The Spark Creativity Teacher Podcast | Education

By Betsy Potash: Education Blogger + Curriculum Designer

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 Aug 1, 2018
Betsy's podcasts are amazing! She is great to listen to and offers simple, realistic ideas for the ELA classroom.


This podcast is full of creative teaching strategies, classroom ideas, and inspiration for middle and high school English teachers. Betsy Potash from Spark Creativity presents new ideas for immediate classroom use, making it that much easier for teachers to stay creative in the midst of their busy lives. Show notes and further inspiration await at

Episode Date
Actionable ABAR Steps in ELA, with Liz Kleinrock

Looking to bring more Antibias Antiracist work into your classroom and curriculum? Liz Kleinrock of Teach and Transform has written a wonderful book to help, and she joins me on the podcast today to share some of the highlights. 

In this episode, you'll learn specific strategies for helping make your classroom a place where students can share their identities, have difficult conversations, make mistakes and repair those mistakes, and learn through units that incorporate many voices and perspectives (even if you're stuck with a certain book list).

Find the show notes here: 

Mar 21, 2023
175: A New ELA Go-To? 15 Ways to use La Literatura de Cordel

This creative spin on classroom decor gives you dozens of options for creative, interactive writing, reading, and arts integration lessons in your ELA classroom. Get inspired with these fifteen fun ideas.

Visit the show notes for all the links and lots of illustrations here. 

Join our Facebook community, Creative High School English, here. 

Mar 07, 2023
173: Enjoy Teaching Rhetorical Analysis (with these Strategies)

Want to teach rhetorical analysis in a way that's creative, engaging, AND gets the job done? Mix and match these fun strategies to suit your needs.

Find the show notes here: 

Feb 21, 2023
172: Celebrating Black Authors, Artists, & Activists in ELA

Want to showcase Black authors, poets, artists and activists in your ELA classroom? Celebrate Black History Month all year long with these ideas. 

Check out the show notes here for the activities and links mentioned on today's episode. 

Feb 07, 2023
171: 6 Wonderful Ways you can use Graphic Novels

Try using graphic novels to create powerful reading ladders, launch literature circles, help make the classics accessible, and more!

Tune in to this podcast episode for six helpful perspectives on how the graphic novel can ignite engagement in ELA.

Find the show notes here.  

Jan 25, 2023
170: How to Host a Graphic Novel Book Tasting

Want to introduce your ELA students to the creative joys of graphic novels? Find out how to run a quick and productive book tasting to help introduce them to the genre. 

Get book recommendations, a digital bookshelf template, the book tasting takeaways sheet, and more in the show notes at

Connect on Instagram

Join my free Facebook group, Creative High School English

Jan 11, 2023
169: Turning Classics into Graphic Novels, with Gareth Hinds

Gareth Hinds has created appealing  graphic novel versions of many great classics of English literature, like The Odyssey, The Iliad, Beowulf, and Shakespeare's plays. Find out how to use them in class to help deepen engagement.

We're talking about the visual language of graphic novels, top teaching tips for graphic novels, and how Gareth researches and creates his classic adaptations. 

Dec 28, 2022
168: Why I'm not Worried about the New AI Tools

Worried about the new AI and its repercussions in the world of ELA? In this quick episode, let me share why I think it might actually be a good thing for our profession. 

Dec 14, 2022
167: Fight Erasure. Feature Contemporary Indigenous Voices in Class.

Featuring contemporary Indigenous voices in your classroom - on your walls, in your research and writing projects, and on your shelves - can make a big difference in fighting erasure. Help your students of all backgrounds learn about Indigenous leaders, artists, and activists. 

In today's episode, I'm sharing concrete options to help. Discover the best free posters, leaders to feature in your research projects, strong contemporary titles, an easily accessible poem by our Poet Laureate Joy Harjo, and more. 

You can find the show notes at in the podcast section. While you're there, take a peek at all the free curriculum resources! 

Nov 29, 2022
166: How to Add an Audiobook Listening Station to your Classroom

Want to help your independent readers enjoy audiobooks? Whether you want to use Audible, Libro FM (do you know about their free educator advance listening program?), Libby, or Sora, in this episode I'll walk you through the process of creating easy access for your students at your own classroom listening station. Check out the show notes at for visuals and links! 

