Does chewing gum help students focus?

Does Chewing Gum Help Students Focus?

Several studies have emerged that propose the idea that chewing gum helps students focus.  And while there are certainly tons of benefits to chewing gum, there can also be some drawbacks, especially in a classroom setting. So, does chewing gum help students focus?  Yes!  Studies have shown that when you chew gum, brain activity is activated that actually affects the …

teach imagery in literature

Step by Step: How to Teach Imagery in Literature

The ability to teach imagery in literature is incredibly important.  It could be the difference between the reader being riveted to your writing or being bored and turning away.  But teaching imagery in literature can be a very difficult thing to do.  It takes much study and practice to become proficient at it.  And to some students, it can be …

Virtual Treasure Hunt

Unique Classroom Ideas: Virtual Treasure Hunt

Having a virtual treasure hunt is a great idea for your classroom literally anytime.  Right now, in the light of Covid-19 it is a great idea for a fun project for your students. But it is also a great idea to do in the classroom with your students.  You may want to do it if you have some time to …

what is digital literacy

What is Digital Literacy and Why Your Students Absolutely Need It

I found it incredibly interesting that when I started researching digital literacy I found many different definitions of it from many different reputable sources. It seems we all know what digital literacy is.  But we also have different perceptions of exactly what it includes in practice. So what is digital literacy and why is it such a critical skill for …

social emotional skills

Writing Prompts that Reinforce Social Emotional Learning

Most teachers agree that social emotional skills are extremely important to teach on a regular basis in the classroom.  But sometimes, with the pressures of everything else that needs to be taught, these “extras” fall by the wayside. So how can you find more ways to implement social emotional learning in and get all the other required work done?  One …

articles regarding technology in the classroom

Relevant Articles Regarding Technology in the Classroom

There are all kinds of opinions on technology in the classroom.  And regardless of what our opinions are, technology in the classroom is here to stay. Not only is it here to stay, it is also going to be completely changing life in our classrooms.  And in spite of any drawbacks of problems that causes, it is actually a really …

free book friday

Free Book Friday 4: Something for Everyone!

Welcome to Free Book Friday 4!  The past few weeks I found some pretty amazing free books that many people took advantage of and enjoyed.  Every week I try to make the new list better than the last one! Just in case you missed the past few weeks’ Free Book Fridays, here they are: Free Book Friday:  Something for Everyone! …

classroom scavenger hunt

Creating a Scavenger Hunt for Your Classroom

Everybody loves a good scavenger hunt!  The minute I told my students that we were doing a scavenger hunt to review their material, they were visibly excited.  When you create a scavenger hunt for your classroom, your students will be over the moon excited.  They will love that this is the form of review you are using instead of just …

5e lesson plan

The 5e Lesson Plan: Everything You Need to Know About It

The 5e lesson plan is a very student-centric learning program. that was developed by the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study in 1987.  The philosophy behind it maintains that students learn much better when adding experience to their knowledge. For those of you that have read my blog, you know that I am all about experiential learning and using the senses to …

middle school block schedule

Middle School Block Scheduling: the Pros and Cons

Middle school block scheduling has become a popular alternative to traditional school schedules in many schools across America. Block scheduling is a method that schools use, generally in middle and high school.  The purpose is to have fewer large blocks of time to concentrate more on their subjects so that learning can progress better. Block scheduling was first implemented into …

best games to play in class

Best Games to Play in Class

Sometimes you have a few spare minutes that you need to fill.  You don’t have time to introduce a new concept.  But you have just enough time to do SOMETHING. Other times you have larger blocks of time for whatever reason.  Your students have done a great job and you want to reward them, you all just need a break …

strategies of highly effective readers

7 Strategies of Highly Effective Readers

According to the Institute of Reading Development, “When skilled readers open up a new book, they jump into reading with confidence and a sense of curiosity. They move through the text easily and at a good pace. They get absorbed in the story, connect it to their own lives, and look at reading as a source of pleasure.  Strong readers …

Why technology in the classroom is necessary

Why Technology in the Classroom is Necessary

For many years, technology in the classroom was taboo.  Teachers, parents, and administrators didn’t want technology to interfere with students’ learning.  They felt that integrating technology into the classroom would be too distracting for the students to learn effectively. But times have changed.  Teachers, parents, and administrators now know that technology in the classroom is necessary.  Not only is it …

encourage introverted students

How Teachers Can Encourage Introverted Students

We all know introverted people.  They come from all walks of life and all ages.  And we know that some people are extremely introverted while others are only mildly introverted. So what makes people, and students in particular, introverted, and how can teachers encourage introverted students?  Research has shown that people are born introverted or extroverted, but that their experiences …

classroom culture

Classroom Culture: How Do Your Students Feel?

