So this happened recently. I created a product based on something I’ve used in my classes for years.
My students and I discuss literature through literary devices and figurative language as any English or Literature class. We would play games, work assignments, complete worksheets, and engage in heated discussions on why an author used a particular devices versus another; it is always a fun time!
So this product [LITERARY DEVICES FLASH & TASK CARDS [SERIES#1] was created way back in the when I started my The-Angry-Teacher-Store, so it is a product that helped to start the store and my business career. (Oh, you see what I did with the name of this blog and the title of the product?) CRAZY PUNNY!
Can you imagine how flattered I was when someone purchased a copy last week? Yes, now I was nervous, so I checked to see if the product was good enough to be bought, since at the time it was made, I had no idea what I was doing. 🙂
I opened that old product up and WHALA! IT’S AMAZING!
300+ SLIDES, OVER 50 Literary devices and figurative language, each has a definition, black and white and numbered versions, with 1 to 2 activities/questions each (so that’s a ton and hours of academic interactions with your students. I mean, seriously, when my customer bought this awesome product, I was beside myself with glee – giddy as I could be.
Oh, and I forgot, it’s alphabetized for ease of navigation and it even has SUGGESTED USES – Ideas for how to use this massive tool every English classroom should have!
I mean…this is just fantastic stuff! Pick yours up today!
So I was walking into a store and a young man held the door for me. “Thank you, sir” I said, as I walked in.
I was left a few minutes on the dryer at the laundromat the other day. “Thank you so much,” I told the lady who offered me her unused minutes in the dryer.
As I was allowed in the left lane infront of another driver, I put my hand outside the window and put a THUMBS UP for him to know I appreciated him.
I never realized how grateful I am.
I guess growing up and instructed to be kind, cordial, and grateful was just expected. After coming from little to nothing, I understand what it’s like to show respect to the universe when something is given to you, even if it is just a gesture or a few minutes in a dryer.
I am always grateful for life, love, and family that I whisper a prayer every morning when I go to the gym. I’m grateful for being able to go to the gym, my family, my job, my students, my pets, the weather, my truck, the stray animals that made it another day, my breakfast, the homeless man who found something to eat, my friends, my life, in general. Why?
Because others may not have it, may not get up, may not be able to drive, find food, feed their pets…there are so many without; I never want to forget that. So my “Thank You’s” are genuine. Coming from a real place of appreciation because you never had to do anything for me.
With that said, even sometimes when people try to intimidate or hurt you and you survive it. Be grateful for that too. I remember reading Langston Hughes’ “Thank You, Ma’am” when the teenaged boy named Roger got beatdown by Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones.
Yes, buddy got his butt whopped, a beatdown, on the sidewalk, in public! It was awesome! Lol…but I digress.
But, after that incident, when Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones took him in and fed him. When he left that night he said “Thank you, ma’am.” He could have been in his feelings and hated the woman and not realize that he’d learned a lot about life and himself that day, but Roger realized he was taught life lessons through his seeming adversary.
So I want to thank those who tried to hurt me and my feelings or tried to stand in my way of personal, social, financial, or professional success because you’ve made me stronger and you’ve taught me about myself and life.
So “Thank You, sir.” “Thank you, buddy.” “Thank YoU, Ma’am.”
Be grateful over a few things. Be grateful over the little things.
Be grateful always.
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Yes, Indeed! August is around the corner and schools everywhere (well, away from those districts that open after Labor Day in the USA), will be teeming with eager minds, flustered spirits, nervous laughter, gracious smiles, and roving hearts.
Students will flock back to the buildings they left a couple of months ago for the summer; now, they’ll be converging on the steps of school buildings everywhere, unless they’re new to the building…Like FRESHMEN.
These fresh new eyes, hearts, and minds will be nervously and excitedly exploring campuses and searching for their classes and themselves on a high school campus as the newbies. The little fish in a big pond.
Some will fit in right away, some will lose their middle school persona and others will remain how they were in middle school.
Regardless of how they come into their freshman year, their teachers must help them navigate it.
One of my girls tagged me in a Facebook post last week about a project I gave her when she was in high school (she has now graduated from college for about 11 years now); she claims this project is what helped her define who she is and what she wanted to accomplish – she thanked me for the project.
