Thursday, October 15, 2015

More Halloween Fun

For a fun start to the day, project this for ten minutes of writing at the start of class. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Fun Bell Ringer Freebie for you! Awesome sauce.

Get class started with this fun ELA freebie! What concert would Harry Potter go to? What T.V. taping would tempt Hester Prynne? Would Huck Finn rather see the World Cup or the Superbowl?

Engaging Students with Interdisciplinary Work

I've been working on some ELA/STEM connections lately, and have always loved the Humanities crossover with art and history. But this week I began to wonder if economics and entrepreneurship couldn't fit into the English classroom too. The skills of an English major play a big role in helping build new and interesting companies in the modern era of the small-business artisan.

What do you think?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Promoting Reading with Your Students

Though it isn't always popular with my administrators, promoting independent reading is one of my greatest passions in the classroom. Reading has meant so much to me since I first began reciting my childhood favorites, pretending I could read them aloud.

One of the first steps is to create an attractive place to feature reading in your classroom. A book display, some reading posters, and a plant or a little dish of candy go a long way.

One fun way to make posters is to use the Big Huge Labs online motivational poster tool. It's super easy to upload a photo of yourself or your students and then make their favorite book a recommended read with the caption. I put up a free guide to making these posters over at Teachers Pay Teachers.

I just made a series of fun posters for older students too. After years of recommending books and hearing from my students about their favorites, I tried to focus on some of their favorites with these posters.

If the posters get your students fired up for more recommendations, send them along to read reviews my students have posted here and here. It's always nice when students can share their ideas directly with other students!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Making quoting easier for ELA students

What is it about contextualizing and analyzing quotations that is so tricky? I don't know, but I've corrected issues on this so many hundreds of times that I've finally developed a resource to end the madness. Enter, the quotation burger. 

Get the whole slew of handouts free this fall at my TPT store. While you're there, follow along so you never miss a great freebie like this one! 

Third in a Series: Creativity Cards

I love the rotating circles. I always arrange our desks in a circle, so it's really easy for me to use the rotating circle method for mini-presentations, partner work, vocabulary illustrations, editing, etc. It helps wake up the room for the kids to stand and move around, and they get many perspectives during the rotations.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Older kids like holidays too!

The primary grades do a lot of things well. I admire their classroom decor, for example. I also think they have a lot more fun with holidays than we in the older grades. Why shouldn't teenagers get fun Halloween creative writing prompts, for example? Here are a couple images it might be fun to pop onto the Smartboard for 10 minutes of creative writing. Or go nuts and buy a whole set of fun Halloween creative writing prompts on Halloween paper here

Second in a Series: Creativity Cards!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

First in a Series: Creativity Cards for Unexpected Free Time

I'll never forget the first time I taught a class unprepared. All year I had scrupulously prepped lesson plans minute by minute. Then one day in a very stressful period, I accidentally tried to teach the same lesson plan for the second day in a row. One of my favorite students pointed it out in his usual comic way, totally inoffensively. "We liked this lesson yesterday, we can do it again if you want." Suddenly I had 45 minutes and no plan at all.

But I made one up.

Now, as an experienced teacher, the thought of unexpected time doesn't scare me anymore. I have developed dozens of strategies over the years for fun ways to fill the surprise gaps that surface in even the most well-prepared lesson plans. So I thought I would develop a series of these strategies to share. Interject the ones you like in your next spare classroom moment, and have fun doing it!