Every teacher starts out their new career hoping and praying that on their first day they will have the perfectly planned class, the students will arrive, connections will be instantly made, and the classroom culture will be one of peace, productive learning, and emotional and social growth. Then reality sets in.  The absolute best plans can’t compete against life’s interruptions.  …

middle school art projects

How to Choose Perfect Middle School Art Projects

Most students in middle school love art projects.  They love discovering artistic techniques and trying their hand at it.  Sometimes it’s great.  Other times it is pretty bad.   But they all have fun. They also love art projects because it doesn’t usually involve sitting at their desk listening to a teacher.  An instant win in the world of academics. So …

read aloud to middle school students

Why We Should Read Aloud to Middle School Students

Sometimes we don’t think we should read aloud to middle school students.  We tend to think that middle schoolers are too old to be read to.  We think that because they are capable of reading on their own, they won’t enjoy being read to anymore. In my experience and based on research, that just doesn’t bear out.  Middle schoolers actually …

Significant ways to improve student writing

12 Significant Ways to Improve Student Writing

Writing is a critical skill, no matter what field of work you are in.  Even if your job description doesn’t specifically require writing, you still had to write a resume and communicate with HR in order to get the job.  And with just about any job that has more than one person working, you will have to communicate with others …

teachers hate lesson planning

Why Teachers Hate Lesson Planning and How to Grow to Love It

Why do teachers hate lesson planning so much?  And is it possible to grow to love it? Let’s start with why teachers hate lesson planning so much.  Many teachers hate lesson planning because it is so time consuming for something that they generally already know the direction they are going in.  This is especially true of teachers that have been …

New Year party classroom

New Year Party in the Middle School Classroom: Unique Classroom Ideas

   What if you started the New Year off with a New Year party in the classroom?  In the first period of the first day back in your middle school classroom? What if your students walked into a classroom that was ready to celebrate instead of getting down to business?  At least by appearances. Is it possible that you may …

productive between Thanksgiving and Christmas

How to Teach Productively Between Thanksgiving and Christmas

Teachers know it.  Parents know it.  Even the kids know it. The few weeks of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the toughest time of the school year.  Except for maybe the last week of school. Everybody is restless.  It is so hard to focus.  And nothing seems to get done in a timely manner.  So what can we do …

students educational technology

How Students Feel About Educational Technology

When you look online to see how students feel about educational technology, you will find all kinds of articles and information about whether or not it is effective, ways to implement it, and what the newest trends are. What seems to be missing is what the students are feeling and saying about this thing that has literally changed the face …

unique classroom ideas

Unique Classroom Ideas: Candy Cane Hunt

I am always trying to think outside of the box for my classes.  I am determined not to give my students a chance to get bored.  And for the most part it has been a successful endeavor.  And that is the reason for this post featuring a Candy Cane Hunt. So what makes having a candy cane hunt a great …

shorter class periods better for students

Are Shorter Class Periods Better for Students?

For some time now there has been a debate between block scheduling and shorter class periods.  And there are excellent teachers and administrators on both sides.  We all realize that there is no perfect decision to make.  There are advantages and disadvantages to both concepts. So then, in light of the conflicting views, are shorter class periods better for students? …

prevent boredom in the classroom

Eleven Proven Ways to Prevent Boredom in the Classroom, Part 1

As teachers, we’ve all seen it.  The glazed over, “I-couldn’t-care-less,” checked-out, bored look in the eyes of your middle schoolers.  It would seem they are a pretty tough crowd to please sometimes.  But how do we prevent boredom in the classroom? What if pleasing our middle school students and helping them to actually enjoy those middle school years was easier …

help struggling readers

10 Excellent Techniques to Help Struggling Readers

Every middle school teacher realizes this within the first few days of their very first classroom. They have lots of great readers, and a few expert readers.  And then they have a few struggling readers. There could be several reasons for this, but at the end of the day,  the teacher needs to figure out the best, most meaningful ways …

creative reading activities

Creative Reading Activities: The Classroom Reinvented

Ok, so I realize you could think I have no idea what I’m talking about when the title talks about reading activities and the featured picture shows boys playing ball.  Let me explain to you what I learned about the benefits of a variety of activities in relation to what your students are reading. What have I learned through research …

avoid experiencing teacher burnout

How to Avoid Experiencing Teacher Burnout

How to avoid experiencing teacher burnout. How to avoid experiencing teacher burnout is not an easy question to answer.  Teachers work super hard.  Constantly.  And because of that, burnout is practically a guarantee at some point, many times sooner than later. We have all been there.  It doesn’t matter what kind of teacher you are, how long you have been …

