As educators, we have a moral responsibility to have challenging conversations in our classrooms. Real-world events directly impact our students. Our students have questions and look to trusted adults for information and guidance. When significant events happen, when our nation experiences tragedy, when we need to have those challenging conversations with our students, it’s important not to tackle it alone. As teachers, especially as teachers who might not have the first-hand experience with the topic at hand, we need to have reliable and credible sources to help us have those challenging conversations with our students. Helpful Resources Anti-Bias and Anti-Racist Resources for Teachers Antidefamation League The Antidefamation League has a section dedicated to educational resources for teachers, parents, and families . One of my favorite things about the ADL’s educational resource center is the premade lesson plans that teachers can easily filter by topic and grade level. The ADL also ...
Now that the New Year is upon us, it is time to reconnect with our students, engage them in authentic learning activities, and begin the second half of the school year on the right foot. A couple of years ago, I wrote the first part of this blog post: 5 Ways to Engage Students in the New Year. And this blog post is an extension of that first list. Here are five more ways to engage your middle school and high school students in the New Year. 1. Engage Students in a New Year’s Goal-Setting Activity This digital goal-setting activity is a free download available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. While using this activity, students will set short-term and long-term academic and personal goals and think about different actionable steps to accomplish that goal. You can read more about how I plan on using this activity in last week’s blog post entitled, “ A Goal-Setting and Reflection Activity for the Secondary Classroom. ” 2. Reflect on the Past Semester Whether your first semester is fini...
When the New Year starts back up again, and school resumes after winter break, I want to take a couple of days to ease my students and myself back into the school routine. To do so, I plan on taking a couple of days to focus on reflecting and setting goals. Since I am returning to remote teaching, and since we've been entirely remote this entire school year so far, I know that I'll need to motivate my students as much as I can. Distant learning is challenging, and they were hoping to return to in-person instruction in the New Year. After all, the last day they set foot in an actual classroom was Friday, March 13, 2020. To ease my students (and myself) back into the school routine, I plan on spending a couple of days focusing on setting goals for the New Year, I will use this free 2020 digital Goal Setting New Year Activity with my students. I will assign them each their own copy to complete, and I plan on using a series of TED Talks and discussion-based questions in Canvas (yo...
Remote learning is tough. It is tough for everyone: teachers, students, admin, and parents. This semester has been anything but ordinary, and despite continually revising my curriculum and pairing down my assignments, it still has been a struggle.  Knowing that this semester has been so tough, I’ve made an effort to check in on my students to understand their thoughts about remote learning. One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard from my students is that they feel the semester has been a waste, and they feel like they haven’t learned anything. That was some harsh feedback to take in. However, I wanted my students to reflect on the past semester and really think about what they’ve learned. I wanted them to think not only about content and knowledge that they’ve learned, but I also wanted them to think about the skills they’ve learned. Whether they realize it or not, students participating in any form of remote learning have gained so many valuable skills this semester: self-management,...
In a perfect universe, students would have an infinite amount of time to read and dissect, and read and dissect, and read and dissect some more. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect universe. No matter whether you're teaching middle or high school students, you're undoubtedly aware of just how busy they can get, with the endless slew of extracurriculars and possibly even part-time jobs and family obligations. It's no surprise, then, that sometimes reading Chapter 12 of Jane Eyre might not be so high on their priority list. Here are some tips to help students find time for fun and productive reading within their busy schedules: 1. A good reader knows when to stop. The impetus to keep going can sometimes be very strong even if our eyes are closing shut in defiance. The first step to finding time for productive reading is doing away with the times when it's unproductive. For example, if a student is convinced that they absolutely must finish this chapter of Huckleber...
Whether you are teaching middle school ELA or high school English in a virtual or hybrid setting, there are many uncertainties this school year. One thing for sure is that having teaching resources readily available in Google digital and PDF print versions have saved me some sanity. Here is a look at my top money-saving print and digital secondary ELA teaching resources. These middle school ELA and high school English teaching bundles include both the Google digital and traditional print formats for seamless teaching. Essay Writing Teaching Unit I created this essay writing teaching resource for high school students who are still working on mastering how to write an essay. Even though I created it for high school students, it also works well for middle school ELA students who are beginning to learn how to write essays. In this unit, students learn how to write essays with a step-by-step and paragraph-by-paragraph approach. This teaching unit consists of three mini-lessons: how to writ...