The end of the school year is quickly approaching. In fact, many teachers started their summer countdowns weeks ago! As the days slowly tick by and as summer begins to creep (ever, so slowly, it seems) in, there are several things you can do now that will save your time and sanity at the end of the year! 1. Stay Organized – We’ve all heard of senioritis, but have you heard of summer-teacheritis? It’s real. Right now it is so easy to let papers pile up, assignments go ungraded for days, and let the outbox accumulate more papers than the US Post Office. However, if you manage to stay organized now, you will save so much time during that last week of school. Organization Checklist -        grade any ungraded papers at by the end of the week -        pass back graded papers on Monday -        recycle (or file) papers that you will not use for the rest of the year -        keep a “to grade” and a “graded folder” on your desk, and try to empty them as often as possibl...
Fifty-nine minutes. That is all of the time I have with my students each school day. Just fifty-nine minutes. In those fifty-nine minutes as a high school English teacher I am expected to teach my students how to read literally, figuratively, and analytically. I am expected to help my students increase their vocabularies and improve their grammar. I am expected to guide them through the writing process and help them become better writers. And then don’t forget about researching, citing, quoting, summarizing, paraphrasing, sentence combining, finding the theme, analyzing the theme, writing the theme, and well, you get the idea. What it all boils down to is that fifty-nine minutes is not a lot of time at all. Then when you add in mandatory standardized tests and other events that take up valuable class time (whether it be assemblies, field trips, absences, and weather), there just isn’t enough time. One way that I try to make sure I cover the necessary curriculum in my clas...
Over the years, one thing I have learned that is tried and true about teaching English is that if you have your students read, write, listen, and speak in class each day, you are covering the four pillars of the English language arts. I try to have my students engaged in these four pillars within the first five to ten minutes of class. I do this through my daily bell-ringer activities. This is a classroom routine that I establish during the first week of school. It takes a couple days to teach, but once the students know the routine, it is so worth it. During this time while my students are working on the bell-ringer , I take attendance, gather all of the supplies and resources I need for the day, and sometimes pass graded work back to my students. The moment my students walk into my classroom, they know that there will be a bell-ringer exercise to work on. My bell-ringers are usually a broad mix of activities. Sometimes it will consist of a review or higher-order thinki...