An integral part of teaching English and assigning writing is teaching students about essential punctuation. When it comes to punctuation, colons and semicolons are particularly tricky for middle school ELA and high school English students. When I teach my students about colons and semicolons, I use this teaching resource: All About Punctuation: Colons and Semicolons . All About Punctuation: Colons and Semicolons Here are some helpful tips for teaching punctuation in the secondary ELA classroom. The colon It’s not just an organ, folks! In writing, colons help clarify sentences by separating a statement from additional clarifying information. Colons can really help the structure of the sentence flow. Here are a few different ways to use a colon! Lists Ex. I bought lots of vegetables at the store: carrots, potatoes, broccoli, and onions. Emphasis By using a colon to join a full sentence with an explanatory noun or phrase, the writer indicates to their reader that the following phrase is...
Including social justice in your high school English classroom is an ideal way to connect the themes and motifs from the literature we teach to the issues teenagers in society face. However, teaching and incorporating social justice isn’t something that teachers should go at alone. There are so many invaluable resources available for free for educators to help students learn about important social justice issues. Here is a look at some of my favorite social justice and real-world issue teaching content. 1. The Anti Defamation League The ADL works to fight antisemitism and hate. The ADL even has an educators tab on its website that is filled with lesson plans and activities that teachers can use. With lessons and content available for ages preschool through high school, the ADL provides teachers with free resources on ability, disability, and ableism, gender and sexism, Jewish culture and Anti-Semitism, and more. One of my favorite lessons is the one on Everyday Bias that discusses th...
I tried something new and drastic his year. I got rid of all of the zeroes in my grade book, and I don’t think I am ever going back. Whether you are considering giving the zero a boot, or if you are staunchly in the camp of holding onto the zero forever, I encourage you to read on. I’ve grappled with moving away from a standard grading scale for a few years now, but I was never able to set the ball into motion. I think the two biggest reasons that held me back for so long were held in long-standing, archaic reasons. First, the standard grading scale is the way that things have always been done, and secondly, in real life, you don’t get something for doing nothing. Those are probably the two most prevalent for holding onto the beloved zero. And in all honesty, after switching to a no-zero policy, those two reasons are, quite frankly, garbage. Why did I switch to a no-zero policy? I should have switched years ago, but I wasn’t ready to do so. However, after returning to full, in-person i...
Analyzing poetry can be a scary thing, for both teacher and student. There are so many terms to know and understand, and so few words in a poem! Surprisingly, I’ve found that many teachers avoid teaching poetry because it can be intimidating, but I’ve also found that many students actually enjoy it! And the students who say they don’t like poetry usually end up liking it more than they thought! Teaching Poetry Analysis: Let’s Break it Down To help demystify analyzing poetry, I created a fun and engaging Poetry Analysis Mini Flipbook that is perfect for secondary-level English Language Arts students! With this activity, students work on pages within the workbook to identify, quote, and explain various poetic devices and elements. You’ll get 7 tabs to assemble including: about the poem, structure, word choice (and tone), imagery, figurative language, theme, and analysis. Poetry Analysis Mini Flipbook It is designed to not only be hands-on, but very visual as well. There are plenty of pl...
One of the most helpful things middle school ELA and high school English teachers can do for their students during a writing unit is incorporate self-review into the lesson plan and activity. By conducting effective self-review of their own writing, students will grow in their writing abilities and become stronger writers. Also, students will become more confident in their writing abilities. Here are several ways to help prepare your students for the self-review process. 1. Start small Writing is an enormous task, and we can’t expect students to be able to self-review, and I mean genuinely and effectively self-review, an entire multi-paragraph essay right away. Not only is it a daunting task, but students need to build up to that level. That is why I typically start with a three-sentence writing prompt toward the beginning of the year. Once students have a good feel for the three-sentence writing strategy, they can then use class examples to review their writing responses. 2. Use ment...
When teaching informational writing , It can be overwhelming to make sure you’re teaching each and every aspect, including how to use and embed quotes and why and how to use the present tense. informational writing Teaching Informational Text: Break It Down This is why breaking it down into manageable and teachable steps is imperative. If you’re overwhelmed with teaching all of it, your students will be overwhelmed with learning all of it. Teaching informational writing is a multi-dimensional skill with many steps and opportunities for teaching, reteaching, and assessing. Here, I’d like to offer several things to focus on when teaching informational writing. It’s important to note and to tell yourself (multiple times, if necessary), that you cannot address and teach every aspect of informational writing in one unit. Therefore, Teaching Informational Text: Start Small You want students to be able to not only understand how to write well but master it. The best way to do that, as you alr...