Although I didn’t always know I wanted to become a literature teacher, I have always loved to read. When I think about the books that drew me in as a child, I remember the characters whose lives they followed – a girl who loved animals, a family who worked together to solve mysteries, a boy who just wanted to do the right thing. I loved the stories because I resonated with each character in some way.
And although there are many aspects of literature that can attract a reader, I think developing powerful characters is one of the most effective. Unfortunately, many of my high school students often lack the basic skill of understanding characterization by making inferences, reading between the lines, and analyzing character development. For this reason, I developed a series of fun lesson plans to help students understand, analyze, and synthesize their knowledge of characterization with an engaging activity! Check out the first in this series, an introduction to characterization! Continue reading “Introducing Characterization with The Hunger Games”
This year in my English III classes, we focused a lot on argument and persuasion, so I quickly found myself trying to find ways for students to demonstrate mastery of writing strong position statements and using rhetorical appeals effectively without asking them to write yet another dreaded essay. Fortunately, I came up with one idea that students really enjoyed! Continue reading “Using PSAs to Practice Persuasion”
Although I try to avoid thinking about school during most of my summer vacation (with the exception of a few days of training and curriculum writing), I usually make a goal of reading at least one book focused on pedagogy or instruction. So, when I came across this list of “Underappreciated Books for ELA Teachers” by Kelly Gallagher and saw Teaching Argument Writing by George Hillocks, Jr, I decided to give it a try. And I am so glad I did! It is definitely one of the best books I have read on writing instruction. I loved the balance between theory and practice that made it both instructive and engaging. Continue reading “Good Read: Teaching Argument Writing by George Hillocks, Jr.”
All teachers understand the importance of the first day of school. It is not only the day when you set the standards and begin to develop the classroom atmosphere, but also when you get to know your students and make your first impression. The challenge is finding something that is engaging without being cheesy. Continue reading “Beginning the Year with Suitcase Introductions”
One of the reasons I love my classroom is that it looks so different every hour, because I teach American Literature and English as a Second Language. One period I may have a class of 30 juniors analyzing complex literature, and the next, I may have only six students who speak very little English working on speaking in complete sentences. I love the diversity this schedule brings with the types of students I work with and the type of work we do. Continue reading “My Classroom”