Best Practices

5 Innovative Activities & Projects for Any Novel Unit

5 Innovative Activities & Projects for Any Novel Unit

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.

Don't Grade Every Piece of Paper: 8 Strategies for More Efficient and Effective Grading

Don't Grade Every Piece of Paper: 8 Strategies for More Efficient and Effective Grading

Teaching on the secondary level can be challenging with the number of students that we are required to teach each year.  Therefore, it is essential as a secondary teacher to develop strategies for more efficient grading practices and to rethink our roles as auditors rather than graders.

9 Tips for Teaching AP Literature

9 Tips for Teaching AP Literature

Teaching an AP course is incredibly difficult because it comes with the added pressure from students’ desires for college credit, parents wanting their money’s worth from the exam prices, and the administration looking over your shoulder.

How to get Started with Mentor Sentences

How to get Started with Mentor Sentences

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.  

8 Ways to Help Students Break Through Writer’s Block

8 Ways to Help Students Break Through Writer’s Block

Writer’s block is real.  It can be the brick wall that stands between success and failure.  And it can be the force that prevents students from completing writing assignments.

Prompt Sticks Reflection Game: An Interactive Way to Reflect Back on the School Year

Prompt Sticks Reflection Game: An Interactive Way to Reflect Back on the School Year

There are lots of creative ways to facilitate reflection at the end of the school year.  Integrating novelty into any lesson makes it more interesting, and the same concept applies to reflection questions.

The Art of the One-Pager

The Art of the One-Pager

One-pagers are all the rage these days. When students process their learning in this fun visual style, the results are powerful.

10 Essential Writing Workshop Supplies from Amazon

10 Essential Writing Workshop Supplies from Amazon

Running an effective writing workshop can be a challenge on its own, but there are some supplies that can keep the writing process organized and effective for you and your students.  Here, I've compiled a list of my essential writing workshop supplies to get you through the rest of the year!

5 Ways to Show Your Students YOU CARE This Holiday Season

5 Ways to Show Your Students YOU CARE This Holiday Season

One of the things I feel that I don't take enough time to do is show my appreciation for all of my students and recognize their efforts throughout the year.  I find that I spend far more time focusing only on my struggling students rather than recognizing each student's individual journey, success, and growth.

The Logline: A Screenwriting Tool for Text Analysis

The Logline:  A Screenwriting Tool for Text Analysis

In screenwriting (writing for movies and TV), the logline is key to brainstorming story ideas and also selling them or "pitching" them to buyers.  Crafting loglines can help the writer to flesh out new plot ideas before writing the entire script.  It's much easier to revise the logline rather than an entire hundred page script!  

Screenwriting: A Creative Approach to Targeting the Common Core

Screenwriting:  A Creative Approach to Targeting the Common Core

Screenplay writing is a type of writing that we don't really address in secondary English Language Arts.  The closest students get to this type of writing is through reading drama.  But why is this the case in the 21st century classroom?

Halloween Activities & Lessons for Secondary ELA

Halloween Activities & Lessons for Secondary ELA

Halloween is a season during the school year when we can really engage our students.  Secondary students love gothic, horror, and mystery, and Halloween gives us a reason to integrate these literary genres into our curriculums.  Halloween provides us an opportunity to target necessary skills with high-interest material.

Writing is Recursive, NOT Linear: Free Task Cards Included!

Writing is Recursive, NOT Linear:  Free Task Cards Included!

Writing goes all ways: forwards, backwards, sideways, over there, and over here.  In fact, the only piece of the writing process that occurs at a set point in time is publishing.

Daily Writing Prompts to Inspire New Ideas

Daily Writing Prompts to Inspire New Ideas

TeachWriting.org has announced a new writing project for the 2017-2018 school year.  This year, the collaborators at TeachWriting are creating DAILY WRITING PROMPTS via their Facebook Page.

TEN Writing Assignments to Build a Writing Community in the Classroom

TEN Writing Assignments to Build a Writing Community in the Classroom

Creative writing is the art of constructing original ideas by synthesizing literary elements and techniques to communicate an overarching theme about life.  Oftentimes in our English classes, we spend more time on the deconstruction process, analyzing works of art by taking them apart.

Ten Ways to use Canva in the Classroom

Ten Ways to use Canva in the Classroom

A Facebook friend of mine recently posted the following question:  “Where can I go online to create an eye-catching poster for my upcoming show?”  99% of the people who responded said Canva.

Blendspace (TES Teach):  An Easy Way to Bundle Resources for the Classroom

Blendspace (TES Teach):  An Easy Way to Bundle Resources for the Classroom

Blendspace.com (now known as TES Teach) is an online tool through the education curriculum company TES.com.  It is a tool that is used for collecting and bundling information for a multitude of uses.

The Worst Essay of Your LIFE: A Unique Approach to Assessing Writing at the Beginning of the School Year

The Worst Essay of Your LIFE: A Unique Approach to Assessing Writing at the Beginning of the School Year

The beginning of the school year is an important time to assess the writing skill levels of new students in our English classes.  One way to do this is to assign a diagnostic essay in order to "diagnose" each student's writing level.

LiveBinders in the Classroom

LiveBinders in the Classroom

LiveBinders.com is a website that enables the user to create virtual three-ring binders of digital files including, but not limited to, YouTube videos, Google docs, DropBox files, images, websites, text files, and much more!

Support for Struggling Writers: How Essay Interviews can HELP!

Support for Struggling Writers:  How Essay Interviews can HELP!

The term “struggling” writer really applies to every single human being.  We have all struggled with writing at some point and will continue to struggle moving forward.  The difference between successful writers and unsuccessful writers (“success” being defined as students who turn in completed essays that convey meaning effectively versus those who do not) lies in being able to work through frustration.