Teaching English

What's your best writing assignment? Do you have some good ideas for integrating grammar into novel units? How do you interest your 10th graders in poetry? This is the place to share what you know and what you've learned about teaching literature, composition, grammar and any other element of the English classroom.

  • In the 7th and 8th grade we are using the simple six by Kay Davidson to help prepare us for standardized testing. I have not had experience with it before, but it seems to be working. It might be worth you checking out, or even taking a pd day. If you want to know more about it, I can write about it more at a later time. [Paul D]
    • I wanted to add a bit more about the simple 6. There are actually two versions of the simple 6, I went to conferences to learn about them. The first way is supposed to be taught throughout the year, starting at an early age (2nd or 3rd grade). Because it is taught throughout the year, just before standardized testing they call it a 15 day crunch. In the 15 day crunch you revisit all of the procedures that the students have been taught. This is really just a review. The problem that I have been facing with it though, in my school district, they have just begun using this method. So, my students haven't had much exposure to the simple 6. I then feel like I am rushing through different aspects because I-step is upon us, and I want them to at least have a basic knowledge of the ideas and concepts.
    • The simple 6 is really nothing new. The one part of it that I really like is called "Prompt Attack". It is really just looking for what questions the prompt gives you, putting those questions into a graphic organizer, and then answering those questions with specific details. I know it doesn't seem like much, but if your students at least do that, their essay will be organized and focused on the topic. Anywho….until next time. [the resulting posts have been moved to the Discussion: Need some help? section so you have room to continue the discussion - mes]
  • I've found that students love to argue, so I've given them an assignment in conjunction with anything Shakespeare (this is my accel 10 classes). I titled the assignment "Who Wrote Shakespeare?" I provided websites for students to visit with different theories about who wrote Shakespeare, and they have to use those sources to figure out who they think wrote Shakespeare. They then have to present their argument in the form of a paper (I've done 2-3 typed pages). It's been fun reading and seeing how students use the information they are given. [Tracie]
  • My students are reading Julius Caesar, so I have incorporated a Conspiracy Theory unit into our class. We read about one per day and discuss it, and I make sure that I find any video clips or visuals that I can to bring them alive for them. The students LOVE it! Kids that usually try and sleep in my class are volunteering to read aloud and share their opinions! There are tons of great books on conspiracies; I bought a few from Borders. I am going to have them choose one at the end of the unit to do more research on and make a presentation of some kind. I am really excited to see what they come up with. I recommend this to anyone who wants to try it! -Lisa
  • In middle school, Lang Arts is split up between English and writing. That means in English class, you're not supposed to do extensive writing. I've found that multigenre projects in response to books we read are a big hit! [HVD]
  • Paul, OMG! I love the Simple 6. I did a Simple 6 prompt with my Accel Comm 6 class and they had to do a persuasive prompt about their favorite restaurant. Their essays were so good that I literally couldn't stop thinking about Fazoli's, O'Charleys, and Panda Express. I was so proud… and so hungry.[HVD]
  • Also, I discovered that poetry + 7th graders = understanding literary terms. We learned and reviewed literary terms with three books and a bajillion short stories and they just couldn't quite understand simple literary terms. We just finished poetry and all across the board there were AHA moments. It was grand.[HVD]
  • During The Giver, we did a mock debate girls vs boys. One team was pro euthanasia/assisted suicide and one was against. They had to argue their side whether or not they agreed with it. And they HAD to get loud and heated. It was AMAZING how engaged they were. Although, we did get in trouble for being loud… [HVD]
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