Writing on standardized tests can be hard for students. Most tests try to give a broad enough prompt to get a variety of responses back. There is also a lot of pressure associated with standardized tests, and the writing portions are no different. But how do we prepare students for this type of stressful situation that can yield so many results? Here are a few suggestions as to how to ease your students into writing under pressure. 1. Understand the prompts.  Old prompts for whatever test you are preparing your students for, whether it is the SAT, the ACT, or state-standardized tests, are released online after a certain amount of time has passed. You can look these over with your class and talk about ways to tackle the requirements listed. These prompts also typically ask for students to use personal experience, lessons from the classroom, and novels they have read as examples. Showing these examples will better prepare students for the test. Part of this particular point is a...
Plays are great literary works to utilize in your classroom. Students will enjoy the faster pace of reading them even acting out the scenes. Many high school classrooms solely read Shakespearean plays, but it can also be exciting and educational to read a variety of dramas and playwrights that come from all different backgrounds. Here are five different dramas to read in your classroom that aren't from the Bard. This post contains affiliate links. 1. Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams (1947) This play is considered one of the greatest plays of the 20th century. The characters are iconic, as are specific lines, i.e. “Stella!” and this makes the play a memorable study for your students. You can discuss with your class the specifics of the play that make it so significant to study, such as the setting of New Orleans, or the themes that revolve around the topics of mental illness, gender, sexuality, and control. Since there was a movie produced in 1951, your class can ...
In this video, I outline the three things you should do when teaching rhetorical analysis to your middle school ELA or high school English Students. The two resources I mention in this video are linked below: Understanding Rhetorical Appeals Sticky Note Rhetorical Analysis Unit Additional resources for teaching rhetorical analysis: Rhetorical Analysis with a PAPA Square 15 Rhetorical Analysis Questions to Ask Your Students My Favorite Speeches for Rhetorical Analysis ...
When you teach seniors in high school, you have the chance to really direct them in a way that will mentally prepare them for college writing. Even if your students are not going to major in English in college, there will still be plenty of writing, and you can help them achieve great things in their future. Here are five ways to help your students prepare for the significant amount of writing they will do in college: 1. Assign research papers Research is a major part of college writing, and if you can slowly introduce the concept of researching in your classroom, it can be very beneficial for your students. Introduce educational articles relating to whatever text your class is reading at the moment; whether it is Jane Eyre or Macbeth, there will be articles to discuss that provide both a deeper understanding of the novel and also a way into creating a research-based environment in the classroom. Assign a paper in which the students use these readings to talk about an essential pa...
“In this quote…” “As stated in the quote…” “This shows…” Students use these common commentary starters in their writing when they write about and add analytical thought to their writing. And while it’s essential that students include quotes and write about their selected quotes in their essays, teachers (especially at the high school level) should dissuade students from including phrases like, "this shows," and "in this quote" in their writing. When we teach students to use phrases like, “this quote shows” or “as stated in the quote” after embedding quotes in their writing rather than pushing them to think of an alternate, more complex statement, we limit students’ ability to grow as writers. Furthermore, this type of writing also lends itself to a more stifled and formulaic writing style. It’s time to push our students to reach beyond the “this shows” and the “in this quote” phrases to help them become stronger writers. One way I do this in my classroom i...