Help! I’m Being Observed!

Some of us have been in school for awhile, for others its only been a couple of weeks, but whenever you started, it’s almost that time of year again: observation time. I’ll admit that this time used to strike fear into my normally confident teacher heart. I’ll even admit to still having twinges after more […]

Whatchamacallit Context Clues

I think we can all agree that teaching students how to use context clues is important. I spend a lot of time on context clues with all of my classes, especially my lower proficiency level classes, but I have long had two recurring frustrations. The majority of context clues practice activities are made for young […]

What to Wear?

Making vocabulary practice interesting for students is not always easy, especially older students. While my adult students understand the value of repetitive vocabulary study, and thus are willing to participate, my middle schoolers were not always so accommodating. I did eventually find some culmination activities that were almost always a hit, such as Appetizing Adjectives […]

Getting Perspective

Helping students understand perspective can be difficult. It can be especially difficult helping them to see things from a perspective that isn’t their own. I have a writing mini-unit I do that helps with this process. The first thing we do is discuss the definition of perspective and its synonym point of view. To help […]

Connected Vocabulary

“Words are the most powerful thing in the universe…” (Charles Capps) I don’t know about you, but it seems I spend at least half of my instructional time on vocabulary. We know the old school method of assigning lists of words, requiring students to look up and copy definitions from the dictionary, and then quizzing […]

Helpful Resources for Students

One of the most frequent requests I get from students, especially now that I’m teaching mostly adults, is for resources they can use to practice English on their own. Understandably, since they are paying a fair amount of money for classes and books already, my students are most interested in free resources. In early 2021, […]

Morning Bell Work

One of my education professors used to stress the importance of keeping students focused in relation to classroom management. She used to say, “If you don’t have a program running, put on a commercial or the students will air their own show and it’s guaranteed to be a drama.” I very quickly learned she was […]

Alternative Seating

Alternative seating is not something I learned about in school, university, or even student teaching. When I was going through all of those stages, classrooms had very limited seating options. There were carpets in the lower grade classrooms, elementary desks (the kind that the top lifted up and you kept your books inside), upper grades […]

Back to School Activities — Ice Breaker Alternatives

It’s the end of July, and that means teachers in the USA (and other parts of the world) are starting to plan their first day/week activities for the school year. If you, like me, hear the words, “Let’s do an ice breaker.” or “Let’s do a get-to-know-you activity.” and want to run for the hills, […]

Out of the Blue Favorite Classroom “Supplies”

I am a big proponent of NOT buying a lot of stuff for your classroom, especially as a novice teacher. I also recognize that I’m a bit of a hypocrite in this area as I have A LOT of teaching materials and love getting new things for my classroom. Some things I’ve purchased, tried, and […]


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