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”

New writing contest: Book blurbs!

Whether you’re distance learning or at school, start fall with this new contest With talk of a second corona virus wave coming late summer, knowing what “school” will look like in August or September is impossible right now. However, one thing I know for sure: on the first day of school, my creative writing classContinue reading “New writing contest: Book blurbs!”

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”

Headline poetry: capture 2020 with found words

2020 Tattle-Tale Truths A week ago, I started collecting about 100 words to make a headline poem. I finished it yesterday. With this poem, I wanted to capture 2020 as I’ve experienced it so far. Like everyone, I’m still experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic that was ushered into our lives in March when my school closedContinue reading “Headline poetry: capture 2020 with found words”

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”

Use Article of the Week assignments to build relevant mini-lessons

The AOW can help you design targeted instruction in specific problem areas of writing Don’t you love it when a classroom activity teaches something not only to your students, but to you as well? That’s the case with my most effective writing assignment, the Article of the Week (AOW). Not only do Article of theContinue reading “Use Article of the Week assignments to build relevant mini-lessons”

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”

Check out The Hero’s Journey podcast

A great supplement to teaching the hero’s journey Have you discovered “The Hero’s Journey” podcast? Subtitled “Books & Films Through a Mythical Lens,” this is a fantastically interesting podcast I used in February to supplement my hero’s journey lessons. Use the monthly show to introduce students to Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey in popular movies, someContinue reading “Check out The Hero’s Journey podcast”

Word clouds spice up distance learning

Have kids make word clouds about life during the pandemic My students have been home since March 17. As part of their distance learning, I’ve asked them to write a couple of paragraphs every other day or so for a “Life in the Time of Corona” journal. This journal, which we will finish in theContinue reading “Word clouds spice up distance learning”