May 27, 2016

13 Short Stories for Engaging Secondary Students & Teaching Literary Elements

Don't let your literature anthology dictate the short stories you read with your middle school and high school students. There are so many wonderful short stories out there, many of which can be used to teach a variety of literary elements and paired with other texts. Read on for 13 of my favorites, which literary terms and skills they lend themselves to teaching, plus suggested text pairings and activities.
Don't let your literature anthology dictate the short stories you read with your middle school and high school students. There are so many wonderful short stories out there, many of which can be used to teach a variety of literary elements and paired with other texts. Here's 13 of my favorites.

1. The Sniper by Liam O'Flaherty
I’m always looking for texts that will draw in my reluctant male readers. Anything with war, guns, or a little violence ups the appealing factor immediately. “The Sniper” is set in the 1920s during the Irish revolution. A sniper is stationed on a rooftop contemplating how he will get down before the light of dawn exposes him. I often use this text when teaching irony because of its unexpected ending. It is also a great piece to use for reviewing plot as the climax appears at the very end of the story; students sometimes struggle to correctly identify the climax when it happens so late in a story. The story’s theme emphasizes the senselessness of war, making it perfect for pairing with other short stories or novels with a similar theme such as The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane, Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, or The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien.

This short story is one that I like to read just before the holidays because of its message about giving and thinking of others. Like “The Sniper,” it’s a great piece for teaching irony and reviewing plot. I also like to focus on how the setting dictates many of the details in the plot. After reading, I challenge students to write a modern retelling of the story, paying careful attention to how an updated setting affects the plot. The story’s connection to the holidays and it’s message about what we should value most make it perfect for pairing with A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

“The Interlopers” is a short story that is sure to hook reluctant readers. It is set at night and focuses on a long-standing turf war. The two main characters are out in the forest, the disputed territory, hunting each other, but as the two men meet, a tree falls and traps both of them beneath it. The twist at the end of the story makes it another great text to use for teaching irony and reviewing plot. The text’s focus on a long lasting conflict between two families connect it with works like William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (the Grangerfords versus the Shepherdsons), and the real life conflict between the Hatfields and the McCoys.

Don't let your literature anthology dictate the short stories you read with your middle school and high school students. There are so many wonderful short stories out there, many of which can be used to teach a variety of literary elements and paired with other texts. Read on for 13 of my favorites (including this one), which literary terms and skills they lend themselves to teaching, plus suggested text pairings and activities.
4. The Lady, or The Tiger? by Frank Stockton
This is one of my absolute favorite short stories to dig into. “The Lady, or The Tiger?” centers around a justice system in which the accused determine their own fate by choosing between two doors in an arena, behind one is a lady (marriage is the reward for innocence) and behind the other is a tiger (death is the punishment for guilt). The plot intensifies when the king of the arena discovers that his daughter is in love with a commoner and puts that man on trial. To help my students understand the king’s system of justice, I created a simulation in which each student is assigned a crime and gets to choose a door to determine their innocence or guilt. Later students reveal whether they actually committed the crime of which they were accused. This leads to discussion about the fairness of this justice system and comparison to the fairness of our own. This short story would be a great lead in to any text centered around a court case like To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee or Inherit The Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee. There is often something current in the media related to the justice system that can be connected to the story as well.

Literary criticism can be a complex idea to introduce to students. I always start with the most basic two approaches: historical and biographical, using this short story, which is focused on the day of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. The united feelings of Americans and even the global community, are contrasted by the racial and socio-economic discrimination faced by the main character. The short story could be paired with news articles and other nonfiction readings about this event. To bring things into the 21st century, you could use a novel like Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan, which centers around the events of September 11th.

This short story is full of imagery and symbolism, and also great for teaching the different types of conflict. The main character struggles against himself, his mother, other boys, and forces of nature. Like most young people, the main character wrestles with being viewed as a child when he wants to be treated like a young adult. Another short story that pits child against parent and incorporates many of the different types of conflict is “The White Umbrella” by Gish Jen.

“Geraldo No Name” is one vignette from The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. It does not include the novel’s main character Esperanza, but instead focuses on Marin, an older girl Esperanza idolizes, and Geraldo, a young man Marin meets at a dance. Like “American History,” the short story centers around issues of race and class. Geraldo is hit by a car and Marin believes that if he were treated differently at the hospital, his life might have been saved. This short story could be paired with the film Fruitvale Station or any current news articles about the Black/Brown Lives Matter movement.