Nov 16, 2022
165: Classroom Management Strategies you can Actually Enjoy

Want to improve your classroom dynamics? Start with relationships, and watch how they can positively impact your daily life as a teacher in so many ways. In this episode, learn fun and easy strategies like post-it compliments and the googly eye connection from our guest CJ Reynolds, from Real Rap with Reynolds. Then watch - as your relationships deepen, your pedagogy will strengthen too. 

Nov 02, 2022
164: 5 Public Speaking Projects for Secondary ELA

Looking to engage your secondary ELA students in creative public speaking projects? Try podcasting, debate, mock trials, mini speeches, or genius hour talks! Be sure to visit the show notes at for the speech boosting handouts and model podcast ideas. 

Oct 18, 2022
163: Case Study: A Meaningful 21st Century Research Project

Find out how veteran teacher Jane Wisdom successfully incorporated a social media twist on the traditional research project, with great results from her students.  

Find the show notes at

Connect on Instagram @nowsparkcreativity.

Discover community in my free Facebook group, Creative High School English. 

Oct 05, 2022
162: Active Teaching: 10 Out-of-their-Seats Activities

Beat the after-lunch lethargy with these active classroom strategies.

Learn how to use stations, escape rooms, speed debating, hexagonal thinking, performance, and more to help keep your students up an engaged.

In this episode, we're running through my favorite ways to help shake it up with movement in the classroom. 

Sep 21, 2022
161: The Ultimate Guide to First Chapter Friday

First Chapter Fridays let you introduce students to a wide range of diverse compelling authors even if you can only spare a few minutes a week.

In this episode, discover book choice inspiration, display options, author video options, sketchnotes templates for students, and more. Plus, get some ideas for how to save your voice! 

I've been singing the First Chapter Friday song for years, but here's a complete take on how to do it right, with tons of resources and visuals waiting for you in the podcasts section over at 

Sep 06, 2022
160: The College Essay: What Students (and Teachers) Need to Know

Need help teaching the college essay to your students?

Learn about what makes a strong college essay from four experienced college admissions officers and high school college counselors from around the United States. Play this episode for your students too! 

Find the show notes and grab the free companion curriculum at:

Aug 23, 2022
159: 3 Creative Ways to Teach Varied Sentence Structure

Want to teach sentence structure in a creative way that really helps? Try these three fun twists on the traditional worksheet. 

Check out the visuals at Just click the "podcasts" tab at the top of the page! 

Aug 11, 2022
158: How to Create a Successful International Classroom Partnership

Want to try an international classroom collaboration? Learn the tips and tricks from Andrea Greer, who runs a five country collaboration from Japan. 

Check out the show notes and find a collab partner through the link inside at 


Jul 27, 2022
157: Designing Back-to-School for Belonging, with Dr. Susie Wise

What if faculty meetings deepened relationships and helped people feel connected and inspired? In this interview, get ideas for changing the design of back-to-school with Dr. Susie Wise of the Stanford D School. 

Jul 13, 2022
156: How to Teach Living Poets, with Mel Smith

Want to build more contemporary poetry into your ELA classroom? Find out how with #teachlivingpoets founder Mel Alter Smith. Discover poetry collections, activities, and full units ready to use in class through her work at 

Jun 28, 2022
155: 21 Creative ELA Lessons you can use Immediately
Goodbye chapter comprehension questions, hello creative lesson ideas! 

In today's episode, discover 21 creative lessons, activities, and units you can use in any ELA class. These are the most popular tried-and-true options I've discovered over the last decade!

Try blackout poetry, silent discussions, hexagonal thinking, literary food trucks, book tastings, digital poetry tiles, and so many more! 

Jun 13, 2022
154: Colorful Vocabulary Activities: Story Tiles, Wordy Decor & More

Looking for creative vocabulary activities that aren't boring? Want students to get excited about using words in interesting ways? Check out these colorful vocabulary options for your secondary ELA classroom. 

See the images and sign up for the vocabulary quiz templates in the show notes at: 

Come hang out on Instagram @nowsparkcreativity. 

May 31, 2022
153: 6 Powerful Mentor Texts for Secondary ELA

Looking for creative multimedia mentor texts for your ELA students? Check out these options, from picture books to podcasts, videos to poetry, student work to YA novels. Get mentor texts kids will reallys it up and pay attention to!  

