Everyone loves compelling stories and the true story of “Los 33” is definitely compelling. The account of the 33 men trapped in a mine in Chile in 2010 is one that most high school students are not aware of, which is one of the reasons I wanted to share it with my Spanish 4/5 students this fall. I remember distinctly watching the news coverage of the event and talking about it in class with my students at the time. Kristy Placido recently wrote a collection of six biographies in Vidas impactantes, including one about Luis Urzúa, a shift supervisor for a mine in the Atacama Desert. Urzúa and the men of his mining crew spent almost 70 days trapped while their families anxiously waited above ground for their rescue. 

Cathryn's Confession: Dear Colleagues,I am struggling. I love my students. I love my classroom. I love what we accomplish every day. I love that every day is different, too. But there’s one struggle I can’t avoid and it is the bane of my existence and sometimes it even keeps me up at night! It’s essential to my job and yet getting myself to do it is like pulling my own teeth. Not a day goes by that it doesn’t cause me some kind of grief...I hate lesson planning.

Cathryn's Confession: Dear Colleagues,I am struggling. I love my students. I love my classroom. I love what we accomplish every day. I love that every day is different, too. But there’s one struggle I can’t avoid and it is the bane of my existence and sometimes it even keeps me up at night! It’s essential to my job and yet getting myself to do it is like pulling my own teeth. Not a day goes by that it doesn’t cause me some kind of grief...I hate lesson planning.

Are you a member of the Facebook community Fluency Matters Comprehension-Based Readers? I love seeing what teachers are doing with our readers in the classroom and am always inspired by the ideas they share. This idea is no different! A couple of weeks ago, Todd Hanlon-Alle shared that he had adapted Running Dictation by creating “Take One” tabs for students to grab. What a GREAT idea! I have seen (and grabbed) those little tabs a million times as I come and go from the grocery store. How did it never occur to me that they’d be perfect for a review activity? Well… it just didn’t. But Todd saw them and put his genius to work! The activity I plan to share with you is built on Todd’s idea, take one tabs in the hallway.

In Dave Burgess’ book Teach Like a Pirate, Dave recommends using “hooks” to engage students more deeply in the lessons you teach. I want to share my top ten favorite hooks and invite our readers to comment and share their own favorite hook that they have...

A father and his children in Colombia Four weeks into his journey, Brandon is frankly feeling a little homesick. What sounded like a great adventure at first has led him to discover just how important his family and friendships really are. Compounding the homesickness is the fact that he is visiting classrooms where students are talking about their childhood,

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