Category Archives: High School

Free 11th/12th Grade Retake Webinar!

Update: This webinar is now complete. Teengagement subscribers will have access to the webinar recordings on their school’s subscription site [] under the Teengagement Empower tab shortly. Join Teengagement® for a free webinar designed to support you in preparing 11th … Continue reading

Reflecting on Student Advice

student surveys

I’ve always regretted the fact that the last few moments I get to share with my students each year are spent with their heads down, brows furrowed, diligently attuned to the closed-ended questions of their final exams.  The kids sweat … Continue reading

Concentration: Compliant vs. Natural Silence

Natural, Silent Concentration

Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.[1]    – Proverbs 17:28 Current educational publications tout the efficacy of student talk as a vehicle to construct … Continue reading

A Good Teacher Will Give You the Shiritori off His Back: Gaining Momentum in Student Writing

clarity and creativity

Here are three questions I’ve learned to secretly despise: “Mr. H., what am I supposed to write about?” “Mr. H., how should I start?” “Mr. H., is this good so far?” Writing Is Creation, and Creation Is Tough In a … Continue reading

Organizing Text with a Cornell Notes Template

Cornell Notes Title

Disorganized notes, while sometimes the hallmark of creative genius, are usually correlated to disorganized thinking.  When I first meet my students in August, I often see notebooks that look like Kurt Cobain’s journal. Of course, a few select prodigies can … Continue reading

P.I.E and the FSA ELA Writing Test: A Student Process Guide

PIE Graphic

Last week we looked at planning sheets, and ways students can use them effectively with the FSA ELA writing assessment. My students created and used mnemonic devices to remember the steps they needed to take on their planning sheets. Now we … Continue reading

Using the Planning Sheet for the FSA ELA Writing Test: A Student Process Guide

FSA ELA Writing Mnemonics

Student 1: Dude, that writing test was so easy. Student 2: Easy?  How can you say that?  I barely finished in time, even with the extra thirty minutes! Student 1: Not me.  I was able to sleep for the last … Continue reading

Making School Matter: A Team Effort

Slavery Bulletin Board

Allow me to preach to the choir when I say that teaching is a love/hate relationship. Let’s not forget, though, that our students, too, have a love/hate relationship with school.  Here’s a brief T-chart that I generated in sixty seconds: … Continue reading

Knowledge and Behavior Messages in Our Texts


Philo – love of Sophia – wisdom Wisdom – having (and using) good judgment Transformation – the process of dramatic growth For the past few thousand years, philosophers have been asking two main questions: Epistemology: How do we know what … Continue reading

Every Author Stakes a Claim

All Writing Is Argumentative Video Link

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”[1] Title: To Kill a Mockingbird Genre: Fiction Theme: Racial equality is paramount in a truly … Continue reading