Professional Development Anytime, Anywhere

Professional Development Anytime, Anywhere

My first years as a teacher I loved going to professional development meetings. I have always loved to learn new things. Probably why I became a teacher. In that first year, I discovered a workshop called What’s New in Young Adult Literature? and it changed my world. I became addicted to conferences and all things professional development.

The year I traveled to Pittsburgh for the NCTE conference is hands down the best conference I’ve ever attended to date. I shook hands with Walter Dean Myers and intently listened while he shared about his own visit to Egypt. Lois Lowry was such a quiet, reserved woman that I could say nothing but a simple thank you and quietly walk away in awe. Laurie Halse Anderson held up her line to chat with me like we’d been friends for years. Sarah Weeks was a new author at the time and I’ve been a raging fan ever since. Jon Sonnenblick, also new at the time, was super funny in spite of having written a book about childhood cancer.  To me, this was a “red carpet” experience! Authors are the English teacher’s celebrity.

The next school year I immediately completed the appropriate paperwork requesting to attend NCTE again. However, that request was met with budget cuts and the opportunity to attend amazing conferences dwindled as the years went by. Working towards my Master’s degree was about all the professional development I was taking in and it wasn’t much fun any longer.

Then came the technology boom.

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In my career, I have gone from walking students to a computer lab filled with desktop computers to a Chromebook for every student. Learning how to utilize that technology in the classroom has been a major teaching overhaul for most of us in this profession. Some of us have embraced it while others prefer the traditional days of handwritten papers. Learning to use technology effectively has not been easy, so I understand the teachers who hesitate to bring it on board. However, technology is not going away anytime soon! We would be doing our students a disservice if we did not help them to navigate the world of technology.

Our building is not a one-to-one just yet, I believe it’s in the works. We did change over to a Google school and this has completely transformed my teaching and any kind of workflow I use for creating. In the beginning, I had no idea what being a Google school even meant. Then I was introduced to Kasey Bell, the author of Shake Up Learning.

My very helpful media specialist printed me a copy of Kasey’s free Google Cheat Sheet. After reading this I immediately wanted more! I went to the website signed up for her email updates and printed nearly every free resource she offers. I had to stop once I realized how much free stuff she actually has available.

One of my favorite resources was the teacher challenge. This helped me to learn so much I didn’t know existed in the world of technology for the classroom. Learning from Kasey has catapulted a domino effect in my life personally and professionally.

For starters, I am now a blogger. My students are bloggers. Which gave me the idea to help other teachers create bloggers out of their students. My world has opened up to the many possibilities that technology provides.

One of which happens to be a new way of gaining professional development without needing to travel or take a day off of school.

Webinars and online courses are the new waves in learning. In any profession, not just teaching.

Online learning provides a few things that in-person conferences can not. For starters, you can learn anywhere, anytime. If you have a device and WiFi you can learn something new. The other great part about online learning is the community built around it. Nearly every course out there also provides a Facebook group where people who have taken the course can share ideas or ask questions. The Shake Up Learning group is a wonderful place to get answers quickly or learn new ideas or teacher hacks.

The latest from Shake Up Learning is a Google Slide Master Class. Kasey often refers to Google Slides as the “Swiss Army Knife of the G Suite tools” because it is so much more than just another presentation tool. Her course is for any K-12 educator looking for new and dynamic ways to use Google Slides in the classroom. If you know how to find the Slides app and start a blank presentation this course will teach you the rest. On the other hand, if you’ve been using Slides, like I have, for a number of years you are still going to learn new and innovative ways to incorporate Slides into your classroom.

If you are looking to seriously step up your G Suite game check out the bundle option! You can purchase both the Google Slides Master Class and the Google Classroom Master Class at a discount.

In the Slides Master Class, you’ll also learn three bonus lessons.

BONUS 1: Stop Motion Animation

Save yourself valuable instructional time and that oh so elusive teacher sanity by packaging your assignments so that students have EVERYTHING they need in one place.

