George Lucas Educational Foundation
Todd Finley profile

Todd Finley

Blogger and Assistant Editor (Contractor)

Todd Blake Finley, PhD, is a tenured professor of English Education at East Carolina University. He has taught elementary and 7-12th grade English and co-developed the Tar River Writing Project. He was selected as one of the Top 12 Global Teacher Bloggers of 2014 by Cathy Rubin for the Huffington Post and again in 2015.

His books are available on Amazon.

Personal Blog: Todd's Brain at

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Twitter: @finleyt.

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  • Culturally Responsive Teaching

    A Look at Implicit Bias and Microaggressions

    A primer on the impact of implicit biases in schools and how they can be expressed by students and faculty.
  • Brain-Based Learning

    Organizing Students for Learning

    Ten simple strategies for helping students who struggle with executive function skills like organization and prioritization.
  • Teacher Wellness

    Teaching With Depression

    A look at some of the common symptoms teachers report—along with strategies and resources that can help.
  • Classroom Management

    30 Techniques to Quiet a Noisy Class

    Most teachers use silencing methods, such as flicking the lights or ringing a call bell. This article explores some additional ideas categorized by grade bands.
  • Classroom Management

    19 Big and Small Classroom Management Strategies

    The year I started teaching seventh- to twelfth-grade English in Minneapolis, Prince launched his song about urban ruin, "Sign o' the Times." That song was an apt musical backdrop for the lives of my students, most of whom lived in poverty and challenged me daily. Fortunately, classroom order improved when I learned that successful classroom management depends on conscientiously executing a few big strategies and a lot of little ones.
  • Literacy

    50 Writing Prompts for All Grade Levels

    Sometimes students need a little push to activate their imaginations.
  • Teaching Strategies

    22 Powerful Closure Activities

    Quick activities from DJ summaries to paper snowball fights can be used to check for understanding or emphasize key information at the end of a lesson.
  • Literacy

    11 Alternatives to "Round Robin" (and "Popcorn") Reading

    Round Robin Reading (RRR) has been a classroom staple for over 200 years and an activity that over half of K-8 teachers report using in one of its many forms, despite overwhelming criticism that the practice is ineffective for its stated purpose: enhancing fluency, word decoding, and comprehension.
  • Formative Assessment

    Dipsticks: Efficient Ways to Check for Understanding

    Through alternative formative assessment, teachers can check for student understanding without falling back on the tedious or intimidating pop quiz.
  • Differentiated Instruction

    Teaching a Class With Big Ability Differences

    Techniques for meeting the needs of students with diverse abilities and interests.
  • Classroom Management

    11 Research-Based Classroom Management Strategies

    Discover kernels—simple, quick, and reliable ways to deal with behavior challenges.
  • Assessment

    8 Strategies for Teaching Academic Language

    Ideas for developing students’ capacity to understand and use discipline-specific terminology and the language used in instruction.
  • Critical Thinking

    Generating Effective Questions

    Four ways to come up with questions that guide students to engage deeply with class content. Plus: a pop quiz for you.
  • Student Engagement

    Bell Ringer Exercises

    Because of pressure to teach bell-to-bell, many classrooms now start with bell work—short exercises that students complete while the instructor handles attendance and other administrative chores. I’ve collected several creative, practical, and entertaining exercises that can function as bell ringers or sponge activities.
  • Teaching Strategies

    Mastering Classroom Transitions

    Move students in and out of class and between activities smoothly to save valuable instruction time.