So many students have a hard time finding a connection between their 21st-century lives and the works of William Shakespeare. And while his plays were written more than 400 years ago, his messages are timeless. Here are some ways you can make the Bard more relatable to your students. 1. Dispel the Fear of the Unknown One of the many reasons students dislike Shakespeare is because it is unfamiliar. It can seem strange, ridiculous even, to think someone from the 21st century can even understand someone from 450 years ago, let alone relate to them; and because of this, students will subconsciously distance themselves from the literature before even giving it a try in the first place. To stop this from happening, help students find ways to connect with the situations or characters in the story. For example, Much Ado About Nothing is a play about miscommunication that results in hilarious hijinks. Have students talk about times when miscommunication created a funny situation. Having ...
In the public education setting, timed-writes are a required part of many standardized tests. Rather than try to cloak that reality, embrace it! Show your students that timed writing can be a fun challenge, and develop their expository and analytical prowess by beginning every class with a writing warm-up. These warm-ups should take only five to ten minutes, and you can easily implement them into your daily bell-ringer routine. Here are ten exercises to build your students' writing confidence: 1 Minute Story Get your students in the habit of writing from the word "go." Set the time for 60 seconds and task them with writing a complete short story with a beginning, middle, and end in that time. The first time, many of them will probably find themselves caught up in the pressure or struggle over what to write. That's okay! The more they practice, the better they will become at thinking quickly and excluding any unnecessary information. By the end of the school y...
At its heart, The Sun is Also a Star (affiliate link) is a novel about empathy. Yoon uses an unconventional style in her take on the teenage love story. Instead of a traditional narrative, Yoon jumps back and forth between the perspectives of the two main characters: Daniel, the aspiring poet and Yale-bound son of Korean immigrants. And Natasha, the aspiring scientist and undocumented-immigrant who came to America, from Jamaica, at age nine. Peppered throughout the book are chapters in which a nameless narrator tells us the history of the various characters we encounter as well as the various topics we encounter, such as why Korean-Americans own so many black hair care businesses and the actual science behind falling in love. The novel takes place on Natasha’s last day in America. Due to her father getting a DUI several months earlier, her family is set to be deported that night. In between rushing around New York City looking for a miracle that would allow her to stay in Amer...
Because picture books never really go out of style, and also because big kids love graphic novels, too. This post contains affiliate links. 1. Pashmina , written and illustrated by Nidhi Chanani Priyanka Das' life is full of missing pieces: Her mother is tight-lipped about Pri's absent father, her own family, and most importantly, her native country, India. After discovering a pashmina in an old suitcase, Pri is transported to a strange, beautiful world full of the color that her own life lacks. Follow Pri as she attempts to figure out the secret to her mother's past, to unlock her own heritage. Note: Only Pri's imagined-India is in drawn color! Her day-to-day life is black and white. This is a stunning visual cue that makes reading Chanani's work so fun! Plus, you can analyze the juxtaposition of the author's use of color to tell the story with your students. 2. The Umbrella Academy , written by Gerard Way, illustrated by Gabriel Ba If any of yo...
Wintertime is a hard season to prepare for because students are either already checked out for Winter Break or they're starting back up slowly after returning from Winter Break. This is the time when you really want to get their attention with some fun and exciting literature. What better way to do that than to read some winter-themed stories? The following are some short stories and poetry centered around winter that you can use to keep your students heated in those cold winter months. This post contains affiliate links. To Build a Fire by Jack London This classic short story will keep your students in suspense until the very end with its timeless tale of man-vs.-nature. An unnamed man in his arrogance takes on the harsh winters of the Yukon Territory and ultimately loses the fight for survival. It sifts from Leaden Sieves by Emily Dickinson Known for her strong imagery, Emily Dickinson paints for us a beautiful portrait of snow without ever saying the word throughout ...
Whether you’re looking forward to celebrating your favorite holiday or simply looking forward to the upcoming winter break, there’s no better way to appreciate the sweater weather than with a great book! The holiday season may fall during cold snaps and chilly air, but that just means it’s the best time for warmth, love, and even reflection as another year winds to a close. Spread some magic with 15 books for the holiday season. This post contains affiliate links. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery Nothing says “holiday spirit” like a plucky orphan with a big imagination! This classic has been enchanting children and adults alike for decades, and it’s undoubtedly suited for curling up with a few blankets and a mug of something hot. Your students are sure to fall in love with the fanciful, dramatic Anne, who forges life-long friendships and bitter rivalries on her quest for a romantic and adventurous life. As Anne grows and matures, your students will be privy to val...