Tips and ideas for teaching high school ELA

5 Engaging Ways to Use Learning Stations in Secondary Classrooms

5 Engaging Ways to Use Learning Stations in Secondary Classrooms

It seems that high school students have one of two speeds lately: sloth covered in molasses or Sonic the Hedgehog on Red Bull. Both have their challenges. So how do we either (a) bring them out of their stupor or (b) harness that energy for good, not leave-paper-and-candy-wrappers-all-over-my-floor and-I’m-going-to-have-to-duct-tape-you-to-your-chair evil? (Or is that just me?). […]

A Teacher’s Quick and Easy Guide to Using Visual Notes in the Classroom

A Teacher's Quick and Easy Guide to Using Visual Notes in the Classroom

We’ve all been there. We present information. Students take notes. Then, those notes end up in the bottomless abyss that is their bookbags, never to be looked at again. If, by some miracle, the notes do see the light of day again, they’re just a jumble of bullet points or haphazardly copied sentences from our […]

11 Female Authors to Read Today

March is Women’s History Month – the month when teachers try to make a more concerted effort to read more texts by female authors (although it could be argued that, like Black History, this really should be taking place year-round).  So much of the “canon” in English classes is dead white guys. No disrespect to […]

8 Activities for Teaching The Odyssey

picture of ship at sunset; text overlay reads 8 ideas for teaching the odyssey

When I taught freshmen, I always loved teaching The Odyssey. Students who were seldom engaged got swept up in the story of the Cyclops; admired Penelope’s clever solution to avoid remarrying; criticized Odysseus’ vanity/pride/poor leadership/etc. We’d stop and watch the movie after each section, comparing and contrasting. I could probably teach this epic in my sleep. […]

8 Engaging Ideas for Teaching Animal Farm

picture of red barn; text overlay reads 8 engaging activities for teaching animal farm

One of my favorite parts of British literature is teaching Animal Farm.  It’s short. It’s accessible. It’s always a hit. One of the great things about Animal Farm is that there is more to it than meets the eye. At the surface level, it’s a fun novel (novella?) about a bunch of farm animals who grow […]

11 Spooky Stories for Halloween

I love teaching American lit. While I’ve taught everything from 4th to 12th grade, 11th (typically American lit) is hands down my pick.  If you’ve checked out my American Literature Curriculum post, you know that teaching Gothic literature was always my favorite unit. Poe, Hawthorne, Irving – all the dark, mysterious, engaging authors. It also […]

7 Units for a Complete Brit Lit Curriculum

picture of red telephone boxes with blue text box reading 7 units for a complete British literature curriculum

In my 12 years of teaching, I’ve taught everything from 4th to 12th grade. My favorite (and current teaching position) is 11th grade (click here to read more about my go-to units for American literature). Coming in at a close second for my favorite to teach is Brit Lit. I love Shakespeare (the comedies over […]