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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.

Playing Devil’s Advocate:  A Game for Practicing Argument Skills in Secondary ELA

Playing Devil’s Advocate:  A Game for Practicing Argument Skills in Secondary ELA

An essential skill for secondary English Language Arts is the practice of argumentation.  Some writers view all modes of writing as arguments; thus, rhetorical skills are key to crafting persuasive messages for targeted audiences.

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.

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.

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 Case for Poetry in Secondary ELA

The Case for Poetry in Secondary ELA

Poetry tends to be polarizing among educators, parents, and students.  The word either makes a person smile or cringe.  But why is poetry so polarizing? 
 

Secondary ELA Book Club: A Menu of Options

Secondary ELA Book Club:  A Menu of Options

The first rule of Book Club is:  you do not talk about Book Club.  The second rule of Book Club is:  you DO NOT talk about Book Club!  Kidding.  The only rule of Book Club is: DO IT...

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? 

5 Tips for TEACHERS to TAKE BACK Holiday Breaks!

5 Tips for TEACHERS to TAKE BACK Holiday Breaks!

The solution to taking back your holiday breaks all comes down to buying yourself time before and after the break to do the things that need to get done.  In essence, it all comes down to planning...

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... 

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...

 

How to EAT Healthy at School: FIVE Tips for TEACHERS

How to EAT Healthy at School:  FIVE Tips for TEACHERS

First thing is first with a blog title such as this!  I have to admit that it is most definitely a case of calling the kettle black that I am writing this blog article.  Why?  Well, because if there is a cookie, I will eat it.  If there is cake...

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...

Managing Make-up Work in the Secondary Classroom: Five Steps for Success!

Managing Make-up Work in the Secondary Classroom:  Five Steps for Success!

It took me about four or five years of my teaching career to figure out an efficient system for navigating make-up work.  And as the technology got better, so did my ability to keep up with my absent students...