WARNING: Contains spoilers and affiliate links to help me maintain the cost of this site. Two Can Keep a Secret is a young adult murder mystery. All the standard tropes are here: high school politics, Homecoming Queens, creepy townsfolk, romance, various red herrings, and tons of twists. The novel is told from two perspectives. The first is that of Ellery, a high school senior with a penchant for reading true crime. She has a twin brother named Ezra and the novel opens with the two of them moving from California to Echo Ridge, Vermont, their mother’s hometown, to live with their grandmother. The reason for this move being that their mother is in rehab for opioid addiction. The second perspective is that of Malcolm. A high school senior who is the younger brother of Declan, the primary suspect in the murder of an Echo Ridge Homecoming Queen several years earlier. As you can already surmise, the various relationships and connections in this book are quite complex. It is because of this t...
One of the best ways to help students build their skills and improve their performance in a middle school ELA or high school English class is to go back to the basics and focus on the fundamentals of ELA. Here are five teaching resources to use that will help your students get back on track. Figurative Language Teaching Bundle This figurative language teaching bundle teaching resource includes both the digital and traditional print versions of eight different figures of speech mini-units. Each mini-unit focuses on a specific figure of speech and includes an instructional presentation, task cards, sketch notes, and practice worksheets. figurative language teaching bundle     Sentence Structure Teaching Unit One of the best ways to help students improve their writing is by going back to the basics and teaching the fundamentals of sentence structure with this sentence structure teaching unit . Once students have a good understanding of complete sentences, fragments, and run-on sentences,...
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...