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Mandala Madness

I am obsessed with mandalas. It started with a Dover coloring book, but I quickly discovered that I could get a more striking mandala if I scanned those in and colored them in Photoshop. That quickly turned into a lesson plan for my kids; they loved the assignment so much that I took it step further and

Instant Vocabulary Lists

Academic Language: the current buzzword. I like to tell my kids it’s just “fancy words.”  Of course, we all know why they need to know them, especially the population I service. Without vocabulary, it’s really hard to get ahead in this world. But oh, how I hate creating vocabulary lists. Hate. It. Enter this incredibly

New Feature: 10-Minute Tech

You don’t have time to learn something new. I know. Believe me, I KNOW. But you’re expected to crank out students with a deep understanding of technology, digital literacy, and Internet citizenship. Or maybe you just need to keep them busy for a few minutes. Either way, 10-Minute Tech is for you. These short videos

Fifi’s New Clothes

If you’ve never seen a tarantula shed it’s exoskeleton, it’s really quite interesting. Here’s a time-lapse of out class tarantula, Fifi, shrugging out of her old seven-legged “skin.” The entire process took about 12 hours. It’s unusual for a tarantula to do this upright; most of the time they flip over on their back to

Typing Teacher Round-Up

If you’re lucky enough to be assigned a computer lab, chances are you probably are going to get hit with a section or two of a typing class. At least, that’s been my experience here in the good ol’ state of Texas. I always found it incredibly ironic that they would allow *me* to teach

New Feature: Round-Up!

I’m adding a new feature to the site: Round-Ups are a collection of classroom ideas to help kickstart your creativity and add a little interest to your content. Sure, we’re all excited in the middle of July, but around the end of October we’ve pulled all those shiny new tricks out of the bag and

Five Years

I’ve hit that teaching milestone; the one that makes or breaks a teacher. I’ll be honest; it came very close to breaking me. My first year was a blur. Not only was I learning a whole new profession, I was also dealing with the declining health and eventual death of my father to colon cancer. That’s

Real-Life Where’s Waldo

Imagine that you wake up, and have no idea where you are. All you can do is look around, use contextual clues, and try your best to figure out where you are. Give it your best guess, and GeoGuessr will show you how close you are. It pretty simple, and there’s not much to it

Stop Lugging Home Piles of Paper

I teach three different subjects over a 10-period/2-day block schedule that also includes a built-in intervention period (so technically, 11 periods). I teach under three separate career clusters that have a few things in common, but ultimately, my classroom is a MESS. I’m always on the lookout for new and innovative ways to stay organized