Meaningful First Days: 3 Ways to Build Community (No Icebreakers!)

I really dislike icebreakers. They make me cringe. When I became a teacher, I swore I would spare my students the torture of icebreakers. That being said, I also realize how important it is to build a classroom culture in those first few days of school. It's taken me a few years to figure out … Continue reading Meaningful First Days: 3 Ways to Build Community (No Icebreakers!)

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Critical Back-to-School Routines for AP Language and Composition: Year-Long Processes

When I had my younger son a year ago, I was in the tough position of asking a long-term substitute to lay the foundation for my students' entire year of learning. My maternity leave stretched from August until mid-October, so a quarter of my students' learning occurred with a different teacher. I was lucky to … Continue reading Critical Back-to-School Routines for AP Language and Composition: Year-Long Processes

Back to School Sale Extended!

TPT's site wide sale ends tonight, but I've extended the 20% discount at Rhetor's Toolbox through tomorrow,  August 3. Enjoy!

Back to School Sale on TPT!

I hope you still have some summer break ahead of you, but if you're like me, your summer break ends this week. It's time to get planning and prepping! Teachers Pay Teachers has announced its Back to School sale: August 1-2. You can shop my store at this time for 20% off everything--including bundles--plus an … Continue reading Back to School Sale on TPT!

KABOOM! The Rhetorical Analysis Game that Makes Engagement Explode

I am SO EXCITED to share this one with you!  I came across a few elementary school blogs about a center game called KABOOM. Something just clicked--why couldn't this work for rhetorical analysis at the high school level? After some testing and adjusting, I'm pretty thrilled to bring KABOOM to my classroom this fall. Here's … Continue reading KABOOM! The Rhetorical Analysis Game that Makes Engagement Explode

75 Questions for Rhetorical Analysis 

One of the very best close reading strategies I teach is questioning using Costa's levels; however, students sometimes need to build familiarity with what effective questions actually look like. They need to internalize them. They need to use them regularly. Asking the right questions can move struggling students beyond pedestrian summary into the realm of … Continue reading 75 Questions for Rhetorical Analysis 

5 Reasons I Started Using Canvas Instead of Google Classroom 

It's official: Classroom and I are no longer together. It was an amicable breakup. We just drifted apart. And I found a better LMS. Enter Canvas. I used it in grad school, and I loved it. When I found out it was free, I was sold. When I mentioned the switch to my colleagues, I … Continue reading 5 Reasons I Started Using Canvas Instead of Google Classroom 

7 Ideas to Supercharge Back to School 

It's that time again! I've been busy getting ready to head back to the classroom. The beginning of the school year can be so overwhelming. It's hard to absorb all the new initiatives, procedures, and information when all you want is time to get ready for students. The ideas that follow will help you make … Continue reading 7 Ideas to Supercharge Back to School 

Three Ways to Improve Students’ Test Scores With Kahoot

AP Lang multiple choice can be tough to tackle. When my students took their second full-length mock exam at the beginning of April, I was hopeful that students might gain four or five questions over their first exam.  Try an average of NINE questions' growth in eight weeks! I was floored. Multiple kids actually doubled … Continue reading Three Ways to Improve Students’ Test Scores With Kahoot

How Assertion Journals Can Inspire and Challenge Your Students

They're analytical. They're argumentative. They're intriguing. They're bite-sized. Assertion journals are hands-down my favorite way to teach and assess writing. Here's how they work: Students are given an assertion, usually in the form of a pithy quotation. How much context you want to give your students is totally up to you. I just project the assertion … Continue reading How Assertion Journals Can Inspire and Challenge Your Students