The idea behind this short story has always fascinated me. If we could travel back in time, how would it affect the future? In Ray Bradbury’s text, time travel takes the characters to the prehistoric age of dinosaurs and one misstep has innumerable effects on the future. It’s a perfect illustration of the butterfly effect. You probably can’t show your students the Ashton Kutcher film of the same title, A Butterfly Effect, but the movie Groundhog’s Day is a much lighter treatment of the same idea as are the films Frequency and Big.

“The Scarlet Ibis is probably my all time favorite short story. I remember reading it as a ninth grade student and was delighted to find it in the literature anthology I used as a ninth grade teacher. The story is full of beautiful imagery that contrasts the heartbreaking end to the relationship between the two brothers. It’s a great text for examining foreshadowing, the author’s use of symbolism is clear, yet multi-layered, and the story can also be used to introduce allegory by discussing the author’s attitude toward war. The power dynamics between the older and younger brother could be compared to George and Lennie's relationship in Of Mice and Men.

Edgar Allan Poe is known for his creepy tales and “The Black Cat" does not disappoint. The narrator, a crazy drunk, takes drastic measures to get back at his cat, which he believes is ignoring him. This is an excellent short story to use for analyzing first person point of view and unreliable narrator. After reading, challenge students to rewrite the story, still using first person point of view, but from another character’s perspective.

“The Stolen Party” is another great short story for teaching point of view, specifically third person limited point of view. Because the character that the narrator focuses in on is a young girl, her thoughts and feelings are unreliable and may skew students’ understanding of the story until the final event. Like with “The Black Cat,” after reading, you can challenge students to rewrite the story still using third person limited point of view, but focusing in on another character’s thoughts and feelings.

Don't let your literature anthology dictate the short stories you read with your middle school and high school students. There are so many wonderful short stories out there, many of which can be used to teach a variety of literary elements and paired with other texts. Read on for 13 of my favorites (including this one), which literary terms and skills they lend themselves to teaching, plus suggested text pairings and activities.
12. Thank You M’am by Langston Hughes
While reader’s theater is traditionally used in primary classrooms, “Thank You M’am” is the perfect short story to act out or at least read aloud. Mrs. Jones is a tough elderly woman who is full of sass, while Roger is a shaken young man who quickly regrets his attempt to steal Mrs. Jones’s purse. It is also a great text for teaching conflict and characterization.

13. The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell
“The Most Dangerous Game" is another excellent short story if your students like suspense. The tension in the story begins as the main character sails past an island with a terrible reputation and builds when he lands on the island by mistake and meets the man living there. At the start of the story, you can focus on how the details of the setting help to create mood. It’s also an excellent text for introducing and having student complete a plot diagram.

You can find all of my resources for teaching short stories here.

For more ideas for teaching short stories & literature: 

Follow The Literary Maven's board *ELA Literature Resources 6-12 on Pinterest.

May 23, 2016

On My Bookshelf: Broken Angels by Gemma Liviero

In Broken Angels by Gemma Liviero, the lives of Elsi, a young half-Jewish girl in the Lodz ghetto, Matilda, a Romanian child taken from her home to be Aryanized, and Willem, a Nazi doctor, become intertwined as each struggles to survive. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.
The basic plot from Amazon: A Nazi doctor. A Jewish rebel. A little girl. Each one will fight for freedom—or die trying.

Imprisoned in the Lodz Ghetto, Elsi discovers her mother’s desperate attempt to end her pregnancy and comes face-to-face with the impossibility of their situation. Risking her own life, Elsi joins a resistance group to sabotage the regime.

Blonde, blue-eyed Matilda is wrenched from her family in Romania and taken to Germany, where her captors attempt to mold her into the perfect Aryan child. Spirited and brave, she must inspire hope in the other stolen children to make her dreams of escape a reality.

Willem, a high-ranking Nazi doctor, plans to save lives when he takes posts in both the ghetto and Auschwitz. After witnessing unimaginable cruelties, he begins to question his role and the future of those he is ordered to destroy.

While Hitler ransacks Europe in pursuit of a pure German race, the lives of three broken souls—thrown together by chance—intertwine. Only love and sacrifice might make them whole again.
In Broken Angels by Gemma Liviero, the lives of Elsi, a young half-Jewish girl in the Lodz ghetto, Matilda, a Romanian child taken from her home to be Aryanized, and Willem, a Nazi doctor, become intertwined as each struggles to survive. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.

