Monday, October 17, 2011

Things to Know Before Reading Gatsby-Screen Capture with audio

I am teaching am The Great Gatsby online to high school students. Can you say CHALLENGE.

One thing that has helped is Screencast-O-Matic. (

Here is the one that I created:

They are really easy to create:
1. Create a PowerPoint, Keynote, Word Document, Excel, etc.
2. Go to
3. Press the blue record button.
4. Drag the box with the dotted lines over your document.
5. Resize the box as necessary.
6. Press record

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Current Events

Click here to download CNN Current Events worksheet.

For this worksheet:
1. Students must choose one article from each category.
2. They must write "who, what, when, where."
3. They must write a summary.
4. From their summary, they must identify parts of speech.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Venn Diagram

Click here for Venn Diagram

This is an oldie but goodie. This Venn Diagram is cool because it has a lot of space in the middle (for discussing how the two concepts are alike.) In the past, I've had problems with there not being enough space in the middle.

Tip: Try the Venn Diagram as an assessment tool. I recently used it as an assessment tool; as part of a Raisin in the Sun quiz, I asked my students to compare and contrast two of the characters. It was less intimidating than an essay question, and I got really good results. Im not throwing out essays; I am just using Venn Diagrams as scaffolding.

Hope it works for you!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

EPALS-Collaborate with Students from around the world.

This is a great way for students to work collaboratively from students around the world!

Go to to learn more information

For detailed information about an EPALS project, global warming, go to

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Nonfiction about Elephants

Download Nonfiction Article

This includes an article about elephants with questions. It also includes a research activity and a writing activity.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Free Student Websites for Teachers

You can actually have your students create Weebly websites that YOU get to control for FREE!

And let me tell you, Weebly websites are your not your mother's websites; they are really cool, and they look really professional and polished.

The benefits are:
You can control user names and passwords.
You decide whether the website is public or private.
You can delete websites.

The consequences:
You are only allowed 40 student accounts. If you would like to add students, the price is 10 dollars per 10 students.

Students are only only allowed to create one website at a time. (To get around this, you can have the students delete the website after you have graded it. Then you can have them create a new one.)

Websites are limited to five pages.

Note: If you upgrade to Weebly Pro, you students can create up to 10 websites with unlimited pages. Weebly Pro is 39.95 per year. I'm thinking that if you really use the websites, it might be worth the investment.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Clock Partners

Click Here for Clock

I've had a lot of success with clock partners this year. It keeps the class from being so monotonous and routine by allowing students to work with a variety of other students.

Here's how it works:
1. Give each student a blank clock.
2. Have the students to find a partner for each time (12:00, 3:00, 6:00, 9:00).
3. The students will write the name of the partner under the corresponding time.

Make sure that you make a copy of the clocks. Students tend to lose things:)

Note: Teachers may choose to assign clock partners; however, letting the students pick there own partner has worked well for me.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Avoiding Plagiarism Website Tutorial

I am sorry that I haven't posted in a long time; I've been really busy with graduate school and such. Speaking of graduate school, I took part in the creation of a website tutorial about avoiding plagiarism. I certainly can't take all of the credit for it. There were three other group members that worked on this project. I really hope that you find this site to be useful.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

20 Minute Vocabulary Story

This activity can either be done with a partner or individually. I told students to stop wherever they were at 20 minutes. I told them before hand that by the end of the 20 minutes, they should have approximately 3-4 paragraphs.

Here's the activity:

20 minute Vocabulary Story
Use at least TWO additional words from list 11-A.
3-4 Paragraphs

Begin the story in one of the following ways:

1. The preacher admonished the people to change their wicked ways.
2. Anne tried to appease the crying baby.
3. I will not bequeath my treadmill to you.
4. The monster’s rough appearance belied his/her inner sensitivity.

Here's list 11-A:

1. admonish
2. appease
3. archaic
4. ascetic
5. belie
6. bequeath
7. capricious
8. clemency
9. condone
10. furtive
11. glutton
12. humane
13. homogenous
14. miserly
15. saturate

Friday, March 18, 2011

Three Ways to Cut Down On Grading

Grading is one of the most time consuming parts of teaching. The average high school teacher probably collects about 450 assignments per week! (90 students X 1 assignment per day)

If you cut down on the amount of student work that you grade, then you will have more time to do such things as create engaging lesson plans, or you may actually get to spend your weekend spending time with the ones you love.

Here are five ways to cut down on grading:

1.Completion Grades-For homework assignments that aren’t weighted as heavily, it is perfectly okay to give completion grades. Sure there are some teachers who will tell you that this is a sin, but they are the same teachers who always appear as if they are on the verge of a nervous break down. Keep the following in mind for completion grades:
A.These assignments should be routine assignments. At the beginning of the semester, you should grade these thoroughly. As the semester continues, students will have gotten into the habit of completing these assignments thoroughly. For instance, I assign vocabulary word maps every week. At the beginning of the year, I grade them more thoroughly. After I know students know how to do them properly, I am able to give completion grades.
B.You don’t have give a completion grade for every homework or routine assignment. For example, let’s take the previously discussed word maps. Some weeks I may choose to give completion grades, and some weeks I may grade them thoroughly. The students don’t know beforehand how I will grade them; this keeps them on their toes.
2.Make tests and quizzes account for approximately 80% of the student’s grade. This way, routine assignments only count 20 %.
3.Notebook Quiz- To prevent having to grade my daily warm-ups, journals, worksheets, etc., I tell students to keep all assignments in their notebooks. At the end of the week, I give the students a notebook quiz, in which they are able to use their notebooks.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Create a FREE Online Quiz Using Survey Monkey

You can create an online quiz for using Survey Monkey. It is intended to be used for surveys, but it also works well as a quiz. The great thing about it, is that you can see the results of the quiz right after the students take it. You will able to see what percentage of the class chose each answer.

Here's an example of a quiz that I created:
Here's the link to Survey Monkey:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Free Book: Short Stories for Reading Comphension

Just email me at, and let me know that you would like a free book. If you are selected, I'll contact you for mailing information.

This book is also available on

Check out the following blogs for FREE stories from the book:

Greg the Grizzly Bear (It's about a bear who befriends a human. Multiple Choice Questions and Activities are included.)

The Family Vacation--It's about a family that decides to take a staycation rather than a vacation. Multiple Choice Questions and Activities are included.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Free Short Story and Poster: Greg The Grizzly Bear

Here's a short story with questions and an activity. It's about a bear who befriends a human. Click Here to Download