Seven Ways to Create the Perfect Classroom Environment

1. Plants, lighting, smells, and sounds: all important. Plants feel “homey” and provide oxygen, which is necessary for breathing, right? The more natural light the better—lift those blinds. Doesn’t matter what age student you have, no one likes a stinky room. Your olfactory senses are tied to memories, you know, so don’t make your classroom […]

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Time (Clock of the Heart)

Why does life seem to be happening so quickly these days? Little Layla is now four and a half months old, Natalie and Ryan have officially tied the knot (and are home from their Dominican Republic honeymoon with a nice mystery rash), it’s already October, and school has been in full force for six weeks […]

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Real Life Lessons from the Classroom

I like to bring the real world into my classroom—at least as much as I can—and when it was time for me to get down to writing a keynote address for the ASJA conference in NYC mid-May, I panicked. What would I tell this group of writers, who undoubtedly had more profound writing credentials than […]

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The Senior Soundtrack Project

When my seniors in English 12 asked if they, as a class, could read my book, how could I refuse? It is literary non-fiction, which their standards specify. And they were asking–almost pleading—after all. I’m no dummy. Plus, what a cool opportunity all the way around. (Please note: I did not require students to buy […]

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