Unapologetic and Afrocentric: The Bluest Eye

Toni Morrison claims the center of the world This is a follow-up post to the original one I wrote on The Bluest Eye by the late Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison. I concluded that post discussing the benefits of second and multiple readings of texts in order to fully and more completely grasp their messages.Continue reading “Unapologetic and Afrocentric: The Bluest Eye”

When students ask, “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 “When students ask, “Why do we read such depressing stuff?!””

Try this poem to spark rich discussions in your classroom

“The Cold Within” by James Patrick Kinney Looking for a poem to generate a rich and engaging discussion with your students? I recently came across a post in one of the Facebook Groups I belong to. As I scanned the comments on a particular post, I learned about a poem called “The Cold Within” byContinue reading “Try this poem to spark rich discussions in your classroom”

Reading The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison… again

Reading it once is not enough. When author Toni Morrison died last August, I assigned an article about her life and career for our first weekly Article of the Week assignment of the year. I also read the first chapter of her first novel, The Bluest Eye, plus parts of the foreword to expose studentsContinue reading “Reading The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison… again”

The Ten Percent Summary

Jazz up the typical summary assignment Ever get tired of having kids write summaries? If you’re like me, it’s easy to become tired of summary writing. However, I also know it’s a skill that students need to practice from time to time. Summary writing helps students comprehend a text, prioritize its ideas, and convey theContinue reading “The Ten Percent Summary”

Frederick Douglass Unit Plan Resources

These Douglass resources and handouts support the unit plan in my previous post Two days ago, I posted a unit plan for The Narrative of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, Written by Himself. In that post, you’ll find a PDF of the unit for you to review, tweak, adjust, present or otherwise use in yourContinue reading “Frederick Douglass Unit Plan Resources”

Frederick Douglass Unit Plan

10 reasons to teach Frederick Douglass plus a link to my unit plan PDF As I promised last week in my post about Frederick Douglass graphic essays, I’m providing a link at the bottom of this post to a PDF of my unit of instruction for The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. AlthoughContinue reading “Frederick Douglass Unit Plan”

White Teacher Question: Are these race and social justice books enough?

Send me your contemporary social justice book suggestions I ordered these books for fall 2020 because I’m focusing on the power of literature to effect social change. Of course, recent events in response to the killing of Minneapolis resident George Floyd make me wonder if there are more topical books I should have ordered insteadContinue reading “White Teacher Question: Are these race and social justice books enough?”

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”