When it comes to teaching argument essays in the high school English classroom, I prefer to provide the students with some choice for their essay topics. By including students in the essay topic selection process, they feel more included in the process, but they will also be more engaged because they will feel like they have a say in their assignment. When assigning a hot topic or controversial issue argumentative essay , I always let students select a topic in which they are passionate. However, I also make it clear that their topic cannot be discriminatory or hateful in any way and that they must fund valid and credible evidence to back up their claims. When I do this in the classroom, I also like to make sure that only one student per class has the same topic. I unusually have essay topic sign-ups in two different ways, and both are first come first serve. One way that works is that I usually open up topic selection either before or after school. The students know about the day in a...
Intersectionality - what exactly is it, and why does it matter in the classroom? For many, intersectionality might appear to be just another one of those sanctimonious buzzwords. While the term's everyday usage, especially over the internet, has spread like wildfire over the past few years, it is essential for teachers and students to understand intersectionality. Intersectionality is more than just a trending word at the center of a tweet; it is an idea and practice that has a far-reaching impact on the daily operations of our world and our students' worlds. Here are some tips on how to not only to explain intersectionality to students so that they can effectively apply it to their study of character, but also to help apply that understanding to the day-to-day activities of your classroom. 1. Start with a broad definition of the term, allowing yourself and students to explore analogies. Oxford dictionary defines intersectionality as "the interconnected nature of social ...
Embedding quotes within a larger piece of writing is another one of those elusive skills that can be a challenge to break down and teach. It’s not a skill that students learn through osmosis or some other mystical way. Teaching students how to embed quotes takes a lot of scaffolding, examples, and practice. And because I like to break down complex skills into smaller steps, I thought I would share some resources to help! Teaching students how to effectively and seamlessly embed direct quotes and paraphrases into their writing, especially literary analysis , can be overwhelming for both teacher and student, which is why I offer 3 Tips for Teaching Writing in the Secondary ELA Classroom . Here, I encourage educators that when teaching writing, it’s very important to break down the process into manageable steps and focus on one skill at a time, building time into your instruction for repetition and lots of practice. Resources for Teaching Embedding Quotes To help the ever-busy teacher wit...
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: ...