Mini-lesson idea: Avoiding first-person point of view in academic essays

For the most part, it’s an easy fix. It’s nice when a common issue you know your students have with writing can be easily remedied. This is one of them: avoiding unintentional and unnecessary first-person point of view in academic writing. For the most part, the first-person words can simply be removed with… wait forContinue reading “Mini-lesson idea: Avoiding first-person point of view in academic 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”

Mentor text: Slice of life writing for high school students

Slice of life essays written by elementary students are everywhere; high school slices are harder to find. Here’s one. Last fall, near the beginning of the school year, I introduced my high school juniors and seniors to slice of life writing. Slices are short narratives that celebrate the ordinary moments in our lives that weContinue reading “Mentor text: Slice of life writing for high school students”

Treasured Object Poems: A favorite poetry activity for all grades

In this post: Treasured Object Poems mentor texts and lesson tips Need a fun poetry activity to use with your students? One that will also hone their sensory language and revision skills? Show them how to write a short free-verse poem about an object they value. Paying tribute to a precious personal item encourages themContinue reading “Treasured Object Poems: A favorite poetry activity for all grades”

Headline poetry for high school students

Watch older students create stunning expressions from everyday language This year, for the first three days of school, I again indulged in headline poetry with my students. It was a new activity for my new high school students and I was glad for that. (I’ve introduced headline poetry to middle schoolers in the past. ClickContinue reading “Headline poetry for high school students”

The stories the artifacts tell: my new 9/11 lesson plan

Artifacts connect the 9/11 attacks to the loss of innocent human life I believe in teaching students about the September 11th terrorist attacks. It seems that up until a few years ago, students had an intrinsic desire to understand it better. Still, it seems that their desire to learn about 9/11 is waning, especially amongContinue reading “The stories the artifacts tell: my new 9/11 lesson plan”

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””

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”

The rubric rub

  Do what the rubric says. And only what the rubric says. And by all means, don’t think too hard.   Last week in my high school Language Arts classes, students spent time planning memoirs that they will begin drafting this week. On Friday, a few girls who had already decided on a memory toContinue reading “The rubric rub”

I teach kids it’s okay to be rejected

Rejection proves that my students are indeed writers I teach kids it’s okay to be rejected. I teach them it’s okay to fail and That it’s good to receive a rejection letter because That’s what writers do: They get turned down. I teach kids it’s okay to be rejected. I teach them to risk itContinue reading “I teach kids it’s okay to be rejected”