Category Archive: Teaching

Sep 01

Spark Book Review: The Science of Exercise and the Brain

Changing thinking about exercise and the brain Written by bestselling author and psychiatrist John J. Ratey with Eric Hagerman, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain is a positive book that looks at how exercise can improve neuroplasticity, learning, and executive function. It suggests exercise as a helpful addition to medication, or sometimes even a replacement …

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Jan 18

Richard Scrimger Interview

I was lucky enough to interview the witty, award-winning Canadian author, Richard Scrimger. Versatile, he writes for small children, middle grade, young adult, and adult categories. My current favorite is his YA novel Zomboy, in which a new student turns out to be undead, and unwanted, by unenlightened members of his community. Zomboy provokes thought but still …

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Dec 29

Shared Writing and the Classroom Novel

The popularity of fantasy adventure novels hasn’t dwindled since Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Teachers capitalizing on this popularity can inspire student writing, without marking more pages than Lord of the Rings. Today, I’m going to talk about shared-world ‘novel’ writing. This is something I did with a class of gifted grade four students, …

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Sep 20

Creating Yearbooks with Students

                            Voted most likely to succeed… A highly subjective guide to creating yearbooks Making a yearbook is a rewarding experience for students and teachers. In spring, when the yearbooks come out, our school is a frenzy of autographing, sharing, laughing and remembering. …

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Sep 06

Ideamancy – Ideas for Back-To-School Magic

The first week of school is over. Routines are starting to gel, kids are on their best behaviour and starting to make friends. Teachers are breathing a sigh of relief. It’s the honeymoon period for elementary teachers. This glistening doorway of opportunity, lit by September magic, will not stay open long. Invite all the kids in, …

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Aug 25

Takatsu Cell Phone Novelist

Takatsu wrote the first North American cell phone novel. I met with him to speak about creativity, multimedia art, writing, and education reform. His current project, Espresso Love, is a Wattpad novel. You can look at the video trailer, which he produced himself using Animoto to add mysterious signs to the urban landscape. His multimedia productions include …

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Aug 22

Creative Teaching Newsletter – Poetry Slam

The very first Creative Teacher Librarian newsletter has been sent. Subscribers will receive a mini unit introducing spoken word or ‘slam’ poetry. Tips, instructions, useful links and a Spoken Word Rules page are included. Lessons can be adapted for a wide range of ages from grade school to high school.   Back-To-School with Feeling: Poetry in September Poetry gets …

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Aug 20

Cursed Dishes by Jennifer Lott

I recently enjoyed interviewing Jennifer Lott about her first chapter book. As an early childhood educator, she had insights into writing for children and teaching as well. Cursed Dishes is based on a ‘revenge’ story Lott wrote when she was sixteen about her uncooperative younger sisters. Ten years later this completely reworked version is volume one in the Family Magic series, …

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Aug 14

Make a Chapbook or Booklet – DIY Video

Getting Started with Chapbooks and Brochures Give your students recognition for their excellent creative writing by publishing a short story anthology, or connect school and home with a booklet of favorite family recipes, or a homework guide for parents. From poetry chapbooks to collections of cartoons, publishing little books helps generate excitement for literacy. When you arrange a book launch …

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Aug 11

A Call from France: Learning Exchanges

My fourteen-year-old son called from France today. He has been there for over two weeks without showing signs of homesickness. His French ‘family’ has taken him to climb canyons, visit chateaux near Paris, and to swim at a beach near Biarritz. He says he has learned enough French to communicate with other kids and his …

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