I frequently ask students to show their understanding of the various texts we read through a literary analysis paragraph or essay. I prefer this method of assessment over the traditional standardized, multiple choice tests to assess reading. 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.Read More
I yearned for a way to practice skills such as evaluating the sufficiency of evidence and seeing multiple perspectives on a topic. I wished to help them in creating rich and effective arguments with elements of Ethos, Pathos, and Logos. Finally, I needed to find a way to help students in creating effective counter-arguments that actually refute the argument as opposed to simply changing the subject.Read More
As educators, we know how critical reflection is to the learning process. Getting students to reflect- deeply and meaningfully- is often one of the most challenging lessons we teach. I have found that both my middle school and high school students will often scoff at these reflection activities, providing the least amount of effort possible to complete the task they see as meaningless. I have been searching for and creating lessons and activities that will bring interest and engagement to this task. The followingRead More
Understanding the many nuances of great writing can seem like a daunting challenge for teachers and students alike. As educators, we are aware of the strong correlation between good reading skills and good writing skills. This is because students are absorbing the author’s craft as they explore amazing works of literature. This knowledge has given rise to the popularity of mentor texts within the ELA classroom.Read More
Writing goes all ways: forwards, backwards, sideways, over there, and over here. In fact, the only piece of the writing process that occurs at a set point in time is publishing.Read More
Teaching the writing process? Try involving students kinesthetically. Play Doh can work for big kids, too! My high school students absolutely love this writing analogy that walks them through each stage of the writing process as if they were sculptors crafting a masterpiece. Differentiate your instruction with this best-practice, active learning lesson.Read More
Need a fresh idea for getting through to disengaged writers? Reach them with a new kind of prewriting activity, sketchnotes. Check out this post for tips and inspiration for getting started with sketchnotes, plus a fun freebie to guide them through their first sketchnotes paper brainstorm.Read More
Teaching writing? Sometimes students shut down before they write a single word. Teachers can address this dilemma by making the brainstorming process meaningful and engaging through differentiation and scaffolding. When students are provided with choices, they feel less helpless, become more confident, and produce better compositions.Read More
Every writer begins a new writing piece differently. Some dive in and just start writing, others need to talk with someone first, others start with an enticing title and still others need to do some pre-writing.
No matter which method students preferred, they benefit from experiencing a variety of strategies for generating ideas. There are more ways to generate ideas for writing than bubbles and graphic organizers. This article discusses two methods for idea generation that often get overlooked: listing and conversations.Read More
I love allowing students to choose their own issue for this argument essay, but that can be difficult for students who do not immediately know their topic or issue. I have found two techniques that really get students thinking about the issues that may resonate with them prior to their research and drafting stages of writing.
1. The Chart Paper Brainstorm and Gallery Walk
2. The Cube of PerspectiveRead More
I have decided to build my own community of collaborative authors within my classroom; I will be establishing a class blog for my students, allowing them to grow together as authors, building a unique platform to showcase/display their works to the world!Read More
The beginning of the school year is an important time to assess the writing skill levels of new students in our English classes. One way to do this is to assign a diagnostic essay in order to "diagnose" each student's writing level...Read More