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Bring Your Personality and Humor on Day One

We might think a new school year should start off with solemnity. But that’s not the message teacher Heather Wolpert-Gawron has garnered from her survey of 6-12th graders across the country. Students learn more when teachers share their humanity and their humor ASAP.

Use Community Builders to Help Set Expectations

Building classroom community through fun and engaging activities is important at the beginning of school and throughout the year. Author/educator Walton Burns urges teachers to be sure you’re setting students up for success by communicating your expectations clearly.

Three Fun Activities to Keep Students Writing

Writers get better by writing, says author and ELA teacher Marilyn Pryle. “It’s our job to have students write regularly, genuinely, and with ownership.” She shares three fun writing tasks (including directions, a model and a prewrite activity) that get the job done!

4 Creative Ways to Use Nonfiction Text Sets

The free education site CommonLit has created nearly 1000 document-based lesson plans and a growing collection of differentiated nonfiction text sets. Rob Fleisher, the non-profit’s director of school partnerships, shares some creative ways to tap these rich resources.

Teacher: Step Away From That Red Pen!

Young writers will blossom when teachers trade in their red pens for an appreciative approach to feedback, says consultant Patty McGee. As writing mentors, teachers help students achieve quality writing with originality, voice, and style. McGee includes more than a dozen teaching tools.

Differentiating ELA Instruction with Menus

With its ready-made product menus and immediate applicability, Differentiating Instruction with Menus is one of those books that won’t gather dust, as teachers will turn to it for quick reference throughout the school year, says ELA and gifted facilitator Kim Rensch.