When I speak with parents at back-to-school night each year, one thing I always tell them is that one of the goals in my class is to help students learn to love English class, love reading, and love writing. I explain to them that I consider it a good day when the bell catches all of us in the classroom off-guard because we are engaged, having fun, and fully immersed in the day’s learning experience. One way to do this in the secondary ELA classroom is through the use of implementing stations in the classroom. Planning station activities for the classroom is a beneficial strategy to not only pass the time quickly in the classroom but to also increase classroom engagement and whole-body learning. When students work their way through stations in a class period, they are active and moving. Their brains are focusing on small bursts of critical thinking. Not only do I have their attention, but station days are always fun and immersive. For more reading about collaborative classroom activiti...
With the end of the school year around the corner, it’s time to start planning out the final few weeks. Here is a look at some teaching resources that will help you end your school year on a solid note. End of the Year Socratic Seminar One really great way to end the school year is by partaking in discussion activities where your students talk about everything they’ve learned, their favorite activities, and all of the important content they learned. You can use this Socratic Seminar as a way to prep for a final exam or even as a final exam alternate! Career Research Paper Another great way to end the year is to engage your students in a career research paper. In doing so, students will be able to research a career of their choice and demonstrate their understanding of research writing as they write their papers. This career research paper assignment comes in both a traditional print or a digital option, and it includes all of the materials you will need for the last couple of weeks o...
For students, MLA format can feel like another rigid set of rules for writing with reasons unknown. For teachers, it can be tear-your-hair-out frustrating to plan engaging and hands-on activities that teach proper formatting, works cited pages, and parenthetical citations. As a teacher, I know how challenging teaching MLA (and even APA) can be, and I want you to know I’m here to help! In another post , I address the challenges of teaching both MLA and APA; but here, I want to provide some insight specifically into teaching MLA formatting for the secondary English/ Language Arts classroom. I’d also like to highlight several product pairings that are absolutely perfect and ready to roll out with little prep. I hope you find that they free up some of your precious and finite time, busy teacher! What’s involved with teaching MLA format? The main components of MLA include using direct quotes and paraphrases, documenting sources, and specific formatting guidelines including headers, headings...
It’s likely you’ve heard of bell ringers or have even incorporated some form of them into your own classroom routine. It’s also likely you completed them as a student when you were in school. Whether you’re new to them or a bell-ringer pro, I hope you can take even a small nugget here back to your own classroom! What are Bell Ringers? Typically, bell ringers (or bell work) are short, bite-sized activities students complete independently (and quietly) in the first 5-10 minutes of class. They usually involve some small task to get them going and reoriented to your class. Why Bell Ringers? Bell ringers are great for engaging students with the day’s topics and objectives while also allowing them time to settle. For teachers, this is a great way to start class off right. Students sit down and complete the bell ringer while you use this time to take attendance, make sure your remote learners are “present,” set up your lessons, and any of the other 20-some tasks you need to accomplish. Bell-R...
Have you ever heard a student say, “Why do we have to learn parts of speech? We already learned this in elementary school!” and then you look at their writing and see that it’s clear they don’t remember much of what they learned? I imagine you could actually apply to this many other skills taught in elementary school. As secondary-level teachers, we expect our students to come to us possessing and having mastered a set number of skills, such as recognizing and correctly using parts of speech. Here’s the thing, though. Yes, they learned it, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be reviewed and even retaught at the secondary level. Tips For Teaching Parts of Speech Here are a couple of tips I’ve picked up along the way to help you figure out how to incorporate parts of speech instruction, activities, and assessments into your lesson plans. Read here on why I think it’s so important to teach and review parts of speech at the secondary level. Teaching the Parts of Speech Tip #1: Chunk it Out...
Teaching poetry this month? Whether you are looking for more ways to gear up for National Poetry Month or projects to make poetry fun , I’ve got you covered. Here is a look at five of my favorite teaching lessons and activities for teaching poetry! Sticky Note Poetry Analysis This sticky note poetry analysis teaching resource includes everything you need to teach your next poetry unit. This poetry teaching unit includes an instructional teaching presentation for direct instruction, suggested poems to teach, and plenty of hands-on and engaging poetry analysis organizers. Poetry Analysis Task Cards Incorporate these poetry analysis task cards in your next poetry teaching unit. These task cards can be used with any poem of your choosing, and there are 40 unique task cards. These poetry task cards also make the perfect addition to a poetry station activity in the classroom. Poetry Analysis Mini Flip Book Your students will love creating this poetry analysis mini flip book . As your stu...