4 Mini-Lessons for Teaching Suspense Writing

I love teaching students the skill of writing suspense during the spooky Halloween season. This is a great time for introducing suspenseful mentor texts and writing suspenseful narratives. I love having students read spooky tales in preparation for writing their own spooky tales. My three favorite mentor texts for this purpose is “The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell, “The Monkey’s Paw” by W. W. Jacobs, and “Cemetery Path” by Leonard Q. Ross. After we explore these great exemplar texts in early October, I then begin teaching mini-lessons on three different techniques for creating suspense in a piece of writing.

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Neglecting Fiction

Fiction writing is neglected in English classes everywhere for many reasons. We don't have enough time. Or we know students will write pages and pages and pages and we feel too guilty about not reading all of those pages! 

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Amanda WernerComment
Four Back-to-School Diagnostic Assignments for Secondary ELA

Assessing individual student skills at the beginning of the school year is important for teachers to establish a baseline from which to monitor student growth.  This is especially important at the secondary level where we have an influx of students from diverse educational backgrounds all converging into one larger secondary school. 

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Starting the School Year with Literary Analysis Writing- Why I Do It, and Why You Should Too!

Within a literary analysis, students are required to think deeply about a given text, then make inferences and provide evidence to support that inference. Not only does the skill of drafting a quality literary analysis response support students in high school English classes, but will essentially define much of their English coursework in college.

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9 Ways to Get Secondary Students to Enjoy Writing

How can teachers help older students enjoy writing? Negativity and reluctance is a mindset that is established early on. However, in middle and high school, certain teaching approaches and strategies can help to change the way students view themselves as writers. Create a positive writing culture and maintain it through the year. These nine approaches can help.

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Prompt Sticks Reflection Game: An Interactive Way to Reflect Back on the School Year

There are lots of creative ways to facilitate reflection at the end of the school year.  Integrating novelty into any lesson makes it more interesting, and the same concept applies to reflection questions.  So I set out to create an interactive "Prompt Sticks" Reflection Question game to get students more interested in assessing their learning at the end of the school year. 

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Writing Thank You Emails to Spread Kindness

Engage secondary students in a meaningful real-world writing activity at the end of the school year - or any time! Writing thank you letters is an important life skill, but it's becoming overshadowed by emails and text messages. Teach middle and high school students about how to spread love and kindness by encouraging others through writing.

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Tone Tunes: Using Music to Teach Tone in Poetry

Being able to decipher the tone of a piece of writing is crucial to being able to decipher the thematic message of a text.  This is absolutely true for analyzing poetry. 

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