When it comes to teaching writing, sentence structure, and punctuation, students struggle with understanding how to use colons and semicolons properly. Like anything else, learning how to use semicolons and colons properly comes with time and practice. The first step in teaching students how to use colons and semicolons includes direct instruction. Teachers need to show students each punctuation, explain the rules for each punctuation, and give students time to practice this. For semicolon and colon instruction, I use my print and digital Colon and Semicolon Punctuation Teaching Unit which includes a presentation for direct instruction and student resources. After I use direct instruction to teach my students about the colon and semicolon, I like to use these three strategies to reinforce student understanding. You can also check out this blog post on teaching confusing punctuation .  Colon and Semicolon Punctuation Teaching Unit 1. Punctuation in Class Novels When we are reading a cl...
Writing can be such an elusive skill to master for learners of all ages and skill levels, and one that can also be challenging to teach as well. One of the best pieces of advice about teaching writing I give teachers is to break up the process into chunks or manageable steps that allow students to master and feel comfortable with each step and feel confident enough to move on. This also helps teachers intervene early in the learning process and reteach where necessary. With writing instruction, a good place to start is the thesis statement. The thesis statement is the backbone of any academic writing. Without it, all the writing just falls to the floor. Without it, there is no direction, no organization, just a pile of parts scattered everywhere. That may be an exaggeration, but the point is that the thesis statement is a vital part of any academic writing, and students need lessons and instruction that can take something abstract and make it concrete. A few tips on thesis statements: ...
Once the second semester of the school year starts, it is time to focus on refining ELA skills and building on what students learned during the first semester. All of the resources included in this post include both the digital and traditional print versions. Here is a look at 5 resources for the second semester in the secondary ELA classroom. Ethos, Pathos, and Logos: Teaching Rhetorical Appeals Whenever I teach argument writing, I like to include several lessons and activities on rhetorical appeals. When students know ethos, pathos, and logos and how to effectively use each appeal, their argument and persuasive writing become so much stronger.  This Ethos, Pathos, and Logos Teaching Unit includes an instructional presentation for direct instruction and student materials. Your students will love completing the doodle notes, and you will love the increased engagement. Writing Spotlight Teaching Bundle Once my students have a basic understanding of writing an essay, I then use the inst...
Visibility and representation in the classroom are imperative for all students’ growth. Every single student deserves the opportunity to see themselves in the literature they read in class. Although, it is so important to note that including books by Black authors isn't only for your Black students. White students and students of all races need to read books by Black authors.  However, representation, diversity, and inclusion should be more than just simple buzzwords to mention during a lesson plan. To solidify your support, it should be an ongoing process in every aspect of the classroom.  Part of the process includes purposefully including books in your classroom library so that it includes diverse voices. Here are a few YA novels by Black authors to add to your bookshelf. A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow A Song Below Water is a fantasy novel that mixes aspects of real-world challenges with fantastical elements to create a social commentary on intersectionality that is u...
Purposefully including group work in your classroom instruction has many benefits. From increased engagement to real-world communication skills, students can learn more than just the ELA content when they collaborate. Here are six different ELA activities that work great as group activities. 1. Peer Review as a Group Activity Completing a peer review activity in a group may seem like an obvious choice. Still, it is very effective for editing essays and helping students bring their writing to its full potential. One way to make peer editing even more beneficial is to put your students in groups of four and have them rotate their essays around the group until three different people have edited everyone's writing. This process is what I do when my students complete my Peer Editing Stations and Rotations activity. Not only do students benefit from having multiple people read their paper, but they also get to read several other students' papers. Peer editing in groups is a great way...
One of the best ways to grow as an educator is to keep learning and keep trying something new. After all, it is much better to fail trying something new than continuing to photocopy the same copy of a copy of a document from the 90s. This past year, I had the pleasure of blogging alongside eleven other amazing ELA teachers. Each month, we contributed a new idea to that month’s topic, and the result is amazing! Throughout a year of collaborative blogging, we came up with a list of 144 engaging, inspirational, creative, and rigorous ideas to implement into the middle school ELA or high school English classroom. Here are 144 teaching ideas, techniques, strategies, and activities to try this year! 12 Podcast episodes that will make you a better ELA teacher : Hosted by Ashley Bible of Building Book Love 12 Activities To Encourage Your High School Students To Love Reading: Hosted by Dr. Jenna Copper 12 Ideas to Freshen Up Your Approach to Poetry : Hosted by Amanda Cardenas of Mud and Ink Te...