First Chapter Fridays: Sept. 11 Selections

Here are two more excellent books for remembering 9/11. Tomorrow is September 11, and to remember that day I plan to read from two important books on the subject. I also did this last Friday with two other books: Vigilance by Ray Kelly and 102 Minutes: The Unforgettable Story of the Fight to Survive InsideContinue reading “First Chapter Fridays: Sept. 11 Selections”

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”

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?!””

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”

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”

Corona virus journals foster creativity

A reminder that students can still thrive in uncertain times Don’t underestimate your students when it comes to distance learning. Some of them might surprise you and take your assignment to new heights, as my senior student Savannah B. did with her journal (shown in photos). Savannah took my Life in the Time of CoronaContinue reading “Corona virus journals foster creativity”

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”

Classic Krakauer: an escape to the rugged outdoors for couch-bound students

Yesterday, I flipped through the newest book from Jon Krakauer, Classic Krakauer: Essays on Wilderness and Risk. As usual with Krakauer’s prose, I was once again transported to the far reaches of possibility. With Krakauer as my guide, I rappelled down 1,000 feet into Lechuguilla Cave in New Mexico; I walked along the sulfur-scented volcanicContinue reading “Classic Krakauer: an escape to the rugged outdoors for couch-bound students”