Sign up for Camp Creative: The Roadmap to Student Podcasting here. 

May 17, 2022
152: 5 Class Podcast Projects for ELA

Want to get started with class podcast projects? Good for you! Get inspired with this creative list of options for your high school English students. 

Don't forget to sign up for Camp Creative: The Student Podcasting Roadmap coming June 13-15. Visit the show notes at 

May 03, 2022
151: Here's the Teacher Tech that Actually Helps, with Jennifer Gonzalez

Looking for the teacher technology that will really make an impact in your classroom, not just replace processes you use with newer, more complicated ones? In this fun conversation with Jennifer Gonzalez, we talk about the tools and ideas inside her Teacher's Guide to Tech and how they can help in your ELA Classroom. 

Apr 20, 2022
150: A Quiet Revolution in Reading and Writing, with Penny Kittle
Discover the power of choice reading, modern mentor texts, and writer's notebooks in this actionable podcast workshop with Penny Kittle. 

Get Penny's tips on gently challenging what's not working at your school.

Find out how she integrates choice reading and writer's notebooks to ignite student interest. 

Discover her favorite choice reads for students right now and the authors who have helped inspire her practice. 

Apr 05, 2022
149: Two Inspiring Children's Book Projects, with Pernille Ripp

Want to try having students write nonfiction children's books? How about perform plays based on their favorite children's books?

Learn all about these two wonderful children's book projects and more in this interview with Pernille Ripp. 

Let's connect! 

Facebook Group: Creative High School English

Instagram: @nowsparkcreativity

Mar 22, 2022
148: The Power of Children's Books for Older Kids, with Pernille Ripp
Picture books have so much to offer readers of all ages. In this interview with literacy dynamo Pernille Ripp (part one of two), find out how to use children's books to introduce big ideas, demonstrate writer's craft, and start important conversations. 
Mar 08, 2022
147: 6 Fresh Ideas for your Writing Program

Ready to refresh your writing program with new, creative options? In this podcast episode, learn about unique writing prompts, writing alternative endings to fiction, using collaborative writing projects, spiraling writing instruction, building an argument unit around a mock trial, and more!

Feb 22, 2022
146: Authentic Audiences aren't Hard to Find
Want to ignite student engagement by bringing their work to real audiences? It's not as hard as it seems! In this episode, explore ten quick case studies and let them inspire new possibilities for connection with audiences in your classroom. 
Feb 09, 2022
145: Teaching Annotation just got Fun
Want to teach annotation skills in a way that's memorable and creative, instead of boring and easily forgotten? Check out this episode for four creative ways to help your students develop their own unique annotation styles.  Want support along the way? Join 20,000 more creative teachers collaborating inside my Facebook group, Creative High School English. More of an Instagram person? Let's connect! I'm @nowsparkcreativity. Find the show notes and tons of free classroom resources at
Jan 26, 2022
144: 3 Flexible ELA Units for an Omicron Winter

Going remote in your ELA classes this winter, or think you might? Try planning one of these flexible, engaging units, so you're ready for anything.

We'll be exploring digital poetry, making tiny podcasts (don't worry, I'll explain what I mean), and adapting the genius hour format for this moment. By the end of the show, you should have lots of engaging, creative ways to guide your students through this omicron winter.

Find the free resources in the show notes at

Jan 12, 2022
143: What We Can Do about Teacher Demoralization, with Doris Santoro

The problem facing teachers today will not be solved by self-care. Let's talk about the real issue - demoralization - and strategies that can make an impact to help teachers stay in the profession and enjoy their work again.

My guest for this episode is Professor Doris Santoro, of Bowdoin College, author of the book, Demoralization: Why Teachers Leave the Profession they Love and How they can Stay. 

Dec 29, 2021
142: Choice Reading: Building a Reading Culture

Building a reading culture in your classroom is a project that never ends, but luckily it's so much FUN. There are many ways to keep books in the spotlight, and in today's podcast episode, I'm going to share ten of them to help you find a few that feel right to you.

Looking for the signup page for Camp Creative? Find it here:

Dec 14, 2021
141: Setting up your ELA Classroom Library

Find out how to create a classroom library you (and your students) will love. Learn how to source the books, organize your system, and make use of enticing visuals that make your reading space appealing to students. 

