creative writing

5 Activities to Encourage Creative Thinking in Secondary ELA

5 Activities to Encourage Creative Thinking in Secondary ELA

Here are five ways to encourage creative thinking in secondary ELA while also targeting essential reading and writing skills. Some of these activities are collaborative while others are for independent work. All of these activities can be integrated into the curriculum for any literary unit of study.

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?

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.

FIVE Apps to Support Struggling Writers

FIVE Apps to Support Struggling Writers

Oftentimes when people grimace at the thought of “English class,” it’s because of their haunting memories of failed writing assignments.  

The Essay Shaping Sheet:  Friend or Foe?

The Essay Shaping Sheet:  Friend or Foe?

Essay shaping sheets are essentially templates for writing that guide students through the writing process.  A shaping sheet can be as small as a sentence template or as large as an entire paragraph or even essay.  But are these tools helpful, or do they ultimately hinder student development?  Well, the million-dollar answer to this question is… it depends.

Three High-Interest Writing Assignments to Motivate Struggling Writers

Three High-Interest Writing Assignments to Motivate Struggling Writers

Motivating struggling writers can be quite a challenge.  With struggling writers, it is important to create high-interest assignments that students will want to work on, assignments that they will want to put forth the effort on in order to succeed.  If struggling students are bored with a writing topic, they won’t be as invested in it and won’t want to put the time and effort in to make it the best it can be. 

The Most Important Essay for High School Seniors: The Personal Philosophy Statement

The Most Important Essay for High School Seniors: The Personal Philosophy Statement

Teaching high school seniors makes for an interesting group of students because they've mostly already passed their standardized tests and know their next steps in life-- college, work, military, etc.

10 Songs for the END of the School Year to Inspire Reflection

10 Songs for the END of the School Year to Inspire Reflection

I can't believe that another school year is almost over!  Are you looking for super quick and easy reflective prompts to wrap up the end of the year?  Here is a list of TEN songs along with prompts to inspire reflective writing.

Grading Essays: A Strategy that Reflects Writing as a Process

Grading Essays:  A Strategy that Reflects Writing as a Process

Writing is a process.  It is recursive.  No piece of writing is ever "final."  Something can always be better.  I often feel this way whenever I read back over my own old essays and inevitably find a sentence that could be better, a paragraph that could be stronger, or a word that could be more precise.  

Poetry for Writing Workshop in Grades 6-12: 10+ Devices & Poems to Model Them ALL!

Poetry for Writing Workshop in Grades 6-12:  10+ Devices & Poems to Model Them ALL!

You may find yourself in agreement with Frost's famous quote when it comes to teaching poetry in the secondary classroom. However, love it or hate it, poetry can play a helpful role in teaching students how to write! Famous poems can serve as mentor texts for students and showcase key literary and rhetorical devices in action.

The Writer's Notebook in Secondary ELA: Introduction & FREE Guide

The Writer's Notebook in Secondary ELA:  Introduction & FREE Guide

The Writer’s Notebook is the heart of the English classroom. It is the place that holds a student’s reflections on literature and life...

Setting up & Assessing Book Club in Secondary ELA: FOUR FREE GUIDES FOR SUCCESS!

Setting up & Assessing Book Club in Secondary ELA:  FOUR FREE GUIDES FOR SUCCESS!

Book club is now considered to be one of the “best practices” in English Language Arts.  Book clubs differ from traditional literary circles in that they are less teacher-directed.  The students take on the responsibility of selecting their roles, making their assignments, keeping track of their reading, and much more. 

The Romantics vs. the Imagists: A Comparison of Two Different Styles

The Romantics vs. the Imagists:  A Comparison of Two Different Styles

Contrasting literary movements as a pedagogical approach to teaching literature is a debatable method, but I have found that juxtaposing literary movements...

The Complex Themes of Winter Poetry: Creating a Winter Poetry Unit for Secondary ELA

The Complex Themes of Winter Poetry:  Creating a Winter Poetry Unit for Secondary ELA

This winter season, I found myself missing the snow for the first time in my life because we made a big move from a cold climate where we have lived for the past six years to a warm climate where there is no snow.  I never fully realized... 

3 Annotations for Deeper Reading

3 Annotations for Deeper Reading

Active and purposeful highlighting and annotating is an important skill that can enable greater success in being able to comprehend a text.  Of course, there is an ongoing conversation as to whether or not highlighting in particular detracts from comprehension...

The Three Levels of Reading: A Strategy for Complex Texts

The Three Levels of Reading:  A Strategy for Complex Texts

One of the most important skills we teach across all content areas, not just in English class, is how to comprehend complex texts.  It is probably the most crucial skill that we can teach in our classrooms because... 

Interactive Notebooks are NOT Just for English Class!—Why They Matter in Every Content Area!

Interactive Notebooks are NOT Just for English Class!—Why They Matter in Every Content Area!

I’ll be the first to admit that when I’ve seen other teachers doing interactive notebooks with their students, I thought of them as more of an “art project” than anything educational.  But then...  

The Writer's Notebook: Integrating Technology in Three Easy Steps

The Writer's Notebook:  Integrating Technology in Three Easy Steps

The Writer's Notebook is an essential tool for the ELA classroom as a facilitator for the writing process. It makes the teacher's job easier and more efficient to assign and assess work, and it helps...

Implementing the Writer's Notebook in the Secondary English Class: 5 Decisions for Success!

Implementing the Writer's Notebook in the Secondary English Class:  5 Decisions for Success!

The Writer's Notebook has become a cornerstone of the ELA classroom as a tool for facilitating the writing process.  The Writer's Notebook not only helps students have a central database for their ideas and drafts, but it also...