You’ve come to the end of another novel or short story. Now what? If you’re looking to spice up your review activities with something fresh, unique, or just plain different than your average paper, read on! Here are ten ways to review a novel or short story. 1. Socratic Seminars Why write when you can discuss? If you’re unfamiliar with a Socratic Seminar , it is a method to understand information by creating a dialogue in class. Students should find deeper understanding and discuss complex ideas. Works that are “heavy” or require your students to really think about issues are perfect for Socratic Seminars. Socratic Seminar for ANY text! 2. Create a Game You can either have students create their own game with various templates they find online, or you can create a game that students will play in order to review. Either way, it’s a fun excuse to host a game day in your classroom and breaks up the monotony of review, papers, and tests. I really like having students create their own games,...
If you haven’t incorporated peer editing into your essay units, you are truly missing out. Anytime I can use positive peer interactions in an assignment I find heightened engagement and a better turnout of essays. Find my top reasons for including peer editing below, and don’t forget to check out my resources. Reasons why you should include peer editing 1. So students can write to a wider audience. When my students write essays that only I will read, they tend to write what they think I will like. Especially when students write later in the year, they’ve “been there done that” with writing for me. Most students know what I’m nitpicky in, possibly what my own biases are (even the most objective teacher may inadvertently share personal opinions from time to time). When they peer edit, they also consider the other students who will be reading the paper. In fact, I usually preface and emphasize that they are writing for the wider audience and NOT to just me. 2. So students are more engaged...
When it comes to engaging middle school ELA and high school English students, I’ve noticed a pretty consistent trend: teens like to color, doodle, and create. As much as some teens might moan and groan about coloring, it's actually quite therapeutic, and it helps many disengaged students focus on the lesson, assignment, or assessment. However, when it comes to coloring in the classroom, all coloring-type assignments are not created equally and should not be used synonymously. In fact, sketch notes and doodle notes, mind maps, and one-pagers all have their own distinct place and purpose in the classroom. And when used effectively, these activities and assignments help unlock students’ creativity and analysis skills. Before diving into the different coloring activities, it is important to have the materials you need to successfully facilitate these assignments in the classroom. There have been quite a few times when I walked into my classroom at the start of a school day not planning...
If you aren’t using bell ringers in your secondary ELA classroom - you should. I can’t say enough good things about what bell ringers have done for the routine and structure of my classroom. They do not require much upfront work and preparation once you decide the process you want for bell ringers. And there are so many bell ringers you can find ready-made (check out the end of this post for a couple of my favorites). Here are five reasons you should start your class with a bell ringer. 1. Bring Routine A great benefit to starting class with a bell ringer is how it will bring routine to your day. Class can often start in chaos as students make their way in from the hall, continuing conversations, and shifting into a new subject. I’ll have students who are still amped from a P.E. class, students who just finished a math exam, and students who have snuck in late to the school day. Having a bell ringer ready at the start of each class means my students know what to expect when they come i...
Planning a short story unit can be daunting, but it doesn't have to be. Here is a look at how I plan my short story unit. HINT: It requires backward planning! When I teach short stories, I like to use this close reading unit that follows along with these four steps.  Step 1: Start with a story. Select a story you want to read, and then select all of the stories you want to read. Your short story unit doesn't have to have tons of stories to make an impact. I usually include 4-5 stories. Step 2: Plan out your literary elements. Map out the strongest literary elements from each story and plan to focus on just those elements as you read each story. You'll want to select no more than three at the very most. In this phase of planning, try to make sure there isn't a huge amount of overlap. Yes, you can include the same element twice. However, in each story? That's too much! Instead, spread them out over the series of stories you select. Short Story Close Reading Unit Step ...