Teaching in the second quarter and toward the end of the first semester can be a bit tough. The novelty of the new school year has worn off, October is long, and winter break is just a bit too far away still. However, there are quite a few positives that the second quarter of the school year brings. For one, your students know all of your classroom routines, and your body has completely adjusted to school time. Here’s a look at ten classroom lessons and activities that I like to teach and include in my classroom in the second quarter of the school year. Argument Writing - Students love a good argument essay prompt, and this unit includes all of the materials that you’ll need to teach your students about argumentative essay writing. It includes student writing resources and an editable PowerPoint presentation for direct instruction. Writing in the Third Person - If you are anything like me right about now, you’ve assigned your students their first essay and quickly r...
This is a sponsored post by Listenwise.com. If you haven’t checked out Listenwise.com yet, you and your students are missing out on some fantastic listening-based lessons and activities in the middle school and high school classroom. As a high school English teacher at a public school that participates in annual state standardized tests, I definitely feel the pressure to adequately prepare my students so that they do their best on the test. Not only do state tests contribute to school funding, indexing, and ranking, but in California, a junior’s score on the state test gets printed on their transcript and can affect Cal State college admissions. The stakes are pretty high. There are quite a few ways that I help prepare my students for state testing, and one of them is by focusing on the lowest scoring testing strand: listening. Currently, 22 states have a listening component on their state tests, and not just in California, but throughout the entire nation, students score the ...
If there’s one thing that students of all ages love and find joy in, it’s music. Thanks to technology, streaming services make all kinds of music available to anyone with a smartphone or a laptop. Mixing and matching favorite tracks and creating playlists is a rite of passage to tweens and teens; a marker of their ability to decide what they like and dislike for themselves. So why not incorporate that into your curriculum? Incorporating music into selected reading units can transform and channel that strong sense of individuality and autonomy into excitement for literature and developing critical thinking skills. The key? Playlists, Playlists, Playlists! You’ve probably heard your students discussing their playlists, whether they’re talking about the songs they love, exchanging customized collections as gifts, or ribbing each other about their respective musical guilty pleasures. Siphon that passionate energy and self-driven creativity into classroom assignments using that v...
This post is sponsored by the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. As a high school English teacher, I love helping students learn and strive for their best possible future. One way that high school girls can achieve excellence is by joining the Girl Scouts of the USA. Research shows that Girl Scouts are more likely than non–Girl Scouts to achieve academic excellence. When it comes to teamwork, hands-on learning and reflection, and decision making, Girl Scouts will overachieve. One of the highest honors Girl Scouts can earn is the Gold Award . The 2019 10 National Gold Award Girl Scouts are remarkable girls who are making a positive impact in their communities and in the world. These girls are exemplary role models for our students. And while there are ten girls who earn the honor of the National Gold Award Girl Scout, any high school Girl Scout can earn their Gold Award. Furthermore, any girl in high school may join Girl Scouting for the first time and still be eligible to become a Gol...
Shakespeare, schmakespeare. Or at least, that is what some of our students may think. The Bard may be prolific, but his words are, in fact, not gospel. In fact, quite a few teachers nationwide are ditching the Bard for other titles. You can incorporate some excitement into a school day with a diverse selection of plays that can stand alone or supplement an existing novel unit. Here are five great alternatives to Shakespeare. This post contains affiliate links. O Beautiful by Theresa Rebeck O Beautiful packs in most, if not all, of today’s controversial issues, such as racism, homophobia, abortion, gun control, religion, and aggressive patriotism. The show’s surreal nature lends itself well to blending historical issues with modern ones: Historical figures like Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and even Jesus Christ pop up as characters that interact with everyday teens and doting homemakers. O Beautiful’s straightforward style and young characters make it the perfect supp...
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, is a strikingly unique tale about how we must all eventually grow up and learn to put the fantasies of our childhood to rest. Part of what makes this book so unique is that once our protagonist, Jacob, accepts reality as is, he quickly learns the world is full of far more mystery and wonder than he could have ever imagined. Riggs deploys a trick on the reader one rarely comes across—The big twist is not the shocking finale; instead, it takes place about a quarter of the way through the novel. This catalyzes a fantasy-adventure story, so full of action and suspense; it almost reads like a different book. The first quarter of the novel is a rather sad account of Jacob struggling to comprehend his grandfather’s death. He is diagnosed with acute stress disorder and is made to see a therapist. His relationship with his parents suffers; he loses his only friend after a fight and suffers from horrific nightmares. It’s difficult...