Category: Simple Strategies

World history is my favorite "kid"--my favorite subject to teach. Through primary sources (and secondary sources), as well as through fiction, it can really open students' eyes to the way historians work and to the ways in which history is interpreted--both correctly and incorrectly. I share three ways in which I use sources and fiction to analyze in this post, and I'm confident that your students will have a more solid understanding of world history after trying these activities, too.

Approaching World History through Source Analysis and Fiction

This post originally appeared in the C.L.A.S.S. Newsletter in November of 2015 I know we’re not supposed to play favorites with the kids, but I can’t help it. I have six kids, but I most definitely have a favorite. Respectively, my kids are English I, English III, U.S. History, World History, Sociology, and Psychology.I love

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How can you use technology to do stations in secondary education? Easy! This simple Station-Rotation model, which is very much like what is commonly use in elementary schools, is a great way to incorporate at least one digital station while getting your students moving and practicing different skills.

The Blended Classroom: A SIMPLE Station-Rotation Model

We’re mixing pen and paper with digital in our blended classrooms, and everything’s going great. At first (for me) it was just about throwing in some digital resources. The kids love it. It’s easy for me. But now that I’m getting a little more comfortable with it, I’m starting to experiment with different ways to

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I haven't always had a blended classroom. When my principal decided he wanted us teachers to transition to blended learning, I had to figure out how I was going to set up that process. In this post I explain how I prepared one unit for blended learning, both digital practice and direct instruction.

Blending My Classes One Unit at a Time

A blended classroom is when a teacher combines digital learning with face to face instruction. I was reticent to do this at first because I have these complete interactive notebook units that are completely paper-based, and I’ve had a lot of success with them. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it–right? My school system is

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Mindsets in the classroom is a hot topic in education right now, with the growth mindset rapidly growing in popularity. I participated in a blog hop with a few blogger friends to discuss this book for teachers, and this post gives you an overview of what the author, Mary Cay Ricci, discussed in Chapter 3. It's all about differentiation and provides for concrete ways to differentiate to help grow and support student mindsets.

Mindsets in the Classroom: Ch. 3 Differentiation

Reading Mindsets in the Classroom: Building a Culture of Success and Student Achievement in Schools, by Mary Cay Ricci, has got my head spinning. I’m reeling trying to think of ways that I can implement some of the great ideas in my own classroom. I hope my pondering benefits you–later in the post, I have a

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Student burnout is as real an issue as teacher burnout is. What can we do to help our students feel less overwhelmed and to make their school work seem more manageable? I describe the system I tried in my class and why I think it's an important structure for students to have.

Helping Your Students Overcome Burnout

I have been shaking my head over test and quiz scores here in the second 9 weeks of the term. I had been so proud of my students for working really hard and doing so well during the first 9 weeks that the past two weeks of indifference I’ve encountered have caught me off guard.

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Halloween tends to be a crazy day in most schools, and many teachers shy away from the craziness. But, why not embrace it? Your students will enjoy having fun, and you can still do content-based activities that have a Halloween theme! In this post I share more of my reasoning behind why I embrace the festivity and a recipe for pumpkin spice lattes that you can make for your class.

A Treat For Teachers–Using Holidays For Learning Fun

This week, I’m linking up with the teachers at Secondary Smorgasbord to offer treats for teachers.Thanks to ELA Buffet and Desktop Learning Adventures for hosting! When I was a grad student, I remember saying, “I don’t think it’s right to give the students candy. Knowledge should be the reward, and sugar’s bad. Motivation should be

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Reviewing and studying are important skills in the classroom. As much as we love to use games to do those things, sometimes we have classes that just can't handle it. In those instances I recommend a collaborative review strategy called "Make Your Own Test." Check out why I started using this and how I utilize it in my classroom.

Difficult Class? Try a Cooperative Review

I love playing games. My husband and I enjoy everything from Trivial Pursuit and Scrabble to more esoteric resource and strategy games like Seven Wonders and Game of Thrones. I bring a lot of games into my classroom. I’ve written about some of them here. I love it when classes can learn and review that

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Reasoning is a skill that I worry might be shoved in the background a little too often. In our current educational climate of standardized testing, multiple choice, and "drill-and-kill," how can we teach reasoning? In this post I describe how I use short discussions on a consistent basis to teach reasoning and thinking skills.

Using the Short Discussion to Teach Reasoning

I am definitely not anti multiple choice. It’s easy to grade, and sometimes students simply need to recognize information. When you want students to identify, multiple choice is fine. I just worry that in this day of overcrowded classrooms and standardized testing, many of us are over-using multiple choice at the expense of asking our

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