Sign up for Camp Creative: Ignite your Choice Reading Program (a totally free five-day mini-course) here:

Nov 30, 2021
140: Every Student can Sketchnote, with Sylvia Duckworth

Want to teach your students to apply critical thinking to their notetaking? Sketchnoting creates more engagement and retention, but not every kid comes to it naturally. In this interview with Sylvia Duckworth, find out how to teach all kids how to sketchnote, not just the ones who self-identify as artists.

Nov 15, 2021
139: We Moved to Bratislava, Here's what it's Like

If you're interested in teaching abroad, love travel, or are just curious what it's like to live in a country that's only been a country for a few decades, this episode's for you! If you're here strictly for the creative teaching ideas, I hear you. Don't worry, they'll be back in the next episode.

Nov 03, 2021
138: Hexagonal Thinking with Brave New Teaching (Bonus Episode)

Ready to bring hexagonal thinking in as a creative discussion strategy for your students? Find out how in this podcast episode. You'll be amazed at the creativity and critical thinking that comes with hexagonal thinking.

In today's episode, we're turning the usual format around. Listen in as Amanda Cardenas from Brave New Teaching interviews me about hexagonal thinking, bringing her own unique and creative perspective as an A.P. teacher in Chicago to our conversation. 

Oct 26, 2021
137: Creative Activities to Pair with Any Novel

Looking for flexible, creative activities to go with your next whole class novel unit? Find them here! In today's episode, I'm welcoming four surprise guests to share their favorite flexible go-tos for any novel unit. 

Learn more in the show notes at:

Let's connect on Instagram! @nowsparkcreativity

Oct 19, 2021
136: Creative Real-World Research Projects in ELA

Research is such a vital skill in ELA, but it's not always easy to get students to buy in. Let's explore some fresh takes on the traditional research paper. 

In this context, we'll talk about Dave Perkins' idea of "The whole game at the junior level." Find out how this simple concept can transform any unit, and change the way your students see their work in the classroom. 

I'd love to connect! Come say hello on Instagram, @nowsparkcreativity or join the fun in my collaborative Facebook group, Creative High School English. 

Oct 05, 2021
135: When Students Design Escape Rooms

Today we're diving into all the details (and the free curriculum set) to get you started with student-designed escape rooms. You'll find out when to use the project, why to use the project, and how to use the project. And oh yes, there's definitely a rubric inside the curriculum set, don't worry, you'll also be able to grade the project!

Find the show notes on my website here. 

Connect on Instagram here. 


Sep 21, 2021
134: Creative Escape Rooms without the Fuss

So you've heard about escape rooms, but you don't have 73 hours to spare? I hear you! In this episode, learn how to create a basic-but-awesome escape room using two easy tools, Canva and Google slides.

Sep 07, 2021
133: Body Biographies & Digital Escape Rooms with Danielle Knight

Get ideas for how to use body biographies, digital escape rooms, and digital sketchnotes in your ELA classroom in this interview with Danielle Knight of Study All Knight.

Aug 24, 2021
132: A Case Study in Successful Student Podcasting

In this episode, learn how Beth Duncan, a creative high school teacher from North Carolina, got her students podcasting. Discover the steps she went through to make the project successful and get ready to start podcasting with your own students. 

Aug 10, 2021
131: Help for Integrating SEL, with Dr. Lorea Martinez Perez

It's more important than ever to integrate strong SEL practices in the classroom following the pandemic. Find out how in this interview with Dr. Lorea Martinez Perez, SEL-expert.

Jul 20, 2021
130: Build Connection with your Classroom Design

In this episode, featuring five creative guest experts, discover six powerful ideas to transform your ELA classroom into the inclusive, creative, inspiring place you want it to be.

These tips are low cost or no cost, and easy to put into place. 

Jul 06, 2021
129: Try Hexagonal One-Pagers

Love hexagonal thinking? Love one-pagers? Combine them in one visual critical thinking activity for your creative ELA classroom.

Sign up for Camp Creative Here:

Jun 23, 2021
128: Take your Hexagonal Thinking Activities Deeper

Want to try hexagonal thinking but aren't sure how to get students to make interesting connections? Use the strategies in this episode to encourage depth and creativity in your students' thinking.

