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…

Fun activities for the end of the school year

Need engaging, fun, and rigorous end of school year activities? I’ve teamed up with these awesome teachers to share our best lessons that will help you all the way through the last day of school! The end of the school year can be stressful — how can you keep your students engaged when they know […] 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…

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…

tips for successful independent reading in middle school

How to encourage independent reading in middle school

If you want your students to read – or read more, check out these suggestions for making independent reading more successful. First: get to know your students as readers Start the year by giving your students a short survey. My favorite questions are: How do you feel about reading? Why? What is hard about reading? […] Read more…

How to create a yearlong plan

How to create your yearlong plan – the easy way

A yearlong plan will help you teach your standards. It will save you time and energy — and help you remain accountable for what you’re expected to teach this year. But what is the easiest and best way to create one? Read on. What is a yearlong plan? A yearlong plan is an overview of […] Read more…

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