When you’re in the car on the way to work, fighting off negative self-talk, what are you listening to on your fancy headphones that you sometimes wear when you’re driving even though you really shouldn’t? Something energetic, but you don’t want to oversell it; not too upbeat then, probably. Something just right.


Make something everyday – even if it’s just a playlist


Poetry Performance

I had never heard of a TV show called Def Poetry Jam until today, but I’ve been seeing clips from that show for years without knowing what they were from. I originally started writing this post to talk about the SpokenPoetryTV Youtube channel, but I’ve been looking up info about Def Poetry Jam instead. It’s an old show; it went off the air in 2007. The history is fascinating. Slam poetry, of course, is fascinating by itself. I wish I knew more about it. Marc Smith, I think, usually credited with being the founder of the slam poetry movement, apparently felt that the movement had become too commercial in general, and specifically felt that Def Poetry Jam was exploitative.

Anyway. SpokenPoetryTV collects poetry performance videos. Performed poetry, especially really contemporary stuff, is powerful. Kids like me who come to class already hooked on Keats and Dickinson are pretty unusual. For everyone else, the everyday language, the movement, the audible passion in slam performances can make a transformative difference in their enjoyment of poetry.

No-Prep Reading-Check Quiz.

Never spend valuable time writing questions for reading-check quizzes again! I got this idea from my field placement teacher. It’s so obvious; use the text itself to check for comprehension.

The day the assigned reading is due, put a selection from the text on the board. Ask students three questions about it.

What is happening in this passage?

What happened before?

What happens next?

The questions can be asked in different ways or adapted. The point is, teachers often spend a disproportionate amount of time assessing relatively small things like whether a student has read the assignment and gained a basic understanding of what they’ve read. This makes the reading-check into a routine that not only saves the teacher time and energy, it also helps the student by giving them a structure that they fit new information into as they read future assignments.