Did You Know and Shift Happens

These are powerful videos for creating a sense of urgency!

Did You Know?  Shift Happens.  We Live in Exponential Times  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRVVZlGb7oc

Did You Know 3.0  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRVVZlGb7oc

Shift Happens 2015  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMB77eJPYs8

Did You Know 2016 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqZiIO0YI7Y


“The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry

One of my favorite holiday stories is “The Gift of the Magi.”  I so enjoy introducing my students to the story each holiday season.

Here is what I did with my students this year.

Journal Prompt as a Bell-Ringer

–What is a sacrifice?

–What is a sacrifice that someone has made for you?

–What is a sacrifice that you have made for someone else?

  • Questions to Answer Using the Story The Gift of the Magi Questions
  • Work with a partner to write your own version of the story.  You may start from scratch or write a parody using well-known characters.

Veteran’s Day Resources

In a time of so many Hallmark holidays, I find it especially important to remember holidays of true importance.  As I start to reflect on this Veteran’s Day, I say a special prayer of thanksgiving for my brother, my father, my uncles, my grandfathers, several friends who served, and for my father-in-law who was killed in action.  For those who served and continue to serve, I say thanks.

Here are some resources I found as I look for resources to use with my students.


2014 ESPN College Game Day Salute



US Department of Veteran’s Affair–http://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/index.asp

Teaching History-Veteran’s Day http://teachinghistory.org/spotlight/veterans-day

Veterans’ Stories: The Veterans History Project http://www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/primarysourcesets/veterans/

PBS Veteran’s Day  http://www.pbs.org/pov/educators/veterans-day-lesson-plans.php

Poems of War and Remembrance http://poetry.about.com/od/ourpoemcollections/a/poemsofwar.htm

WWI Poetry: On Veterans Day, The Words of War-NPR  http://www.npr.org/2012/11/12/164808416/wwi-poetry-on-veterans-day-the-words-of-war

On Veteran’s Day, Stories of Heroes and Homecoming  http://www.npr.org/2012/11/11/164735893/on-veterans-day-stories-of-heroes-and-homecoming

Student Passion and TEDx Talks

This is amazing, and so are the kids. It is well worth some time to look at some of their talks.

Link to article–http://www.edutopia.org/blog/student-passion-and-tedx-talks-nick-provenzano

Link to the Kids’ Talks–https://m.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLssxMbWpKxecYEkj3efNdxJ6-iOzRY606

Stimulating Writing with Youtube

I love this! I often use photographs as writing prompts in my middle school classroom, but I had never had the idea to use Youtube videos. What a genius idea! Thank you so much. I am going to add this to “To Do List” for the upcoming school year.

My students would also love finding videos for us to use.

Literacy Teaching and Teacher Education

I (Cathy) teach Writer’s Workshop in my university literacy class by having my student teachers participate in one.  They engage in the entire process from selecting a genre, to peer editing, to learning from descriptive feedback, to publishing their work.   I am amazed every year how much the student teachers gain from the experience.  They often begin the process terrified of being a writer and of  teaching writing.  The Writer’s Workshop structure helps them overcome much of that fear.   One of the biggest challenges they must overcome is selecting a genre to write in.  Every year several students are completely stymied by this.  To aid these students I provide wordless picture books for which they must write the words.  They love it and swear they will do this for their own students when they are teachers.

The other day I came across a new source for stimulating writing.  It made me laugh out…

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Weird Al, Language Arts Teachers Across America are Saying, “Thank You”

My email, Facebook, and Twitter feed are full of language teachers sharing the new song by Weird Al, “Word Crimes.”  A new generation will be introduced to Weird Al as teachers welcome students back to school in a few weeks.  Here is the video found on YouTube–“Word Crimes.”  Watch and enjoy.

Strategy #2–Your 3 Words

Your 3 Words


I remember seeing a great segment on Good Morning America, Your Three Words. They had viewers send in a summary of their lives using only 3 words. I loved the idea so I found clips on ABC’s web site.





Ways to Use in the Classroom:


1. Start of the Year:  Students write a 3-word summary about themselves.  Then, trace their hands, write their summary on the hand, and post hands on the bulletin board.  Below are pictures of some done my 8th graders a few years ago.



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2. Response to Literature:  Students write 3-word summaries of a story, novel, or poem.


3. Response to Literature:  Students write 3-word summaries from the perspective of characters in a story.


4.  Ticket out the Door:  Students write a 3-word summary for an important lesson–can be used for any subject.


Can you think of other uses in the classroom?