Author Archives: msdickson

Using the Grade Book for Data-Based Teacher Reflection {with Freebie}

The end of a term is a good place to pause and reflect as a teacher.  Maybe it’s the end of the semester, trimester, or even marking period.  Maybe you have most or all of the students again the next … Continue reading

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Culminating Project Ideas for A Christmas Carol

  A Christmas Carol is a timely text for Christmastime, though it can work in other places as well– especially given Scrooge’s new-found desire to “Keep Christmas all year.”  There are lots of options for related culminating projects to expand … Continue reading

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5 Ideas for Christmastime in the Secondary ELA Classroom

December is a challenging month.  Even in the secondary classroom.  There are only a few weeks, sandwiched between Thanksgiving and Christmas (Winter) Breaks.  Thanksgiving causes disruptions with a short week, or even a whole week off.  Then there are a … Continue reading

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5 Ways to Survive the Days Before Thanksgiving Break (And Still Engage in Learning)

Maybe you’ve managed to keep the momentum of learning and engagement up to this point.  You may have even survived Halloween— perhaps with some timely creepy stories.  But now, it’s November.  And there are breaks around the corner, tempting students … Continue reading

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Best of the Best: Real World Writing with the Company Project

Students are all types.  Some are into reading, others like to analyze and use that to get through literature.  Some are college bound and understand the concept of being “well-rounded.”  Then there are the others.  They may be college-bound, but … Continue reading

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6 Strategies to Survive Teaching Poetry

I’m not a big poetry fan.  Just like I’m not a big fan of fantasy novels, professional basketball games or anything coconut.  But as an English teacher, it’s kind of expected to include teaching poetry somewhere in the curriculum.  I … Continue reading

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Activities for Teaching “The Monkey’s Paw.”

This short story about wishes-gone-wrong is a fun creepy story for Halloween.  It can also work well as a study of wishes at any time of the year! Here are some activities for engaging and examining the story: Write a … Continue reading

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Activities for Teaching The Raven

What a fun poem of darkness and madness.  Maybe those should go together, but I do find this tale of a midnight dreary has high engagement, in spite of the length and language.  There are a lot of activities to … Continue reading

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Activities for Teaching “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” (Now part of a Secondary ELA Seasonal Blog Hop!)

“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is a ghostly story that commonly shows up in classrooms around Halloween.  There are a lot of ways to work with the text in the classroom.  It’s possible to stretch this story over a week … Continue reading

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“You Knew Teaching Had Low Pay”

Sometimes, a teacher might mention their low pay.  One of the most common responses is, “Well, you knew what you were getting into when you became a teacher.” Wait.  Let’s look at this. When I was 18, I knew that … Continue reading

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