Posts in Writing Mini-lessons
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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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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My 5 Favorite Writing Mini Lessons for Secondary Classrooms

It may come as a surprise to you that my favorite mini lessons are nothing fancy. Rather, they are lessons I tend to come back to again and again throughout the year because students desperately need them. They are lessons that focus less on content and more on behavior and the structure of writing workshop.

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5 Collaborative and Interactive Games to Practice Argument Writing!

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.  

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Three Famous Christmas Speeches to Inspire Writing

It's the "most wonderful time of the year" once again!  Every year, the holiday season inspires new movie ideas, and some of these movies go on to become some of the most beloved films of all time with some of the most well-known movie speeches in film history.  

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Writing is Recursive, Not Linear: Free Task Cards to Reflect Writing as a Process

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.

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A Memorable Kinesthetic Writing Lesson for Older Students

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.

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Daily Writing Prompts to Inspire New Ideas

TeachWriting.org has announced a new writing workshop endeavor for the 2017-2018 school year. This year, the collaborators at TeachWriting are creating DAILY WRITING PROMPTS via their Facebook Page for English teachers in grades 6-12. 

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TEN Writing Assignments to Build a Writing Community in the Classroom

Creative writing is the art of constructing original ideas by synthesizing literary elements and techniques to communicate an overarching theme about life.  Oftentimes in our English classes, we spend more time on the deconstruction process, analyzing works of art by taking them apart.

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How to Create a Writing Culture that Empowers Students through Grammar

Writing is grammar. Grammar is writing. Sure, there are elements of writing that may not be directly related to grammar, such as word choice, citation rules, and paragraph organization. Still, the ability to take words and play with them skillfully mainly centers around students' mastery of grammar. Teaching writing? When creating a writing culture in my classroom, demonstrating how grammar empowers authors is paramount. As I tell my students, "In this classroom, we do "grammaring."

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The Best First Writing Lesson of the Year: Email Etiquette 101

When planning for the beginning of the year, teachers need to choose writing assignments that allow for collection of pre-assessment data while also engaging students and building a positive writing community. 

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Poetry for Writing Workshop in Grades 6-12:  10+ Devices & Poems to Model Them all!

"To be a poet is a condition, not a profession." -- Robert Frost

You may find yourself in agreement with Frost's famous quote when it comes to teaching poetry in the secondary classroom.  However, love it or hate it, poetry can play a helpful role in teaching students how to write!  Famous poems can serve as mentor texts for students and showcase key literary and rhetorical devices in action.  

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