I highly recommend the book Copyright Clarity by Renee Hobbs for it’s clear explanation of the most confusing of laws – copyright, and the explanation of the fair use doctrine.
The Media Education Lab has great resources for media literacy and copyright.

This video case study is also useful
Please also check out the High School Research Livebinder for information on copyright, plagiarism, citations, real research and more.

HOW TO CITE LIKE A PRO– infographic


TEACHTHOUGHT has a great list of YouTube tools


I am using quietube when I want to show a YouTube video without ads and distractions.

It is an extension in Chrome or it can be added as a bookmarklet in other browsers.

Quietube from SMAFILM on Vimeo.


TOOGLES is a browser for youtube videos without the clutter


Cut YouTube videos to just the parts you want.

SAFESHARE TV works similarly to quietube and TubeChop

If you want to make your own videos try YouTube Editor where you can upload your own video and add your own music.

Drag On Tape (from

There may be times you need a series of videos and they would be better off watched one right after another. Drag On Tape does just that. Insert the videos via their YouTube URL. You can trim to the sections you want, add another video and another and another, creating your own personal mixed video that you can then post via a link or embed.

Watch2gether (from

Sometimes watching a video as a group is just what you need. Watch2gether does just that. You create your own, private screening room. You then share the room via a link with your group. They enter and you can watch the video, synced together. There is an option to create playlists and the chat feature works great for collaboration.



This could be another way for students to connect with poems – telling their story and connecting with the lines of a poem.

The Last Poem I Loved: “‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers” by Emily Dickinson


A decade ago, in an undergraduate English class, I learned to love poetry. I scanned Emily Dickinson’s “I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,” and understood that the “Boots of Lead” were more than pallbearers. They were also scratchings from a pencil, words making up the feet of Dickinson’s poetry. Boom. A light switch. At that moment, I realized, ah, this is poetry. I like poetry.

I have loved Dickinson ever since. During a course in graduate school, I read every single one of her 1,789 poems, making grand exclamations of tattoos I would get with her verses and gobbling up every dash and odd capitalization. Time has passed. I never got a Dickinson tattoo. And yet, The Poems of Emily Dickinson still calls to me from the shelf. Anytime I open it up, a new poem needles itself into my brain and I’m left silently repeating the words long after I’ve closed the pages.

The other day, I found “‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers –” and experienced that odd surge of emotion that poetry brings out. I had a smile on my lips, but the back of my eyes stung, a bizarre mix of joy and melancholy from how perfect words can be, how much they express with so little.

Dickinson begins:

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

Hope. No, wait. “Hope.” Those cheeky quotation marks are everything. Dickinson realizes that hope shifts and flutters and changes within you. While Dickinson’s “‘Hope’” could resemble some shade of “God” or “Faith” in this poem (or, at least, that’s what I first thought), when I read the opening stanza, I immediately thought “Portland.” Most recently my breed of hope has been Portland, Oregon.

Read more here


Here is a nice lesson on teaching mood from Writing in the Middle:


When teaching mood, the first step in my 8 grade classroom is of course, discussing what mood is and  how it differs from tone. Typically I storm in at the start of class and start demanding in an irritated tone that they get out their books, some paper and that they need to get busy. I try to act extremely grumpy and irritated. I don’t let it go long before I stop and smile and ask two questions.
  1.        What attitude did I have?  (answers range from grumpy to mean to aggravated and others that will go unmentioned 😉
  2.          How did it make you feel? (nervous, upset, angry)
I tell students that my attitude was expressed partly through what I had to say- my tone. How I made them feel was mood. They really seem to get that.



Getting Real with Argumentative Writing – From Erica Beeton’s Blog

Entering the Conversation

Most of ya’ll know my friend and colleague Dave Stuart over at Teaching the Core.  A few weeks ago, Stu shared ways that we’re working on supporting students so they can learn to really argue.  I wanted to explore this idea over here as a way to both expand the conversation and invite you all to share your experiences teaching argumentative writing.

Inquiry & Research

During the last two years, I have been researching ways that I can push my students to be better academic writers.  I’m really  fortunate in my district that students come from a rich, narrative writing workshop in the middle school, so my students were entering the high school able to free-write with great stamina.  I’m lucky also because my students are incredibly passionate about big issues (ex. they’ve raised thousands of dollars for Charity:Water in ninth grade World History).  But–even though my students had these strengths–I was noticing that they struggled to clearly organize their ideas, and their writing seemed to lack conviction, despite all that big passion.  It was becoming more and more obvious that the freedom and love of a narrative writing workshop wasn’t transferring to the disciplinary writing being asked of them in their other core subjects, namely the informational and argumentative writing tasks in social studies and science.

So, let’s be honest, this learning gap—which spans this chasm between totally focusing on love and freedom to actually working towards rigor and the realistic demands of life—only hints at the major imbalance facing current adolescent literacy instruction. This year I’d like to explore this imbalance with more than the “Tips” series has allowed me to do so far on the blog.

Today, I’ll just take a small step towards this debate by saying that  ELA teachers, even those who follow a totally free-style writing workshop, have to realize that students need to learn how to take a stance and use textual evidence to support their ideas.   From English and science to art and social studies, all content teachers need to make expository and argumentative writing the major writing focus across all content disciplines.  Continue reading


The #5MinBehaviourPlan by @LeadingLearner and @TeacherToolkit

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The #5MinBehaviourPlan has been developed to help address the frustration that many teachers and staff, who work in schools, have with low level disruption.  The background thinking and some more details to help you implement the #5MinBehaviour Plan can be found in the blog post, “Getting Behaviour Right: Research Plus Experience” by @LeadingLearner.

The plan focuses on rules, routines, relationships and disciplinary interventions (rewards, sanctions and behaviour management strategies).

Behaviour - Outline #5MinuteBehaviorPlan