Category Archives: Teaching Ideas

Skip the Romance: Study the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre

Valentine’s Day in the secondary classroom is a far cry from candy and card exchanges. The emphasis on romance can put a lot of pressure on students– students in relationships may feel pressure to make the day special and students … Continue reading

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Culminating Activities For Use With “The Raven”

Culminating projects are a good way to engage students in digging deeper into a text. “The Raven” is a good text for engaging reluctant readers, with the dark tone and descent into madness. Here are some culminating projects for “The … Continue reading

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How to Waste Students’ Time with Binders and Notebooks

Binders, notebooks, interactive notebooks, portfolios and other tools can provide a method to showcase student learning, collect reference materials and teach organization. Or they can be a time-consuming process that fails to do more than provide a sporadic grade. Here’s … Continue reading

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Activities to Teach “The Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka.

It’s a cultural reference.  It relates to a sudden and unexpected change– something teenagers can usually relate to.  It’s an odd and dystopic story.  Any one of these things make “The Metamorphosis” a good choice.  Even if the language is … Continue reading

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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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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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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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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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