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”

Use this movie clip to teach high school writers how to “explode a moment”

Plus, here’s a free slow-motion video site to give students more practice For some reason, young writers seem to want to write as little as possible when describing a scene. I read descriptions as sparse as this example: I shot the ball and it went in and everybody freaked out. However, when kids see theContinue reading “Use this movie clip to teach high school writers how to “explode a moment””

Focus Your Binoculars and Zoom In

I created a mini-lesson that uses a technique from Barry Lane and a handout from TpT Because it seems my high school students would benefit from learning some revision strategies, I decided to do a search on Teachers Pay Teachers for any revision handouts featuring the work of Barry Lane. I found this one (it’sContinue reading “Focus Your Binoculars and Zoom In”

Slice-of-life writing: the anti-Instagram narrative

These short narratives celebrate the ordinary and challenge high schoolers to write creatively One result of a three-month summer break? Students out of practice with writing, especially creative writing. To remedy that last week, I decided to introduce my high school students to slice-of-life writing, a fairly new genre within the world of narrative non-fiction. InContinue reading “Slice-of-life writing: the anti-Instagram narrative”

My attempt at teaching kids how to add narration into their dialogue

Here’s a mini-lesson I created a few months ago Kids love to write dialogue, but it often ends up being just a series of spoken words… a lengthy showcase of spoken words followed by any one of the following: he said, she said, he replied, she stated. This year, in my AOW and EOW assignments,Continue reading “My attempt at teaching kids how to add narration into their dialogue”

Graphic essays add variety and visual creativity

A fresh way to reflect on Douglass’ experience, themes and symbolism During spring 2019, I assigned graphic essays to my eighth-graders after they finished reading Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave. This incredible book, which provides Douglass’ first-hand account of the horrors and traumas of American slavery, provides a reading experienceContinue reading “Graphic essays add variety and visual creativity”

My Attempt at a STEM-Themed Activity: Exploring Coffee Lids

This project was a long time in the making… brewing, I mean     This week, I’m posting several photos from a lesson and activity that’s been in the works for a few months, if not for a year. About a year ago, I found an article online on MentalFloss called “9 Facts about CoffeeContinue reading “My Attempt at a STEM-Themed Activity: Exploring Coffee Lids”