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Monday, May 30, 2016

In honor of Memorial Day... 20% off ALL items at Educator Helper TpT Storefront!

In honor of Memorial Day...
20% off ALL items at Educator Helper TpT Storefront!

Help students celebrate and honor the brave with:

Learn the difference between Veteran's and Memorial Day in this action verb, sight reading, get up and move story!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Have Fun Teaching Dialogue and Dialect

If you are used to "y'all", then your geographical location is a giveaway! I can't tell you how many times I've traveled north or west and been asked, "You are from Texas?" Actually, I'm from Oklahoma, a first cousin to my current home state of Texas. Regardless, when I open my mouth and speak, it's obvious I'm from the South. 

I was with a friend in Central Park in New York City. As we stood in front of a frozen pond, I said, "Look at all the ice!" However, he heard me say, "Look at all the i-ece!" He asked me to repeat the phrase four times. Finally, I spelled: I-C-E. My Southern pronunciation created a language barrier that produced lots of laughter and a great story to retell to my students. 

Some of our students have no out of state travel experiences. Therefore, they have no knowledge of regional dialect differences. Take time to use Dialects of the U.S. activities found below to introduce regional dialects for some active learning fun: 

For the full lesson plan, visit Dialects of the U.S.

Try more dialect activities:
Analyzing Images

Monday, May 16, 2016

Teach the "Why" Behind the Lesson

Have you ever been in the passenger seat of a car and wondered where your driver is headed, what route your driver will take, and what your driver has planned once you arrive at your destination? This is how students feel when they get introduced to the next lesson plan!

Tablet map

Students may not understand state numbers attached to objectives and outcomes, but they understand they must meet specific goals. Therefore, be sure to post daily objectives and goals where students can review them. Write these in the order taught/worked so that students can anticipate upcoming learning activities. 

For example, my students journal the first ten minutes of class time. During that time, they are not allowed to ask questions. They know once journals and sharing time is completed, questions are answered. Then, we begin work on active learning strategies in the order listed on the board. Now, they anticipate cooperative learning activities. 

Another "why" to teach students is grade-level state requirements. Once students understand that all seventh graders in the state are required to write research essays, the task becomes less ominous. Also, they understand "why" they must complete specific tasks. When "everyone else is doing it" then students understand certain state guidelines are met by students in all schools. 

When we think of explaining "why", state standards and requirements are often overlooked as being non-important to teach to students. But, before your next lesson, take time to explore "why" with students. 

Take time to teach students the difference between middle/high school and college level writing with this lesson and activities--find the full lesson plan at: "What is College Level Writing?"

Looking for more great writing products?

FREE! Introduction Checklist for Literary Analysis
Understanding and Using Readability Levels
A Guide to Scholarly Research

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Combat Daydreamers with Active Learning Writing Strategies

Glazed eyes and open mouths are proof that students mentally check out as the end of the school year draws near. As teachers, we would like to join the ranks of daydreamers, but we must re-direct students to daily lesson plans. This is where active learning comes in handy!

For English classes, try meeting outdoors! There are so many fun, educational writing activities that can be done outside. Even rainy days can't detour Sidewalk Characters, which can be done under covered walkways or on butcher paper indoors as a last resort. This novel/short story active learning activity is FREE and fun!

Sidewalk Characters

Maybe you would rather do some creative writing outdoors! If so try some of these unique On Demand Writing Prompts to get students' imaginations flowing:

Surprise and engage students with out-of-the-ordinary writing activities! 

You'll be amazed at the creative writings students produce when their environment is stress free, and they are surrounded by nature. 

Enjoy outdoor writing!

More Journal Prompts: 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Mothers and Teachers' Little Helpers

You might be thinking about the Rolling Stones' song of the same name:

but I'm referring to handouts to helps mothers and teachers prepare for Mother's Day!

Appreciation and gratitude are great skills to foster in students. Getting them talking about what appreciation and gratitude look like in application can be difficult. Therefore, use stress-free activities that allow students to discuss and collaborate to produce works that show their appreciation and gratitude for their mothers.

Afterwords, students can reflect how giving and sharing made them feel when they offered their pieces of art to their mothers. Everyone's a winner with mothers and teachers' little helpers!

Happy Mother's Day!

FREE Mother's Day Make and Give Handouts: