062: When Students choose their Assessments, with David Rickert



In today's episode of The Spark Creativity Teacher Podcast, you're going to hear from David Rickert, veteran teacher, illustrator, and blogger.

We're focusing in on student-choice assessment. By the end of the episode you'll know how to get students started in creating their own assessments, how to structure your class unit, how to grade this epic project, and a few tips and tricks to make it all go smoothly. 
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Take back your TIME: 40 Tips for Grading Less, Better


Buried under a mountain of grading? Feeling like your fat folder of papers is a ball and chain you take with you to every meeting, appointment, and even family vacation just in case you get a chance to make a dent? When was the last time you watched a little Netflix WITHOUT a blanket of papers to keep you company?!

I get it.

In all my time in the classroom, no one ever gave me any advice to help me deal with grading. I suffered through my marathon three a.m. grading sessions, thinking there was no other way. I made rubrics to explain my grades, but they didn't save me much time. I tried to make grading more fun by sitting at my favorite bakery, but I would finish my cider and espresso brownie only to discover I was through only three papers. Just sixty-seven more to go...

It was the worst. I wanted to spend all my time creating amazing fun lesson plans and projects, not falling asleep on top of vocabulary quizzes, identify portfolios and in-class essays. I think my students tolerated the endless wait time to get their papers back because they liked me and they enjoyed all our creative activities. They knew grading was my Achilles heel.

Now I know it didn't have to be that way. There are sooooo many strategies that can help you get out of the grading hole and see the light again. You DO NOT HAVE TO FEEL GUILTY about taking a stand for yourself and choosing some strategies that will minimize your grading while maximizing its effectiveness.

In this blog post, I'm rolling out every single strategy I've learned in the last ten years to help you make a positive change in your grading load.  At the end you can sign up for the printable PDF with ten of the top strategies to print out so you don't forget to go ahead and change your life.

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061: Using Podcasts Successfully in ELA


In today's episode of The Spark Creativity Teacher Podcast, you're going to hear from the always creative Amanda from Engaging and Effective. She's my first ever repeat guest, and if you missed our first conversation, you might want to go back and listen because it's definitely one of the most popular episodes ever.

Episode 031: 3 Engaging Lessons (Murder Mysteries, SNL Clips and Ted Talks)

In this episode, we're going to dive into all things podcast for the classroom: which podcasts she likes to use, how she helps students stay focused during listening periods, using QR codes to give students access to episodes, and a great creative activity you can use with the NPR show, How I Built This (so good!). 
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How to Host a Book Tasting (Free Resource)


Have you been seeing all the fun book tasting posts on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook? I love how every teacher puts a different twist on this fun book hook option.

Maybe it's my inner foodie, but I think this is such a great way to get students interested in new books. It doesn't hurt that I'm writing this for you at four in the morning in Paris, France (jet lag!), where every cafe and patisserie I pass by beckons with caramel macarons, chocolate-almond croissants, and crepes oozing Nutella. I've got food on my mind. 

To make it easy for you to try a book tasting out in your classroom, I've created a free resource for you and I'm going to walk you through the process of hosting a book tasting step-by-step. It's much easier than you might think. 

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