The holiday season is officially here, and I want to make sure that teachers are laughing all the way to winter break. To help make these next few weeks go by quickly, I’m participating in a holiday blog hop and raffle giveaway hosted by The Language Arts Classroom. Keep reading this post for more great ideas and for a chance to win some gift cards! My entire store will also be on sale on Monday, November 28 and Tuesday, November 29 to help teachers make it until the end of the semester. As the end of the semester nears, students begin daydreaming about winter vacation, no school, presents, no school, time with family and friends, and no school. It can be very difficult to keep their focus and concentration during this time of year, so I give students some choice with real-life topics that matter to them while maintaining the rigor that my administrators expect! One thing I like to do at the end of the semester is engage students with a high-interest argument essay. Even t...
One of the things I love the most about teaching nonfiction texts is teaching rhetorical analysis and watching students get it. After teaching my students about ethos, pathos, logos, and a variety of rhetorical devices in two different speeches, I wanted to see if they got it on their own, so I assigned a collaborative rhetorical analysis project. To set up the project, I printed copies of historical and political speeches that we had not reviewed yet: The Space Shuttle Challenger Address, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have a Dream , President George W. Bush’s 9/11 Address to the Nation, and JFK’s Ich bin in Berliner . With the exception of I Have a Dream , all of the speeches are about the same length. I printed out enough copies for each group to have one speech each, and then I collated the speeches so that I could hand them out at random. The students did not have a say in which speech they were given. I gave each student group a piece of chart paper, markers, and a...
Teaching students to write essays well can be a tricky task. It is so simple to assume that our incoming students are equipped with all of the tools necessary for writing various types of essays, but that thinking is not only flawed, it is detrimental for our students. I remember way back in the day when I was in high school. My teachers simply assigned an essay, gave us a prompt, and set us on our merry way. Perhaps this wasn’t the norm for most people back then, and I surely hope that it wasn’t, but it always left me utterly confused. Our students need direction. Our students need guidance. Our students need step-by-step instruction. When we assign our students essays, especially in the first semester of the school year, we need to make sure that we provide our students with all of the tools and information they could possibly need to write the best essay they can. And for essay writing, this means over teaching. So many of my students lack the skills needed to write a tho...