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This post originally appeared on the blog Composition Classroom. Read any student essay, and you’re likely to get abstract descriptions: The vacation was “wonderful” the food tasted “great,” and the dog was “cute.” When we ask students to add more detail, or be more descriptive, we often get lists of…

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At the beginning of this school year, I started tackling my long to-do list. While the boys were at school, I was at home working away on my blog and creating resources. After a while, I lost the motivation to create. It became a struggle to blog and create resources, because I wasn’t able to use them to help a room full of students master a difficult skill or engage them in a new way…

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Cooperative learning can be a powerful tool for energizing a classroom, motivating students, and raising achievement. However, it’s not always easy to get kids to work together effectively. After a particularly chaotic lesson, you might even get so frustrated that you’re tempted to give up completely and assign seat work for the rest of the year! If you feel this way, don’t give up just yet…

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Back in August, I wrote about this idea that I took from Brooke Brown’s blog, Teaching Outside the Box. Basically, you get yourself some project cases, and you use them to store your lesson plans. What’s nice about these is that you can put everything you need in file folders. This means no hole punching for binder storage or…

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One truth I know about middle school students is that they LOVE to talk. Sometimes, this love of talking can hinder the classroom atmosphere. Especially if a teacher has the attitude that the class must be quiet, listen, and be on task the entire class period. I implemented one tiny thing this school year that has revolutionized my classroom behavior as well as…