About lzingger

I'm a former librarian and currently work on staff at Teach For America. I'm in awe of what our corps members do everyday and love reading your stories. In my free time I like to knit little critters and bake pies. I live in Seattle with my hubs and two enormous black cats.

A Better Way To Find the Best Resources On the Internet

If you’ve spent any time on the TFANet Teaching page [login required], you may recall that things were, well, a little overwhelming. There are a lot of great tools and resources on this page, but they are not always easy to find.

You don’t have any time to waste, especially as institue is in full swing and you start to plan for the fall, so the Teaching page has been redesigned to help you quickly find helpful tools and support as you are planning your first lessons.

By |July 11th, 2013|Teaching Tips|Comments Off on A Better Way To Find the Best Resources On the Internet|

Three Ways to Show Off Your Poet Warriors During National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month! To celebrate, Emily Southerton (Delta ’10) is taking her Poet Warriors project on the road. Emily will be teaching a week-long poetry unit in corps member classrooms across the country this spring and we’ll be highlighting student voices from each region she visits.

If you teach middle-school or high school ELA, you can also showcase the work of your creative and talented students and join the national conversation about poetry. Here’s how:

1. Download Emily’s curriculum and guided notes to create your own poetry workshop for your class

By |April 15th, 2013|Your Stories|2 Comments|

What The Hunger Games’ Katniss and TFANet have in Common

To all my fellow Hunger Games fans: I don’t know about you, but I secretly want to be Katniss. She’s smart and resourceful. She’s beyond tough. And this girl can survive on grilled squirrel. WOW.

The Hunger Games (film)

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Growing up in woodsy District 12, Katniss was able to hone these skills in her own backyard. Meanwhile I grew up in the suburbs of Orange County, where the only animals I shot were the birds from Nintendo’s Duck Hunt. And I still have to consult the map every time I visit a shopping mall, trying to hunt down the big red dot that says “YOU ARE HERE.”

By |September 13th, 2012|Teaching Tips|Comments Off on What The Hunger Games’ Katniss and TFANet have in Common|

3 Tips For Finding Good Relationship Advice on TFANet

Cover of "The Breakfast Club"

Ok, who doesn’t love the Breakfast Club?

Five high school archetypes–The Bad Boy, the Artsy Girl, the Jock, the Preppy and the Geek– are forced to spend Saturday detention together. All of them bonded together against a common enemy: Assistant Principal Vernon.

What I love about this movie (aside from the killer 80s soundtrack and Molly Ringwald’s endless yards of pearls ) is that the five characters end up developing understanding and respect for one another in a way that transcends their differences.

By |September 5th, 2012|Teaching Tips|Comments Off on 3 Tips For Finding Good Relationship Advice on TFANet|

TFANet Tip: The Yodas of teaching are here to help you. Find them, you must.

The first time I saw Star Wars was actually in class, believe it or not.

My 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Avery, screened the film during a rainy day in December on the last day of school before winter break. And yes, it blew my 10-year-old mind.

I remember having so many questions about the story and characters: “What lives inside the trash compactor on the Death Star? What’s under Darth Vader’s mask? Do we ever get to see him take it off?” And when my dad told me that there are actually two more films in the Star Wars series which would answer all these questions, all I could think was:

No way.

Too good to be true.

We gotta watch them all right now!!!


May the teaching force be with you! (Photo credit: alexabboud)


Which brings me to my tip for this week. Speaking of Yodas, having lots of questions, and things that are too good to be true . . .

By |August 29th, 2012|Teaching Tips|Comments Off on TFANet Tip: The Yodas of teaching are here to help you. Find them, you must.|

There’s No Place Like Your New TFANet Home Page

When I was a kid, the Wizard of Oz was on heavy rotation in the Zingg family VCR (my childhood pre-dates DVDs by a decade or two).

One of my favorite moments in this film is when Dorothy awakens from being tossed around in that mean twister to find herself transported from the black and white Kansas prairie to the vivid Technicolor world of Oz. Man, those retouched colors are bright!

By |August 22nd, 2012|Teaching Tips|Comments Off on There’s No Place Like Your New TFANet Home Page|

Meet The Top Five 2012 TFANet Search Masters

Earlier this year I was mulling over a question: I wanted to help 2012 corps members learn how to get the most out of TFANet before Institute, but I didn’t know how. Doing another PowerPoint training just seemed so. . .BORING.

So after talking to a few people I cooked up this wacky idea—a TFANet scavenger hunt! I figured it would be a fun way to get incoming corps members to explore TFANet and compete to win a prize.

The mission: To create your own institute survival toolkit by “bookmarking” helpful resources on TFANet such as Dear Molly’s advice blog on classroom management and videos about a day in the life of a CM.

Over 300 new corps members participated. Five lucky winners were drawn at random and received a sweet prize: their very own lovingly crafted institute care package filled with fun teaching supplies, institute survival gear and sugary goodies.

Who are these lucky peeps? Let’s get to know them!

By |August 8th, 2012|Teaching Tips|1 Comment|

TFANet Tip: Are You There Corps? It’s Me, Laura.

Does navigating TFANet make you feel like a character from a Judy Blume novel? Ever find yourself searching for answers that you’re not sure where to find?

Well, I’m hardly God, but I’m here to help!

Hi everybody, my name is Laura. My job is to train people so they have an easier time using TFANet to achieve great things in the classroom.

Before joining Teach For America staff, I was a librarian for a few years.  (Yep, I’m a nerd to the core.) But librarians also play a big role as educators. This was one of the things I loved most about my experience, and what ultimately brought me to TFA.

By |July 4th, 2012|Teaching Tips|Comments Off on TFANet Tip: Are You There Corps? It’s Me, Laura.|