Wondering what to teach in November? 

Here are 12 ideas to help you get started.

Let’s check them out!

In the U.S., November means cooler temperatures, settling into school routines, voting, and Thanksgiving.  

Journal Prompts

1.  Teaching gratitude.  Fall seems to be a natural time to think about gratitude here in the States.  I love this gratitude journal. The digital version is great to display on your white board.  Using a gratitude journal also provides an alternative for journal prompts.

Take some time to help students focus on the concept of gratitude.  Check out this blog post to read about helping students tap into a sense of gratitude.

2 Use gratitude slides.

Middle school students love quotes.  You can use these beautiful gratitude slides on your white board as a journal prompt or just as a reflection for the start of class.


3.  Could your students write a novel in a month?  

November is NaNoWriMo.  Not sure what that means?  It stands for National Novel Writing Month.  This is a free writing challenge for adults and kids alike (the link above will take you the the youth website).  The challenge:  write a novel in a month!

NaNoWriMo challenges adults and kids to give it a try.  Very helpful website!

4.  Set up and review writing portfolios.  These can be a powerful self-assessment tool.  Have students set up their folder and put their best work in it. 

5.  Ready to teach expository writing?  If you haven’t jumped in, I just finished a resource that includes 20 mini lessons — taking students through the whole writing process.  You can take a look at that resource here.  

Critical Thinking

6.  Analyze persuasive language.  Use political mailers and ads to challenge students to look at persuasive techniques. 

Early November in the U.S. means voting.  Most of us are bombarded with political mailers, ads, and phone calls.  

Share these pieces of persuasive language with your students as they analyze propaganda.  When your students start looking closely at political ads, they will be examining real-world evidence of the power of language.

If you want to avoid local political hot buttons, choose ads from another city or state.  


7.  Have you jumped into book clubs?  When students are getting tired of the same routine, these infuse energy into your instruction!  I like to keep them short, sweet, and fast moving!  My favorite is using dystopia novels.  There are so many great ones! You can find a list of my favorites here and tips for getting started here.

book clubs

Speaking & Listening

8.  Book talks, anyone?  I love using book talks to generate enthusiasm for reading — and — (true confession) there are no papers to grade!  Grade while the students are giving their talk by using a rubric.  Read more here about setting up successful book talks.


9.  What do your students need?  By now, you should have an idea of the strength and weaknesses of your student writers as far as grammar goes.  I find it helpful to keep a running list of what I notice (why are run ons and comma splices always on that list??)  then I can use those for mini lesson topics.   

10.  Got verbals??  Do you need to teach verbals this year?  I think they are one of the most challenging grammar concepts for students to grasp.  I’ve taught them every which way … short of standing on my head!  So if you need help, I’ve got you covered with this resource.


11.  Family stories.  Did you know that November is Family Stories Month?  Encourage your students to experiment with primary research by interviewing elderly family members to collect some family stories.  

The finish product can just be interview notes if you want to keep it simple.  This is a great exercise for students to learn how to ask open-ended and follow on questions.

12. Inspirational Role Models.  
November is also National Inspirational Role Models Month.  Another quick and interesting mini-research activity for your students.

With gratitude,

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