You probably won’t get very far in teaching without hearing about a plethora of sticky note activities. It might even seem overwhelming because you can use sticky notes for just about anything. What are the best practices for using sticky notes, especially when you’re teaching older students? Read on to see my suggestions. 1. Use them conscientiously There are two points to consider - how to get ahold of them, and what to do with them when you’re done. Buy in bulk for the best bang for your buck. But if you are tight in the supply budget and it’s part of your school culture to provide supply lists to students, consider having students contribute to a class stock of sticky notes or have them bring their own supply. The other thing to consider is how to dispose of sticky notes. There’s a myth that sticky notes can’t be recycled. While some types of sticky notes are harder to recycle (like those with fluorescent dyes), and not all recycling centers take “mixed paper”, I recommend consid...
Shakespeare has been gone for 400 years and yet we still insist on keeping him in our classroom. Mention Shakespeare, and I can guarantee teens immediately put up a front. Breaking through that initial abrasiveness can sometimes become a hurdle - but pointing out Shakespeare’s relevancy is a great start to a study. Below are some quick thoughts you might consider sharing with students, as well as several resources you can use while teaching Shakespeare. Shakespeare influenced our language. You can find so many references in our English language directly from Shakespeare’s work. If your students have ever been tongue-tied or hoodwinked, they’re quoting Shakespeare. There is a definitive record of Shakespeare being identified as the sole user or the first user of many common words and phrases. Your students might enjoy focusing on phrases they do recognize instead of worrying about what seems confusing. Shakespeare's themes are timeless. If you cut the language that feels outdated to...
Some of the main goals in an English class are to help students become better writers, enhance their critical thinking skills, and improve communication. These strengths may seem individualistic by nature, but working in groups in the classroom can benefit students’ development of these skills. Students need to learn how to work in groups to establish the essential college and career skills they'll need after high school. Here are three benefits of group work in the secondary ELA classroom. 1. Collaborate with New Students Group work allows students to work with people they don’t usually collaborate with or spend time with. Most middle and high school students choose to associate with their friends in class or students with whom they feel comfortable. By doing so, they generally spend time with people similar to themselves. Maintaining an element of group work in the classroom allows students to work with other people that are not in their immediate circle. This process hel...
As a high school English teacher, I assign my students many  writing assignments over the course of the year. Some assignments are quick 3-sentence responses , some are literary analysis paragraphs, some are narrative responses, and some are complete, multi-paragraph essays. In addition to assigning and assessing individual writing, I also assign several collaborative writing projects throughout the year. While it is essential to assess student writing on an individual level, collaborative writing projects are extremely beneficial for students...and even teachers. 1. Built-in peer editing When students work together to produce one well-written piece of writing, they take each other's’ best ideas and incorporate them into the final piece. Not only do students have two (or more) sets of eyes looking at the paper, but students also draft and revise as they go. 2. Less grading When students partner up to produce one paragraph or one essay, that reduces the grading load i...