Stories, students, and wanting my freshman class to survive high school prompted me to develop this project that I gave to my Freshman Seminar or Freshman Experience classes – https://tinyurl.com/freshman-seminar.
I tried to have students [my little people, as I affectionately called them] be able to navigate high school from a fledgling point of view from their new attitudes towards school, grade point averages, friendships, sports, clubs, teachers, assignments, conflict, home life, and more. Because, let’s face it, First Year for students can be hard.
They must navigate a new building, new resources, new friendships, new schedules, new distances, new dynamics, new classes, and new feelings and emotions as well. Really tough stuff.
Some school districts have realized that students need help to move through this new part of their lives, and have developed Freshman Seminar/Experience classes. Kudos to them!
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If we can remember how hard this year was for us, then it would be easy to help these students understand how high school works. It would be so calming for their socio-emotional well-being.
So teachers: smile graciously at these newbies meandering the hallways, offer assistance, understand that this is the generation coming in attached to their cell phones, remember that they are the Pandemic (stay at home for a year) generation, understand that they will need that friendly face and space daily. Remember they was the little ones who set tone for the next four years.
Gotta love Freshmen!
Oh, and if you’re one of the previously mentioned teachers tasked with teaching these wonderful new additions to your high school, check out the following products to help you get on your way to a successful academic year!
It’s that time of the year where you’ve bonded with your students, they understand your class rules and how it functions, and now – now the tests are looming.
We need to prepare students for their standardized exams which usually incorporate some form of writing. So let me share 7 quick tips on how to get the most out of student writing.
START FROM THE SMALLER PARTS TO THE LARGER PRODUCT
In order to get your budding writers to understand the writing process, I suggest getting them to understand the foundation of an essay. Yes, parts of speech and parts of a sentence.
Let em have it: subject and verb. Instruct them on how it works, then have them stack ’em up and turn them into paragraphs. Finally have them move on to essays.
Some teachers do this in the reverse: from whole to small parts of an essay [an inverted triangle], but working from sentence structure to a full-blown essay works easier for me and my students; chances are it’ll work for you too! Try it!
2. USE MENTOR TEXTS
Show students what good writing looks like? You want them to write good fiction, good letters, good speeches, good technical essays? Then, show them! Get exemplars for students to read, analyze, and mimic!
You can always use these for references once students have moved on. “Oh, do you remember how Martin Luther King, Jr. used X?” “Do you see how Thoreau started off with X?” These remind students of where their writing should be and how to get them back on track.
3. DEMONSTRATE THE WRITING
Show students what you want them to accomplish. Yes, you’ve used MENTOR TEXTS, but now they’ll see you writing with them.
One way I demonstrate how I want students to write is to write on my whiteboard as we brainstorm new ideas. Students see what I’m doing and they’re involved in my stylistic, diction, and content choices.
Another way I demonstrate writing is to THINK ALOUD. As we work on the chalk, white, or SMART board, students hear me ask questions and think about my next writing moves; they get to see and understand – and participate – in my choices to make the writing better.
4. USE SENTENCE STARTERS
Can you imagine not knowing where else to go with your ideas? Our students run into this all the time, so we need to help them out! As they’re writing, we encourage and propel their thoughts though providing SENTENCE STARTERS and STOCK LANGUAGE.
Brandon could never get his thoughts out. He’d be able to get a few words on the page, but after I taught him how to use STOCK LANGUAGE and vocabulary, his thoughts started flowing. I’m telling you – it works!
5. INTEGRATE VOCABULARY
Many times as English Language Arts [ELA] teachers, we limit the vocabulary we teach to what’s available in students’ reading. Students would then only be able to use those few words in those limited contexts.
Adding a regular list of VOCABULARY WORDS to their curriculum gives students a better chance to understand what they read and how they write.
Remind them to include, include, include as they write for you, whether it be bell ringers and class openers, assignments, essays, short response assignments, or exit tickets, let them use the words. Guess what?! Sometimes, you don’t need even check each and every proper use of the words, as the students use it, they’ll start to realize the proper usage. They’ll be so excited as they learn new words!
6. USE A RUBRIC
As we foster budding writers, students will need scaffolding! They’ll need to know how and where to place words and punctuation; this is where a template comes in. This empowers students, as they fill in their words and produce a product for you!
Rubrics also make our reading of student work easier. Utilizing these rubrics allows both students and teacher to know when the writing is great or not up to par.
