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fast and easy grading hacks

Easy and Fast Grading Tips for ELA Teachers

Grading — and more grading! When you teach writing, that is something that never ends! I recently saw an Instagram image of a teacher’s stack of grading for the weekend — next to a ruler.  She had three inches of grading to do (insert sobbing here!). While you can’t always eliminate it, there are ways […] Read more…

These 12 poems are perfect for middle school students. The post includes lesson plan ideas and a free poetry discussion starter.

12 Poems your Middle Schoolers will Love

Here are 12 poems that seem to be written specifically for middle school students, along with suggestions for teaching. 1. “I’m Nobody! Who are you?” by Emily Dickinson   Reasons to love this:  Students will readily understand it. Students love pointing out who the “frogs” are in society today. It’s incredible how this little poem is still […] Read more…

fun ways to practice descriptive writing

Easy Ways to Teach Descriptive Writing

Descriptive writing seems like it should be easy to teach, yet it is one of the most popular posts on my site, and I receive the most questions about teaching it. We know what we want our students to do, but they still struggle. Let’s explore how to teach descriptive writing. First — Is it […] Read more…

Use prewriting activities to improve writing instruction.

11 Pre writing Strategies (and how to use them)

There are many prewriting strategies you can use to help your students get ready to write. Here is a list of 11 and how to use them. Teaching writing can be a daunting task, but by breaking the writing process up, you’re students will be more successful. The best place to start writing instruction is […] Read more…

Improve student engagement

Student Engagement: easy strategies that work

Student engagement is critical in moving the needle on learning, but sometimes you need to shake things up. Here are some easy strategies to try. What is student engagement? You don’t need me to tell you when your students are engaged –you can usually tell, but it can be helpful to look deeper. According to […] Read more…

keep writing on track

How to plan effective student writing projects

It’s easy to lose track of time when students are working on a writing task. Suddenly, a project that you thought would take a week or two has stretched out to three, four, or…will it ever be finished? The danger of long writing assignments It’s not the number of pages, but the number of days […] Read more…

Help your students write goals and use steps to meet those goals.

How to Set Effective Goals with your Students

We often use starting points during the school year to encourage our students to set goals for themselves. But how can we make goal-setting activities useful tools for middle school students?   Goals that aren’t abandoned after they’re written. Ready to find out more? Read on! Goal-setting for students: a hierarchy If you have read […] Read more…

simplify grading

How to simplify grading student writing

We are always trying to simplify grading. And we need to! As ELA teachers, we grade a lot and need to communicate with our students as they journey through the learning process. How can we do that? Read on for more on this! Ready to Simplify Grading? Are you ready to put away your red […] Read more…

teach characterization using short fun pixar films

How to teach characterization with short films

Teach characterization using short films that will keep your students engaged in learning! Short films like Pixar shorts are perfect for this lesson — and students love them! Students get hooked into the lesson right away! How do you teach it? Let’s dive in: But first… What is characterization? Characterization refers to the way a […] Read more…

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