When your students come back from summer break, they are going to have to adjust to working all day again rather than relaxing by the pool. This might make your task of getting them involved in class a little more difficult. But with books that are engaging and serve as foundations for future novels in class, they will quickly adapt to your classroom. These six books, or the types of books they represent, will make your students excited for the year to come and get them back into the groove of reading and writing for class. 1. The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and The Olympians #1) by Rick Riordan. Books that are familiar to your students are a great place to begin. When books are so infused into our popular culture, it is easier for students to grasp reading them at the beginning of the year and not feel too overwhelmed. Books that are filled with adventure will engage your students enough that they will want to continue reading, even if they are not huge readers. There is also...
Creative writing is an essential aspect of teaching English that teachers should incorporate into the classroom. It is useful for students to know that writing is not always based solely on analysis or explanation, but can be used for expression as well. Here are a few ways in which to include creative writing in your lessons and why this is such a valuable lesson: 1. Take a few minutes every day in class to have your students free write. Allowing students to express themselves through free writing will give them the confidence to begin writing in more creative ways. Have the students write as creatively as they want to get the creative energy flowing. Free writing is a great tool to get your students practicing their writing. Free writing will also teach students how to be confident in their thoughts. Since students won’t spend a long time free-writing, they will trust their instincts and feel proud of what they write at the moment. Also, with the experience of free writing, th...
As much as English teachers love novels, I am beginning to see a decline in how many novels students read each year in the classroom. This post is in no way an argument against the novel. I always look forward to starting and teaching a novel unit to my students. However, to really do a novel justice, it takes time, energy, and a lot of love. Since novels tend to eat up a lot of instructional time, I typically begin each year with a short story unit . Short stories are valuable to middle school and high school English teachers, as well as students. When students come back to the classroom after ten weeks of summer break, there is an adjustment period that separates the carefree days of summer and the rigorous demands of school. Rather than having students dive right into a novel like Great Expectations or Wuthering Heights, start them off with a short story unit to re-engage their brains. Here are some other reasons short stories are great segues from summer to school. 1. Keep stu...
I hope that you had, or are having, the most amazing summer break ever. For me, my break is over because my first day of school is this week. By now the end-of-summer dread is over, and I am excited to be back in the classroom with a fresh batch of students. Here is a quick list of activities I’ll be using in my classroom this back-to-school season. Back to School Activities This back-to-school resource packet has so many great activities and icebreakers for you to use. My favorite activity is the collaborative quilt. Students love contributing their square to the quilt, and it helps brighten your classroom from the first week of school. Growth Mindset Escape Room What better way to introduce a growth mindset and encourage collaboration than challenging your students to an escape room activity during the first week of school? This growth mindset escape room includes multiple tasks and challenges for students to unlock as they learn about growth mindset, goal setting, and f...
Where did the summer go? It’s already over, and I go back to school this week. And while I am a little sad that summer is quickly coming to a close, I am eagerly anticipating the new school year and all of the promise it brings. I wanted to take a moment to share with you some of my favorite back to school strategies and advice. I’ve organized this blog post into small, manageable sections. Please scroll through to find what will best help you this back-to-season. The First Day of School Personally, I do not like even mentioning the word syllabus on the first day of school. Instead, I prefer to create a memorable experience for my students that shows them that they are not alone. I was first introduced to this Post Secret ice-breaker as a college student in my creative writing class. You can check out THIS BLOG POST about my go-to first day of school activity that includes a free PowerPoint. Setting Expectations The beginning of the year is crucial for setting the scene, creating clas...