Why I liked it: Broken Angels falls into my favorite genre, historical fiction, and focuses on a topic of personal interest, the Holocaust. What makes this novel different from other Holocaust-related texts I've read is it's use of alternating point of views and the light it shed on the relocation of Aryan looking children from Nazi-occupied territories, a practice of which I was previously unaware.

One of the narrators is Elsi, a resident of the Lodz ghetto. Her father, a Gentile, left for work one day and never returned, leaving her, her Jewish mother, and her younger sister Leah to fend for themselves. Deportation is a constant fear, especially because of Leah's age and her slight limp. Their cramped living conditions get worse when another couple moves in with them. Elsi, at first is inclined to keep her head down and avoid drawing any attention to herself, but eventually gets involved in resistance efforts within the ghetto.

Matilda is a nine year old carefree young girl living in Romania until she is selected to be relocated to Germany. Her mother signs her over to the Germans for the promise of more food and to save her two sons from being commissioned into the army. Once Matilda arrives at her new home, she is instructed to teach the other "orphans" German, but she spends more time telling them stories, and is repeatedly punished for her defiance.

Willem mans the infirmary in the Lodz ghetto, frequently performing abortions for Jewish residents until he is called to Auschwitz to part a part of experiments on women prisoners. The horrifying treatment of these women and the death of his young pregnant wife send him spirally and he returns to the Lodz ghetto where he rescues Elsi from deportation. His father, a high ranking Nazi official, has him assigned to the "orphanage" where Matilda resides. It is there that Willem, Elsi, and Matilda's lives become intertwined. Their stories end with redemption, but also unhappiness.

Classroom application: This novel could be paired with a history unit on the Holocaust and/or World War II. If you use literature circles in your classroom, this would be a great choice for a unit on the Holocaust, but also on the themes of heroism or survival.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Broken Angels for yourself, you can find it on Amazon here.

For more reading suggestions for students and teachers:

Follow The Literary Maven's board *Reading for Teaching on Pinterest.

Note: The Literary Maven is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

May 22, 2016

#2ndaryELA Twitter Chat on Tuesday 5/24 Topic: Recharging the Teacher

 Join secondary English Language Arts teachers Tuesday evenings at 8 pm EST on Twitter. This week's chat will focus on recharging the teacher.

Brynn Allison, The Literary Maven & Kristy, 2 Peas and a Dog are hosting #2ndaryELA on Twitter every Tuesday evening from 8 - 8:30 PM EST. #2ndaryELA is a weekly chat for secondary English Language Arts teachers focused on a topic. Every Sunday, we will post the topic and questions on our blogs to allow you to prepare for the upcoming Tuesday evening's chat. Thank you to everyone who joined us last week and we hope that you will join us again.

New in 2016 is our 2ndaryELA Facebook group, which we would love to have you join even if you aren't on Twitter. 2ndaryELA is a group of middle and high school English Language Arts teachers looking to share ideas and best practices. This group is an extension of our Twitter chat and a place for collaboration, questions, and encouragement. Feel free to post teaching ideas, success stories, resource links, photos, etc. that will enhance our instruction.

On Tuesday, May 24, our #2ndaryELA chat will focus on recharging the teacher.

The Format:
8:00 Intros: What and where do you teach? Include a link to your blog if you have one. #2ndaryELA
8:05 Q1: What are your personal and professional plans for summer 2016? #2ndaryELA
8:10 Q2: How do you recharge and refresh during the summer break? #2ndaryELA
8:15 Q3: What is on your personal and professional summer reading lists? #2ndaryELA
8:20 Q4: Do you have any advice for new teachers on how to spend their time during summer vacation? #2ndaryELA
8:25 Q5: Share your best advice for having a relaxing and recharging summer. #2ndaryELA

The Directions:
1. Log into Twitter on Tuesday from 8-8:30 PM EST.
2. Search for tweets with the hashtag #2ndaryELA in the search bar. Make sure to click “All tweets.”
3. Introductions are for the first 5 minutes.
4. Starting at 8:05 (@literarymaven or @2peasandadog) will post questions every 5 minutes using the format Q1, Q2, Q3, etc. and the hashtag #2ndaryELA.
5. Respond to questions using the format A1, A2, A3, etc. with #2ndaryELA.
6. Follow any teachers responding and who are also using #2ndaryELA.
7. Like and respond to other teachers' tweets.

