Friday Faves: Post Round-up for 7/14

My husband and I should be in the Bahamas today, so that fact is making me a little ill.  Instead I’m starting my morning at school working on our curriculum rewrite, and then I’ll be reading for the rest of the day.  We changed our trip when we decided to sell our house and build a new one; we figured it’d be too stressful.  It was probably a good idea, but I can’t quite express how badly I wish I was drinking a hummingbird in a Sandals lounge chair on the beautiful beach at Emerald Bay.

But, alas, I’m not, so let’s get on with it.  It’s Friday, so here are my favorite reads of the week!

friday faves posts 714


Paperless No More: 3 Reasons I’m Using Paper in My Classroom This Year by Adam Schoenbart

I was so excited to see this!  It feels like permission to be logical.  I love technology, don’t get me wrong.  I’m one of the tech facilitators in our school, trained to train other teachers; however, I think sometimes we push technology too much and ignore the real benefits or just plain logic of using pen and paper.  Schoenbart explains that his reasons for using more paper has more to do with classroom management than technology, and I totally agree.  I know that I just need to be more intentional about my use of technology and use it when it is actually transforming what we’re doing, not just acting as a replacement for what we already do.  If you’ve been thinking along these lines, check out Adam’s post.

Partnership Strategies for Real-World Projects from Edutopia

I am SOOO excited to have found this article on Twitter! As I’ve mentioned before, my colleagues and I are looking to introduce some PBL/Genius Hour stuff we’re calling “Impact Workshop” and we definitely need to look into how to get our community involved.  This article shares how a public school–Iowa BIG–partnered with community members for students’ project based learning.  My favorite passage: “Iowa BIG uses those authentic problems as context for addressing academic standards. ‘The teacher’s job is to build content and curriculum around the project, not the other way around,’ explains Pickering. If students express interest in a project idea, teachers look for ‘connections to important, deep content.’ Teachers have to be agile to help students learn unfamiliar content or improve their time-management skills. During a project, ‘they have to read the tea leaves,’ Pickering says, and adjust instruction to help each student succeed.” Read this article!  (And while you’re at it, check out this article from the Buck Institute about a similar topic).

29 Practical Ways to Empower Learners in Your Classroom from A.J. Juliani

This article from Juliani (um, he’s amazing), shares several lessons from different subjects in grades K-12 that teachers used to empower their students.  There’s kind of a lot to digest in this one, but it’s worth a browse through to see what you can find.  His whole site is awesome, so if you’re looking for ways to empower your student, go to his site and read all the things! 🙂

Less analysis, more craft from Gerard Dawson

I was excited about this one from Gerard Dawson (his site is awesome, too) because it addresses something I’ve been thinking about: teaching reading. We all knew some of the ingredients that help students engage in reading; however, Dawson points out that we need to steer students toward the craft of writing and having students emulate the craft.  I love this idea, and it’s something I’ve read a lot about when studying mentor texts, but I am still struggling a bit to implement it more regularly.

What does a writing unit look like? from

Speaking of mentor texts, my next favorite read this week is from my fave:  If you haven’t checked them out yet, I beg you to stop reading RIGHT now, and go to their site.  Set aside some time though, you might be there a while!  Anyway, I was so happy to find this post in my Feedly reader because I’ve been wondering this for a while.  I’m very interested in the way they integrate mentor texts into their writing workshops, but even more so, I couldn’t figure out how they do it.  If you’re trying to figure out how to organize your classroom with the reading/writing workshop, definitely check out this post.  And while you’re at it, read Thursday’s post: Three Simple Exercises to Help your Students Read like Writers.

What good stuff have you read this week?  Please share in the comments. 🙂

Happy reading, folks!


Side note: if you’re looking to become more innovative in English class, join our Facebook group, The Innovative Secondary English Teacher group.  We’d love to have share your resources, questions, and insights!  While you’re at it, pick up a free copy (yes, it’s totally free!) of The Hack Learning Anthology (affiliate link). If you haven’t read any of the Hack Learning series, this is a great place to start–it features nine chapters from different books in the series from authors like Jennifer Gonzalez, Starr Stackstein, Gerard Dawson, and Angela Stockman.


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