White Elephant Book Exchange In Your Classroom

Why do a white elephant book exchange in my classroom? Doing a white elephant book exchange is a fun holiday and community building activity for students! If you’ve never done it before, it can be amazing to get students in the holiday spirit while refreshing their home libraries. Every student who brings a book, getsContinue reading “White Elephant Book Exchange In Your Classroom”

Thanksgiving Activities for Secondary ELA

With the changing weather and the excitement of winter break just around the corner, this time of year means that students can get pretty squirrelly! Luckily, teaching students about Thanksgiving and the meaning of gratitude translates well into the secondary ELA classroom and there are plenty of important lessons to be had (and keep themContinue reading “Thanksgiving Activities for Secondary ELA”

Halloween Writing Activities for Secondary ELA

This time of year can bring out the writer in anyone, provided they have the right inspiration. My students love anything Gothic, spooky, and mysterious and definitely have their own ideas for a good ghost story. Here are some of my favorite Halloween resources for this time of year. Each of these require no prepContinue reading “Halloween Writing Activities for Secondary ELA”

Favorite Poe Stories to Teach for Secondary ELA

One of my favorite authors to teach this time of year is Edgar Allan Poe. My 8th grade students are absolutely fascinated with the macabre and spooky – and I’ll admit it, I am too! There’s a reason why Poe has been taught in English classrooms for decades – he’s the master of mystery andContinue reading “Favorite Poe Stories to Teach for Secondary ELA”

Argumentative Essay Writing: A Two-Week Plan for Beginners

Teaching writing has been one of my biggest struggles as a secondary ELA teacher. Getting students to start from scratch and come out with a completed and polished argumentative essay seems like a monumental challenge! I learned with time and experience and a LOT of mistakes that it can be done IF the essay writingContinue reading “Argumentative Essay Writing: A Two-Week Plan for Beginners”

Hybrid Socratic Seminar: Two Simultaneous Classroom Discussions

What is a Socratic seminar? A Socratic seminar is a  formal discussion (NOT a debate), based on a text(s), in which students ask open-ended questions and discuss answers to deepen their learning and  understanding. Socrates, the Greek philosopher, believed that the answers to human questions and problems reside within us, but as mere mortals, weContinue reading “Hybrid Socratic Seminar: Two Simultaneous Classroom Discussions”

Engaging Vocabulary Activities for Secondary ELA

Sometimes teaching vocabulary can be a slog. Beyond the normal dictionary activities, Frayer model worksheets, and flashcards, what else is there? Here are a few engaging ideas for mixing up your vocabulary review in your classroom! Tarsia Puzzles Everyone likes a good puzzle. Giving students a chance to manipulate pieces with their hands gives themContinue reading “Engaging Vocabulary Activities for Secondary ELA”

My Alternative to AR (Accelerated Reader) for Secondary ELA

AR hopes to solve the age old question: How do we motivate students to read? For primary grades, a points-based system for students can be fun. “Gamifying” something “boring” like reading can help some students. However, in my opinion, AR for secondary ELA (6th-12th grades) falls short. Disadvantages of AR: The disadvantages of AR inContinue reading “My Alternative to AR (Accelerated Reader) for Secondary ELA”

Preparing for the First Days in Secondary ELA

Whether you’re coming into a new classroom for the first time or coming back to the same one, the beginning of the school year can be an overwhelming and stressful time! I always take a few minutes to sit at my desk before touching anything and prioritize what needs to be done before my newContinue reading “Preparing for the First Days in Secondary ELA”

End of the School Year Activities for Secondary ELA

Hi teachers! The end of the school year can definitely be a memorable time, but it can certainly be exhausting (mentally and physically!) What’s most important to remember is that you keep your students BUSY. Have a plan in place for what those days look like, otherwise, chaos will ensue (no joke, the energy onContinue reading “End of the School Year Activities for Secondary ELA”