Writing

Searching for ways to help struggling writers? This post provides a variety of ways you can do that. Help your middle school students achieve writing fluency this year!

How to Help Struggling Writers

I recently received a message from a teacher asking for help with her struggling middle school writers.  She knew that all of her plans, units, and writing prompts were not going to be effective teaching tools if her students didn’t grasp the writing fundamentals they needed. Perhaps you spent an entire in-service day planning your […] Read more…

How can you teach gratitude to your students? Here are 15 tips to help you do just that.

Ways to Teach Gratitude in the Classroom

You don’t need an advanced degree to know that we can benefit from practicing gratitude.  As a teacher, you are in a unique and powerful position to help your students consider, think about, and practice gratitude. The benefits of developing gratitude (for all of us): improved relationships better health better sleep less stress improve empathy […] Read more…

goal setting for middle school students

Goal-Setting Activities for 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. Goal-setting for students: a hierarchy If you have read the book Grit by Angela Duckworth, you read […] Read more…

Help your students overcome writing anxiety with these 15 tips. Build writing confidence - great tools for writing workshop, literacy centers, and whole class instruction. Helpful for test prep as well.

Writing Anxiety: Creating Fearless Writers

What do writing anxiety and a trip to the hospital have in common? As of the date on this post, I’m recovering from a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction.  While I was in the hospital, I spent a good part of the day (and nights) discussing, describing and rating my pain. This was facilitated by […] Read more…

Create a resource book with your students.

Create a Resource Book with Your Students

Help your students create a resource book that is more than just a place to record notes or homework.  Teach your students how to make their notebooks a true resource. At the end of the school year, do your students drop their notebooks into the recycling bin as they leave the classroom?  😩  A year’s worth […] Read more…

How to get the most from writing warm ups

Writing Warm Ups – How to make the most of them

Do you use daily writing warm ups at the beginning of your writing class?  How can you make the most of them?  Here are a few suggestions: Writing warm ups + timer Here’s the scene: Your students come into the classroom.  As they do every day, they work on a sentence or paragraph on the […] Read more…

Help students learn elements of poetry by writing one of these four fun poems.

Poetry Writing: Four Fun Forms Your Students Will Love

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…

How to teach sonnets to your students. A step-by-step approach.

Tips for Teaching a Sonnet to your Students

The granddaddy of poems:  the sonnet.  Of all the poetry forms we can teach, it’s the most intimidating.  But it doesn’t have to be! What’s to love about sonnets? Sonnets provide the “whole enchilada” for poetry study:  rhyme, rhythm, meter, quatrains, couplet, figurative language, volta (turn).  You can teach a whole unit on poetic elements […] Read more…

Formative? Summative? What kinds of assessments are you giving and how should you use them? Plan lessons more effectively by using the right assessment at the right time. This post includes a freebie to help you do just that!

Making Sense of Formative and Summative Assessments

You need assessments — how you get them and what you do with them matters!  Here are some tips to making sense of formative and summative assessments — without the overwhelm! Wouldn’t it be great to live in a world that didn’t require grades?  Where emojis were real currency?!  Unfortunately, we don’t live in that […] Read more…

how to create custom rubrics for any assignments

How to Create Custom Rubrics for Any Assignment

Rubrics will save you time, help your students improve their skills, and provide fair, balanced assessments.  Here are some ways to create and use them. What’s a rubric, anyway? Here’s your etymological lesson for the day:  waaaay back in the 14th century, the word rubric referred to the red lettering that manuscript writers used to […] Read more…

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