Encouraging Reading – Update

UPDATE: I posted this a while ago, however I recently came across this clip on youtube and thought it was great advice. I think Amy makes some great points. She talks about how a parent reading with or along (reading the same book for example as your teenager at the same time but not necessarily with them) can be super beneficial for kids. Often when kids read they have questions then and there that they want to discuss and if a parent is there to do that FANTASTIC. Here is a short clip where she explains,

Every year at parent meetings I get asked, “How can I get more child to read more at home?”I never really know the answer but this is what I do to try and encourage reading. Any other ideas or tips out there? This is also a great place to post an article doing the rounds written by Neil Gaiman about reading.


1. I love these vintage posters about reading. The posters may not make kids run to the library but I have found it does result in them asking me about them and a discussion about reading follows. Plus I must admit, I just love them! Click on the image to see more examples.


2. In terms of class displays I also love this great infographic for teens. I find a lot of the time kids just don’t know where to start. Often the only books they have read have been chosen for them. This gives them some guidance.

The Young Adult Summer Reading Flowchart

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Also here is a link to a more adult one if you are interested. http://www.upworthy.com/101-books-to-read-this-summer-instead-of-50-shades-of-grey?c=ie

3. I also introduce my students to the website goodreads It is a great site where you can catalog what you have read and the site makes recommendations about what you should read next. You can also follow friends and post reviews and join discussions.

4. I tell parents that if there kids are into technology to buy them a kindle. Evidence is showing that kindles are driving people to read. I have seen it work with students. The immediate access that it provides to texts is perfect for students. They can have a new book in their hands in minutes without leaving the bedroom.

5. Having said that I also tell parents take their kids to the library and book stores OFTEN! They are such fun places to visit. Let them walk around, explore and pick out something that looks good to them. I also emphazie that the aim is to get them reading and to enjoy it. So let them go wild and read any topic that they are interested in.

6. I always have a bunch of books in the classroom available to the students. Some related to what we are studying others not.  We have a mix of fiction and non fiction. I also find handing a book to a student and telling them “Hey, I picked this out for you, I think you would like it” has worked for me as well. Of course I also model my own love of reading!


An Interesting Look at Classrooms Around The World

Taken from the amazing website brainpickings! Puts into perspective our class sizes. Click on the image to see more examples.





How to be A Teacher For More Than Five Years Without Killing Yourself or Others.

Thanks to my friend DD for sharing this great article. I am coming up to 5 years teaching and am definitely feeling the burn out! A good article with some tips that give perspective.


Zen Pencils

I love using graphic novels and comic strips in the classroom. Here is a great site that I have used a few times, created by talented artisit Gavin Aung Than.  Cartoon strips created using inspirational quotes and poems. The most recent one is a quote from fellow Australian Tim Minchin talking about being hard on your opinions. Click on the picture for the full version.



I have also used this one on Malala Yousafzai for my JMUN club. Click on the picture for the full version.



There are tons of great quotes on here as well as poetry. You can also download some free posters for you classroom.


At the moment I am obsessed with Typography videos. As part of my class we have video of the week. Students can send in videos to me or else I pick one, we  upload it to our class blog and watch it together at the end of the week. It is a nice moment to share with the students and something they look forward to. I have often used typography for that. I have also found it a great way to introduce poetry to students.  Here are three of my favourites.

1. Stephen Fry on Language

2. Rudyard Kippling’s If. My coteacher found this last year, it worked great for our poetry unit, we were relating the poem to other texts we had taught during the year. Anne Frank, Lord of The Flies and The Giver. The students had to respond by selecting lines from the poem and saying which characters could relate to certain pieces of advice and why.

3. Another poem  Phenomenal Women – Maya Angelou, introduced to me by my mother in law (who just happens to be a Phenomenal Women)  

Anybody else use typography in class?

Mini Brain Breaks

I follow a great teaching blog by Heather Wolpert-Gawron an award winning middle school teacher, writer and teacher trainer. She looks a lot at teenage brains and how we can create classrooms that best suite our students. I recently read an interesting post about the topic which can be found here:


It is part of a three part series on the tween brain.

She talks about the importance of keeping the brain flush with oxygen and gives suggestions for what I like to think of as microbreaks. Some techniques are great and I have tried them on myself and find them very helpful such as:

Taking deep breaths

Yawning before a big task

Using music

Moving around in general.

She also offers some less traditional ideas such as having students get up and move chairs, or when the teacher says “stop, drop and write”, students drop to the floor and write down some notes. She also suggests adding random pictures between PPT slides not related to the presentation to catch students attention.

She offers some interesting ideas, I must admit I am hesitant to try some of the less traditional methods in fear of chaos and losing precious time. At the same time you don’t want to fall into the trap of always doing that. I wonder if anyone has tried any of the methods?? What do other people think? Should we try and introduce more microbreaks for our students?

Welcome to Tea and Teaching

Hello world,

As you may have guessed I like tea and I am also teaching. Basically I have created this site as a digital record of great teaching tools and resources that I have come across. I am constantly e-mailing and bookmaking links to come back to later, then never being able to find them. I recently introduced blogging to my students and we discussed the idea of a blog serving as a digital record. The idea really resonated with me so here it his. I also hope I can share some great stuff with other teachers. A blog just about teaching seemed so dry, hence the tea element. I also really enjoy reading about Psychology and it is one of my teaching methods so expect to see a few posts related to that as well.