“Does My Principal Even Want to Hear My Ideas?” with Dr. Christina Podraza

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If you’re a teacher with ideas and you are looking to connect with your principal about getting them in motion, this is the episode for you.

Back in February of 2019, I posed a question on Twitter that got a lot of attention. It sparked an ongoing conversation with on of the administrators initially tagged in that Tweet. that conversation has brought us to this episode of Dear Teacher, Don’t Give Up! Continue reading ““Does My Principal Even Want to Hear My Ideas?” with Dr. Christina Podraza”

5 Ways to Nudge Students to Engage with Outside Reading

My previous post gave 4 factors to persuade teachers to start giving outside reading assignments. I am sure, however, that you still have concerns about your students’ motivation to complete an assignment like this while avoiding the temptation to cut corners and cheat. I share in those concerns.

Over the years, though, I have come up with ways to steer students to complete their outside reading assignment faithfully. I still have to guard against apathy and students who insist on cutting corners instead of doing the work, but I have drastically reduced the amount of energy I spend on keeping watch over this behavior. And I would like to share these tips with you! Continue reading “5 Ways to Nudge Students to Engage with Outside Reading”

Tired in My Bones

Yesterday was the first day of school. I was ready. It went very well. My students had a good time. Even though it was good, I’m tired. So tired.

I even had quite a bit of coffee. It didn’t matter. I’m. Just. Tired.

I wanted to have something more profound to say. Something insightful. Something inspiring.

All that comes to mind is, “I’m tired in my bones.”

How about you? How did the first day of school in Fall 2017 go? Share in the comment section below.

My Top 3 Apps to Get Through the Whole School Year

If you’re anything like me, daily organization is a challenge. Additionally, I am also challenged with consistency–being able to stick with something for an entire year. I tend to get excited about an idea I want to put into my classroom right away. I am full of enthusiasm when I launch the idea, but then it eventually falls out of focus. It usually ends with the next big exciting idea that comes along, and the cycle starts all over again.

Thankfully, I have found a few FREE mobile apps that have really been a remarkable help at keeping me organized and focused through an entire school year. Apps I can trust to really help me, deliver long-term, broad use, and are user-friendly.

Now, I wouldn’t describe myself as a technophile teacher. You won’t walk into my classroom and see blinking tech hanging off my body with my students pointing their phones at me as part of a lesson. But the easy-to-use tech I’m about to tell you about can be downloaded to your mobile phone and easily integrated into the flow of your day. 

Continue reading “My Top 3 Apps to Get Through the Whole School Year”

Getting Students Beyond Superficial Revision

You’re about to get into today’s lesson: revising a first draft. Before you say the words, you can feel the collective groan gathering strength. When you finally come out with it, they are ready to revolt: “Today we’re going to revise your writing assignment!” And there it is.

They complain. They grunt violently. They look for pitchforks and other pointy objects to take up against you. And one student in the corner quietly Snapchats a selfie of an ice bag on her head. It’s clear. They don’t want to do this.

As I see it, a big problem is students think they are done with their writing. In the eyes of each student writer, what they put on paper looks “good enough.” They are done. If they understand it, then there’s nothing to revise. But even when I get them to see that their writing needs further work, all I get from them are superficial changes. They may change a punctuation mark or two and a grammar mistake, but they almost never revise for content and purpose.

Sound familiar?  Continue reading “Getting Students Beyond Superficial Revision”

Does Anybody Know How to Get Students to Revise Their Writing?

This is so frustrating! I teach them. It looks like they don’t get it. Or maybe they just don’t care? I give up.

That’s what I used to think. I now have a different take. It all changed when I decided to take the pressure off of teaching editing and revision. When I stopped tying the instruction exclusively to academic essay writing.

Continue reading “Does Anybody Know How to Get Students to Revise Their Writing?”

2 Reasons Students Hate Writing For You

I’m going to be a little vulnerable. Early in my career, the most common result produced from the flow of my writing instruction was students developing an aversion to writing. Students weren’t rewarded unless they conformed to the high-stakes scoring guide and assignment parameters. At the same time, students were engaging in all kinds of low-stakes writing that was rewarding, to them at least: social media and text messaging.

Talking with other teachers over the years showed me that this was a common experience. Most of us struggle to get students motivated to write. And most of us aren’t even asking for students to like the academic writing we assign. We want them to maybe appreciate it or see some small value in how it develops them into better students on their way to college. But that rarely develops in students. Why?

Let’s take a closer look at two reasons students hate writing for you.  Continue reading “2 Reasons Students Hate Writing For You”