Does this evidence make sense here? Did Sally answer the prompt? Is the use of the semi-colon correct? All these questions can be answered swiftly with a rubric.
Watch out, however, rubrics may limit creativity and have students only giving what’s on the list of ‘right’ things to do; they may limit their own writing greatness!
7. USE WRITER’S WORKSHOPS
So I walk around and meet them where they are. You! You guessed it! I sit with them sometimes. Also, I have workshop style essay exams. I would literally help them structure their introductions, body, and conclusions as they test.
“Nope, that can’t work there!” “Yes! Your second sentence works better here; I love it!” This can be heard in my class as students all work individually.
As well, Writer’s Workshops projects allow students to use what they’ve learned about writing in a fun, adventurous way! Our students don’t have to be relegated to only writing essays to show their mastery of writing skills, they can actually utilize their skills in projects that cater to them and their levels of interest and writing! Watch your students become WRITING SUPERHEROES!
Can we get our students to write and write well? Most definitely! Scaffolding from parts of speech, sentence structure, and paragraph building to full-blown essays and research papers can happen! Use these tips as I did and you’ll see greater writers develop right in front of your eyes!
In every classroom there is an expectation that teachers have to cover specific standards and a specific number in a certain amount of time. It is also common knowledge that teachers are evaluated on their students’ comprehension and application of these standards, especially when students are mandated to take standardized exams. Yes, teachers stress out about getting student buy-in when it comes to standards, but it is not difficult. Guess what?! Students will understand the standards, recognize, and amaze you with their knowledge of concepts when using the standards. Check out these 3 Tips for getting your students to UNDERSTAND THE STANDARDS.
1. Have Students Personalize the Standards
If students believe this information is not for them, it will not be internalized. Students will think that this is just more teacher jargon (mumbo-jumbo, if you will) that they don’t need to know and can tune out. Here’s how we can change this way of thinking in our students: have them make it their own version of the standards.
Get students to paraphrase the standards. Putting these in their own words will get it committed to memory in their brains and hearts. Some states, districts, schools, and teachers have provided ‘student-friendly’ versions of these standards, but this works better coming from them. Make them come up with the wording!
Have them chant mantras about the standard: “Today’s objective/standard is…,” “I will earn to…,” and so on and so forth.
Create mini-games (matching, jig saws) so they’ll associate fun and activity with particular standards. To get my AP English Literature students to internalize STEPS to understanding their standards, I’ve had them remove a shoe, traced their foot on paper, and made “steps” to understanding texts (they wrote the standards in the footprint they made). Get it? They made ‘steps.’
2. Provide Students a Copy of the Standards
Instead of just posting the standards in some arbitrary area of your classroom for the adults who walk in or being the only person in the room to have access to these standards, provide copies for students. They need to be able to access these and see and use these as frequently as they need to.
I’ve had a co-worker who had students write the standards and objectives down on their assignments each time they cover a new one. You may also post it in the room as well (since most of us are mandated to do it anyway); have no fear – this will only help our cause.
As students are working and you are moving around the room and interacting with them, reference the posted standard/objective. “Which part of the standard is being used here, Johnny?” “Do we see how the standards is applied here?” In my classes, students keep a smaller copy of the standards in their classroom folders, binders or affixed to their desk, as do I. If I don’t assign an actual question based on the standard for them to answer, I have them talk to me. “Which standard is this, Peter?” or I would shout out: “Hey, Lashay, how many parts of the standard did we use today?” Randomly asking these questions keep them on their toes, paying attention!
3. Have Students Reflect on the Standards
After the lesson or before the exam, you want to know your students have arrived at comprehension and the ability of application of the standards. How do we evaluate this? Ask ’em!
As EXIT TICKETS, on formal exams, in discussions, get your students involved in their application of the required standards. The more they know you’ll be asking them to identify and use these seemingly arbitrary numbers and phrases on the classroom board or wall, the more they’d pay attention and become more involved in committing them to memory.
Having students write a final response to their standard/lesson, gets them to personalize their day. Reflect on their learning. Have them ask themselves: “Did I learn today?” “What did I learn today?” “Do I now know how to do X?” They can also pair up and talk about it. “No, that’s not what we did, we learned…” “Cool! You were paying attention, Johnny!”
You’ll start seeing an improvement in their comprehension and application on skills and standards in your classrooms.
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