lesson plans

20 Prompts for Photo-Inspired Writing in Secondary ELA

20 Prompts for Photo-Inspired Writing in Secondary ELA

Using photography is an excellent way to inspire writing.  Photos can be used to prompt personal narratives, persuasive essays, creative pieces, op-eds, thematic analysis, and more!  

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.

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.

5 Pixar Short Films to Use in Secondary ELA

5 Pixar Short Films to Use in Secondary ELA

Pixar short films made their debut in the early 1980's as Disney made the transition into computer animation technology.  Appearing as introductions to to feature films, Disney Pixar shorts have become some of the most highly anticipated aspects of feature film releases.

Beyond the Test: 10 Innovative Ways to Assess Secondary Students

Beyond the Test:  10 Innovative Ways to Assess Secondary Students

Are your students moaning and groaning over taking another test or writing another essay? While these are tried and true methods for assessing many skills, I have been on a mission to find more innovative, unique ways of assessing student growth and learning.

A Philosophy for Assessing Writing: Aim for Improvement, not Perfection

A Philosophy for Assessing Writing:  Aim for Improvement, not Perfection

Over the past 10+ years of teaching high school, my philosophy for writing instruction has changed greatly.  It has been a decade of experimentation and adaptation; a decade dedicated to finding what works and trying out new methodologies...

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...

Acronyms for Literary Analysis: A Comprehensive List of Strategies

Acronyms for Literary Analysis: A Comprehensive List of Strategies

When I set out to write the blog article for this week, I didn’t intend on writing about the various acronyms for literary analysis.  In fact, I didn’t realize there were quite so many acronyms out there...

Releasing Control in Second Semester

Releasing Control in Second Semester

The holiday break is OVER, and it’s time to face the reality that we have 5-6 more months left of school.  So the question is:  How do we get through the next 5 months without getting burnt out? 

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... 

50 Pieces of Literature about Christmas for Secondary ELA

50 Pieces of Literature about Christmas for Secondary ELA

The season of Christmas is upon us, and it is a season of the year that has inspired the setting of many iconic pieces of literature.  The religious iconography of the holiday symbolizes themes of rebirth, renewal, sacrifice, forgiveness, grace, and the archetypal character of the chosen one...

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... 

The Power of ONE: A New Approach for GROWING Your TpT Shop

The Power of ONE:  A New Approach for GROWING Your TpT Shop

First of all, this title has multiple meanings, but the purpose of this blog is to give some useful tips to teacher-authors who need help managing, organizing, and growing their TpT shops...

Last Minute Lesson Ideas for All Content Areas

Last Minute Lesson Ideas for All Content Areas

I always try to have a solid plan for my classes, but sometimes, a day sneaks up on me where I don’t have anything planned, and I’m scrapping to fill it with something enriching and meaningful.  And, if I’m being completely honest...

Five Ways to use Evernote in Your Classroom

Five Ways to use Evernote in Your Classroom

Recently, Evernote has been popping up in classrooms across the nation as a free tool to aid students and teachers...

 

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...