BONUS 2: How to Create Magnetic Poetry with Slides and Drawings

This bonus is one of the most requested resources! In this bonus, you will learn how to create interactive lessons like magnetic poetry with Google Slides AND Google Drawings.

BONUS 3: 50 Google Slides Lesson and Project Ideas

This bonus lesson is loaded with 50 ideas for using Google Slides in your classroom. There are ideas for every grade level and every skill level. Use the skills from this course to design lessons and projects for your students.

My students recently completed the Vision Board lesson idea. I taught them how to add Unspalsh photos, use text over photos, and how to download the slide as a .jpg so they could add it to their blog. I love how easy this was and what I love it, even more, is that their parents can see them and comment on them.

If you’ve never visited Shake Up Learning at the website or through Facebook I encourage you to go there now! You can also visit or tune in to the Google Teacher Tribe Podcast that Kasey co-hosts with Matt Miller from Ditch That Textbook. Free PD every Monday afternoon!

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How to create classroom community

How to create classroom community

One the greatest aspects to establish in the classroom, right from the start, is a sense of community. Classroom community is important for students to feel they are in a safe place to share ideas and take some risks. When they feel the environment around them will support them even if they didn’t get the right answer they will still be willing to try. Their willingness to try will make for a much more productive class period each day.

Now, this all sounds great, but it can often be difficult to establish a community within a middle school classroom. For one thing, middle schoolers can be pretty opinionated. By the time they get to 8th grade they may have been burned by others and until you prove them wrong they are convinced you will be the same kind of teacher. Middle schoolers are also big fans of drama. They often carry a grudge like a new momma carries her newborn. They cuddle it and feed it and watch it grow.

Classroom management for middle school can often be difficult. We all want to see positive behavior from our students, but how do we make this happen. This weekly system will reinforce positive behavior from your students. Find posters and activities to help get started the first week of school.

Some of the links found in this post are affiliates. This means if you make a purchase after clicking through we will receive a small compensation at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance for your support and please know that we only endorse products we use and love.

This can make creating a class community a difficult process. That is why it’s best to start as soon as possible.

Here is an idea that was sparked by a teacher I connected with through Instagram. If you have read the book or watched the movie Wonder then you know what I mean by Mr. Browne’s precepts. He was a teacher who started his class with a precept, a word I had to look up in the dictionary because I’d never heard it before reading Wonder. Precept is defined as a rule or direction dictating a way you should act or behave. To me using this word makes so much more sense than calling them inspirational quotes, or even using just inspirational quotes.

The plan

Hashtags are all the rage so I’m going to use #MotivationMonday to kick off each week. Even if we have a holiday Monday and start the week on Tuesday. When students come in and get settled we will start with our posted precept. Read the precept out loud together then discuss what it means. This is a quick, 5-minute conversation. Using weekly precepts can help create a classroom community.

As the week moves along notice when kids are living out the week’s precept. Tell them how they are demonstrating it and call them out to their classmates for doing so. This will allow everyone to see what the precept in action looks like. By Thursday all students will need to cast their vote for the classmate who they felt lived out the precept. This will be done through a simple Google Form that students can find on our class blog. The form asks simple questions: voting student’s name, nominee’s name, why they deserve to be recognized. At the end of the day Thursday I will go through the votes and the student with the most votes will be awarded a small laminated version of the precept poster. They will also receive a printed list of the reasons why they were deserving of this precept. All voters names will be kept anonymous. It will be up to students if they would like to share that they voted for that student and why.

In class on Friday, we will spend a few minutes celebrating that student for their outstanding accomplishment. It is my hope that this will encourage positive behavior. Our class motto is a positive presence & a positive participant. Using the weekly precepts will help support and uphold this message.

