With a new school year upon us, here is a look at 10 must-teach secondary ELA lessons and activities for your classroom. Essential ELA Review The first several weeks of a new school year is the perfect time to review essential ELA content with students. The best way to review is to spend a little bit of time each day to briefly reteach and practice essential ELA concepts that will help get students ready for their grade-level curriculum. These Essential ELA Review teaching units are five weeks long, include a variety of ELA standards, and are available for grade 8 , grades 9-10 , and grades 11-12 . Academic Vocabulary One of the best ways to help students succeed academically in class is to help them gain a firm understanding of important ELA academic vocabulary words. This Academic Vocabulary teaching unit includes both the print and digital units, and it includes more than enough words for the entire school year. From words specific for research writing to words tailors to informati...
Teaching email etiquette to my new students is one of my first formal lessons in a new school year. When I teach email etiquette, I use this email etiquette teaching unit that includes a teachable presentation for direct instruction and plenty of student activities. Trust me, this is a fun lesson for the beginning of the year! When I take about two partial class periods to teach email etiquette at the beginning of the school year is a great introductory activity. Email Etiquette Teaching Unit Here are five reasons to teach email etiquette at the start of the school year! Teaching Email Etiquette is a Great Way to Ease into Content After summer break, students (and let’s be honest -teachers, too) take some time to adjust to the rigor and routine of a new school year. Teaching email etiquette to students at the start of the year is one way to ease into the content. Yes, it seems like a light subject; it involved technology, and students have fun seeing the examples of what not to do, bu...
Starting off the school year with short stories is a great way to engage the learners in your classroom as soon as you are ready to start instruction -whether that be the very first day of school or one week into the school year after some ice-breaker and introductory activities. When I teach sophomores, I like to start the school year with a short story unit. In my classroom, I use my Introduction to Short Stories Unit and my Literary Analysis Sticky Note Unit for short stories, and they work really well together. Here are four reasons why it is a smart idea to start your middle school ELA or high school English class with a short story unit. Literary Analysis Sticky Note Unit Beginning of School Schedule Changes If your school is anything like mine, the few weeks of school can have a lot of movements. Between students being transferred out of class and having new students pop up on your roster daily, the first few weeks can be a bit messy. It is difficult to start a lengthy unit o...
Of of the most engaging and interactive ways to start the new school year is by facilitating a back-to-school station activity in your classroom. Using back-to-school stations as a classroom activity during the first week of school a great way to get your students up and interacting with each other. Furthermore, back-to-school stations are also great for getting to know your students and handing out important class information. Here is a more in-depth look at the back-to-school station activity that I use in my classroom. You might also want to check out my other favorite back-to-school ideas and activities for middle school ELA and high school English. BACK-TO-SCHOOL STATION 1 The first station is a student survey station. In this station, students complete a survey that helps me get to know my new students more. This survey includes carefully curated questions that provide me with useful information that I refer back to throughout the school year. I keep a binder all year long w...
There is no secret about it: teachers love pens. Colorful pens, felt-tip pens, ink pens, erasable pens, and the list just goes on and on! Here’s a look at my favorite pens to use for teaching. Please note: This post uses affiliate links to help me cover the operational costs of the blog. All-Around Favorite Teacher Pen Hands down, my favorite pen is the Papermate Flair pen ! It is absolutely perfect for writing in my teacher planner. In addition to using flair pens for my planners, I also use them to create sketch note examples, to take notes during meetings and professional development seminars, and for quick grading. I love the variety of rich, vibrant colors. Favorite Pens for Grading Essays While the Flair pen is my all-around favorite pen, my go-to pen for grading essays is the Papermate Inkjoy Gel pen . When I grade essays, I like to write on the rubrics. I provide students with lots of comments, and I need a smooth writing pen. The Inkjoy is perfect for grading essays. I also tr...
One of the best ways to become a stronger teacher is to continuously focus on growth and improvement. Whether that comes from teaching new grade levels to trying out new units to attending teaching conferences and everything else in between, professional growth is essential. You don’t ever want to be that teacher photocopying photocopies from twenty years ago. While there are many ways for teachers to grow as educators, one simple and easy way is to dive into a professional development book. Reading teacher professional development books has quite a few advantages. For starters, you can read the books at your own pace and select which strategies you’d like to implement. Furthermore, you can also share your experiences with your colleagues to grow even more. Here are 10 English teacher professional development books that every middle school ELA and high school English teacher should have on their bookshelves. Note: This post contains affiliate links that help me support the operation of...