With finals season approaching, students and teachers alike are feeling the frenzy of panic looming over the classroom. Studying (a term sometimes believed to have its origins in the compound word "student-dying") is probably not high on your students' list of things to look forward to. However, while tests can be brutal, studying doesn't have to be! So long as you remind your students to be diligent and forgo any cramming, studying can be painless and gratifying. One thing that I also like to do is incorporate good study skills into my classroom. I encourage my students to take notes as they read, and before a test or quiz, I'll have my students review their notes. Teachers can easily model proper studying to students by reading texts critically, taking notes, and outlining sections in a book. Whether you are assigning a traditional multiple-choice exam or a Socratic Seminar ,  here is a list of study tips to share with your students to help them prepare for fin...
Even though most secondary ELA students have a plethora of English classes to choose from, at some point or another they probably are reading “classic” literature. And while I love that students can choose to take courses such as Contemporary English or Creative Writing, I still want them to see the power and timelessness of those classic works. Check out some of these tips for teaching these classics to modern readers. 1. Make it fast and friendly We live in a high-speed world. Sometimes I am more concerned with students getting the “gist” of a work rather than reading the entirety of a novel. No matter what I do, some students are just not going to find Victorian-era literature tantalizing. Instead, we might read passages and discuss connotations, or try to mimic writing style, or I’ll have them search for examples that make the novel fit into its genre. Think about what you want students to get out of the experience of reading the novel, play, or collection, and decide if it would b...
Grammar is one of those “you’ll use it in the real world” skills that, unfortunately, can be difficult to implement in the classroom. Especially if you are hitting on it as a stand-alone unit and not throughout the year. Here are five suggestions to help students improve their grammar. 1. Use real-life examples I have found humor to be the best example, which is why I love looking up “Grammar Fails” with my students. It is a great way to solidify grammar rules. You might also have students look for Grammar Fails throughout the year. They can bring it in for extra credit, and you can build a display in your room of student-found samples. 2. Daily practice I’ve never understood cramming grammar as its own unit. That’s a lot of rules for students to make sense of, and students who don’t already have a good grasp of grammar will struggle. If you want to see improvement, grammar should be practiced daily. Even if you dedicate 2-3 days a week to include grammar practice, you are helping your...
When it comes to teaching writing, there is just so much to teach. To build strong writers, students need to be well-versed in sentence structure, grammar, and how to organize their ideas, just to name a few skills. One of the best ways to teach middle school ELA and high school English students to become stronger writers is by focusing on specific skills one at a time. This way, students are not overwhelmed, and teachers can more easily assess a certain writing skill. Here is a look at ten resources middle school ELA and high school English teachers can use to help build strong writers. Introduction and Thesis Statment Teaching Unit Teaching students how to write a thesis statement is a crucial step in the essay writing process. Whenever I begin a new essay with my students, I always take some time to review thesis statement writing with my students by using this thesis statement teaching unit . This teaching unit comes with an editable presentation and student resources. This unit is...
I can hear it now. One student defiantly raises a hand as I introduce our Latin vocabulary. Before I can even begin explaining the benefits, the student asks, “Why are we learning about this in English class?” Next time you have a student asking why they need to study roots and vocabulary from Greek and Latin, have this list on hand. 1. Greek and Latin are foundational You will be hard-pressed to find vocabulary without influence from Greek or Latin. The truth is, these “ancient” languages heavily influence our modern languages (particularly the Romantic ones). In fact, students who hope to learn other languages, especially Romantic ones, would do well to focus on building vocabulary in English rooted in Latin. Romance languages include French, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian and Spanish, and Latin influences about 80% of the vocabulary in all of these languages. That’s 800 million people whose language is built on Latin alone. 2. Greek and Latin are building blocks English is not consid...