Interview with a Gifted Kid: Rachel

In this installment of the Interview with a Gifted Kid series, we’ll meet Rachel, an 8th grader from a small midwestern town. I think you’ll find her insights as interesting and powerful as I did. The Interview with a Gifted Kid Series As part of my mission to make the

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Are you Making This Depth and Complexity Mistake?

Using the icons of Depth and Complexity without a strong task statement is a mistake. The task statement needs a strong through-line to the element, as well. If you just have an icon and no task statement, or a task statement that has a tenuous connection to the element represented

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How to Make Distance Learning Engaging

We can make distance learning more engaging for learners. I know this is true because I’ve been engaging hundreds of students simultaneously in distance learning, and I’m going to tell you all of my secrets. The key to engaging students in distance learning is energy. You know how they say

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Teddy Bear Crossing Bear Hunt Signs

Have you see the cute Bear Hunt movement that’s sweeping the country as kiddos find themselves isolated from peers and normal social interaction? How it works is that neighbors put teddy bears in their windows, and children try to spot the bears. It’s adorable. Want to see some in action

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photo of Lisa Van Gemert conducting onlin English class

How I Became the Country’s English Teacher

Saturday morning at 7:28am I became the country’s English teacher. I didn’t know it at the time, of course, which is how these things usually work. The Idea for an Online Course Appears I had been thinking about the implications of school closures due to COVID-19, and my mind was

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small house with title of article - learning at home resources

Learning at Home Resources: Ideas for Teachers and Parents

Looking for Ways to Help Kids Learn at Home? Looking for great, free resources for learning from home? Whether it’s due to school closure, summer break, homeschooling, or just wanting to build a house of learning, I’m sharing some great ideas. Resources are available to help you facilitate learning at

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chalkboard with desk and title of post

Beginning of the Year Parent Forms

  Sending home classroom parent permission forms typically occurs at the beginning of the year. Unfortunately, no one teaches you how to do it. In college they don’t help teachers learn any of the really important stuff, like how to operate the copier or run a laminator, and I know

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Book Report Badness: Reader Q & A

Book Report Badness: The Trouble with Summarizing There is always some tension between teaching a subject and making sure that we don’t turn the subject into a source of pain and drudgery. It’s the art of teaching (and parenting, really). I’ve written about it before when I talked about the

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calendar and title of article

2019 Year in Review

Do you love looking back on what you’ve done, where you’ve been, and think about where you’re going? I do! This is the second year that I’ve done a year in a review, and while they take hours to write, they’re worth it. I hope you agree. Speaking In 2019,

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Making Choice Menus Better

Choice menus (sometimes called Extension Menus or Choice Boards or fifty other titles) are a foundational technique for many teachers. Typically, they’re a grid somewhat like a tic-tac-toe board that has different options students can choose from to complete some task or project. Just do a quick search and you’ll

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Christmas Books for Kids with All the Feels

Every Christmas, I put away the children’s books that fill a basket in my family room and exchange them for beloved Christmas stories. In our home, it wouldn’t be Christmas without reading these favorites, both old and new. Most have tattered covers now, yet they are precious to me. I

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