I can hear it now. One student defiantly raises a hand as I introduce our Latin vocabulary. Before I can even begin explaining the benefits, the student asks, “Why are we learning about this in English class?” Next time you have a student asking why they need to study roots and vocabulary from Greek and Latin, have this list on hand. 1. Greek and Latin are foundational You will be hard-pressed to find vocabulary without influence from Greek or Latin. The truth is, these “ancient” languages heavily influence our modern languages (particularly the Romantic ones). In fact, students who hope to learn other languages, especially Romantic ones, would do well to focus on building vocabulary in English rooted in Latin. Romance languages include French, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian and Spanish, and Latin influences about 80% of the vocabulary in all of these languages. That’s 800 million people whose language is built on Latin alone. 2. Greek and Latin are building blocks English is not consid...
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,...
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...
Taking on the task of teaching The Odyssey is a massive undertaking. One might even say it’s an epic undertaking. Although a popular Greek tale with tons of films and visual renditions, getting through the text can look overwhelming to students. That’s why I love keeping a list of interactive and engaging activities handy to help break up the monotony of reading through a long text and help students keep track of important details. 1. Character Analysis Activities There are a multitude of characters to track and understand can become a long list that is hard to track. Give students a character analysis activity to help visualize relationships, keep track of important characters, and study later. I have a Character Analysis Interactive Notebook activity ( this one is digital), and a Character Graphic Organizer (each character has 2 organizers). Top it off with an analysis essay that you can find here .  2. Comic Strip  A fun way to unleash artistic creativity, have students create co...
  It’s not the most popular activity in my classroom, but I believe teaching close reading is a vital skill for my students to feel comfortable and confident in their ability to closely read, understand, and analyze a text. If you’re looking to bring your students to the next level in reading comprehension and analysis, read on for tips and tricks. What is close reading? First, it’s important to know that close reading is not a summary of the main points and it’s not a personal response. It’s actually more in-depth than that. When you close read, you should be focused on analysis and interpretation. Students should pick apart the work. This is the time to uncover layers, make inferences, and look for specific textual evidence. It’s more than a reader response. It is understanding what the author is doing. Why were these words chosen? Why described in this way? Why is this interesting (or not)? Notice that, while it is important that students acknowledge the need for tapping into prio...
With the end of the school year approaching, it’s time to begin planning that last unit or final activity. Here is a list of 5 different high school English and middle school ELA units to consider teaching at the end of the school year. Synthesis Writing Students are very passionate about high-interest topics, and one of the best ways to harness that energy is to teach a synthesis writing unit. These synthesis argument essays cover topics that students are interested in and help walk students through the synthesis process. The Research Paper Assigning a final research paper is one of the quintessential final units for a secondary ELA classroom. This research paper teaching unit includes everything you could need to teach the research process and assign a research paper to students. research paper teaching unit   Future College and Career Research Paper Before sending students out for the summer, one great way to wrap up the year is to assign either a future college or a future career...
When it comes to teaching middle school and high school English, here are ten lessons to teach in 2022. Thesis Statment Writing   One of the most essential skills a student can learn in a high school English classroom is how to write a well-developed thesis statement. Once students master thesis statement writing, their essays improve tremendously. This thesis statement lesson includes an instructional presentation (that includes good and bad examples) and student materials to make teaching thesis statement writing easy. Thesis Statement Writing Unit Logical Fallacies   Teaching students about logical fallacies is a crucial element in my argumentation unit. By teaching students about logical fallacies, we are teaching students how to better read and analyze information and also how to write stronger arguments. This logical fallacies lesson plan includes a logical fallacies instructional slide and student materials. Logical Fallacies Teaching Unit Colons and Semicolons Teaching stude...