Sign up for my free PD, Camp Creative: Master Hexagonal Thinking in 5 Minutes a Day, right here: 

Jun 07, 2021
127: How to Create a Hexagonal Thinking Deck

Ready to get started with hexagonal thinking in your classroom? Find out exactly what to put on your hexagonal thinking decks in today's episode. I think you're going to love this creative discussion strategy! 

May 25, 2021
126: 5 Ways to Use your Writing Makerspace

Ready to put your writing makerspace into action? In today's episode, get five easy ideas for incorporating it into your writing instruction in your creative ELA classes.

Want to sign up for Camp Creative: Master Hexagonal Thinking in Five Minutes a Day? Click Here! 

May 10, 2021
125: How to Start a Writing Makerspace

Heard whispers about the writing makerspace and wondering if it could help your writers? Find out how it works and how to easily get started in this episode. 

Find the full show notes and sign up for this summer's Camp Creative at

Apr 27, 2021
124: 6 Free Canva Tools for Teachers

Want to use Canva tools in your classroom? Good, because they're amazing! In this episode, learn about some of the best - like the handout creator, bookmark designer and flashcard maker - and how to use them. Once you start, expect to be using Canva on the daily! 

Show notes are at

Join our Facebook Group, Creative High School English.

Say hi on Instagram.

Apr 13, 2021
123: Creative Blended Learning (Now and in the Future), with Dr. Catlin Tucker

In this interview with Dr. Catlin Tucker, blended learning specialist, learn about the station rotation model, effective playlist creation for independent learning, project-based-learning in the time of pandemic, and more. 

Mar 30, 2021
122: The Ultimate Guide to Genius Hour In ELA

Ready to dive into genius hour with your students? Genius hour is an amazing way to develop their creativity AND ELA skillset. In this episode, learn how to rally student enthusiasm, structure projects, and come up with creative final products that make good use of ELA skills. 

Find the show notes at

Mar 16, 2021
121: When Lit Circles WORK, with Krista Barbour

Want to do lit circles with your older students without the usual prescribed roles? Find out how one teacher made them work beautifully in her classroom. 

I love how Krista integrated her lit circles with a full class non-fiction novel,  the way she stoked enthusiasm for her book choices by reading the first chapter aloud from ALL OF THEM, her advice for letting go of control when it comes to lit circles, and so much more. Listen for the whole story! 

Mar 03, 2021
120: Collegiate High School's Digital Literary Food Truck Festival
A literary food truck project is a great creative assessment for lit circles and choice reading. Find out how to take it digital in this interview with Amy Marquez and Alyssa Medrano, a creative librarian-English teacher team at Collegiate High School in Texas. Then sign up for the free food truck project curriculum from the show notes at
Feb 16, 2021
119: 5 Creative Ways to Use QR Codes in ELA

Want to try mixing interactive QR codes into your lesson plans, classroom design, and school hallways? In this show, find out how to simply create QR codes and use them in five creative ways in your ELA program. 

Feb 02, 2021
118: Big Ideas for Better Writing Instruction, with EB Academics

Feel adrift when it comes to teaching writing? You’ll find great tips in today's episode to help, like spiraling your writing instruction to improve its effectiveness, using mystery activities to help students get excited about writing argument, and using stations with specific tasks for better peer editing. Get ready to dive into this big topic with special guest, Caitlin, from EB Academics.

Jan 19, 2021
117: 10 Ways to Encourage a Reading Culture in your (Online) Classroom

Wishing you could promote choice reading more effectively with students online? It IS possible to create a rich reading culture with your kids now. Check out these ten ideas for bringing choice books into the daily swing of things in your blended or remote classroom. 

Jan 12, 2021
116: Connect with your Students as 2021 Begins

Happy New Year! In this episode, discover six ideas for re-connecting with your students when you get back to school, no matter what your scenario. 

Find the show notes at:

Learn more about The Lighthouse at:

Jan 01, 2021
115: 5 Creative Digital Poetry Activities

Teaching a poetry unit online? Need engaging poetry unit ideas for blended learning? Today we're talking about digital poetry tiles, digital book spine poetry, online blackout poetry, spoken word, and digital "I am from" poem galleries. You'll love these easy wins!

Sign up for Camp Creative (which starts next week!) here:

Dec 21, 2020
114: Easily Reduce your Digital Paper Pile

Is your digital paper pile keeping you up at night? Check out this episode for three easy ways to cut down your online grading time.

