Marypat

Writing hooks and leads examples

Making better writers: write a hook for an essay

Do your students need examples of a hook for an essay? If you’ve ever read a student paper that starts “In this essay, I will…” you know your students need help with hooks. If your students struggle with writing an intro, here are simple strategies and hooks that will make this easier for them. What’s […] 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. You’ll find a variety of poetic forms from contemporary to classic poems. 1. “I’m Nobody! Who are you?” by Emily Dickinson   Reasons to love this:  Lesson focus: 2. “Nothing Gold Can Stay” by Robert Frost Reasons […] Read more…

How to write a scope and sequence

Scope and Sequence: How to easily create your own

You may already have a scope and sequence provided for you by your department or district. But if you don’t, or if you want to custom create your own — here’s how. What is a scope and sequence? First, it’s important to understand what it is. What is a basic scope and sequence definition? The […] Read more…

How to teach annotation skills to your students

How To Annotate Like a Pro: Making Better Readers

What is one of the best ways for students to learn close reading skills? Annotation. But, how do we avoid the dreaded entire-page-is-highlighted syndrome? Have no fear, because these easy steps will have your students writing amazing annotations in no time. What is annotation? The quick answer is that annotation means taking notes on what […] 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. There are plenty of reasons for this, but let’s start by […] Read more…

Guide to mini lessons for writing workshop

How to use Mini Lessons in Writing Workshop

Ready to use mini lessons in your writing workshop, but not sure how? This post will take you the entire process from choosing your lessons to teaching. Let’s get started! What’s a mini lesson? A mini lesson is a short, 10 – 15 minute lesson that you teach by modeling a skill for your students. […] Read more…

How to create a yearlong plan

How to create your yearlong plan – the easy way

Your principal tells you that you need a yearlong plan or a year-at-a-glance (YAG)…great. Now what is that and how do you create it? Here’s the easiest way to do that. Just read on. What is a yearlong plan? A yearlong plan is an overview of what you’ll be teaching all year. It will save […] Read more…

Looking for poems your students will want to write? Here are four easy-to-teach poems that will help students understand the elements of poetry.

Four Poems Students Love to Write

Students often struggle with poetry writing because, as the narrator of Love that Dog  says, “anything can be a poem if you write short lines.” Teaching students how to write poetry can also help you teach the elements of poetry. Poetry Writing with Four Fun Forms 1. The Blackout Poem Students can hardly resist this poetry […] Read more…

Looking for ways to teach critical thinking skills? Here are ways to use propaganda to help students practice. Free lesson plan included.

Easy ways to Teach Types of Propaganda

What are types of propaganda? It surrounds us. And teaching our students to be critical thinkers is more important than ever.  One (fun!) way to do this is to teach about how propaganda is used in popular culture.  Examples are everywhere! Let’s get started: Start with propaganda they know There are so many modern propaganda […] Read more…