As secondary ELA teachers, there are certain traditional activities that we tend to give our students during a novel study. These activities range from body maps to dialectical journals.
Mentor sentences are an excellent tool to use in the secondary ELA classroom to model essential skills from grammar to literary devices. They reinforce quality writing skills from published in authors in a positive way rather than the traditional sentence correction method that modeled negative traits.
Student choice is a cornerstone of student engagement. When students can take charge of their learning and can pursue topics of interest, they will be more engaged and more inclined to do the work, and their work will become more meaningful. We’ve all heard this time and again, but the practicality of doing this in today’s secondary public school classroom can be quite a challenge because of standardized testing. Depending on where you teach and how you’re evaluated for your teaching position, testing may be the most important evaluative component, or not matter at all.
Love it or hate it, poetry is unavoidable in the secondary ELA classroom. I, for one, am a HUGE lover of poetry but fully acknowledge that it can be annoyingly cryptic at times. Reading poetry reminds us that not all texts are meant to be beat "with a hose to find out what [they] really mean" like in the Billy Collins poem "Introduction to Poetry."