Sign up for Camp Creative:

Dec 15, 2020
113: Breakout Rooms, Community Building, and Grading Policies for Online Teaching

In this episode, get ideas for better breakout rooms, building community in the remote classroom, teaching writing online, and much more with my guest Christina, from The Daring English Teacher. 

You can find the show notes at

Dec 08, 2020
112: A 2020 Gift Guide for Creative English Teachers
In search of fun, creative gifts this holiday season? Discover sixteen ideas in this first annual Creative English Teacher's Gift Guide episode. From teacher tees and wine labels to the best places to shop for books while supporting independent bookstores, this gift guide has great options to make shopping for your colleagues and friends (and maybe yourself) easy for you.
Dec 01, 2020
111: Creative Uses for Jamboard, with Matt Miller

Want to try Jamboard, but not sure how? In this episode, discover creative classroom options for Jamboard, and learn how to avoid the common pitfalls. Guest Matt Miller from Ditch that Textbook shares his expertise. 

Nov 24, 2020
110: Taking Writing Workshop Digital (It's Easy), with Amanda Werner

Wanting to experiment with workshop in your online classroom? Let Amanda teach you how! Writing workshop translates easily and simply to the virtual classroom. Find out how to use recorded mini-lessons, easy check-in strategies, and lots of student choice to help students thrive in your online workshops.  

Nov 17, 2020
109: How to Make Digital Magnetic Poetry Activities

In this episode, learn how to make a digital magnetic poetry set around any theme in three easy steps. Try this creative poetry writing activity on Google Slides if your students need a little break or as part of a poetry unit.

You can sign up for your free gratitude digital magnetic poetry kit at in the show notes. 

Nov 10, 2020
108: Try a Virtual Travel Research Project

Build research into a fun virtual travel project with this short unit perfect for pandemic winter. Students will research a far-off destination they're interested in, curate and create the pieces of an online showcase to share the place with others, and then create QR-code based posters to put up around your school or community. Passers-by can scan the codes to experience virtual travel, courtesy of your students! 

Nov 03, 2020
107: Virtual Discussion Problems? Try this

Online discussions not flowing as they should? It's tough leading a virtual discussion, especially with mics muted and videos off. Try digital discussion warm-ups to help.

Join our Facebook group:

Find the show notes:

Connect on Instagram:


Oct 28, 2020
106: Doing a Podcast Project? Let me be your Guest Speaker

Podcasting is an ideal ELA project for students right now.  If you're diving in, let me be your guest speaker! In this unusual episode, I'm answering student questions about what it's like to be a podcaster.  My hope is that you will share this show with your students in the midst of an upcoming podcast unit. 

Oct 13, 2020
105: How to Creatively use T.V. Clips in ELA

Want to use T.V. clips as one of your options to inspire rigorous, creative activities in your ELA classes? Listen in to these wonderful clip/project pairings from Danielle at Nouvelle ELA.

Sep 29, 2020
104: Create a Hyperdoc in 6 Easy Steps

Hyperdocs are an easy answer to how to keep all students on track during blended learning. In this episode, learn how to create a hyperdoc for your unit in six easy steps. All you need is a Google Slide and a little creativity, and you're ready to rock and roll. 

Sep 15, 2020
103: Off Screen Activities for Remote Learning in ELA

Trying to give your distance learners some screen breaks? Here are some ideas to help ELA students do productive work away from the glow. In the rush to embrace all the (wonderful!) new technology, let's not forget that real books, pens, and paper can still be creative tools to help kids grow while protecting their eyes and brains from too much screen time. 

Sep 01, 2020
102: Taking your Literary Food Truck Festival Digital

Take your Literary Food Truck Festival online with the easy steps and free curriculum in this post and podcast from Spark Creativity.

Sign up for the free complete curriculum for this project in the show notes today. 

Aug 20, 2020
101: How to Run Virtual Literature Circles

Do you love literature circles but worry they can't translate to a blended or virtual classroom? In this episode, find out how to bring them online.

This is the second in this week's Back-to-School Blended series. 

Aug 19, 2020
100: How to Run a Virtual First Chapter Friday

Want to get started with a First Chapter Friday program, but not sure how to do it with blended learning? Don't worry, this episode will show you how!

Happy 100th episode! This is the first in a three-episode series called "Back-to-School Blended" coming out this week. Today it's virtual first chapter Friday, tomorrow it's virtual literature circles, and Thursday we'll dive into virtual literary food truck festivals. 

