Frederick Douglass Final Project: The Graphic Essay

A fresh way to reflect on Douglass’ heroic life and text Back when I taught middle school ELA, I assigned graphic essays (essentially a dressed-up one-pager) to my eighth-graders after they finished reading Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave. This incredible book, which provides Douglass’ first-hand account of the horrors andContinue reading “Frederick Douglass Final Project: The Graphic Essay”

The Web, Student Focus, and Ralph Waldo Emerson

Five Allusions to Emerson in The Shallows by Nicholas Carr Today, we mostly know Ralph Waldo Emerson, the popular nineteenth-century transcendental philosopher, through a handful of quotes that have filtered down through the centuries. Three examples: Beyond Emerson’s many well-known sayings, however, the larger ideas behind his writings ring few bells in the collective mindsContinue reading “The Web, Student Focus, and Ralph Waldo Emerson”

On Tap for 2023: Gatsby, Inspiration & Insights into Student Focus

Plus: my top ten posts of 2022 I savor these last moments of the holidays. They’re the perfect time to reflect, rethink, and redirect my site’s content to better serve you, my dear readers, in the coming year. In doing so, it’s always interesting to learn which posts resonated most strongly with readers throughout theContinue reading “On Tap for 2023: Gatsby, Inspiration & Insights into Student Focus”

The Sonnet for High School (part 2)

Use these student-written mentor texts inspired by Terrance Hayes Two weeks ago, I posted about a unique sonnet writing exercise inspired by poet Terrance Hayes that I tried with my junior-senior poetry class. Click here to read that post. This new exercise took repetition to an extreme degree, and in so doing, demonstrated the literaryContinue reading “The Sonnet for High School (part 2)”

Hexagonal Thinking and The Great Gatsby

My first attempt with hexagonal thinking Dear Teacher-Friends: If you’re here for Part 2 of my “Teaching the Sonnet” post, please bear with me. I am still in the process of obtaining permission from a few students to post their wonderful sonnets. As soon as I have those permissions rounded up, I will publish thatContinue reading “Hexagonal Thinking and The Great Gatsby”

A New Poem Activity for The Wanderer

While our study of The Wanderer included some note-taking, reading the poem aloud, and completing a close-reading activity, I wanted us to go one step further to get more out of this beautiful verse. So when I read about something called the “Ubi sunt” motif present in The Wanderer, I took notice… especially when I considered how it might be a way for students to better connect personally to this poem.