Frederick Douglass Unit Plan Resources

These Douglass resources and handouts support the unit plan in my previous post Two days ago, I posted a unit plan for The Narrative of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, Written by Himself. In that post, you’ll find a PDF of the unit for you to review, tweak, adjust, present or otherwise use in yourContinue reading “Frederick Douglass Unit Plan Resources”

When class discussions get controversial (and unfair)

I need this plan for better discussions in my classroom Because I am a writer first, and a speaker second, teaching via whole-class discussions does not come easily to me. When those class discussions involve racially-charged, controversial topics, it’s even more difficult. This difficulty can be blamed on two things: I teach at a nearlyContinue reading “When class discussions get controversial (and unfair)”

White Teacher Question: Are these race and social justice books enough?

Send me your contemporary social justice book suggestions I ordered these books for fall 2020 because I’m focusing on the power of literature to effect social change. Of course, recent events in response to the killing of Minneapolis resident George Floyd make me wonder if there are more topical books I should have ordered insteadContinue reading “White Teacher Question: Are these race and social justice books enough?”

Three printable templates for Where I’m From poems

Plus photos and links to help you plan Where I’m From poems from the author and poet George Ella Lyons… you just can’t write enough good things about them. That’s why this week I’ve decided to post twice about these poems that were a mainstay in my middle school ELA classes a few years ago.Continue reading “Three printable templates for Where I’m From poems”

“Where I’m From” Poems: download these mentor texts written by students

Share these examples with students to help them create their poetic personal histories Where I’m From poems are one of my favorite poetry assignments, and one of the best ways to get kids invested in writing their own is to show them some examples written by other students. In case you’re unfamiliar with Where I’mContinue reading ““Where I’m From” Poems: download these mentor texts written by 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”

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”

I’m trying out Padlet during distance learning

Six assignments I’m using to test-drive Padlet Since so many aspects of teaching right now are new due to school closings amid COVID-19, what’s one more? As long as we’re entering unchartered territory, let’s not only learn how to Zoom, but let’s try Padlet as well. Padlet is basically an online discussion board application thatContinue reading “I’m trying out Padlet during distance learning”

When half your students don’t have internet access

Make Zoom optional About a week ago, I decided to host an optional meeting on Zoom so students could drop in to ask a question about an assignment, check on a grade, or just talk. One or two students dropped in momentarily to ask about their homework, and a half-dozen or so decided to chatContinue reading “When half your students don’t have internet access”

How to get middle schoolers to write 16-page essays

Try “The 8th-Grade Human Rights Dissertation” Want to be impressed by your middle school ELA students? Want to see them rise to the writing occasion? Try this extended writing assignment that I call the 8th-Grade Human Rights Dissertation. Sidenote: Obviously, this is not an assignment for distance learning. It’s designed for a normal full-time scheduleContinue reading “How to get middle schoolers to write 16-page essays”