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The Sub Binder: Why It's Important & How to Set One Up

A great blog post that walks you through how to set up an emergency sub binder for your classroom! This one includes emergency substitute lesson plans for your ELA (english, reading, and writing) classroom!

Something that’s proven invaluable for us in our ELA classrooms time and time again has been the emergency sub binder we have sitting on our desks. Even though emergencies are highly unlikely, and we're generally able to get some sort of relevant sub plans together when calling in sick, it's always better to be prepared!

An Anytime Classroom Activity: Balderdash

Balderdash is a great classroom filler to keep students thinking and engaged when you have a few random minutes! Use this with your middle school, high school, or even upper elementary students!

We all have those days when an assembly ends earlier than expected and we have twenty minutes to kill before lunch, or the copier breaks down for the hundredth time, and today’s lesson has to be postponed, or it’s the last week of school and students are getting a bit restless. While D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything and Read) is always a wonderful option to fill the time, sometimes it’s nice to switch it up. Enter Balderdash. 

Leads In Narrative Writing: Teach Your Students to Create Stronger Leads!

Use these easy tools to effectively teach leads in narrative writing in your middle school and high school English Language Arts (ELA) classroom!

This week our fifth graders are working on narrative writing. While we’ve read samples, provided brainstorming graphic organizers and outlining handouts, the single most effective strategy has been our discussion on leads. This leads activity that we’ll outline below has made SUCH a difference in our students’ writing because it sets the tone for higher level expectations and requires students to be deliberate with their word choice.

How to Run a Socratic Seminar in Your Classroom

How to set up a socratic seminar in your english language arts classroom! An easy step-by-step guide with free resources!

We have used Socratic Seminars with our third graders all the way up through our twelfth graders to discuss short stories, poetry, and sets of chapters in a novel. While obviously the level of questions change, the setup remains pretty much the same. Here’s how we set up our seminars from start to finish:

Discussion-Based Questions - Three Ways to Add Them to Your Curriculum

Discussion-based questions (or text evidence questions) can be a huge game changer in your middle school and high school classrooms! Definitely a great post to check out to help you improve your reading and writing curriculum!

Before we dive into the three ways to add discussion-based questions to your curriculum, we think it's really important that you understand what they are and why they are integral to creating a challenging curriculum for your students. Essentially, discussion-based questions (DBQs) are thought-provoking, open-ended questions that can be used in any unit of study. They are not just ELA specific, but can be used in any discipline. Through DBQs, students are encouraged to analyze, evaluate, and synthesize (those Bloom's Taxonomy levels we've always striving for!). In a nutshell, DBQs get students to think - which is what we really want!

Teaching a Sample Lesson? We've Got You Covered!

Sample English Language Arts (ELA) Lesson for a teaching interview! This is a great lesson to use as a part of an observation - includes a detailed figurative language overview, an analysis of a poem, and exist slips! You'll be sure to impress the interview committee :)

There’s nothing quite as nerve-wracking and exciting as being asked to teach a sample lesson as one of the final steps of the interview process! As we’re sure you know, it’s important to put your best foot forward. While this can be intimidating, we’ve tried to make it as easy as possible for you with this sample lesson. In fact, we used this lesson, ourselves, when interviewing for a teaching position (we both were offered the jobs!).