Language Arts

Digital storytelling projects let students show off their creativity

Sure, adolescents spend too much time “glued to their screens,” but why not turn that to your advantage — and theirs? Students’ love of technology can be a powerful force in language arts classrooms thanks to the possibilities of digital storytelling. Students’ beloved smartphones can be essential tools for sharing their unique thoughts and experiences… Read More

Visual Rhetoric: Teaching Students to Decode Media Images

By Caitrin Blake April 25, 2017

From a young age, students get inundated with images. From advertisements to political cartoons to the pictures accompanying news stories, images are everywhere. Because images convey meaning just as words do, students need to learn the principles of visual rhetoric. This knowledge helps students better understand visual arguments in the world around them, and it… Read More

How to Show Students that Word Choice Matters

By Kara Wyman, MEd April 18, 2017

It’s easy to mark up students’ papers with circles and write “WC” or “Word Choice” to encourage stronger verbs and adjectives. But how do we get them to see the value in choosing words wisely? Here are some ideas to expand students’ minds and improve their writing: Show the shift in meaning Looking closely at… Read More

5 Novels for Middle School Students that Celebrate Diversity

By Kara Wyman, MEd March 14, 2017

We all want our students to see pieces of themselves in the stories they read. Novels promoting diversity, inclusion, compassion, and awareness help students identify with the experiences and perspectives of people who are much like them — but with a few crucial differences. Here are five powerful novels that can help diversify the worldviews… Read More

Recent news articles about fake news and “alternative facts” make it clear that media literacy is an essential skill we should be building in our classrooms. Beyond figuring out what’s real or fake, students need to understand how persuasive language affects their media experience. That starts with helping them develop rhetorical insight on how word… Read More

Beyond ‘Fake or Real’: 5 Quick Lessons in Media Literacy

By Monica Fuglei January 23, 2017

Differentiating between real and fake news is a good first step in arming students to question the media they encounter. The next step in our world of democratized but not always fact-checked digital media is to ensure they have the critical-thinking skills to evaluate what they’re seeing online. Helping students become media literate Media Smarts,… Read More

One challenge for teachers in all disciplines is working with a group that includes reluctant readers and writers along with gifted students. It is difficult to ensure that your curriculum appeals to students at all levels of differentiation and passion. Students at all writing levels benefit from learning to create graphic novels and comics Using… Read More

With an increase in English Language Arts standards focused on informational, exploratory, persuasive, or even narrative writing, students often do not get a significant amount of time for playful creative writing. In the early years, experimenting with ideas and creativity can help young writers develop a nimbleness with language that imbues their nonfiction work with… Read More

Dozens of studies show that children need to continue to read and learn during the summer to avoid the learning loss known as “summer slide.” Matthew Boulay, PhD, founder of the National Summer Learning Association, believes that partnerships between parents and teachers are absolutely essential during the summer months. Summer learning loss can impact year-round… Read More

Students often view summer as a time to relax, have fun, and forget everything they learned the previous school year. This, of course, is bound to happen to some degree. A break in education often results in students forgetting some information, requiring a few weeks of review for teachers during the beginning of the next… Read More

Stackup is a Chrome browser extension that measures students’ time learning on the Internet. “Teachers use Stackup to make free reading fun and accountable,“ said Nick Garvin, the company’s CEO. Browser extension measures the time students spend learning online by subject or website Students can use the browser extension to research subjects that interest them,… Read More

In a recent interview in the Stories Teachers Share podcast, high school teacher Alexa Schlechter perfectly described the challenge instructors face with creative writing classes or assignments. Her classroom was a mixed bag: students who were truly interested in writing and those showing up for the required credit. “The students who didn’t want to be… Read More

As a young girl who loved the library, I always knew I could find books full of characters who looked and sounded like me. Librarians would simply direct me to the “Ramona” series or point to the “Chronicles of Narnia.” 1,000 Black Girl Books: 11-year-old founds a book drive for stories featuring black female protagonists… Read More

In my last piece on word clouds, I discussed them as a tool for pre-reading, reading, and comprehension teaching strategies and assessment. However, my favorite use of word clouds is to apply those reading-based strategies to students’ writing and use the technique as a tool for revision. Revision: The toughest writing technique to teach? Often,… Read More

Fun With Words: Boost Reading Engagement With Word Clouds

By Monica Fuglei September 23, 2015

One of the biggest challenges of teaching is appealing to all the different learning styles in a classroom. Teachers have tried to adapt to each kind of learner using a combination of teaching strategies. For example, we give students the freedom to find their own place to read or accommodate auditory learners by doing read-alouds… Read More