How to get better “One-Word Summaries” from your students

Make these off-limits: the topic and their opinion In the past, after I assigned One-Word Summaries, I would often feel a little let down when I walked around the room, glancing over students’ shoulders as they wrote their paragraphs defending their chosen word. Read my post on the One-Word Summary if you’re unfamiliar with thisContinue reading “How to get better “One-Word Summaries” from your students”

Corona virus acrostic poems perk up distance learning

Students create acrostic poems to document the pandemic My students learned from home since March 17 until yesterday when the school year officially ended. As part of their distance learning, I asked students to write a couple of paragraphs every other day or so for a “Life in the Time of Corona” journal. This journal,Continue reading “Corona virus acrostic poems perk up distance learning”

Ditch the Dictionary

I’m trying these four short vocabulary bell-work tasks to help kids better learn new words I recently signed up to receive weekly email updates from the Sadlier School. As part of the email, I receive a free “Power Word of the Week” email from the Vocab Gal’s blog. I’ve been using these “slides” in myContinue reading “Ditch the Dictionary”

Mini-lesson idea: use this compelling lead sentence example as a mentor text

A lead shouldn’t ask a question, but raise one instead I discovered this awesome lead sentence in the July 8-21 issue of New York magazine. The article, “The Battle of Grace Church,” is written by Jessica Pressler, who opens her story with this doozy of a lead sentence. This sentence shows precisely how engaging aContinue reading “Mini-lesson idea: use this compelling lead sentence example as a mentor text”

How to cure the “I don’t have anything to write about” blues

Students having trouble choosing a memory for a memoir? Have them make a map. A few weeks ago, my junior and senior students wrote memoirs… creative personal narratives about an important memory that taught them an important truth about life, growing up, or the world in general. In the past I’ve always passed out anContinue reading “How to cure the “I don’t have anything to write about” blues”

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”

My Attempt at a STEM-Themed Activity: Exploring Coffee Lids

This project was a long time in the making… brewing, I mean     This week, I’m posting several photos from a lesson and activity that’s been in the works for a few months, if not for a year. About a year ago, I found an article online on MentalFloss called “9 Facts about CoffeeContinue reading “My Attempt at a STEM-Themed Activity: Exploring Coffee Lids”

I’m finally trying out Planbook for my lesson planning

I’ll let you know how it goes.   Late last week (Thursday night?), I began experimenting with Planbook, the online lesson planning program. I had heard about it from a teacher-friend of mine who is in her second year of teaching. Obviously, all these new apps for teachers don’t always get discovered by veteran teachersContinue reading “I’m finally trying out Planbook for my lesson planning”

“I would write like a dog with hooves it was hard.”

When students reflect, three things happen.   About a week before school ended in May, I asked my sixth- and seventh-grade students to write a 300-word reflection of the progress they made in my language arts class this past year. I find this assignment very valuable, both for me and my students because it provides threeContinue reading ““I would write like a dog with hooves it was hard.””

Contest #4 That Works for My Students: New York Times Editorial Contest

Since 2014, The New York Times has sponsored an opinion-editorial contest on its Learning Network site. Last spring, all of my seventh-graders submitted entries for their chance to win.  This contest engaged my students, especially because they knew they were writing for The New York Times. Age Range: This contest is open to students agedContinue reading “Contest #4 That Works for My Students: New York Times Editorial Contest”