You can schedule your responses to the questions ahead of time using a scheduler like TweetDeck or HootSuite (but don't forget to use A1, A2, etc. and #2ndaryELA). Links are encouraged, so be sure to use a link shortener like tinyurlbitlygoo.gl or ow.ly Just visit one of those links and paste your long link to shorten it for Twitter. Using images is also encouraged when relevant.

New to chats? Here are the rules:
1. Stay on topic & stay positive!
2. Please do not post or promote paid products unless specifically asked.
3. If you arrive late, try to look through other posts before beginning.
4. Feel free to just read, like, and/or retweet.
5. Always use our hashtag #2ndaryELA, including in your replies to others.
6. Make sure your twitter feed is set to public. (Also keep in mind that Twitter is completely public – that means students, parents, and administrators can and will read what you tweet.)

Be sure to spread the word to any teacher friends who might be interested in joining us as well. We look forward to chatting with you Tuesday evening and in our 2ndaryELA Facebook group!

May 20, 2016

#2ndaryELA Chat Summary: Reflections on Your Year in Teaching

Before summer vacation begins and you turn your teacher brain off, take time to reflect on what worked this year and what didn't. Middle school and high school English Language Arts teachers discussed successes, challenges, favorite texts, and invaluable resources. Read on to see what other teachers are planning to keep, change, and never do again.

This #2ndaryELA Twitter chat was all about reflecting on teaching this year in the secondary ELA classroom. Middle and high school English Language Arts teachers discussed what they'll keep, change or improve upon next year as well as challenges, favorite texts, and invaluable resources. The highlights are below.

Successes:
*Roundtable book discussions, which require students to take more ownership of their reading and discussion. Roundtables are like Socratic seminars, but are more structured. Students prepare a handout before discussion & reflect afterward.
*Creating writing graphic organizers to support all levels of students
*Giving students time to read during class time, holding book talks and helping them select books to read
*Using my ticket raffle system for behavior
*Using Notice & Note signposts for reading comprehension
*Using Article of the Week to improve student writing
*Shift to standards based grading, where all assessments are skills based and lots of formative practice with feedback but no "grade"
*Using blended playlists, a list of activities that students work though at their own pace, for writing workshops and book clubs
*Choice boards and projects as a form of alternative assessments
*Flashlight Friday, reading under student made forts by flashlight every Friday
*Offering students even more choices in their reading and writing


What to change or improve upon:
*Find ways to make writing instruction meaningful, such as “chunking” parts of an essay
*Making marking more efficient
*Working with teachers to create writing checklists for students since teachers are frustrated with writing errors, but little time is spent teaching students how to correct these errors
*Balancing quality reading, writing, and grammar instruction
*Find more ways to individualize grammar instruction
*Be more intentional about helping teachers set goals, action plans, and follow through with them
*Increasing digital lessons
*Avoid getting buried and overwhelmed
*Find more ways for students to share what they're reading & make recommendations
*Implement peer editing groups and have students focus more on writing portfolios
*Working more collaboratively with peers 


Challenges & overcoming them:
*Learning how to use Google classroom
*Tough student behavior
*Helping new hired teachers build relationships with students late in the year
*Fears of the unknownL new textbooks, standards, curriculum, personnel, content
*Keeping up with all the paperwork, documentation, and data collection/analysis
*Balance between how much reading and writing we do in class


Favorite texts:
*TED talks, not traditional “texts,” but are great to connect with class readings
*Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson (7th grade)
*The picture book, Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
*Dark Water Rising by Marian Hale (7th grade)
*The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart
*Dear Bully: Seventy Authors Tell Their Stories by Megan Kelley Hall
* Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
*Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck paired with the author's letter to the actress playing Curley's wife
*Fog Horn by Ray Bradbury paired with The Scream painting
*I Have Lived a Thousand Years: Growing Up in the Holocaust by Livia Bitton-Jackson
*A play version of The Hobbit
*Night by Elie Wiesel paired with Holocaust picture books, art, and music
*Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
*I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
*A Newsela article about Apple and the FBI
*Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl (8th grade)
*Ray Bradbury short stories (8th grade)


