As the new semester approaches, it’s a great opportunity to take a fresh look at your English Language Arts (ELA)…
Are you an English teacher looking for a new and engaging way to teach argumentative and research skills to your…
Sandra Cisnero’s “My Name” is a wonderfully short vignette, and I knew the moment I read it that I wanted to put it in front of my reading class. I love my reading class to death, but as the name suggests, sometimes getting them engaged in reading and writing can be difficult. These are students that have been burned by education before or just have not been able to focus on school for one reason or another.
Teaching Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet does not have to be a headache. There are a few things I have learned make teaching this timeless classic easier for both teachers and students, like chunking material with workbooks, using rap battles, and gif dialectical journals.
Teaching grammar using an English textbook can be dry and dull. If you want to engage students while improving their grammar and challenging them to try more creative elements, using mentor texts is perhaps the best approach for both the teacher and the students.
Student-led discussions are the unicorns of teaching and the end goal of gradual release of responsibility (where teachers start with leading in teaching, and then slowly responsibility for teaching and learning the material shifts to students). We all want students to be leading the charge in discussions so we can put our feet up and finally drink that coffee that started out hot but is now ice cold. We need students to be engaging with material in a way that makes their learning visible and absolutely shows what a kick-ass teacher we are. But how do you get there?
Philosophical chairs are an activity that gets students to take a stance on a blanket statement and try to convince their peers to move to their side. For example, a topic might be “Water is wet” and students must decide if yes, water is wet, or no, water is not wet. They use argumentation and reasoning skills to sway their peers.
These activities are reflective and fun. Students get to demonstrate their creativity in these end of year activities with things like comics and collages, while looking back at their year. As teachers, we know how important it is to reflect on lessons, classroom management, and the year overall. And it is important to impart this skill on students as well.