Free Classroom resources!

I recently came across a website that offered a lot of really good classroom resources. The website is and as you can see, they offer many of these resources for free. Autumn is the perfect time to introduce new spelling words. Try this fun worksheet and other spelling resources (link opens in new tab) from … Continue reading Free Classroom resources!


Lawn Mower Principal?

Principal in Boots

Recently I read this article “Lawn Mower Parents Are the New Helicopter Parents…“, it left me nodding my head and patting myself on the back for ignoring the 6 emails that my middle school son sent me about forgetting his school issued i.d. at home…on library day.

A few days later as I was getting ready for school, my husband asked why I was making 4 PB&J sandwiches. He knew that no one in the Stumpenhorst household has ever been a fan of the combination. I replied very matter of factly that I was making extras because the shipment at school had been delayed a few days. A few students count on that sandwich as part of their daily routine.


You all can probably see the vast difference in my response to these two incidences, it honestly didn’t hit me until a few days later.  I was a…

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Want to dramatically increase your child’s achievement at school?

Then expect more from them than an A+ on their report card!   Personally, I remember studying really hard in elementary school, high school, undergrad, and then graduate school to “get the grade.” Sure, I learned a lot of things there that still benefit me to this day. (Believe it or not, I actually use … Continue reading Want to dramatically increase your child’s achievement at school?

5 Rules We Impose on Students that Would Make Adults Revolt

I was just thinking about this today, as I listen to our 6th graders get yelled at on an almost daily basis. They are soon-to-be adults and it is well within their developmental stage to TALK, why do we restrict them from doing it?

Pernille Ripp


I remember the first time I walked through a silent school, the quiet hallways, the shut doors.  You would think it was testing season, but no, simply a school going about its day. At first I felt in awe; what order, what control, what focus!  Yet that night, as I shared my story with my husband, I realized something; schools aren’t mean to be silent.  They are filled with kids after all.  Quiet sure, but silent, no.  Yet here this school was; silent, and all I could think about was; why?  So what things are we expecting students to do that we would probably not submit to as adults?

Expect them to work hard all day with few breaks.  I could not do the schedule of my 7th graders; five 45 minute classes, then 30 minute lunch, then 3 more classes.  In between those classes?  3 minutes to get from…

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You Should Probably SKIP that Morning Coffee

First of all, I didn't follow that advice this morning. Chances are, I won't follow it tomorrow morning, either. However, as I recently learned, skipping the coffee and chugging a glass of water instead might actually do more for your energy than a tall cup of coffee. Let me explain... In the seemingly-crazy yet poignant … Continue reading You Should Probably SKIP that Morning Coffee

Introducing the Gradeless Classroom to Students

Teachers Going Gradeless

Two years ago, when my department discussed our approach to going gradeless, our biggest apprehension was how to tell students they would not be getting marks. We worried there would be pushback from both students and parents, particularly because we were introducing this method to academic students. In the end, this fear proved unfounded. We had a few high achieving students come to us after class to talk about their fears. They commented that grades had always motivated them and they were afraid without them they would not do as well. Perhaps it is with some irony that the majority of these students became our most ardent supporters.  And, we had one parent call. One. And not an irate parent, but a parent who was questioning how this was going to work and who went away satisfied that we would still be demanding good quality academic work. Still, despite our…

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How to “do” CI… in only 5 minutes!

The video below is an Ignite Talk (PechaKucha) that I presented at the 2018 International Forum on Language Teaching (iFLT) in Cincinnati a few weeks ago. An Ignite / PechaKucha is a presentation of 20 slides, which the presenter has only 5 minutes to deliver; this means that the slides advance every 15 seconds! In … Continue reading How to “do” CI… in only 5 minutes!

Building Community

Here are some excellent ideas from Profe Tauchman for building community in your classroom!

Teaching Comprehensibly with Profe Tauchman

Routines + Community = Success

Teacher training programs focus on the importance of routines and procedures. From Teach Like a Champion to Harry Wong, we know that we have to be precise and consistent with our expectations. While I know these are important, I believe it to be equally important to build our class community.

In my first years of teaching, I spent so much time trying to control every moment of my class. I did not create enough space and time to get the class to know and understand each other. This year I will be very intentional about community building, from day 1 to the last day.

Community Building Activities:

  1. Two Truths and a Lie about Electives: I want to know who my artists, dancers, actors, technology masters, engineers are. I will have students write their name in big letters on cardstock. In the middle of the cardstock…

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How I Wrote My First Comprehensible Reader

To start with, in order to write a comprehensible book (any language, any difficulty level) you first need a lot of well-chosen words on a sheet of paper. It would also help if these words were spelled correctly and laid out in such a fashion that compels the reader to continue reading. That's the difficult … Continue reading How I Wrote My First Comprehensible Reader