One of the fundamental building blocks of learning is vocabulary. Having a well-rounded and robust vocabulary plays a critical role in students' learning, communication skills, language development, and comprehension. Whenever I plan a new unit, whether it be a literature-based unit or a skills-based unit, I always include vocabulary words to accompany my instruction. When I use Vocabulary.com , I can easily find an existing list that matches my instruction. If such a list doesn't exist, I can modify a current list to meet my specific instructional needs or build my own list. Here is a list of five critical reasons for why teachers should intentionally include vocabulary in every unit. Improves Language Development and Acquisition When students work on improving their vocabulary regularly, they build a stronger vocabulary base. This strong vocabulary base helps improve literacy rates and help students be more successful academically. It is important to include academi...
If there's one thing you can tell your students for sure, it's that the human race is a race of storytellers. From ancient times to legends and folk songs, people have always loved to share stories, especially on special occasions. Halloween, for example, has no shortage of spooky tales to be told, and those stories come in all shapes and sizes. To get your students into the scary spirit, here are ten novels and short stories to read this Halloween season: (Bonus points if they're read aloud in the dark, with a single, flickering flashlight, with spooky music playing in the background.) This post contains affiliate links, which do not affect you at all. However, I may receive a small kickback to help run the cost of this website. Coraline by Neil Gaiman Though Gaiman intended this novella for young children, its unique appeal extends to all ages. After Coraline moves into a creaky old house with her inattentive parents, she sets out to explore her new home and find...
In an earlier blog post , I wrote about the benefits of assigning a collaborative writing assignment in the high school English and middle school ELA classroom. In the post, one of the benefits included less grading. And to be completely honest, that is why I switched up my sophomores' recent short story paragraph about "The Veldt." I was already behind on grading various writing assignments, and so I decided a collaborative paragraph was the way to go. As I switched gears from an individual Jane Schaffer literary analysis paragraph to a collaborative paragraph, I thought about how I could make the activity even more beneficial for my students. It was still early in the school year, and I was still working on writing instruction with my students -primarily on how to properly embed quotes and write thoughtful commentary . So, I decided to have my students color-code each element of the paragraph. This was my way to get students actively thinking about every single pa...
John Green is the Shakespeare of contemporary YA. Actually, he’s more like The Beatles of contemporary YA, everything he writes is a hit. If you teach high school English and are not familiar with his work, you should be—because many of your students have probably read his books or at least seen the films they’re based on. Of course, it’s difficult for teachers to get the funding and permission to incorporate a contemporary novel into the curriculum. Because of that, a novel such as Paper Towns might function best as an option among several books you provide your students to choose from for a lit circle project. Either way, here are two strategies for teaching the novel. While these might function best as full-class lessons/projects, they can be used as jumping-off points for individual assignments as well. The Walt Whitman Focus Paper Towns is a little bit like The Da Vinci Code for teenagers. The novel is a love story/mystery that incorporates popular references (actual...
It is essential for young adults than to see themselves represented authentically in media. This includes seeing themselves on the pages of literature written just for them, seeing themselves on the big screen in dynamic roles, and seeing themselves portrayed positively as powerful and determined protagonists. Our minority students deserve more representation than a dull, flat supporting (and very stereotypically portrayed) character. Whether you teach the titles in class or recommend them for pleasure, here are some YA novels for your high school students, to encourage them to love reading, and to love themselves. Please note that this post contains affiliate links, which do not negatively impact you at all, but may provide me with a small kickback to help me run website. Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork Meet 17-year-old Marcelo Sandoval, a Mexican-American teenager with Asperger's syndrome, and the titular character of this brilliant novel. The story takes ...
Depending on the format of your school's Back-to-School Night, planning out your evening meeting parents can be tough. Some schools follow an open house format where parents are free to roam the halls of the campus and pop into their child's classroom at any given point during the evening. Other schools follow a more structured Back-to-School Night format that mimics the day's bell schedule. I've worked at schools that followed both types of formats, and there are pros and cons to each format. My current school follows the school's bell schedule for Back-to-School Night. After the initial presentation at the start of the night, parents go to each of their child's classes for a ten-minutes, and they also have a seven-minute passing period to make it from one class to the next.  To prep the room for Back-to-School Night, I always make sure that I clean up my room, put student work up on the walls, and display the textbooks, close readers, and novels that ...