Invaluable resources:
*Twitter chats like #DitchBook, #TLAP, #LearnLAP, #2ndaryELA
*Pinterest
*Teacher bloggers
*2ndaryELA Facebook group
*Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading by Kylene Beers and Robert Probst
*Technology like FormativeEDpuzzle, Plickers, and Socrative
*Reading Nonfiction by Kylene Beers and Robert Probst
*Penny Kittle's ideas about independent reading
*Regular trips to Barnes & Noble
*TeachersPayTeachers 
*Robert Marzano books
*Igniting a Passion by Steven Layne

Hope you'll join us next Tuesday May 24th at 8pm EST (our final chat of the school year!) to talk about recharging for next year. We'd also love for you to join our 2ndaryELA Facebook group (even if you aren't on Twitter). 2ndaryELA is a group of middle and high school English Language Arts teachers looking to share ideas and best practices. This group is an extension of our Twitter chat and a place for collaboration, questions, and encouragement. Feel free to post teaching ideas, success stories, resource links, photos, etc. that will enhance our instruction. 

If you missed this most recent chat, scroll down and read the whole thing below.

May 16, 2016

On My Bookshelf: The Light of the World by Ellen Simpson

The LIght of the World by Ellen Simpson is a mix of The DaVinci Code meets The Golden Compass with a struggle between good and evil, the protector of "the light of the world" versus its seekers, possible conspiracy, and secrets that can't be revealed. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.
The basic plot from Amazon: At the back of her grandmother’s closet lies a mystery. After her grandmother’s death, Eva finds a series of diaries detailing the life of a girl caught up in the magic of the Roaring Twenties. She cannot reconcile the young woman in these diaries with the miserable old woman she loved so fiercely. What happened to change her grandmother so drastically? Eva is desperate to know more about this period in her grandmother’s life. What is the light of the world, and who is the mysterious girl that her grandmother fell in love with? Eva starts to investigate the puzzle her grandmother left behind. With the help of a local historian and his enigmatic assistant Olivia, they find a forgotten labyrinth under the city streets. But they are not the only ones down there. Someone else is searching for the light of the world.

Why I liked it: The Light of The World starts off with a flash into the past. The scene is fast paced and leaves you with unanswered questions that make you want to keep reading. When the novel moves back into present day action, it drags at first.

The protagonist, Eva is twenty two, a college drop out, struggling with depression and the recent death of her grandmother. Too much time is spent detailing her grandmother's funeral, what she was like, how other people didn't really understand her, how Eva's mother doesn't understand her, etc. Things finally pick back up again when Eva discovers some of her grandmother's diaries as she and her parents begin cleaning out her grandmother's New York City apartment. Eva's grandmother, Mary. is sixteen and living in the city during the 1920s so that she can work and help support her family. She lives in a women's boarding house full of interesting characters, many of which I wish had been more developed, and has a growing relationship with Wren, another young woman who enjoys reading as much as Mary does. I recently read The Hired Girl, which was set ten years earlier in Baltimore, but was filled with the historical details that I found lacking in The Light of The World.

The LIght of the World by Ellen Simpson is a mix of The DaVinci Code meets The Golden Compass with a struggle between good and evil, the protector of "the light of the world" versus its seekers, possible conspiracy, and secrets that can't be revealed. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.
Eva reaches out to a local book store owner, Theo, to try to find out more about her grandmother's past and a phrase she used repeatedly: "the light of the world." At the bookstore, Eva also meets Al, Theo's charming son, and Olivia, a young woman looking for a topic for her graduate school research and to whom Eva finds herself attracted. The novel then becomes a mix of The DaVinci Code meets The Golden Compass with a struggle between good and evil, the protector of "the light of the world" versus its seekers, possible conspiracy, and secrets that can't be revealed. The action present in the opening scene of the novel finally returns.

I found myself unsatisfied with the ending of the novel. It was too much of a coincidence that the only person Eva contacts about her grandmother's diaries happens to be an expert on "the light of the world" and its protector happens to be working right under his nose. The author creates rules about "the light of the world," but later breaks them to create a tidy ending.

Classroom application: For students that enjoy suspense and intrigue, this novel would be a good recommendation. Because of its treatment of LGBT themes, the book could also help diversify your classroom library.

It might be interesting to use this novel in comparison with another novel that mixes fantasy and the real world (i.e. the Percy Jackson or Harry Potter series). Students could identify the rules that each author creates for their fantasy world and determine whether the author follows these rules to ensure that events in the novels are believable despite their fantastical elements.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of The Light of the World for yourself, you can find it on Amazon here.