If you would like to purchase a school year’s worth of precept posters and awards you can find them in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Set the stage with other activities

When you teach in a class that has multiple levels of learners, meaning you’ll need to pull them into small groups for many of the lessons, it’s a good idea to start building a community that also recognizes differences. As a teacher who has an intervention specialist for every class it’s no secret to the kids that there is a second teacher in the room for a reason. The kids who are on IEPs know they need extra support and the minute you ask them to join a group away from the big group they often feel stupid. The stigma is real and if we don’t treat it in a way that can make these kids feel comfortable they will continue to see themselves as a label.

Caterpillars and Butterflies

Over the summer I kept hearing about or reading about how caterpillars change into butterflies. This made me think about the obvious theme of metamorphosis. Starting out as something small with little skills and turning into something more beautiful and grand. But then I started to think about the life of a caterpillar and the life of a butterfly separately.

As a caterpillar, they crawl on their bellies and eat leaves. In that state, those things are good for them. As butterflies, they now get around with wings, totally new skills because of a totally new body. They now eat nectar. Again, a totally new food source which is perfect for nourishing their totally new bodies. (Sorry, I’m not a science teacher so this is really basic here, but I promise a good point is about to be made.) As caterpillars, they needed to eat a certain kind of food to fuel the body they had at the time. It’s what was best for them. Imagine if a caterpillar tried to eat nectar rather than the leaves it’s body truly needed. They probably wouldn’t grow and they would most likely be super hungry all the time. It’s the same for us.

If we try to “feed” ourselves something that we aren’t ready for or can’t grasp the concept of right now then we are going to get frustrated and shut down. It’s important for us to know what we need in order to grow. Or it’s important for students to understand how they learn best in order to actually retain knowledge.

Like caterpillars, we can often evolve over time. If we build up our knowledge enough to transform our weaknesses into strengths we become something new, a butterfly. Now we have to figure out how this new self learns and grows. That can often mean trying something we have never tried before because we are something (or at least our mindset might be something) we have never been before.

This little breakdown of the metamorphosis theme is meant to help students think about how they should be aware of their personal learning style AND understand that it can change. It’s possible to train yourself to be a better learner in a style you may not have been successful with previously.

Why this matters

For example, I’m the worst singer! I listen to the radio in the car, but I’m not really a music kind of person. However, when I had my children I discovered that singing to them soothed them to sleep. I’m still baffled by this! Plus, I’m so bad with music that I really only know two songs. The ABC’s (yes I’m a total ELA nerd) and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Do you know that my two-year-old has been singing ALL of the correct words to Twinkle Twinkle since she could speak sentences?  I discovered that she learns things when they are in a musical lyric. So I started making up songs to teach her things. I’m not about to go live with these songs, but she is learning and so am I.

The first week of school my read aloud will be Hermie by Max Lucado. It tells the story of a caterpillar who desperately wants to be special like so many other bugs. Then when he becomes a butterfly he recognizes that he hadn’t become his true self. I’ll ask the kids what they think is Hermie’s greatest lesson learned. Their answers should reflect ideas about being ok with who you are or where you are at presently. That we don’t need to desire or try to be something we are not. Especially because we all have the potential to become someone greater than we are today, at this moment.

Next, we will all draw ourselves as the butterflies we see for our future selves. Students who feel comfortable drawing from scratch will get a blank white paper and those who need an outline to get started can have a copy. They will color and cut out their butterflies and we will hang them in the classroom.

My next major point to students will be noticing how different each butterfly was drawn. I’ll make an observation that the process inside a chrysalis is probably not the same for a bright blue wing as it would be for a marbled yellow and black wing. That means that in order to be formed into a butterfly each one might need something different to achieve the end result. The same idea applies to our classroom, each student will need a specific path of lessons to achieve mastery of a skill.

Now we have established the idea that we all have the potential to be something different than we are right now and in order to get there, it can look different than the person sitting next to us. Ultimately creating a safe space where different is good.

Now is the time to ask students what goals they need to set in order to become that butterfly they envision. What new skills does this butterfly have that the caterpillar didn’t have or wasn’t very good at? What goals would help that butterfly gain these skills?

Keep in mind this whole class activity is a metaphor!

