Something there is that doesn’t love a Coronavirus pandemic

The coronavirus and Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall” Holed up at home at my dining room table, I’m continuing with my lesson planning as scheduled during our two-week school closing. After our recent Ernest Hemingway unit concluded last week, my plan was to introduce my juniors to Robert Frost. Lucky them. Frost’s poetry is poignant, honest,Continue reading “Something there is that doesn’t love a Coronavirus pandemic”

Prepping for the Coronavirus break

Paper paper everywhere. Distance learning doesn’t mean high-tech for me. Yesterday at 3:35 pm, my school released until April 1st in an attempt to control the spread of the coronavirus. The night before, I was sitting at my dining room table preparing plans for students to accomplish over the break. Just because we’re not inContinue reading “Prepping for the Coronavirus break”

Teaching students to write essays that answer the question: So what?!

Asking “So what?” makes the difference My juniors finished reading Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. Instead of taking an objective culminating exam, they will show their learning by writing a literary analysis essay. However, each student will choose the content and the focus of their essays instead of selecting a topic fromContinue reading “Teaching students to write essays that answer the question: So what?!”

Mentor text: Slice of life writing for high school students

Slice of life essays written by elementary students are everywhere; high school slices are harder to find. Here’s one. Last fall, near the beginning of the school year, I introduced my high school juniors and seniors to slice of life writing. Slices are short narratives that celebrate the ordinary moments in our lives that weContinue reading “Mentor text: Slice of life writing for high school students”

The struggle is real: top grammar issues my students struggle with

Now I know exactly what they each need to focus on Last week, I gave each student a sticky note and asked each of my students to write their  top one or two grammar or conventions issues they struggle with on a regular basis. I suggested, “Y’know… those things that you always have to lookContinue reading “The struggle is real: top grammar issues my students struggle with”

Teaching transitions in writing

Don’t teach just transition words… teach transition ideas as well. I taught this book for eight years in my middle school ELA classes. It’s such a ride! Plus, when you read it as a writer, you notice key skills the author James Swanson utilized heavily when he wrote this little gem. For me, teaching transitionsContinue reading “Teaching transitions in writing”

When bad grammar creeps into the Associated Press

What’s an English teacher to do? I have the Associated Press’ app on my phone and I frequently check it to stay up-to-date on current events. I often (and by often, I would estimate sixty percent of the time) notice one recurring problem: missing words. However, last night after reading a story about Facebook, IContinue reading “When bad grammar creeps into the Associated Press”

Mini-lesson idea: use this compelling lead sentence example as a mentor text

A lead shouldn’t ask a question, but raise one instead I discovered this awesome lead sentence in the July 8-21 issue of New York magazine. The article, “The Battle of Grace Church,” is written by Jessica Pressler, who opens her story with this doozy of a lead sentence. This sentence shows precisely how engaging aContinue reading “Mini-lesson idea: use this compelling lead sentence example as a mentor text”

Headline poetry for high school students

Watch older students create stunning expressions from everyday language This year, for the first three days of school, I again indulged in headline poetry with my students. It was a new activity for my new high school students and I was glad for that. (I’ve introduced headline poetry to middle schoolers in the past. ClickContinue reading “Headline poetry for high school students”

The stories the artifacts tell: my new 9/11 lesson plan

Artifacts connect the 9/11 attacks to the loss of innocent human life I believe in teaching students about the September 11th terrorist attacks. It seems that up until a few years ago, students had an intrinsic desire to understand it better. Still, it seems that their desire to learn about 9/11 is waning, especially amongContinue reading “The stories the artifacts tell: my new 9/11 lesson plan”