Classroom Resources

Teaching Students to Think Big With Poetry

People often ask me why I love working with teenagers. And my answer to their question is usually the same—teenagers are still figuring out what they think. For me, helping my students to find their own opinions and views on topics, especially the difficult ones, and especially the ones on which they might have been lead to believe that there is only one right answer, is really my most important job.

How to Get Students Past Writer's Block

That force that causes students to sit in front of a blank screen, frustrated by the lack of flow, unable to continue on with a project—call it anxiety or call it perfectionism, but it is often given the name of “writer’s block.”

Writer’s block might be seen as a necessary part of writing, but there really isn't any reason for it at all. If you follow the right steps when you are implementing a writing assignment with your students, they might need to pause and think on occasion, but the whole process will go much more smoothly for everyone.

Believing and Doubting for Critical Thinking

Difficult characters like Okonkwo in Things Fall Apart, can provide a learning opportunity for students, especially with the help of the “believing and doubting” game. In his book, Writing Without Teachers, Peter Elbow introduces the game as a technique for teaching students to fully understand an idea, explaining that "the truth is often complex and… different people often catch different aspects of it." In order to grasp these multi-faceted truths, Elbow recommends having students play the believing and doubting game. I believe that in order to instill empathy, compassion, and understanding in my students, it is essential for them to grasp a variety of concepts and beliefs that differ from what they have experienced in their own lives.  

Test Taking For Students With Anxiety

You know that unmistakable feeling? Your mouth is dry, your stomach tenses, palms sweaty, even adults find test taking nerve wracking. But for students with any type of anxiety disorder, exam time can become  incredibly stressful.

Common Sense on the Common Core

Whenever new initiatives are rolled out across school boards, teachers have to adapt. Learning new skills and policies, implementing best practice based on revised guidelines and changing our lesson plans and teaching philosophies to best meet the needs of the students we teach.

An essential part of our role is guiding and advising parents on how they can support the work we are doing in the classroom with consolidation and revision at home.

What Is a Counterclaim And Why Does It Matter

Whenever I task my students with examining a complicated topic, I want them to understand it as fully as possible. Whether they are analyzing evidence on the causes of the dust bowl or writing essays on the benefits and drawbacks of cellphones—the more difficult the question, the more important it is to think about both sides of the issue. And in order to do that, I make sure that they always incorporate the counterclaim in their essays.