When I first started using Google in the classroom back in, I don’t even know when, I had absolutely no idea about just how helpful the Google platform would be for teaching. From Google Classroom to Google Docs and everything between, the Google Suite definitely helps me stay organized as a teacher. Here’s a look at how I use Google in the classroom and as a teacher. Using Google Docs in the Classroom Google Docs for Digital Collaboration I love using Google Docs for collaborative activities in the classroom. With my journalism students, since we are 100 percent remote right now, we use a collaborative Google Doc for our monthly story brainstorming. Also, when I am conducting digital collaborative activities such as the collaborative rhetorical precis activity, we use a carefully-created Google Doc with tables for whole-class participation. You can read my recent digital collaboration blog post on the Secondary English Coffeeshop to learn more about how I use Google Docs for digita...
It is hard to understand what is going on with the world, but imagine being a kid or a young adult in 2020. This year has been a lot. Between the pandemic and the pressing  social injustice happening now, students are taking in a lot. That can cause a lot of stress for your students, regardless of age. It is a confusing time to be growing up, but how can you help to combat that? One way to help students cope with 2020 is blogging. Blogging can help your students explore their feelings about the world, for it will allow them to voice their opinions and concerns in a safe space with their peers. Of course, the blogs will differ if your classes are online or in person, but there are ways to get around that and still make it fun! The reason for these blogs is to help your students to cope with the unsettling ways of society. Thus, it is best to write down their thoughts and discuss them with people their age, who might be feeling the same. Comforting and assuring them that it is okay...
If there is one skill that high school students struggle with the most, it is properly citing their quotes in either MLA or APA format. That is why it is one of the first skills that I teach when we write about literature. Even though English teachers instruct students on how to embed quotations and cite their evidence appropriately, there might be a handful of students who still struggle with this. Plus, many students do not know the difference between APA and MLA format for essays. Not only should high school students learn about APA and MLA format, but middle school students should too because it would benefit them in upcoming grade levels by knowing how to format in-text citations, reference lists, etc. Learning MLA and APA Format is tedious for students to learn about APA and MLA, but there are ways to make it fun and accessible. Plus, you can bring in quotes for your students to practice with while doing APA and MLA exercises. Teaching APA vs. MLA Formatting In an ideal...
Teaching literary analysis in middle school and high school classrooms is much more engaging when you use fun acronyms. When teaching literature in the secondary ELA class, focus on the MTV: mood, tone, voice. Even for the experienced reader, mood, tone, and voice can sometimes feel impossible to distinguish. So it is natural that students have a tough time understanding mood, tone, and voice. All three of these elements contribute to the general feel of a story, so what is it that sets them apart? The differences might seem small and seemingly undetectable, but they are very important in helping students understand stories as clearly and accurately as possible. Since mood, tone, and voice all relate to the feel of a story, it is also through this word feel that we can set them apart. In my sticky note literary analysis teaching unit , I dedicate some organizers to teaching mood and teaching tone in literature. Have students reflect on the simple questions below to interna...
With the school year in full swing, teachers everywhere are exhausted. The 2020-2021 school year will be unlike any of the other school years. Whether you are teaching fully remote, in a hybrid setting, or back face-to-face, this year brings unique challenges. My first six weeks of complete remote learning have been filled with ups, downs, highs, lows, and more continually changing information from the top down that makes my head spin! With that said, I still want to provide my students with a rigorous and worthwhile learning experience in high school English while still maintaining my sanity. Here is a look at three digital and print resources for secondary ELA that are easy to assign and easy to teach. Short Story Close Reading Unit My short story close reading teaching unit includes the traditional print and Google digital options for the seven short stories. Each short story close reading unit lasts about a week. Students read the short story and then go back and read carefully se...
Journaling at the start of class is an excellent way for middle school and high school students to get into the right mindset to learn. Some students may enter your English classroom ready to dive into a text or a writing assignment, but many students need to ease into the material, and getting thoughts flowing on paper is a great way to do this. While it may be sufficient to tell students to write for a few minutes about whatever is on their minds, it can be helpful for many students if you provide guidance or a general topic for their writing. Here are four 10-minute journaling activities to use at the start of the secondary English class. 1. Picture journaling in the secondary ELA classroom For this exercise, find an interesting photo online and project it onto the board so that all your students can see it. Instruct them to write for 10 minutes about the picture. They can engage in creative writing and write a story, or students can jot down descriptive details of the pho...