Word clouds spice up distance learning

Have kids make word clouds about life during the pandemic My students have been home since March 17. As part of their distance learning, I’ve asked them to write a couple of paragraphs every other day or so for a “Life in the Time of Corona” journal. This journal, which we will finish in theContinue reading “Word clouds spice up distance learning”

I’m trying out Padlet during distance learning

Six assignments I’m using to test-drive Padlet Since so many aspects of teaching right now are new due to school closings amid COVID-19, what’s one more? As long as we’re entering unchartered territory, let’s not only learn how to Zoom, but let’s try Padlet as well. Padlet is basically an online discussion board application thatContinue reading “I’m trying out Padlet during distance learning”

When half your students don’t have internet access

Make Zoom optional About a week ago, I decided to host an optional meeting on Zoom so students could drop in to ask a question about an assignment, check on a grade, or just talk. One or two students dropped in momentarily to ask about their homework, and a half-dozen or so decided to chatContinue reading “When half your students don’t have internet access”

How to get middle schoolers to write 16-page essays

Try “The 8th-Grade Human Rights Dissertation” Want to be impressed by your middle school ELA students? Want to see them rise to the writing occasion? Try this extended writing assignment that I call the 8th-Grade Human Rights Dissertation. Sidenote: Obviously, this is not an assignment for distance learning. It’s designed for a normal full-time scheduleContinue reading “How to get middle schoolers to write 16-page essays”

Watch this Outsiders movie, not that one

The Outsiders: The Complete Novel includes a subplot that the original leaves out If you’re like me, you love The Outsiders and can’t imagine teaching middle school ELA without it. So many kids identify with the Tulsa, Oklahoma greasers and their struggles with socioeconomic class differences, personal identity, and family relationships. Here’s my advice: MakeContinue reading “Watch this Outsiders movie, not that one”

How to teach students what “be specific” means

Originally posted on ELA Brave and True by Marilyn Yung:
It’s about naming things Photo by?Emiliano Vittoriosi?on?Unsplash Be specific! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written that on my students’ essays, poems, and narratives. They know the importance of adding relevant details and crystal clear descriptions to their writing. We talk about it…

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”