I would love to hear from any of the teachers who give this approach to classroom community a try. Share in the comments how or if you plan to give this a go.

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Lesson Plans for the First Day of School

Lesson Plans for the First Day of School

Teachers have been preparing for their year most of the summer and the excitement builds to crescendo the day students walk through our doors. The last lesson plan we really want to follow is to stand at the front of the room and go through a  massive list of rules. Some teachers will choose to do this. You can be different and set a tone of learning on the first day with this lesson plan.

Often times the first day of school will not follow your regular time schedule. This makes for difficult lesson planning to figure out what you can fit into the usually short time you have with these new students. Take advantage of this unusual timetable and let it work to your benefit. Even if you run a normal schedule this plan will be one that students will enjoy. You will also learn a lot about your new kiddos!

Make your first day of school all about the learning. Use these first day of school lesson plans to help set the tone of the school year.

Set a tone of learning

Show them your books. There will be plenty of time to go over how to turn in papers and where to return supplies and the consequences for bad choices. Let your students know that on day one your priority is their learning. Sharing your books and the passion you have for them will make a strong first impression.

Consider how much information these kids are taking in on the first day. Nearly every teacher is going over some part of the handbook or handing out their list of rules and expectations. I used to be that teacher. I would write them a letter that talked all about my expectations for being a student in my classroom. We would read it out loud together and it would serve as a model letter which they would replicate for homework that week. Now multiply this by the number of teachers an average middle schooler or high schooler sees in a day. That’s a lot of information to take in within a seven-hour day.

Get them talking

The first day of school marks a change in the social scene hub. Wherever the crowds were gathering over the summer this all changes on the first day of school. Kids are excited to see which friends are in their classes and where their locker is located and who they will sit with at lunch. The kids are much more focused on their social scene day one then they are about the expectations teachers are explaining to them. So why not let them be social? As long as they are talking about books, let them talk.

Listening in on these conversations will provide you with valuable information. Pay attention to who resists and who dives in with both feet. Your resistors are now on your radar! Those who dive in and start talking about the books in the stacks they’ve already read will be your marketing committee. Use them to share book talks and favorite reads for those who aren’t so excited about reading. Find more ideas about the readers you’ll be meeting in your middle school classroom in this guest post I wrote for the Booksource Banter blog.

How to share your books

This is an activity that I call Speedbooking. It’s similar to the concept of Speed Dating. To prepare for this activity you’ll want to place seats in a circle or have a fixed pattern for books to travel. At each student seat place a stack of 4-5 books. Choose a good cross-section of your library. Be sure the stacks are a mix of books. Pull some of your most popular, “fly off the shelf” titles. Don’t forget about the books in a series. Research shows that students are more likely to continue through a series. So including these books will be good for your reluctant readers.

When students arrive in the classroom tell them that they’ll have time to look at the books, but not yet. Start with a conversation about how to choose a book. Ask them to give you all the ways they make an informed decision about choosing a book to start reading. Some of the most common answers might include reading the back of the book (great place to teach the word synopsis vs. summary), read the first few pages, looking at the cover. Another good teachable moment to mention that judging a book by its cover is ok when it’s an actual book. A few answers that don’t often come up but are worth mentioning are to choose a favorite or trusted author, read in the middle to look for words that might be too hard, look for key aspects that identify the genre. Keep this talk to 10 minutes and it helps to make a list on the board or in an anchor chart.

Now they are ready to start looking through the books. In order to keep track of the books they like try my record sheets. One is a running record and the other is meant to replicate Instagram. This can be used for your visual students. Often the struggling readers have a hard time finding books they like or that on their reading level. They might feel pressure to write titles down because those around them have several on their list. Giving them the option to draw and use the Instagram template gives them something to keep their hands and minds busy if the stack isn’t for them.

Each round takes about 90 seconds. It helps to set a timer. The kids will catch on to the process which allows you to listen in on conversations happening or strike one up about a book you might recommend. Ideally, you’ll have time to allow all the stacks to make it around the circle.

