Romeo and Juliet is one of those classic pieces of literature I think everyone has read. Even students who haven’t read the Shakespeare play have probably heard of the story or will relate to the plot as it has been retold in various films and literature. If you need some fresh ideas before you start this unit, read on.  1. Relatable Bell Ringers If you’re going to focus on a Shakespeare play, you must go all in. Immersing students into a unit from start to finish is such a perfect way to help students understand a topic in-depth. Start off each class with these Shakespeare Bell Ringers . Each one includes a famous Shakespearean quote and a quick writing prompt. Students will explore various writing styles based on the quote. 2. Character Focus Help your students identify and organize characters with these graphic organizers . This resource has two sets for almost every character in the play. Students will identify characters as round or flat, static or dynamic, and other basic qualiti...
I’m not sure about you, but I always kind of dread Back-to-School Night. It’s late, I’m usually exhausted from the first couple of weeks of school, and many times the turnout isn’t even that great. I’ve had my fair share of Back-to-School Nights. I’ve done the standard ten-minute presentation where I talk about the class the entire time. I’ve had parents write notecards to their students. I even tried playing Kahoot! with parents one year, and that was just a trainwreck. Even with the best-laid plans, Back-to-School Nights are just awkward. At my school, we have six class periods. We have a ten-minute presentation for each class period that is supposed to be just for that class. Then, there is a ten-minute passing period. Parents often come in right at the start of the passing period, and for me, it’s just awkward having that weird silence with some parents waiting as I awkwardly stand at the door trying to guess what parents are mine. So this year, I tried something new. I’ll admit, I...
The content and skills students learn in their middle school English language arts classes provide them with a strong foundation and help prepare them for high school and beyond. From learning about fundamental grammar rules to learning how to become stronger and more confident writers, middle school is an important time for students to begin thriving in their English classes. Here are 10 must-teach lessons for the middle school ELA classroom. 1. Sentence Structure: Simple, Compound, Complex, and Compound-Complex Sentences Learning about the different sentence types is a crucial building block to understanding the English language. This sentence structure teaching unit includes a detailed teacher outline, a presentation for direct instruction, practice worksheets, and an assessment. sentence structure teaching unit 2. Parts of Speech While students learn about the eight parts of speech in elementary school, it doesn’t quite stick. In middle school, students need to go back and relearn...
Incorporating a growth mindset into your classroom can have quite a few benefits. According to the American Psychological Association, “Growth mindset is the belief that a person’s intelligence and abilities can grow and improve with practice, and researchers have found that brief exercises that increase growth mindset can help keep students motivated when they face challenges, improve their grades, and even increase college graduation rates.” However, it should also be noted that a growth mindset isn’t a quick fix. Students will need time to process, think about, and reevaluate these concepts throughout the year. When incorporating a growth mindset into the middle school and high school classroom, teachers should focus on spreading out activities and incorporating them throughout the year rather than all at once. Here are five ways to incorporate a growth mindset in the classroom Growth Mindset Posters I have these growth mindset posters displayed in my classroom, and I love how my s...
Animal Farm is such an “easy” read, but it’s also important and packed with themes and civics-related topics to discuss. If you’re looking for new ideas to spice up your Animal Farm lessons, read on. I’m excited to share these 10 activities with you. 1. Group Research Project Instead of having a bunch of independent work for students to complete, get them into groups to share the load of research. This is perfect for switching up the monotony of worksheets and independent work. You can also use this as a differentiated option if you have students who may benefit from tackling research as a group rather than on their own. My group research project includes a final project of 5 paragraph essay with MLA formatting and a PowerPoint presentation. It’s an engaging option to set the historical context before reading Animal Farm OR you can use it as an extension activity after the novel. 2. Vocabulary Study Having a grasp on the vocabulary is an important place to start with novel studies. Bu...