True Crime Unit: Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos

Planning for next year? Check out these multi-media resources If your students are into True Crime as a reading genre, or if you’re needing a “ripped from the headlines” unit to breathe new life into your upper-level high school ELA classes, do I have an idea for you! And the best thing about this ideaContinue reading “True Crime Unit: Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos”

Back to School Poetry: The Sometimes Poem from YA Author Kate Messner

Young adult author Kate Messner inspired one of my favorite back-to-school poetry projects for middle schoolers! I’ve updated my post about this activity for the 2021-2022 school term with updated links and a free PDF presentation to download. I hope you try this project. It’s a keeper! Click below to read the post:

Make a “Live” Word Cloud with This Super Easy App

I tried Mentimeter.com on the first day of school On the first day of school, I jumped in and tried something new: Mentimeter.com. It’s an interactive presentation software website that helps you increase engagement while gathering valuable information for teaching. I used its popular word cloud presentation, but there are many other presentation styles availableContinue reading “Make a “Live” Word Cloud with This Super Easy App”

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”

The New York Times Announces Two New Writing Contests

Both ask students to record their lives in the year 2020 Last Thursday, I attended a webinar titled “Giving Students a Voice: Teaching with Learning Network Contests.” It was hosted by The New York Times’ Learning Network. Teachers from around the world gathered online to get the skinny on a total of ten student writingContinue reading “The New York Times Announces Two New Writing Contests”

Six Writing Prompts for AOW Assignments

Offer students more ways to respond If you’re a fan of Article of the Week (AOW) assignments and student choice, then this post is for you. Side note: If you’re unfamiliar with the AOW assignment, scroll to the bottom first for a quick explanation and here’s a link to my post about how I useContinue reading “Six Writing Prompts for AOW Assignments”

“Why Do We Read Such Depressing Stuff?!”

Especially in times like these??? My students have told me the following list of nonfiction books is depressing. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank Flesh and Blood So Cheap by Albert Marrin The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass 102 Minutes by Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn Night by Elie WieselContinue reading ““Why Do We Read Such Depressing Stuff?!””