As we welcome the new school year, it is time to think of ways we can create and track progress on academic goals with our students. As teachers, we will focus on setting high expectations with student goals centered on career and college readiness. As we get to know our students, some students will set the bar much lower with their actions and their words.

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We were sent this fun video from Weird Al. Now, does that mean Weird Al sent it to us, or did Weird Al create it? I can't tell. Maybe his video can help us out.

Seriously, for all of you who have scratched your heads after reading a text, a post on social media, or heard someone speak 21st century English, you will want to watch this video.

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We know that speaking in class increases student engagement and helps young people learn. So, how can we get students talking more often? What can we do each period to get all students to talk more? How can we use speaking activities to help build community, trust, and confidence. Here are five classroom tested ideas that promote active learning and student-centered discussions. 

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How are the rapport building activities coming along? Have you planned for them during the first few days? How are they going? Here are two more excellent activities your students will surely love.

Debrief reminder: at the end of each activity, make sure you spend at least 5-10 minutes walking students through a debrief. Here are some questions you can ask.

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Welcome to August! For those of you already back to school. Welcome back! I hope your year is going well. For those of us starting in a few weeks (yes, I am teaching eighth graders this year), let's make these final weeks amazing. And for those of you who start in September: you have plenty of summer left. Go have fun and don't talk to me. Just kidding.

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