You’ve come to the end of another novel or short story. Now what? If you’re looking to spice up your review activities with something fresh, unique, or just plain different than your average paper, read on! Here are ten ways to review a novel or short story. 1. Socratic Seminars Why write when you can discuss? If you’re unfamiliar with a Socratic Seminar , it is a method to understand information by creating a dialogue in class. Students should find deeper understanding and discuss complex ideas. Works that are “heavy” or require your students to really think about issues are perfect for Socratic Seminars. Socratic Seminar for ANY text! 2. Create a Game You can either have students create their own game with various templates they find online, or you can create a game that students will play in order to review. Either way, it’s a fun excuse to host a game day in your classroom and breaks up the monotony of review, papers, and tests. I really like having students create their own games,...
Lord of the Flies is one of those novels that offer a lot of punch in its brevity. There are deep themes on innocence, building civilizations, and the dangers of mob mentality. If you’re needing some ideas to refresh your lesson plans, read on. 1. Self-Grading Quizzes Self-grading quizzes via Google Forms are seriously a game-changer. Setting it up is a great way to quickly assess if students are keeping up with the reading or to assess comprehension. Students can immediately see their grades and you can collect real-time data. My digital chapter quizzes for Lord of the Flies includes a quiz for each chapter, the option to print, and the ability to adjust the point value to fit your class structure. 2. Mask Project Students can create masks to symbolically represent Jack (alluding to his face paint). It’s a way for students to dig deeper into the text and think about how they would symbolically represent Jack. You can go as in-depth as you are able, and be as creative as you can. Stud...
Animal Farm is such an “easy” read, but it’s also important and packed with themes and civics-related topics to discuss. If you’re looking for new ideas to spice up your Animal Farm lessons, read on. I’m excited to share these 10 activities with you. 1. Group Research Project Instead of having a bunch of independent work for students to complete, get them into groups to share the load of research. This is perfect for switching up the monotony of worksheets and independent work. You can also use this as a differentiated option if you have students who may benefit from tackling research as a group rather than on their own. My group research project includes a final project of 5 paragraph essay with MLA formatting and a PowerPoint presentation. It’s an engaging option to set the historical context before reading Animal Farm OR you can use it as an extension activity after the novel. 2. Vocabulary Study Having a grasp on the vocabulary is an important place to start with novel studies. Bu...
  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...
When it comes to reading nonfiction, my students tend to get bleary-eyed and hard-of-hearing. It’s like they instantly think of their history textbooks and informational articles and they decide before they even know the topic that they aren’t going to like it. For many students, nonfiction is like the vegetable of literature, but it doesn’t have to be this way. This is why I work hard to make sure I have a variety of activities to engage my students. Read about some of my favorites below. 1. Fact vs Opinion This super easy activity simply involves you presenting the topic of study and having students create a class list of information. Students share what they know (or think) they know about the subject. You can then assign a pre-reading activity separating fact from fiction, or have students revisit the list after reading. 2. Learn to Annotate Annotating is such an important skill because your students learn to engage with the text. It also has shown to improve retention, and helps i...