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Using Picture Books to Teach Social Justice in Middle School

One of the things we love about working at a small school is partnering up with different grades and doing projects and mini units together. Our students enjoy this too (although they always ask if they’re being partnered with their sibling!) We absolutely LOVE the unit we have planned for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Spreading Christmas Kindness in Your Middle School Classroom

Tis the season to spread some holiday cheer through acts of kindness. We’ve come up with two mini kindness activities to use in the days leading up to Christmas and winter break.

Gingerbread House Writing Activity for Middle School

A fun and challenging Christmas descriptive writing activity for your middle school English Language Arts (ELA) classroom! A must read!

It is seriously our favorite time of year to be in the classroom! We are just as excited as our students for winter break and love to fill the weeks leading up to vacation with fun, holiday-inspired ELA activities that are still academically challenging and meeting the standards. Click here to read some of our other Christmas blog posts that share ideas to use with your middle schoolers.

A Christmas Community Challenge!

The perfect Christmas classroom community challenge to celebrate the winter holidays in your middle school classroom!

We’re already getting into the Christmas spirit around here (in fact, there are Christmas carols playing as we write this!), and we’re excited to tell you about the latest activity we’ll be doing with our students starting in late November (right after we finish this fun writing activity!).

Tips for Teaching Argumentative Writing in Elementary Classrooms

As Middle School ELA teachers, we’re often asked, “What are the main areas teachers should focus on in elementary school to prepare their kids for middle school reading and writing?” Before we get into that, can we just take a moment to acknowledge all the AMAZING work elementary teachers are doing. We’re in awe of the amount of creativity and preparation they put into their lessons, not to mention the level of patience they exhibit!

ELA Bingo Games for the Classroom

Fun bingo games for your middle school English Language Arts classroom!

We love playing games in our ELA classrooms (see our post on Balderdash here)! Frankly, it’s a great way to review concepts and keep students engaged! Recently we created a grammar bingo game and a figurative language bingo game that our students LOVED! We thought we’d share the process with you here if you want to create your own games.

Halloween Descriptive Writing Activity

A fun and challenging Halloween writing activity for your middle school students! Get them using all kinds of figurative language and descriptive writing with this engaging activity for your classroom!

Fall is officially here...candy corn is on the shelves, pumpkin spice lattes are a morning staple, and in school, we’re settled into our new routines. Now, that we can catch our breath after the start of the school year, it’s fun to plan our first holiday ELA activity for Halloween!

Paragraph of the Week & Weekly Writing Prompts

Paragraph of the week with this weekly writing prompts made such a difference in the quality of writing for our middle school students! It is honestly the perfect resource for any English Language Arts classroom!

It’s no secret that we think consistent quality writing practice is essential for students’ success. That’s why we created a paragraph of the week resource for our students. It holds us accountable to include writing each week in our curriculum in addition to more substantial argumentative writing assignments (you can read more about that here).

How to Teach Argumentative Writing in Middle School

Teaching argumentative writing to your middle school and high school students can be SO hard! But this blog post and free step-by-step guide will really help teachers in their classrooms as they implement writing skills and strategies!

While we strongly believe that to become better writers, students should read, read, and read some more, we also know that explicit writing instruction is necessary. Yet, we notice that often writing time is not included in classroom schedules, aside from creative writing (definitely still important!). So many teachers have told us that they simply don’t have time to teach evidence-based writing skills, it takes too much time to grade all the essays, or they simply don’t know how to teach writing. Well, we’ve got you covered. And more importantly, we’ve got your students covered...

The Poe Poem Our Students LOVE

This is the best Edgar Allan Poe poem to teach to your middle school students! They will absolutely love it!

You know it’s an effective unit when your students continue analyzing and talking about the content long after you have finished your lesson plans! We just never thought it would be a poem from 1849 that our students would become obsessed with and spend recess time wanting to continue discussions and asking their for their parents' thoughts about the poem. And yet, Edgar Allan Poe’s “Annabel Lee” does just that!