One of my favorite end-of-the-year activities I’ve ever done with my students is an end-of-the-year letter to themselves. I did this one year that I had seniors. I had them write a letter to their future selves, and I told them I would mail the letters to them in one year. Several days before we begin the assignment, I tell students that they will be writing a letter to themselves and that I’ll need for them to bring in a self-addressed, stamped envelope. I collect the self-addressed stamped envelopes for several days before the actual assignment, and I keep them organized and separated by class period and then in alphabetical order. The main reason why I collect the self-addressed, stampede letters for several days is so that more students bring them in. I usually let them know about the assignment on a Thursday so they have the weekend to get the supplies, and then we usually don’t write until the end of the next week. I provide envelopes and stamps for all of the students who did no...
One of the best planning tools a middle school ELA or high school English teacher can have is a detailed, unit-by-unit secondary ELA pacing guide and curriculum map . For both new and veteran teachers alike, having a pacing guide helps to provide the initial framework and structure for the lessons and activities within a set year. I remember my very first year teaching. One of the classes I was assigned was a freshman support English class. For struggling students, this was their second English class in their schedule, but it didn’t count as a high school English class -it was an elective they had to take. I had no curriculum, no planning team, no help, and I was even told NOT to use the textbook or read the standard text because the other freshman English teachers might use some of that content. It was a struggle. Had I had something like this free Secondary ELA Curriculum Map and Pacing Guide (available in both a traditional print and digital format ), I would have had more guidance...
Do your students have a hard time remembering characters and symbolism within specific stories? There is one way to keep your students' creative side going and help them remember important details while studying for quizzes. The way to do so is to draw and cut out characters. But you first need to have your students answer some basic questions about the characters: Before you begin the activity, ask your students these questions: What is the character's name? What is the character's title? Does this character have a symbolic object? Does this character have a symbolic color? Does this character have relations with any other characters? If so, list them. What is the fate of this character? How did the character get their fate? Students will do this individually so they can see how much they know about the characters. If you'd like to add in more collaboration, give students 5 minutes to answer the questions individually and then have them partner up. With their new partn...
Some of my favorite days in the classroom happen when I facilitate a breakout room activity. Breakout room days are always fast-paced, invigorating, and a little bit hectic. And as fun as escape rooms are, there is always a time and a purpose for planning an escape room activity into your secondary ELA classroom. Here are four ways to incorporate escape rooms into your ELA classroom 1. Using Breakout Room Activities as an Ice Breaker One way to include breakout room activities in your classroom is to do so as an ice breaker type of activity during the beginning of the school year. By facilitating a breakout room at the start of the school year, you can allow students to learn how o work with each other. Also, facilitating a breakout room at the beginning of the school year is a great way to see your classroom dynamics. One great breakout room to facilitate toward the beginning of a new school year is my Growth Mindset Escape Room . In this escape room activity, students work together a...
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...