Follow up lesson plans & ideas

After all your classes have been through the stacks and have created a Future Reading List be sure the lists are placed where they can be referenced often. Most likely your schedule will only allow for this activity to take place. The following day is a great opportunity to show students your book check out system. If you currently do not have one or are looking for a free system that is digitally tracked read my post about using Classroom Organizer. If your library needs some “beefing up” check out this post about reading recommendations for middle and high school.

Share your first day of school routines that have helped you get to know students right away while setting the tone for learning. I’d also love to hear from anyone who tries this plan!

A lesson plan for the first day of school that sets the tone for learning and community.

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How to Blog with Students

How to Blog with Students

Blogging in the classroom is a total writing program for any teacher. Even if you aren’t the writing teacher, you can still use blogging in the classroom with your students. Most teachers have a website attached to their district’s website. It’s mostly a place for students and parents to find important information about grades, assignments and future events. However, a class blog can provide all that and more. Want to create your own beautiful class blog? Sign up here to receive a FREE 5-day email course.

As an ELA teacher, I had tried the many different routes for writing about reading. Reading logs and journals are some of the more popular options, but these are incredibly time-consuming to grade. Reading logs quickly became the bane of my existence as a language arts teacher. We think that asking parents to sign reading logs students will have integrity with this assignment. That also assumes parents will uphold the integrity of the assignment, but really it becomes a thorn in everyone’s side.

Blogging with students makes for a total package writing curriculum. Students who blog are learning how to write with an authentic voice. This guide will walk you through the process and give you ideas to start blogging with students tomorrow. Lesson plans for the full year are available.

Journals force students to be more accountable for their reading and require them to consistently write. However, that’s a whole lot of reading and grading for teachers. Not to mention the lugging home of a crate filled with journals. I even tried grading in a rotation so that everyone only received a weekly grade. This did not take into account the number of absences that would happen regularly. Needless to say, it was overwhelming each week and I needed to find a new solution.

Teacher Bag Sayings

Writing Skills

Consider the opportunity for students to actively use the writing process weekly. A process that every standardized test is asking them to do. In a short time frame, students are asked to read the prompt, plan a multiple paragraph response, type that response, revise, edit and submit. Blogging will do the same. Each week I post 3-4 different prompts on the same topic in our Google Classroom page. These prompts are reflective of the lessons planned for the week. We might be writing about the characters from novels to prep for a lesson on how the setting affects characters. When it’s a holiday or school-wide theme week I might ask students to write in reference to those events.

Blog posts are informational and opinion writing. When teaching students how to write essays in these genres, having the background and practice with blogging helps. Subheadings are encouraged with blog writing which helps students who have trouble with multiple paragraphs. When sharing your opinion in a blog post you can’t get away with giving that opinion and no evidence for why. Those are two writing skills the majority of students struggle to do well.

Writing is an important skill for every student to master. Blogging is a great way to incorporate writing into the classroom on a weekly schedule. Learn how to blog with students all year with this total package writing curriculum for any subject.

Technology Integration

Obviously, you can’t blog without typing and word processing skills. Both are essential now for state testing. I have seen a number of my students not finish the essay portion of their state test because they couldn’t type fast enough. Blogging in the classroom weekly gives them practice typing. I don’t mean pecking at a keyboard, I mean they must use two hands and practice the correct way.

Now let’s add in the technical know-how for creating images to feature in their blog posts, linking within a text, and how to write a thoughtful comment on classmates’ posts. Each of these provides computer skills that can be transferred to other subjects. Creating digital images can help students learn the basics of visual appeal that can be added to any type of digital project. Linking within a text is a skill EVERYONE should know how to do. I find it super funny that kids think they have to cut and paste the entire website into the document as their link. I try to teach them that any text can have a link, which makes the document look a whole lot prettier.

