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.

Read More
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.

Read More
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. 

Read More
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.

Read More
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. 

Read More
Grammar Games for the Secondary Classroom

For years, I have been searching for ways to ‘gamify’ my classroom a bit more to increase engagement in content learning. Last month, I wrote about my argument games- five games to incorporate into your argument/persuasive writing unit. Like these games, my grammar games work to practice these challenging skills in a fun, collaborative, and even competitive manner.

Read More
Elizabeth Taylor Comments
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.

Read More
FIVE Unique Valentine's Day Lessons to Target Essential Skills in Secondary Classes

Valentine's Day provides an opportunity during the month of February to focus on one of the most powerful topics in literature and art:  LOVE.  Love is as polarizing as the Valentine's Day holiday itself: some love it, and some hate it.  Nonetheless...

Read More
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.  

Read More