Category Archives: Secondary Education

Useful End of the Year Activities

The end of the year can bring special challenges.  Students are wearing down, distracted by summer, or pulled away by testing or other special events.  Seniors may get out early, which can disrupt any class with a senior.  It may … Continue reading

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Reasons to (Still) Use the Five Paragraph Essay in High School and Beyond (Even for Advanced Learners)

The five-paragraph essay is a formulaic, bland, rigid model.  But it is also an incredibly structured, challenging guide.  It is a tool that can either stifle a writer or push them towards growth.   I have something of a love-hate relationship … Continue reading

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Skip the Book Report! Analyze and Create Instead!

After finishing a novel reading, whether whole group or individual, it’s great to have an activity to wrap up.  While book reports and other retelling projects, are a common choice, especially when dealing with multiple or student selected books, they … Continue reading

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Skip the Book Report: Try these Creative Projects Instead

Book Reports area  common sight, still, in many classrooms, including secondary classes.  They’re easy to implement, for both whole-class reading, but also for the increase in small-group or individual book choice selections. In fact, book reports (and their close cousin, … Continue reading

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5 Activities for Studying Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” Speech

Most secondary students are familiar with the speech, or at least the main idea, by the time they are in a secondary ELA classroom.  And that’s actually an advantage.  That means that additional study can scaffold on what they already … 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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Thinking About Online Learning

Maybe you’re thinking about taking online classes for professional development or to work on your master’s degree.  Maybe your school is interested in adding online learning options for at-risk students or to expand your electives.  Maybe you’re considering work as … Continue reading

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Icebreakers and the Bullied, the Introverts, and the Outcasts

Who I am as a teacher is greatly shaped by my experiences as a student.  And my experiences as a student were largely negative.  Oh, I loved learning– still do!  But as the school years ground onward into the years … Continue reading

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Back to School as a Nomadic Teacher

Back to school means setting up the classroom.  Pinterest is already full of amazing ideas for desk arrangement, alternate seating options, bulletin board ideas, and themed decorations.  It’s an exciting time… Unless you are a Nomadic Teacher (or Cart Teacher).  … Continue reading

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5 Back to School Activities– with an ELA Twist

I enjoy getting to know my students.  But I also feel pressure to make sure all activities are learning something.  My time is limited– and in the alternative classroom, there was little or no homework: assigning it was pointless because … Continue reading

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