Hey there, fellow English teacher! If you’ve stumbled upon this blog post, chances are you are looking for ideas, inspiration, lesson plans, and guidance for the beginning of the school year. To help teachers everywhere, I’m writing a new blog series that explains how I plan and sequence my school year starting in the beginning of a brand new school year. This curriculum outline is ideal for grades 7-10. The first week of school is crucial for building trust and establishing your classroom culture. That is why I like to spend a little bit of time getting to know my students, assessing their knowledge, and teaching some crucial information. WEEK 1 To begin with, I usually like to spend about three days getting to know my students and fostering a positive classroom culture. To do so, I use the resources in my Back to School Activities for Secondary Students and Growth Mindset Activities resources. Usually by the third day I like to begin assessing my students’ abilit...
My search for the best teaching bag ever is finally over. After years of using different totes, bags, and even purses, I’ve finally found, what I believe to be, is the last teaching bad I’ll ever purchase. And by last, I mean the last style...definitely not the last print. I'll be getting more of these sooner than I should. There are so many cute prints to choose from! As a traveling teacher this year, I needed to find a bag that was durable and practical. I’ve never had to travel before, so quickly packing up all of my belongings and moving from one room to another necessitated a new bag because all of my other ones were simply not cutting it any longer. My new teacher bag obsession is the Zip-Top Organizing Utility Tote by Thirty-One . This tote is a teacher’s dream! The white poppy design is adorable, and it goes with almost all of my outfits. Plus, it has two large mesh pockets on the sides, and five more pockets that make storing Flair pens, Expo ma...
At the beginning of every single school year, I agonize over whether or not to accept late work. Finding the balance between being firm and strict, but yet also caring, nurturing, and empowering is difficult to find. If you lean too far one way, you will lose students in the middle of the year. For the first few years of my teaching career, I changed my late work policy with each new school year. One year I would accept late work at any point in the year, and the next year I would not allow any late work whatsoever. During the years when I would accept late work, I always seemed swamped and overwhelmed. During the years when I didn’t accept late work, I had less assignments to grade and saved a lot of time. I also thought that I was teaching my students about responsibility and accountability. Allowing students to turn in late work is time consuming. You must be super organized, have a system in place, and put in extra time grading all of those late assignments that come ...
As an English teacher, I believe that every single high school student needs to know how to annotate text meaningfully and effectively in order to gain a deeper understanding. Close reading is an essential part of the English language arts, and it is also essential to many other academic disciples as well. Teaching students to properly annotate text is something can be challenging, but my step-by-step text annotation lesson makes this process much more manageable for students and teachers. Check this lesson out HERE or at the bottom of the post. As we step into the digital world and as schools slowly transition to 1:1, teachers have to find new ways to have students demonstrate their mastery of a skill. Recently, I stumbled upon a Google Chrome app that makes annotating text on an electronic device easy peasy: Xodo. Xodo is a free Google Chrome app that allows students to annotate directly on the screen. They can draw arrows and type in comments. It is a dream! Simply...
If you’ve never conducted a fishbowl discussion in your classroom, you and your students are missing out. Similar to a Socratic Seminar, fishbowl discussions are organized classroom discussions that require students to prepare thoughtful responses to deliver in class. I love using fishbowl discussions as an end of the unit review activity because I can give my students a lot of content to review and use to prepare for the discussion, and I can also use the discussion itself as a way to assess my students’ speaking and listening skills. Organize your classroom You will want to prepare your classroom for the discussion. Typically, I place two tables or four desks in the center of the room. That is my fishbowl. During the discussion, four students will sit in the middle of the room and answer and discuss the topic questions. The rest of the tables and desks in the room are arranged in a circular pattern around the fishbowl. That way, just like people look at the fish i...