Teacher Tips

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.

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.

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.

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.

ELA Live Series 2017-- PD for English Teachers on Facebook

This fall, a group of English teachers is coming together to share tips, strategies, and lessons for teaching English on the secondary level through Facebook LIVE!  This series will take place from August 1-15, and a different English teacher will broadcast every single day.  

I will be broadcasting on August 2nd at 9:00pm EST, and I am so excited to share strategies for crafting commentary for literary analysis essays.  This is the one essay skill that is a challenge for both students and teachers.  Hopefully, we can come together to share ideas for how to target this writing skill from the very beginning of the school year! 

Be sure to follow the Bespoke ELA Facebook Page so that you will be alerted when I go LIVE.


Here is the lineup of topics and presenters for the ELA LIVE Series.  Click on each presenter to go directly to that person's Facebook page for their FB LIVE broadcast!  We hope to see you in the comments.

Aug. 1st at 9 pm EST
"Project Based Learning for Secondary English Classrooms" with
Mud & Ink Teaching

Aug. 2nd at 9 pm EST
"Strategies for Writing Commentary for Literary Analysis" with Bespoke ELA

Aug. 3rd at 9 pm EST
"Ideas and Strategies to Incorporate Choice Reading" with Doc Cop

Aug. 4th at 9 pm EST
"Pinpoint the Source of Most Reading Problems in Five Minutes" with Reading Simplified

Aug. 5th at 9 pm EST
"How to Teach Students to Elaborate on their Thinking" with English, Oh My! 

Aug. 6th at 9 pm EST
"How to Run a Book Club" with The Reading and Writing Haven

Aug. 7th at 9 pm EST
"Encourage Independent Reading in Reluctant Learners" with Samson's Shoppe

Aug. 8th at 9 pm EST
"Using Showcase Projects to Increase Engagement" with Spark Creativity

Aug. 9th at 4 pm EST
"How to Publish Student Writing Online and Create E-Portfolios" with Amanda Write Now

Aug. 10th at 9 pm EST
"5 Hidden Gems (books!) that Both Teachers and Students will Love with 2 Lifelong Teachers

Aug. 11th at 9 pm EST
"Starting on the Right Track with Struggling Secondary (Dependent) Learners" with Secondary Urban Legends

Aug. 12th at 9 pm EST
"Back to School Digital Escape Room" with Lit with Lyns

Aug. 13th at 9 pm EST
"Conferring with Student Writers" with Wild Child Designs

Aug. 14th at 9 pm EST
"Giving Meaningful Feedback to Writers" with Read it. Write it. Learn It. 

Aug. 15th at 9 pm EST
"Grammar Manipulations: Holding Language

Meredith is the founder and creator of TeachWriting.org and Bespoke ELA.  She has taught high school English for 10+ years in Dallas, Chicago, and New York City and holds a M.A. in Literature from Northwestern University.  She has always had a connection to the written word-- through songwriting, screenplay writing, and essay writing-- and she enjoys the process of teaching students how to express their ideas.  Meredith enjoys life with her husband, daughter, and sweet pups.

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.

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!

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.  

Four Simple, yet EFFECTIVE, Reflection Questions for the End of the School Year

Four Simple, yet EFFECTIVE, Reflection Questions for the End of the School Year

I don’t know about you, but I have a difficult time working in meaningful reflection at the end of the school year.  And meaningful reflection during the school year is nearly impossible.  As soon as I finish one unit, we are immediately onto the next and then the next and then the next.

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.  

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...

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...

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? 

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...

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...