It's that time of year again. It's time to head back to the classroom and begin planning for another year with new students. Throughout the years, I've tested several different back-to-school strategies and styles. Through years of experience, I've learned that I have the most success in the classroom when I spend dedicated time with my students at the beginning of the year building relationships, establishing trust, reviewing classroom policies and procedures, and teaching key concepts. From there, I like to teach and review content areas that I focus on throughout the year. Here are some of my favorite go-to resources for the beginning of the school year. The First Days Back-to-School Stations This stations activity is brand new to my classroom this year, and I am so excited to use it. I am especially excited about the tech accounts aspect of it because getting 150+ new students signed up for several different educational technology accounts can be qui...
As a high school English teacher, there are so many different skills and concepts I want to teach my students. Not only do I want them to be well-versed in literature so they can pick up on allusions in pop culture, but I also want them to be able to write across a variety of mediums proficiently.I want them to improve their vocabulary and have a commanding understanding of how language works so that they can effectively communicate in the world. And while I want them to be able to do all of this, I also understand that the vast majority of my students are not going to be literature or English majors in college. And with that said, when my students leave my classroom, I want to be able to provide them with enough guidance and instruction so that they will succeed in the world after they leave high school. As a high school English teacher, I have the opportunity to provide my students with real-world writing instruction. In my classroom, that comes in the form of teaching email e...
There's a lot to be said about technology, cell phones in particular, in the classroom. On the one hand, students can use them as a learning tool -especially in schools that are not 1:1. On the other hand, cell phones are highly distracting and can impede learning if student use is not strictly enforced. I've taught at two different schools, and each had a different policy. My first school had a site-wide cell phone policy. Students were not to use their phones in class. If they did, teachers could confiscate the phone and turn it into the office. Students or parents would then pick up the device after school. It worked, somewhat. You see, it wasn't followed and enforced uniformly on campus. Some teachers allowed student cell phone use (not just for academic purposes), and other teachers did not. Since every single teacher wasn't on board, the policy wasn't effective. Furthermore, students knew that if they put up enough of a fight, nothing would happen. For...
One of the most important things you can teach your students is good literary analysis skills. Your students will be critically reading texts in high school, college, graduate school, and in their careers. It's necessary to cultivate analytical ability as early as possible. Here are six ways to enhance the literary analysis curriculum for all ages. Think Aloud and Model Inquiry The process of literary analysis is fraught with difficulty, even for the most seasoned critic. How can we expect students to "get" literary analysis without seeing it in action? Hint: it's tough.  As such, a reliable way to gain an understanding of the fluid process of close reading and literary analysis is to model it for your students. To do this, analyze a relevant text in front of the class to show your process. It may seem uncomfortable, but don't prepare yourself for this exercise beyond reading the text you're analyzing- you want to give your students an authentic expe...