Teaching films alongside the novels your class reads in the English classroom is a good way for students to make connections to a medium they know well. Whether your class watches the movies in class or at home once they are done reading the books, they will benefit from watching the movies and thinking about what they mean in relation to the novel. Here are five book-to-movie adaptations students may also like to watch: 1. The Great Gatsby (2013) This is the newest movie on the list, and one of your students may be familiar with. It tells the story in a way that will only further the students’ understandings of the novel itself. The strength of the film lies in the lavishness and the grandeur portrayed in each scene that is found throughout the novel. The music of the film takes a more modern approach that will allow students to place the story within their sense of understanding. Teaching Resource: Great Gatsby Short Answer Task Cards 2. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) As the oldest fil...
Teaching rhetorical analysis is one of my absolute favorite units to complete with my students. I love teaching my students about rhetorical strategies and devices, analyzing what makes an effective and persuasive argument, and reading critical speeches with my students. Here is a list of some of my favorite speeches to include in my rhetorical analysis teaching unit. 1. The Gettysburg Address (Abraham Lincoln) This is usually the first speech that I analyze with my students during our rhetorical analysis unit. I take a couple of days to annotate it and analyze it with my students. This is a great speech to use when introducing rhetorical analyze to students because it is short. You can easily read the speech and analyze it in one class period. Some notable things to mention in this speech include allusion and parallel structure. To make your analysis more meaningful, point out these devices to students and explain how these devices enhance the meaning of the text. Teaching Resource: T...
One of my favorite teaching units is my nonfiction unit because with nonfiction allows teachers to incorporate engaging topics that are both relevant and controversial into the classroom. Nonfiction writing can be a great tool to teach students a variety of skills, but it can also sometimes be difficult to teach. I think the biggest problem in teaching nonfiction in the English classroom, though, is trying to convince students texts matters outside of school. So, first things first, you need to explain to your students why they are reading Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American by Frederick Douglass, for example, outside of the fact that the man led a fascinating and eventful life. A few things the students should consider when reading nonfiction are tone, purpose, vocabulary expansion, and effectiveness. Here are a few ways to tackle these considerations: 1. Conduct Quick Research. Assign students a brief research assignment. I often do this as quick poster projects ...
Whenever I teach freshmen or sophomores, I always begin the school year with a short story unit . I use this unit to introduce literary elements to my students, and they start exploring literary analysis . I believe it is a perfect way to begin the school year. Toward the end of my short story unit, I assign my students a collaborative short story review poster project that takes two days. I use the poster project as a final review activity before our short story unit test and essay. And since I require each group of students to present their posters, it’s also a tremendously helpful review for the students. Students work together in groups of 4-5. As a requirement, I ask that everyone in the group contribute to the final project, and everyone must also speak and present. Since this is usually their first presentation of the school year, I feel that group presentations help ease students’ minds a bit. I provide my student groups with butcher paper for the poster, and I also...
Reading poetry is one of the most valuable lessons in high school English classes. There is so much to learn from each poem, and each analysis adds value to both the current poem students are studying and to future poems. Here are five ways students can begin to analyze poetry. 1. Annotate the poem. The best way for students to begin analyzing poetry is for them to make a note of the things they notice. Making use of the margins of the poem, students can take notes on the structure of the poem and various poetic devices they find. Students can also take note of the parts that interest them or the various elements that contribute to the theme. Annotating a poem allows the student to understand further precisely what the poem is saying, and it also forces students to take a deeper, closer look at the poem. My Annotating Poetry Made Easy lesson provides students with a systematic was to annotate poetry to make it more accessible to students. Sign up for my poetry emails Sub...
I love being a teacher. It’s such a rewarding career, and it is such a privilege to get to be able to teach, inspire, and empower today’s youth. However, as wonderful as being a teacher is, it’s also a demanding profession. Throughout the year so many teachers feel overworked, overstressed, and underpaid. These three factors lead to teacher burnout, and alarming statistics show that the teaching profession loses many promising educators within their first five years on the job. As a teacher, it’s essential to maintain self-care. Here’s a list of 25 ways to help teachers avoid teacher burnout. 1. Keep positive notes from current and previous students in an easy-to-access folder or drawer. If you are ever feeling underappreciated or undervalued, look at these notes. 2. Make some favorable calls home. After a rough day, one of the last things you might want to do is stay after school to call parents. However, select a student who has shown improvement and make a positive call home. Not o...
It’s a common problem among students, that when they start a fictional narrative , they tend to focus solely on their plot and develop their characters around that plot. This tends to cause their characters to be dull and 2-dimensional. Plot-driven stories are great and enjoyable, but if these stories cause a character who is characterized one way, to act another to advance the plot, it becomes weak. One way to deal with this is to have students focus on making a single character and genuinely developing them, to the point that they know their whole life story. One way to do this is to have students create a sort of facebook profile for their character. They should know the age, birthday, how many friends they have, what kind of photos would you find them in, who their family is, what are the things their characters like and share, and their biggest pet peeves are? If a student knows all these things about a character, they might have a better idea of their character will act in differ...
When teaching a novel, there are a lot of different ways to incorporate other texts so your students can understand the novel and the characters’ motivations. Pairing poems with novels from the same period or with the same theme allow your students to make connections and understand the depth of the literature. Here are five poems to pair with novels your class may be reading: 1. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston and “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou In both Their Eyes Were Watching God and “Still I Rise,” the characters face struggles that are very similar regarding both race and gender. Both of these writers are well-known and talk about subjects they are knowledgeable about, and the students can compare the texts by seeing how these themes and subjects work in the different pieces. How do they compare in a poem or a novel? Does it matter how the story is told or is the same powerful effect still present in both? 2. Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelle...
Incorporating pop culture in the classroom is an easy way for teachers to show students how much literature impacts the world around them and how relevant it is, no matter how old it may be. In this sense, the students can connect the new with the old, finding commonalities that interest them An easy way to bring pop culture into the classroom is through song lyrics. Song lyrics are essentially poems set to music, and as students will likely recognize any of the top twenty songs, they will better understand poetry through the lyrics. Here are nine examples of song and poem pairings to use in the classroom with your poetry analysis unit: 1. “Sonnet 18” by William Shakespeare and “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran This is a good pairing of poem and song because of the similar romantic themes found throughout both. They both tell a love story that shows how humans have not changed over hundreds of years. Also, the literary device repetition is in both pieces. 2. “The Road Not Taken” by Robert ...