Halloween can be a lot of fun in the high school English classroom, and just because it’s Halloween doesn’t mean that we have to ditch the curriculum in favor of candy-apples. Teaching on Halloween can be fun, content-oriented, and rigorous with a little planning. Besides, the fall air and the excitement of the beginning of the holiday season usually energizes the students, so why not capture that excitement? Here are eight ways to incorporate the spooky holiday into the classroom with creative writing: 1. Write a cliffhanger. Have your students write something that leaves the reader wanting more. Will their character survive the precarious position they have found themselves in? Who knows! This is what will make it so much fun for them to write. 2. Research on the holiday. Admittedly, this is probably not as exciting as the rest of the options on the list, but it is still good practice. You could even turn it into more of an opinion piece as to why they like or dislike the ...
A simple Google search will show you some of the best book-to-movie adaptations in history. But what can really be gained in the classroom by, for example, reading To Kill a Mockingbird and then watching Gregory Peck portray Atticus Finch flawlessly on the big screen? Other than a free day to not do anything in class, I argue, not much. What can be more beneficial for your students is showing the terrible book to movie adaptations? Here are three bad book-to-movie adaptations that can be good conversation starters in the classroom: 1. Jurassic Park Jurassic Park written by Michael Crichton; directed by Steven Spielberg. With the new film in the series coming out this summer starring Chris Pratt, the original movie and book combo might be great to share with your class. Between the novel and the film, many characterizations are changed and some characters are even taken out. This is a slightly more graphic book and movie than what may typically be read in the classroom, as ther...
Tone might be one of the hardest concepts to explain to students. Some understand tone immediately. These are not the students to worry about. Our job as teachers is to help those who do not innately understand how to analyze literature. Working out how to understand tone in the classroom can help students understand it better when reading at home. Working it out at school can allow them to feel more confident while reading and analyzing on their own. Here are three ways to work on analyzing tone in the classroom: 1. Use a word list Words that express a happy connotation or a sad connotation are simple enough for the students to recognize. Once they can identify these kinds of words, discussing more complex tones like sarcasm, bitterness, or even apathy will be easier to tackle in the classroom. Use this list of keywords to ensure that the students understand the importance of word choice and sentence structure. Providing them with a list of essential words that they can look fo...
Shakespeare might be a crowd favorite for us English buffs, but the average high school student seems to be less than enthusiastic about the concept. Let’s be honest though, if they knew just how many inappropriate jokes the Bard included in his plays, they would find it just as entertaining as we do. (And as a side note, yes. Yes I am the English teacher who likes to point out the naughty nuances throughout his plays). So how do we convey to our students the genius of Shakespeare without taking time out of Romeo and Juliet to explain the nurse’s comment about “Thou wilt fall backward when thou hast more wit” (I.iii.45)? I have compiled five ways to modernize the old Bard’s words so the students can enjoy the work on their own. 1. Act it out. This is the age-old tool utilized in high school classrooms across the nation. And why? Because it works. But this means doing more than just reading Hamlet out loud together. Get the kids up and moving, have them make big dramatic gesture...
While the importance of classic novels is undisputed, sometimes it is good to switch up the literature you teach and include more than the canon in your classroom. In addition to traditional classic literature, it's crucial for teachers to include contemporary, high-interest novels in the classroom. By doing so, you will provide your class with new ideas and thought processes are still found in the older classics, but may be more attainable for the modern reader through these young adult pieces of fiction. Merely being in high school involves finding one’s identity and finding where you belong so these young adult texts will focus on these themes as valuable lessons for your students to learn. Here are six contemporary young adult novels to teach and some classic novels you can read with them: 1. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak This book is one of my favorites. It takes a different look at the horrors of World War II. The story is told from Death's point-of-view, and this...