The One-Word Summary

It’s one of the most specific and structured assignments my students do. One of my favorite activities to do in my language arts classes is to assign one-word summaries. These quick assignments are an easy way to encourage kids to think deeply about a text, including its theme or gist. I assign one-word summaries forContinue reading “The One-Word Summary”

Our field trip to a local 9/11 memorial

Plus: a few things my students didn’t know about 9/11 On Wednesday, Sept. 12, I took my eighth-grade students to a local college to view the 9/11 memorial there. I have wanted to do this for a couple of years and finally, this year the stars aligned: my lesson planning fell into place, a fewContinue reading “Our field trip to a local 9/11 memorial”

The Candy Memoir: A Sweet Assignment

This candy-themed essay is a great intro to the genre of memoir My second writing project with sixth-graders (after the Sometimes Poem) is memoir writing. We dip our toes into memoir writing by documenting memories that involve candy. If kids can’t think of anything or don’t really like candy, they can write about a favoriteContinue reading “The Candy Memoir: A Sweet Assignment”

“Exploding a Moment” with Barry Lane

This year, we wrote out an exploded moment instead of just watching one be narrated in a video. Last Tuesday, I planned an activity for my seventh- and eighth-grade classes that worked so well, I knew I had to share. We exploded a baseball moment. “Exploding a moment “ is what writing teacher Barry LaneContinue reading ““Exploding a Moment” with Barry Lane”

Contest #11 That Works for My Students: Stossel in the Classroom Argument Contest

Each year for the past three years, I have assigned an argument essay contest to my eighth-graders. The contest is sponsored by Stossel in the Classroom (SITC), an educational website hosted by John Stossel, former consumer reporter and correspondent for ABC’s 20/20, and current Fox News contributor. According to the SITC website’s About page, the “programContinue reading “Contest #11 That Works for My Students: Stossel in the Classroom Argument Contest”

My students “swept” a national poetry writing contest!

I’m so excited about the recent contest that my students won! Here’s a news release that I sent to a local newspaper about it. Kirbyville Middle School students swept the junior (grades 6-8) poetry division of the 2018 Norm Strung Youth Writing Awards, a national contest hosted by the Outdoor Writers Association of America, Missoula,Continue reading “My students “swept” a national poetry writing contest!”

Every Teacher Needs a “Why I Teach” Binder

Reading notes from my current and former students is an instant pick-me-up Do you have special notes, drawings, letters or small trinkets that students have given to you over the years? About two years ago, I finally decided to keep track of those treasures by putting them into a box. However, the box took upContinue reading “Every Teacher Needs a “Why I Teach” Binder”

Back-to-School with 8th-graders: A Unit on Triangle Fire

Resources for teaching about the event that put a fire alarm in your classroom On August 15, my 8th-graders will pick up where we left off in May—with a prelude to our study of the 1911 Triangle Waist Co. factory fire and its societal effects. During the last few days of school, we watched aContinue reading “Back-to-School with 8th-graders: A Unit on Triangle Fire”

Better the second time around: Whippersnappers

We’re jumping into year two of this 7th-grade PBL project We’re doing it again! My seventh-graders will again this upcoming school year be writing the content for a newsletter for kids called Whippersnappers. It’s an activity my students produce in partnership with the White River Valley Historical Society, a regional organization based in Forsyth, Mo.Continue reading “Better the second time around: Whippersnappers”

I love this back-to-school poetry project for 6th-graders from YA author Kate Messner

It combines poetry and revision (and publication!) “The Sometimes Poem” is one of my favorite ways to start the school year with my sixth-graders. I’ve used this project for two years running and I plan to use it again in August. It includes three skills: poetry techniques, revision, and submitting for publication. I credit children’sContinue reading “I love this back-to-school poetry project for 6th-graders from YA author Kate Messner”