You can find the show notes here:


Aug 18, 2020
099: How to Get your Students listening to Podcasts, with Ashley Bible

Podcasts are an easy, accessible, (FREE) and hands-free text option for students during blended learning. In this episode of The Spark Creativity Teacher Podcast, find out how to build a podcast unit, great podcast episode options for your ELA students, platforms to discuss podcasts together online, and more. We're talking with Ashley Bible from Building Book Love. 

Aug 04, 2020
098: 5 Flexible ELA Unit Ideas for Fall

Wondering how to flip your classroom so you can teach two separate groups of kids in person and online? In this episode, discover five flexible ELA unit ideas that require no texts, and how to teach them to your in-person and at-home groups at the same time.

Jul 23, 2020
097: A Flexible Plan for Blended Learning

As you plan for blended learning and shifting scenarios this fall, a flexible approach will allow you to be prepared without being attached to any certain schedule. Let me show you how to do it! In this episode, we're looking at four creative principles for flexibly planning your blended learning and then taking a look at how to apply these ideas to a range of possible scenarios. Get ready to finally feel confident about your planning!

Jul 21, 2020
096: Summer Priorities in the Face of Fall Uncertainties, with Angela Watson

Teacher planning is hard this year with all the uncertainties of fall. Will you be remote teaching? Orchestrating blended learning? Both? In this podcast interview with Angela Watson, teacher productivity and mindset expert, discover strategies for using summer to reset, regroup, and plan for fall despite the uncertainties.

Jul 07, 2020
095: Remote Teaching: Grading, Discussion, and Building Community with Marie Morris and Amanda Cardenas

Trying to plan for remote teaching this fall in your high school ELA classes? In this podcast, we're diving into best practices for grading, discussion, building community, first units and more for distance learning this fall. Join me as we chat with guests Marie Morris and Amanda Cardenas.

Find the show notes at 

Join our creative community on Facebook:


Jun 23, 2020
094: Project Lit, Sketchnotes, and Classroom Design with Laquisha Hall

If you’re interested in incorporating Project Lit titles, sketchnotes, the publication of student writing and effective classroom design into your work as an English teacher, you’re going to love this episode with Baltimore City Teacher of the Year, Laquisha Hall. Laquisha shares so many wonderful stories to inspire you. Wait till you hear how she managed to find funding for four copies of all twenty-five Project Lit titles, how she publishes student work anthologies online and guides her students in selling them, and how she designed a classroom space where her students feel they’ve stepped out of the system. And that’s not all.

Jun 09, 2020
093: A Plan for your First Fall Unit (Unknowns and All)

Wondering whether fall will bring distance learning, blended learning, or a return to strangely distant classrooms? In this podcast episode, discover a plan for an opening unit that will work for any of those scenarios. Plus, it will help you build community in your class and allow you to get to know your students, even if you can't actually meet them in person.

Join the conversation in our Facebook group: Creative High School English

Check out the Show Notes

Learn more about my affiliate partner, The 40 Hour Teacher Workweek

May 27, 2020
092: Distance Learning: A Creative End to the Year

It's been a difficult spring term to say the least. But chances are, you still want to find a way to end things on a positive, creative, meaningful note. This episode can help. 

May 12, 2020
091: Taking School into the City, with Laura Deisley of Lab Atlanta

Lab Atlanta is an innovative program connecting students with the resources and richness of Atlanta, and empowering them to make an impact through project-based learning. Find out more in this podcast episode with its founder, Laura Deisley, and start thinking about how you could incorporate aspects of its model into your own teaching.

Find the show notes at

Apr 29, 2020
090: Re-envisioning School after a Crisis, with Trace Pickering of Iowa Big

After a flood ravaged his hometown of Cedar Rapids, IA, Trace Pickering helped lead a transformation in education through his innovative program, Iowa Big. Maybe our current crisis could give us an opportunity to reenvision school in America. Listen to this interview with Trace for inspiration.

Apr 14, 2020
089: Adventures at Home

Grab a smoothie and let's talk about life under quarantine. In this episode, I'm sharing five tips and resources that have stuck with me from a lot of online conversations these last few weeks, and then sharing a picture of life at our house. I hope it's helpful to you. 