create an amazingly fun classroom

How Complete Literature Can Help You Create an Amazingly Fun Classroom Part 2

In the first article of this two-part series, I went over about half of a week’s reading program.  If you haven’t read that one yet, you can find it here.  In this article, I will finish up the components of a well-rounded elementary or middle school reading program. This program can help you to create an amazingly fun classroom for …

create fun classroom

How Complete Literature Can Help You to Create an Amazingly Fun Classroom Part 1

School is necessary.  Just about every child worldwide participates in school to prepare them for what they need to know and do as responsible citizens in society when they grow up.  But sometimes in the daily grind, school can become monotonous, boring, too routine. But yet as teachers, we all want our students (and their parents) to perceive our work …

emerging technologies in the classroom

What are Emerging Technologies in Education?

There are tons of emerging technologies in education and every other area of all of our lives.  And some of it is absolutely incredible.  But some of it is just “extra.” As teachers, we need to be very discerning about what emerging technologies go into education.  It is a wonderful time to be introducing our students to technology. They will …

Smartest Technology Finds You’ll Love for Your Classroom

In this resource article, I would like to share with you why technology is largely an advantage in the classroom. Then I will show you several of the smartest technology finds you can implement to make classroom life richer, fuller, and more efficient. Technology abounds all around us.  While technology carries some clear disadvantages, it also comes with some amazing …

15 Unusual Needs You’ll Love for Your Classroom

With these 15 unusual needs you’ll love for your classroom, life will be just a little more pleasant for you AND your students all year long.   Most of these involve making your classroom a little bit more comfortable.  This will encourage more attention and learning from your students. Some of them involve organization.  This helps the teacher to make her …

Top 25 Narnia Gifts

Top 25 Narnia Gifts to Give Part 2

In Part 1 of the top 25 Narnia gifts to give this year, I covered the first 13 gift ideas.  They ranged from the most expected gifts to the  most unusual and included every price range to allow for the budgets of all.  You can access that article by clicking here. In this article, I will keep the same format:  …

Top 25 Narnia Gifts

Top 25 Narnia Gifts to Give This Year Part 1

We all know someone who loves Narnia.  There are a lot of us “out there.”  What’s not to love?  C.S. Lewis magnificently created such visual detail and beauty in his timeless series.  And that is what makes this list of the top 25 Narnia Gifts such a perfect idea, no matter what the occasion or who the Narnia-loving recipient is.  …

why does curriculum need to change

Why Does Curriculum Need to Change?

Why does curriculum need to change?  The short answer is because our world is constantly changing.  Our students need to be able to change with it.  What better example than for them to see change in action while they are learning? In this short article, I would like to explore 5 reasons that answer the question, “Why does curriculum need …

key components of a lesson plan

What are Key Components of a Lesson Plan

Most of us don’t really think too much about what the specific key components of a lesson plan are in our daily planning.  But for newer teachers, it can be a daunting process.  And for those of us that have done this countless times before, it is always good to have a bit of a refresher. So I looked online …

effective lesson planning

How to Accomplish More Effective Lesson Planning

Every year, I get so excited about lesson planning and what I am going to do differently and better this time around.  I contemplate how this new year will be full of more effective lesson planning than the year before. And every year, by the time I am a month in, I am just trying to make everything work. I’ve …

impact of technology on literature

The Impact of Technology on Literature

The Impact of Technology on Literature After spending some time researching technology in the classroom and writing a couple of other posts on the subject, I started thinking specifically about the impact of technology on literature. Certainly, technology has affected just about every aspect of our lives.  That especially rings true in educational circles. But we can think of technology …

improve reading skills

12 Ways to Improve Reading Skills

I  always try to look for ways to improve reading skills for my students.  What I found early on was that most of those ways needed to involve less work.   Most of the students are already feeling daunted by the thought of learning to read or improving their reading skills.  And it equates to less work for the teacher, who …

Take advantage of tech in the classroom

How to Take Advantage of Tech in the Classroom II

In this second article addressing how to take advantage of tech in the classroom, I would like to focus on what I have learned about technology that assists teachers in working in the classroom more efficiently. The first article addressed eight specific items that teachers could use with students.  All of those devices were directed towards enriching the students’ experience …

How to Take Advantage of Tech in the Classroom

Because I am historically a homeschool mom, our classroom usually had tons of technology in it, because it had whatever tech we were using at home.  It definitely had its advantages.  But it also came with some drawbacks.  We learned very quickly how to take advantage of tech in the classroom.  We also learned very quickly what things we would …

Great ways to save money on classroom crafts.

