful world of Pinterest has provided me with is social media worksheets. Yes, they are a real thing, and I think they’re pretty fabulous. And there’s a lot of them. They have them for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I’ve also found them for cell phones (smart phones) and iPads. These are all things that students are familiar with. And now they can be used in a fantastic way in the classroom.

I’ve used these worksheets for characterization, and I’ve only done one or two activities with them. (I have lots of plans though.) I think that these worksheets are great for characterization, and I also think that they would work really well for plot sequencing and creative writing activities. The truth of the matter is, though, the possibilities are probably endless. You’re only limited by you.


Posted in Classroom Ideas, Food for Thought, Regular Update

Bulletin Board Real Estate

I think that bulletin boards are highly underestimated pieces of classroom real estate. I know that I underestimated them until I began my internship this year. I think part of the problem is that when I (and I assume others) think “bulletin board” I think elementary school. And I want to teach at the secondary level (grades 7-12). So I don’t necessarily want a board with cute art projects because that’s just not where my students are. (I do love a good art project though.)

This year though, I’ve seen two bulletin boards that I’ve fallen completely in love with, and they really couldn’t be more different. Let me tell you a little bit about them.

bulletin board 1:

Bulletin board 1 showcases a million different cool things. I know that “a million” sounds like some serious hyperbole, but I assure you it isn’t. This bulletin board is full of so many cool posters – movie posters, book posters, quote posters. I literally go into the room that houses this bulletin board and stare at it. I want all those posters. I want them for my classroom. I want them to be in my life even when I can’t go visit this bulletin board anymore. This is a bulletin board that I find inspiring because it makes me think about how all these things can be applicable to an English classroom (where this bulletin board lives) and to students. I really want to know how all these posters ended up together and what the students think of them. And I think it would be great to have this type of bulletin board one day because it’s a great use of bulletin board real estate.

Bulletin board 2:

Bulletin board 2 is great for different reasons. This is a bulletin board that showcases student work. I think that right there regardless of what that work is is great. Showcasing student work really makes the students a part of the classroom. They have ownership of some real estate because it’s their work that’s on the wall. I think that aspect of this bulletin board alone is fabulous.

I also really like that every marking period the work on the board changes to reflect the theme of the quarter. This isn’t a stagnant board. It’s constantly changing and becoming something new. And it’s giving students the opportunity to grow and evolve throughout the year and see that reflected and showcased.

What do you do with your bulletin board real estate? What do you dream of doing with your bulletin board real estate?


Posted in Food for Thought, Regular Update

What Technology Do You Have in Your Classroom?

I think it’s easy to overlook having technology in the classroom, especially when teaching English. English historically is all about books and writing papers. There’s not a lot of technology involved in the traditional mindset. But that’s really not the appropriate mindset to have anymore.

Technology is everywhere. It’s in the fact that we ask students to research and write papers on computers. It’s in the fact that students can make amazing presentations online. It’s in the fact that students are more comfortable with technology than with pen and paper, and we as educators need to recognize and foster that.

So what technology do you plan on having in your classroom? I want to foster having computers and smartphones so long as they are being used appropriately. I want to allow students to teach me new things about technology. I want to bring the world my students already know into my classroom so that everyone can feel more welcome. The world is ever evolving, and I want myself and my students to evolve with it.

What about you? What are your thoughts on bringing technology into the classroom?


Posted in About the Nook

Welcome to the EnglishNook!

Welcome to the EnglishNook! This blog contains a number of presentations that I’ve made, tidbits of wisdom that I’ve gathered over time, articles that I’ve found interesting, and other organized miscellanea. I hope that you like what you find here and find it useful. Feel free to share your resources and ideas with me also!


Posted in About the Nook

Where to Begin

If you’re new to the EnglishNook and don’t know where to start, you can take one of two paths. You can simply scroll through this feed and discover things along the way. Or, if you want, you can choose a page or a tag and start exploring there. Feel free to click on any of the pages in the header; they all have useful and exciting information. You can also click on a tag, which will take you to all posts that have been tagged with that topic. There is no right or wrong way to explore this blog. It’s really about discovering resources and tools and figuring out how they might fit into your life.