Apr 01, 2020
088: Help for Teaching through Coronavirus Closings

Is your school closing due to the coronavirus outbreak? Here are some creative ideas for you to stay connected to your students and keep them working on their ELA skills, regardless of their internet access at home.

Mar 17, 2020
087: Easy Ways to use Hexagonal Thinking in ELA

Hexagonal thinking is a powerful way to help students make connections between characters, themes, ideas, other literary works, and current events. But how to get started? This episode will walk you through everything you need to design an easy, successful hexagonal thinking activity for your ELA classes.

Mar 10, 2020
086: Take Action for Deeper Learning, with Sarah Fine

Wish your students kept talking about classwork out in the halls? Want to tap into the research when it comes to creating opportunities for deep, meaningful learning in your classroom? Of course you do! In this episode of The Spark Creativity Teacher Podcast, learn from author and researcher Sarah Fine, who visited thirty schools across America with her co-author, Jal Mehta, to discover when and why student learning goes deepest.

Feb 25, 2020
085: 5 ELA Tech Tools to Try

Want the best of teacher tech? Discover five top tools for ELA teachers available in 2020. Screencastify, My Shakespeare, Kaizena, Flipgrid, and Anchor all hold wonderful possibilities for your classroom.

Feb 11, 2020
084: These are a Few of my Favorite English Teacher Things

I've worked on so many projects this year, and not all the delightful resources, books, websites and products I've discovered fit neatly into a post or podcast. So today kick back with me and hear about some of the hidden gems I've encountered in my work this year that I think you'll love. 

Jan 29, 2020
083: Engage your Snapchatters with Booksnaps, featuring Tara Martin

Students always on Snapchat? Harness their love of the app with #booksnaps, a powerful reading comprehension strategy that brings annotation into the 21st century, whether students use Snapchat, Google Slides, Flipgrid, Seesaw, or some other program to create their snaps. In this podcast episode, learn how booksnaps came to be and how to use them with Tara Martin, their creator.

Jan 10, 2020
082: Innovative Elective (or Unit) Ideas for 2020

In search of creative elective ideas? Join my brainstorming session and hear my five favorite ideas for electives in 2020, then adapt them for your own elective proposal (or innovative new unit). As always, find more at

Dec 22, 2019
081: Empowering Students with Project-Based Learning

Project-based learning is messy and sometimes, intimidating. But it's also AWESOME. In this episode of The Spark Creativity Teacher Podcast, find out how two teachers are empowering their students by learning to understand their gifts, building real relationships with them, and jumping into creative community projects that make a difference.

Dec 10, 2019
080: Let's Teach Students how to Collaborate

Group Work in ELA: It's not easy to get students to navigate collaborative work well. There's usually someone who does all the work, someone who stays silent, someone who feels bitter about everything. It's hard work. It's extra hard because students are rarely taught HOW to collaborate. In this episode, discover five ways you can take the guesswork out of group work, and head to the show notes to find a free download that will make it sooooo much easier.

Nov 25, 2019
079: Goodbye Data Hawks, Hello Innovation, with Ted Dintersmith

If you're interested in saying goodbye to testing and embracing progressive education, you'll want to learn more about Ted Dintersmith's trip across all fifty states in search of creativity and innovation, and about his new project, "The Innovation Playlist."

Nov 12, 2019
078: First Chapter Fridays (lightning episode)

Want to get students excited about your reading library? Try First Chapter Fridays. This quick episode gives you all the details you need to get started. 

Nov 05, 2019
077: Integrating the Arts & ELA

Want to get students out of their seats and on their feet? Arts integration is a powerful tool for engaging students creatively with print texts. In this episode, learn from Eileen Landay, co-founder of The Arts Literacy Project and professor emeritus at Brown, about how to use the powerful tools of the performance cycle to enrich your English units. 

Oct 30, 2019
076: Host a "This I Believe" Radio Show

This I Believe began as a radio essay series and became nationally beloved. In this episode, find out how to easily do a "This I Believe" personal writing unit in class, culminating in a live performance event that builds community and gives your students authentic purpose. 

Oct 16, 2019
075: 10 Review Activities for Any Unit

Review can easily get boring. Why not review with the same kind of dynamic, creative activities that make up your daily lessons? In this episode, get ten ideas for engaging ways to revisit material without lecturing.

Sep 24, 2019