How to teach students to write a thesis statement

Making Better Writers: How to Write a Thesis

No matter what your students are writing, the most important piece of any essay is a strong, well-defined thesis. But for many students, this can also be the most challenging part of the essay–how can they even start a paper if they don’t even know what they’re writing about? Lucky for your students, then, that […] Read more…

How to use graphic novels to teach reading skills

Making better readers with graphic novels

Reading skills are crucial in middle school. We really have such a short time to get students reading, comprehending, and on level. One way to do that is through graphic novels. Graphic novels have been growing in popularity for a long time, but many teachers tend to shy away from bringing them into the classroom. […] Read more…

How to run successful book talks

How to use Book Talks to Encourage Reading

Books talks are a great way to invigorate reading in your classroom.  Students enjoy talking about the books they’re reading, and this can create a reading “buzz” in your class. Here are the steps to creating successful book talks with your students: What are book talks? Before you launch into them, what are they? Book […] Read more…

How to teach blackout poetry

What is blackout poetry and how to teach it

What is blackout poetry? How can you use it? To start with, it’s poetry that your students will love creating. This guide will show you exactly how to teach blackout poetry — and why you should at it to your poetry writing unit — or as an activity for any time of year. You know […] Read more…

Graphic novels for teens

9 Graphic Novels Your Students Will Love

Wondering what graphic novels for teens that you should have on your bookshelf? Graphic novels can be a great way to introduce topics or concepts to your students. Plus, they are engaging. Even the most reluctant readers will be drawn into the story. They are great additions to your independent reading program. Here are some […] Read more…

manage missing student assignments with these tips

How to manage late work without going crazy

Late assignments, missing work, partially completed tasks. We all struggle with how to deal with these issues. And, especially at the end of a grading period. Work that you may have assessed weeks ago now appears on your desk. Or, you are chasing after a student to get that last item turned in. And it […] Read more…

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…