5 Great Ways to Save Money on Classroom Crafts

I am always trying to think of great ways to save money on classroom crafts.  Most kids–especially in the middle school range–love crafts. But quality crafting  gets very expensive.  This becomes especially true if you are shopping at the local craft store for each craft you plan.  That doesn’t even take into account that a large class size means way …

How reading books is different from watching movies.

How Reading Books is Different from Watching Movies

My kids and I have been spending some significant time watching movies and reading the books that go with them this summer. So I started thinking about what the differences in value between the two are.  Then I wondered how reading books is different from watching movies. Some people prefer to watch the movie first.  Others prefer to read the …

the styles of learning

Seven Styles of Learning & How They Apply to Your Students

What are the seven styles of learning?  How do they apply to your students, regardless of the style of school you are teaching in?  I would like to talk about what those styles are, how you work with them as a teacher, capitalizing on your own style strengths, and how you bring along all of your students on their journey …

18 Reasons Why Students Need Literature

14 Reasons Why Students Need Literature

Some people love to read.  Others don’t.  Sometimes having students that don’t love to read can seem like torture, both to the teacher and to the student who doesn’t love to read.  But at the end of the day, there are many reasons why students need literature.  And as teachers, we can help both the students that love to read …

Helpful Examples of Differentiated Instruction

Helpful Examples of Differentiated Instruction

Printable Infographic Included! Differentiated Instruction is a huge buzzword in education right now. So what exactly is it?  How is it different from regular class instruction? And what is driving its popularity in the current school climate? I heard about this some time ago but didn’t think much of it at the time.  Then I did some research and realized …

How to be Encouraging in the Classroom

I consider myself to be a pretty encouraging person in the classroom most of the time. I also know this is an area that even the most positive and encouraging teacher can improve in. At least all the human ones! Sometimes everybody is just tired or hungry, or tired AND hungry! And then other times, kids are having a such …

How to Choose the Best Books for Your Class This Year

How to Choose the Best Books for Your Class This Year

  I have a short list of about 10 of my all-time favorite books, from my youth until now.  I loved several more books over the years.  But I bet my list is quite different from most everybody else’s list. So now take that scenario and apply it to 20+ elementary/middle/junior high students and see how varied that list becomes.  …

How to save time lesson planning

How Long Should Lesson Planning Take?

Even though it is still the within the first month of summer vacation, my mind has already started drifting toward planning for the next year, and with it thoughts about how long lesson planning should take.  Of course, we all know that how much things SHOULD take versus how long they actually WILL take are usually quite different. In actuality, …

books so well loved

What Makes These 10 Books so Well-Loved?

I was talking to my kids the other day about all of the historically well-loved books I read as a child. I HAD to read everything my eyes landed upon. Then I had to finish it, regardless of how good or bad it was. Fortunately, I read some pretty amazing books that have stayed with me to this day. So, …

8 Lesson Planning Hacks for Amazing Literature

8 Lesson Planning Hacks for Amazing Literature

We all remember that one teacher that we had that was able to keep the whole class mesmerized. Somehow, she/he was able to keep the whole class on the edge of their seat. They all wanted to hear what she was going to say or do next. And somehow, she could probably ask the class to do anything, and the …

Is Narnia Christian?

Is the Narnia Series Christian?

How Does Teaching a Perceptibly Christian Book Work in Public Settings? Most of the seven books in the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis are taught at some time in the school years by public schools, private schools (religious as well as secular), homeschools, churches, and kids clubs in America.  The same is true for many other countries as well.  With …

great ways to save money on classroom crafts

Voyage of the Dawn Treader

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader became by far my students’ favorite book study.  It took a whole lot of work, but we all had tons of fun.  And seeing how our classroom was transformed by the end of the unit was so much fun! If I had had to do everything up front instead of as the study went …

The Best Lesson Planning

The Best Lesson Planning

I was thinking the other day about what makes the best lesson planning.  One of my favorite things is lesson planning. I love looking online and thinking through the process. And I enjoy planning how I will make the chapter I just read come alive for my students. But I also hate lesson planning. Often in my search for the …

How to get your students' attention after Christmas break

How to Get Your Students’ Attention After Christmas Break

The scenario looks the same in every classroom in America, regardless of whether it is public school, private school, or home school. The teachers are ready to start fresh. The lesson plans are complete. Projects are prepared. The classroom is ready. They arrive with extra time to get everything for the day set up and ready. Then the students arrive. …

Keeping Kids Engaged

How are We Keeping Kids Engaged?

Keeping kids engaged can be a difficult thing to do.  This is especially true when you have a bunch of different personalities to cater to. So what are some of the best ways to keep them engaged?  Getting to know your kids on a deeper level and learning what makes them tick is the key to keeping them engaged on their …