The writing of comments can become a type of writing for your class. Think about all the applications to anti-cyberbullying you could include with these lessons. Talking with students about their digital footprint and what they are posting to social media accounts. It helps when they are hearing it from multiple adults. Writing comments can also help students learn the art of elaboration. It’s not enough for them to comment, “Great post.” They need to learn how to compliment and show they read the post or ask a pointed question because they are genuinely interested.

Plus, when using Edublogs, students will learn the basics for navigating the WordPress platform. Considering WordPress runs 80% of the entire Internet, and that number is growing, this gives students future career knowledge. In my opinion, this makes blogging in the classroom the total package writing curriculum.

Parent Communication

Let’s talk about keeping in touch and informing parents. With Edublogs you will set up a class blog that you can use for classroom communication with parents. It will look like a real blog with pages and widgets that you customize for your needs. Keep parents (and administrators) informed on units, assignments, needs, and all your foundational teacher information in one place. Simply send a link in an email and parents have all the information they need. Available to them at all hours of the day every day of the year. Fewer emails from parents asking questions you’ve already answered? Maybe.

Plus, parents will be able to follow their child’s writing progress and make comments to support their child. Now students aren’t just writing for a teacher-only audience. They now have a global audience. There is a hashtag specifically created for teachers to solicit comments, #comments4kids. If you have a student who needs some encouragement throw out the link to their blog post with the #comments4kids and they will get replies.

How do I make this happen in my classroom?

If all of this sounds like the total package writing program to you then you’re going to want to take my Blogging with Students course. Here you will find lesson plans and videos that you can use in the classroom to write quality blogs with your students.

If you would like to see what my classroom site looks like visit our Colorful Classroom. Not sure you want to blog with students, but the idea of a class blog is appealing? Try my FREE 5-day email course. Learn how to create a beautiful class blog that can help you connect with parents and keep student resources in one place.

Stay up to date with all things Blogging in the Classroom by dropping your email below.

Tell me what questions you have about blogging with your students.

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Minimalist Teacher Planner Pages

Minimalist Teacher Planner Pages

Teacher planners are a really big deal. The hunt for the PERFECT teacher planner is a fierce experience. I often equate it to trying on bathing suits. You know they aren’t going to have the absolute perfect fit for you, but it’s a necessary accessory. So you venture out asking for recommendations, trying out different styles, and finally settling on something that mostly fits. 

Finding the PERFECT teacher planner is like finding a great bathing suit. Click To Tweet

On my personal hunt for the best planner, the frustration lies in the layout of the pages. Most teacher resources seem to be geared toward elementary teachers. Very few calendar layouts allow for teachers to plan for multiple classes within one subject area. The other things I really hate are the super small boxes! Who can actually plan within that tiny 2×2 square?

Price is also a determining factor when making a final planner purchase. I know there are teachers who swear by the Erin Condren series, but I can’t bring myself to spend that much money year after year. Plus, once again the pages that are offered don’t apply to me. If the price is that steep then I want the whole package!

Download these simple teacher planner pages free. No frills. No flourishes. Room to plan lessons, keep lists and leave notes for the week.

Minimalist Teacher Planner Pages
Some of the links found in this post are affiliates. This means if you make a purchase after clicking through we will receive a small compensation at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance for your support and please know that we only endorse products we use and love.

Last summer I was introduced to the Create 365 Happy Planner for teachers. This planner style allows for some major customizing that other systems don’t allow. It uses expander rings that allow you to add pages to the planner itself. For example, you could print your district calendar and add it to the front of your planner so it’s always in a convenient place. Another great reason to use this planner with expander rings is to add your own formatted pages. Perhaps you’ve purchased some forms from a TeachersPayTeachers store; with this style of a planner, you can easily add them among your pages. The system also provides 2 pocket folders that can be added. Check out this pack of folders, checklists, stickers, and notes pages. Make sure you also grab the Big paper punch to add all the pages. There is an upfront investment, however, with all the options and ways to customize I feel it’s worthy of the cost. 

