There’s nothing an English teacher loves more than a good quote to mount on their wall and print across their hearts. Whether you tattoo it on your skin or dry erase marker it on the whiteboard, the quotes we keep close have a way of touching others. Whether your students are avid readers or simply avid Twitter users, there are quotes for every single one of them. Inspire students to love learning, literature, and life with these ten quotes for your classroom: For the kids in your class always talking about their “aesthetic”: “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.” - Oscar Wilde Let them know that Mr. Wilde was a prominent leader of the aesthetic movement of the 19th century, which championed “art for art’s sake.” Wilde believed that anything you enjoy is meaningful to you, and that’s enough. Thanks, Oscar! For the ones who might not enjoy “mainstream” material: “If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking....
Middle school ELAR teachers, high school English teachers, and even college professors debate the relevancy of the five-paragraph essay. Some teachers say it is time to retire the five-paragraph method for good, and others still see the necessity of the formulaic essay. And for various reasons, both opinions have strong arguments. On the one hand, some educators believe the five-paragraph essay hinders students' creativity with the numerous arbitrary rules and formulaic format it follows. On the other hand, some believe the five-paragraph essay is a necessary training tool to teach new writers where to start. Personally, I still teach the five-paragraph essay in my high school classes. I want my students to master writing a thesis statement, properly embedding evidence, and writing commentary before moving on to more free-form writing structures. Let's look at the metaphor of a house to get a better understanding of why the five-paragraph essay is so critical. The esse...
Like teaching remotely, ending the school year while teaching remotely is anything but ideal. We miss our students and our classroom communities we’ve built. And even more upsetting is the lack of closure students, and teachers will have this year. When schools shut down in mid-March, we had no idea it would be for the entire school year. However, one of the best things we can do for our students and ourselves right now is to stay positive for our students. Here is a list of ten different end-of-the-year activities that you can do remotely with your students. Collaborative Google Slide Project With a collaborative Google Slide project, you would assign each student one Google Slide to create. Students could fill their Slide with pictures, favorite quotes from the year’s readings, what they learned from the class, or their favorite memories from the school year. The options are endless! Once everyone submits their completed Google Slide, and you compile them into one present...
One of my favorite ways to assess my students' essay-writing skills without actually assigning a traditional essay is with the graphic essay . A graphic essay is an excellent essay alternative for the middle school ELA or high school English classroom. A graphic essay is a graphic representation that contains all of the essential essay elements. It combines writing, visual elements, and design. When assigning a graphic essay, you can have students include any particular aspect from the essay that you want. Getting Started The first step to completing a graphic essay project in your classroom is to have a clear idea of the skills and content you want to assess. For example, if you are working on an argument and persuasive unit, are you looking to assess a counterargument? If you are working on an informative piece, are you looking for explanatory evidence? Once you know what you want to assess, start mapping out the student requirements. I’m pretty old-school when it c...
With distance learning in full swing, here’s a closer look at ten resources that English teachers can digitally assign their students. All of my SMARTePlans digital resources run on the Google platform and can be posted electronically on secured learning management platforms like Google Classroom and Canvas. With any SMARTePlans resource, students can access the files via the Google Suite and type directly in the file! 5 Digital Resources for Middle School ELA SMARTePlans Digital Parts of Speech Unit This digital parts of speech unit is optimized for digital learning. Utilizing Google Docs, Forms, and Slides, this unit includes direct instruction, practice, and assessments! SMARTePlans Greek Mythology Digital Notebook Engage students in Greek mythology with this digital Greek mythology notebook. Students will learn about various Greek Gods and Goddesses. SMARTePlans Digital Grammar Task Cards These digital grammar task cards are perfect for remote learnin...
One of my favorite ways to deliver content to my students digitally (and also to save paper) is to use Google Forms in the classroom. If you haven’t used Forms before, or if you are new to using Google Forms, this blog post is for you! Google Forms is a survey-like app included in the Google suite, and it works beautifully well with Google Classroom. If you’re interested in the many ways you can use Google Forms in the classroom, you can read my previous post: 10 Ways to Use Google Forms in the Classroom . To start using Google Forms, you’ll want to open up a Google Form . To start, you’ll have your choice of starting a new form from scratch, or you can choose a template. I usually start one from scratch because it is easier for me. However, I also like to format my Works Cited pages manually… so, yeah. However, if you do choose to use a template, the Google Forms Template Gallery has an education category. Once you are in a new Google Form, you will want to set it up so tha...
While many people find beauty, inspiration, and even great fun in discussing the very same novels your students are learning for class, your students may find this very difficult to believe. They may not recognize the creativity and passion at work in classic novels, because in-class discussions usually take the form of a literary analysis essay. To the young mind, an essay is not typically considered as the most passionate way to talk about any subject. Show your students how invigorating literary analysis can be by introducing them to other mediums of discussion, like art or music. Many literature fans have been so exhilarated by classic novels that they felt moved to write songs or even whole albums about them - resulting in some of the best-known hits of all time! Listening to these songs may help your students better grasp the incredible power of a good narrative arch or the compelling storytelling abilities often found in many beloved works. Here are just a few example...
Here’s a list of ten resources for middle school ELA and high school English that will help you teach digitally and remotely. I've been creating digital, Google-based lessons since 2015, but here is a look at ten of my favorite. To check out all of the resources, search SMARTePlans on my TPT store. Sentence Combining Bell Ringers These sentence-combining bell ringers are the perfect way to help students improve their writing skills. This unit includes an introductory lesson that shows students a step-by-step process for how to combine sentences. It also contains several example slides and plenty of daily warm-up slides for students to complete Growth Mindset Digital Escape Room One of the most important things we can be doing right now is helping our students with their social and emotional learning right now. This Growth Mindset Escape Room is the perfect way to introduce students to growth mindset and provide them with a fun, engaging, and challenging task to complete. ...
At first, the shutdowns started slowly. School districts here and there across the nation closed for just a couple of weeks. And then things got serious -real fast. The week before my district closed was unlike any other week. In essence, my students were a bit more on edge, daily attendance slowly started dwindling, and I kept the news open on one of my computer tabs constantly refreshing it and checking it during each passing period. Schools around us started closing. The numbers in LA County increased. Entire school districts. Disneyland closed. In all honesty, it felt like the beginning of an apocalypse movie. As an avid fan of The Walking Dead, I kept thinking that this is what it must have felt like in that fictitious world as the infection started to spread. However, this isn’t fiction. It’s reality, and it is a reality for which we weren’t entirely prepared. We did not become teachers so that we could teach remotely in quarantine. And yet, here were are. However, this a...