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…

Fun writing activities for students

5 Creative Writing Activities Students Love

Need to engage your students?  Whether you are teaching a creative writing class or a traditional one, here are fun, quick writing activities you can use to any time to get your reluctant writers — writing! They are great when: It’s great to have quick, fun creative writing exercises and lesson plans to turn to […] Read more…

fast and easy grading hacks

11 Easy and Fast Grading Tips for ELA Teachers

You need easier and faster ways to grade. When you teach English Language Arts, assessing never ends! While you can’t always eliminate grading, there are ways to save time. Here are 11 tips you can use to reduce your workload. When you were getting certified to teach ELA, they didn’t tell you the unspoken secret:  […] Read more…

Host a reading challenge with your students. Whether they read 4 or 40 books, you'll find tips here that will help you run a successful reading challenge.

15 Tips for a Reading Challenge

Ready to host a reading challenge with your class?  Whether you want your students to read 4 or 40 books this year, here are some ideas that will help you be successful. The Problem with a Reading Challenge It’s no secret that middle school students aren’t spending as much time reading as they are on […] Read more…

teaching poetry

Easy Ways to Integrate Poetry into Your Teaching

Often, we’re so busy teaching grammar, writing, and reading skills that we miss the opportunity to use poems. Teaching poetry offers opportunities to teach writing skills, grammar concepts, and reading comprehension skills. How? Use poems as mentor texts to help teach students more complex genres and reading skills. Poems as Mentor Texts Think about a […] Read more…

how to use rafts to teach writing

How to Use Writing Rafts

Use RAFT prompts engage students in creative writing responses to engage students in writing that is exciting and imaginative. All writing should be creative — no matter what the subject. But, too often the prompts we provide our students are dull. No wonder we’re nodding off as we grade! By using RAFT as a formula […] Read more…