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Middle School English
Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart offers a textured, nuanced glimpse into the life of Okonkwo as his world falls apart after the introduction of European imperialism and colonialism. This is one of the most important novels I teach, and to make the reading experiences as robust as possible, I pair the novel with multiple texts. Included in this bundle are all the questions and printables you need to pair Things Fall Apart with meaningful texts. Perfect for a world literature class!
A quality school library is a great resource. And today I wanted to share some ideas for making the library a meaningful part of your ELA instruction. These features can include promoting and supporting choice reading, literature circles, book clubs, and independent reading programs. The library can also be a great support for teaching research skills and aiding students with projects and presentations.
Establishing a classroom community is part of classroom organization and classroom management. Seating charts are an important part of building a functional and supportive classroom environment. Consider how you will arrange desks and students. Will you use flexible seating? Will you have a teacher desk? Will your seating chart match your classroom routines and classroom procedures? How you arrange your classroom says a lot about how you will empower students. #iteachtoo #iteachela #englishteach
I am a Taylor Swift fan. And I am also a fan of teaching literary criticism. So in honor of Women's History Month, I'm marrying those two interests. Literary criticism can be challenging for students. But applying critical lenses to a familiar body of work can help demystify the process. To be clear, I do not know Taylor Swift. However, I am a fan and a teacher and think this is a fun way to introduce a difficult concept to students.
Most secondary classes begin with Syllabus Day, and nothing is worse than reading your syllabus to a room of high-school students. Some schools (like mine) require teachers to present the syllabus on the first day, but there’s no need for this ritual to be boring! The information in the syllabus is important for students and parents, so I designed a BINGO game to promote student engagement during Syllabus Day. This is a great tool for back to school and reviewing classroom procedures!
Determining and analyzing main idea is an important part of reading comprehension. Because of its brevity and all the inferences students must make in the reading, poetry is a great tool for analyzing, determining, and supporting main idea. The diversity in poetry also provides students with the opportunity to analyze theme, author's purpose, point of view, text structure, and figurative language. Perfect for secondary language arts and ELA classrooms.
American Transcendentalism is part of my school's junior-level English class. We read"Nature" and "Self-Reliance" by Ralph Waldo Emerson and "Civil Disobedience" by Henry David Thoreau. Over the years, I have put together excerpts for these three texts with guiding questions, background analysis tools, and writing prompts. I have also put together notes to help students remember the characteristics of Transcendentalism.
Stations are my absolute favorite activity for the first day of school! Last year, the pandemic forced me to be flexible with the first day, so I'm really looking forward to getting back to stations this year! With stations, teachers have the opportunity to build classroom community and culture, get students up and moving, and build procedures. At stations, students can express themselves, set goals for the year, familiarize themselves with the syllabus and classroom library, and more!
Data analysis as an important part of instruction and assessment. How you approach student data is an essential part of how growing as a teacher. Sometimes we fall into some tricky data fallacies. Here are three data traps I've fallen victim to, and here are the ways you can avoid them! When teachers avoid these three data fallacies, they are better able to conceptualize student growth, adjust instruction, and meet their goals! This cycle of data analysis helps students visualize their growth!
Research suggests that metacognition, or thinking about thinking, can empower students. And this helps students know themselves as learners and thinkers. So today I wanted to share opportunities for including metacognitive thinking in your classroom. Metacognition can be part of formative assessment, summative assessment, and professional development at all levels--elementary, secondary, and middle.
In four years of Moore English, we've tackled every topic from classroom management to educational technology and high school literature. Today, I've gathered my 5 favorite posts and the 20 most popular. This includes classic American literature such as The Great Gatsby, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Crucible. This also includes world literature like Things Fall Apart and The Odyssey! Celebrate 200 posts from Moore English!
For me, my entire focus had become school, so I was neglecting other important parts of my life. Not only was I neglecting my family and my health, I was also not enjoying school. For the first time in my life, going to school had become a job, not a joy. And that’s how I knew it was time to take a step back. Getting some perspective has helped me refocus my classroom goals and priorities. Over the course of the semester, our students grow and evolve, but so do we!
Everyone loves TPCASTT. It’s a good acronym to guide students through the process of reading poetry. But oftentimes my students are so intimidated by poetry that they can’t even get started. Each one of these steps is designed to help students break down a poem so it becomes less intimidating. These steps work for ANY poem and empower students to take ownership of a text. In addition, each step sets students up for quality annotations and helps them see the inner workings of
Annotation is the record of a students' conversation with a text. As sophomores, my students usually have some previous experience with annotation, but they are not independent. Because annotation is so valuable, one of my goals is to help my students become independent in annotations. However, my students aren't always excited about annotation and close reading. For this reason, I have developed 5 Commandments of Teaching Annotation: relevance, freedom, organization, scaffolding, and focus.
Effective annotation can look so different for different people. Check out this visual post that looks at some of the different types of annotation students can use. Once students have developed a style of annotation that they find helpful, there are different ways to use it. For instance, if I’m annotating a book in preparation for interviewing the author, I annotate differently than if I’m annotating it just to help me remember what’s inside. #annotation #secondaryela
The past year has brought so many changes to the educational world, and virtual learning is one of the most challenging. But, it is possible to make virtual learning engaging and fun for students! In this blog post, I’m going to share ALL of my secrets for exactly how I engage hundreds of students simultaneously in distance learning. Read all about the six best ways to make distance learning engaging - and grow your teaching toolbox - at giftedguru.com!
Of all the skills involved in ELA class, inference is the one I spend the most time teaching. This is because inference is a foundational part of comprehension. As students grow, the texts they encounter become more dense, nuanced, and sophisticated. For this reason, students have to continually refine their inference skills. Because they are short and varied, poems and poetry make great tools for teaching inference. This includes the use of close reading strategies and annotation strategies.
Being a teacher is a labor of love. Teachers come from different walks of life and have different perspectives on education, but every teacher needs these 5 things! These are the 5 attributes, objects, and lessons every teacher needs in her classroom! These are the tools that create classroom management, classroom organization, and classroom community! These are also the 3 things every teacher does NOT need!
Pre-pandemic, I regularly incorporated stations in my high school classroom. With the pandemic, using stations became more difficult. With a traditional stations model, contract tracing and social distancing become tricky. Despite these challenges, some of my classroom activities and lessons work best as stations. Any time I have the opportunity to provide students with an alternative to sit-and-get, I want to take it. Here's how to make stations work regardless of your teaching situation.
Last week, my school hosted parent-teacher conferences. As we were preparing to welcome parents and guardians, one of our new teachers asked me what to expect. How many parents would attend? How should teachers dress? Would dinner be provided? During this conversations, I realized there are several little tips and tricks teachers pick up over the years that make for a smoother conference experience. Perfect for parent-teacher conferences at the elementary school level, in middle school, and in h