Literature Circles in Middle School: Assignments & Assessment

Over the course of three articles, I have talked about doing Literature Circles with my 8th-grade students. For a list of the novels we used, check here. To read about the procedures I put in place for my students, check here. And for an explanation of how I used mini-lessons both as a full class [...]

Relearning and Unlearning Writing in Grades 6-12

To relearn is to "learn something again, as after having forgotten or neglected it," and after the five-seven weeks of summer break, students may have a fair amount of forgetting. That means teachers will begin each school year focused on student relearning. The German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus was a pioneer in the study of memory and learning which led to his discovery [...]

By | September 22nd, 2016|High School, Instruction&Curriculum, Literacy|0 Comments

How to Integrate Literacy into the Non-ELA Classroom

If there is one message that I get when I examine the Common Core standards for reading and writing, it’s this: Share the load. I think that English teachers have often shouldered the burden of literacy.  We have felt that it is simply our job to teach students to write and to read and to analyze [...]

How To Make Writing a Priority in Your ELA Classroom

For many years of teaching, I would follow the same formula over and over throughout the year with my classes: teach a unit, finish unit, assign paper on that unit. Writing happened, but it was the thing that we did after we did the other stuff. What this means is that writing mostly happened at home, [...]

By | September 7th, 2016|Instruction&Curriculum, Literacy, Writing|0 Comments

Why I Like to Start the Year with a Poetry Unit

Figuring out how to begin the school year can be intimidating.  You’ll be setting the tone for the rest of the year, and you will never quite get the same amount of energy or hard work from your students as you do while the year is still fresh.  (Ever notice that every single kid does [...]