I’ve been very happy with my Big Happy Planner, so much so that I bought a smaller size for keeping track of family events and meals. I never thought I would be the kind of person who decorated my calendar pages with stickers. Turns out I’m exactly that kind of person! I love sitting down on Sunday afternoons and planning each week. Choosing fun stickers to give my week a theme really helps to make Monday a day to look forward to.

Now, my husband, who is also a teacher, had a much harder time finding a good teacher planner. Most of the options are styled for women. This seems to be a common problem. The other day several teachers on Instagram commented that they struggled to find a plain, flowerless, non-script font cover option. Not every female teacher is looking for a flashy planner. So I decided to help!

If you want planner pages that are simple and you can print yourself, use the form on the sidebar to grab yours today. Choose to be added to our Teacher Tribe list and you’ll get this free download plus access to our growing resource library.

Print your FREE planner pages and go super simple with a three-ring binder. Or you can follow my lead and invest in the Happy Planner system that’s reusable year after year. Either way, these FREE printable pages should help you stay organized throughout the school year.

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Grammarly is for Everyone

Grammarly is for Everyone

Let me confess. My grammar is sub-par.

That’s right. I’m an English teacher with sub-par grammar skills. In fact, I recently applied for a position with NoRedInk and did not make the cut, by two points, on their grammar exam. Was this a surprise to me? Not really. I’ve always struggled to remember all the grammar rules of the English language. This is why I’ve been ecstatic to learn about the app Grammarly.

Teachers, students and bloggers should be using the Grammarly chrome extension. Help your students learn their most common mistakes quicker. Double check your own writing so your audience is not distracted by grammatical mistakes.

Why teachers, students and bloggers need to be using the Grammarly app
Some of the links found in this post are affiliates. This means if you make a purchase after clicking through we will receive a small compensation at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance for your support and please know that we only endorse products we use and love.

Time is incredibly valuable when you’re a working mom of toddlers. I don’t always have the luxury of extra time to look up a grammar rule or ask someone to spend their precious time proofreading my work. Using an app like Grammarly can provide me with the answers I need quickly and allows my writing to be polished.

Using an app like Grammarly can provide me with the answers I need quickly and allows my writing to be polished. Click To Tweet

This morning I read a Facebook post by another teacher who was asking for advice about her principal’s incorrect word usage. She mentioned that he was continuously misspelling a word that gave the context new meaning, incorrect meaning. She wanted to know if she should correct him. Most people shared that they have also had a similar situation and if they had a close enough relationship they corrected them. Someone commented that friends tell friends when there is spinach in their teeth, therefore, pointing out a grammatical mistake is the nice thing to do. Many also commented that she should subtly use the word correctly or during a teaching observation. A majority of comments simply said do nothing. My advice was to casually share the Grammarly app. This is what I shared as a way to let a colleague know they were not always composing grammatically correct emails to our staff.

Plenty of people working in leadership positions didn’t get there because their grammar was perfect. However, these leaders often write for a large audience. That audience can lose faith in their leader when simple grammar errors become consistent. Back in my single days I once told a guy we’d never date because he couldn’t properly punctuate a sentence. He was completely offended, but so was I. Grammarly would have helped him get a date. Although it would not have helped his face to face conversation.

I’m constantly telling my 8th graders that we now live in a world of written communication. Text messages, emails, status updates, Tweets, Instagram and Snapchat captions. A large audience will see all of these types of written communication. If part of that audience wants to hire you someday they may be paying attention to your grammar and spelling. What you write represents you, and that means it’s important to put your best foot forward. This also goes for adults.

Using the Grammarly app will help save you time and allow your writing to be polished. Educators may want to look into their education options because it also includes a plagiarism checker. Sharing this app with students could give them added confidence in their writing and help provide them with a new writing resource. I always tell my students to use the available resources when searching for an answer. Digital dictionaries, spell checker and Grammarly can all help students increase their writing skills. I know that after only a few weeks of using the app myself, I began to correct my most common mistakes before typing them.

Try the app for yourself! I think you’ll find it saves you time and possibly some embarrassment.

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