Gatsby Text Pairing: John Green’s “Our Capacity for Wonder”

If Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is your favorite novel to teach, here’s a new essay from John Green you need to either read or listen to.

A book cover analysis: a fun back-to-school reading task

When it’s too soon to ask questions about plot and character On Tuesdays in my independent reading class, I prepare a text-based question for students to answer in a paragraph or two on paper. I ask them to do their reading, keeping in mind the question, and then at the end of the house, theyContinue reading “A book cover analysis: a fun back-to-school reading task”

This Back to School One-Pager Works Wonders

Get to know your in-class and remote learners quickly Thanks to Spark Creativity! for this awesome “biographical one-pager” idea that I used last week when school started on Thursday. Read this blog post for all the details and printable downloads. As a mentor or example, I projected mine (see above) on the whiteboard and weContinue reading “This Back to School One-Pager Works Wonders”

The New York Times announces its 2020-21 student writing contests

And get this: most are now open to middle school students! Yes! The student writing contests hosted by The New York Times’ Learning Network are back! In addition, most are now open to U.S. middle school students starting in sixth grade (for international students, ages 13-18). A couple of weeks ago, I wrote this postContinue reading “The New York Times announces its 2020-21 student writing contests”

A mentor text for Treasured Object poems

“Poem to My Yellow Coat” by Lucille Clifton Last winter, I wrote a post about a fun, creative activity called Treasured Object poems. Click here for that link. In that post, I included three student-written poems that former students had written. One was about turquoise Converse shoes, another was about a piano, and another aContinue reading “A mentor text for Treasured Object poems”

The Favorite Place Poem

Have students create content with a poem about their favorite place Many of my students are reading poetry. On Instagram. Okay, okay… I know. But whether or not you take verse found on Instagram seriously, poetry is experiencing a resurgence in popularity… thanks to social media, where many poets, including Rupi Kaur and others, gainContinue reading “The Favorite Place Poem”

New writing contest: Book blurbs!

Whether you’re distance learning or at school, start fall with this new contest With talk of a second corona virus wave coming late summer, knowing what “school” will look like in August or September is impossible right now. However, one thing I know for sure: on the first day of school, my creative writing classContinue reading “New writing contest: Book blurbs!”

Mini-lesson idea: Avoiding first-person point of view in academic essays

For the most part, it’s an easy fix. It’s nice when a common issue you know your students have with writing can be easily remedied. This is one of them: avoiding unintentional and unnecessary first-person point of view in academic writing. For the most part, the first-person words can simply be removed with… wait forContinue reading “Mini-lesson idea: Avoiding first-person point of view in academic essays”