For more reading suggestions for students and teachers:

Follow The Literary Maven's board *Reading for Teaching on Pinterest.

Note: The Literary Maven is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

May 15, 2016

#2ndaryELA Twitter Chat on Tuesday 5/17 Topic: Reflections On Your Year In Teaching


Join secondary English Language Arts teachers Tuesday evenings at 8 pm EST on Twitter. This week's chat will focus on reflecting on your year in teaching in the ELA classroom.

Brynn Allison, The Literary Maven & Kristy, 2 Peas and a Dog are hosting #2ndaryELA on Twitter every Tuesday evening from 8 - 8:30 PM EST. #2ndaryELA is a weekly chat for secondary English Language Arts teachers focused on a topic. Every Sunday, we will post the topic and questions on our blogs to allow you to prepare for the upcoming Tuesday evening's chat. Thank you to everyone who joined us last week and we hope that you will join us again.

New in 2016 is our 2ndaryELA Facebook group, which we would love to have you join even if you aren't on Twitter. 2ndaryELA is a group of middle and high school English Language Arts teachers looking to share ideas and best practices. This group is an extension of our Twitter chat and a place for collaboration, questions, and encouragement. Feel free to post teaching ideas, success stories, resource links, photos, etc. that will enhance our instruction.

On Tuesday, May 17, our #2ndaryELA chat will focus on reflecting on your year in teaching in the ELA classroom.

The Format:
8:00 Intros: What and where do you teach? Include a link to your blog if you have one. #2ndaryELA
8:05 Q1: What is something you will definitely do again next year because it was such a success? #2ndaryELA
8:10 Q2: What is something you want to change or improve upon next year? #2ndaryELA
8:15 Q3: What was your biggest challenge this year? Did you overcome it? How? #2ndaryELA
8:20 Q4: Share your favorite classroom text you read this year (novel, nonfiction, poetry, play). #2ndaryELA
8:25 Q5: Share an invaluable resource you relied upon this year (book, article, technology, blog, etc.). #2ndaryELA

The Directions:
1. Log into Twitter on Tuesday from 8-8:30 PM EST.
2. Search for tweets with the hashtag #2ndaryELA in the search bar. Make sure to click “All tweets.”
3. Introductions are for the first 5 minutes.
4. Starting at 8:05 (@literarymaven or @2peasandadog) will post questions every 5 minutes using the format Q1, Q2, Q3, etc. and the hashtag #2ndaryELA.
5. Respond to questions using the format A1, A2, A3, etc. with #2ndaryELA.
6. Follow any teachers responding and who are also using #2ndaryELA.
7. Like and respond to other teachers' tweets.

You can schedule your responses to the questions ahead of time using a scheduler like TweetDeck or HootSuite (but don't forget to use A1, A2, etc. and #2ndaryELA). Links are encouraged, so be sure to use a link shortener like tinyurlbitlygoo.gl or ow.ly Just visit one of those links and paste your long link to shorten it for Twitter. Using images is also encouraged when relevant.

New to chats? Here are the rules:
1. Stay on topic & stay positive!
2. Please do not post or promote paid products unless specifically asked.
3. If you arrive late, try to look through other posts before beginning.
4. Feel free to just read, like, and/or retweet.
5. Always use our hashtag #2ndaryELA, including in your replies to others.
6. Make sure your twitter feed is set to public. (Also keep in mind that Twitter is completely public – that means students, parents, and administrators can and will read what you tweet.)

Be sure to spread the word to any teacher friends who might be interested in joining us as well. We look forward to chatting with you Tuesday evening and in our 2ndaryELA Facebook group!

May 13, 2016

#2ndaryELA Chat Summary: End of School Year Engagement

The days are hotter and definitely seem longer. The end is so close, but you can't throw your hands up and stop teaching just yet. Middle school and high school English Language Arts teachers discussed final papers, projects, and exams as well as recognizing student growth and achievement, end of the year celebrations, and tips for handling those hot days. Read on for ideas on how to engage students up to the very last day of school.

This #2ndaryELA Twitter chat was all about engaging students at the end of the year in the secondary ELA classroom. Middle and high school English Language Arts teachers discussed final papers, projects, and exams as well as recognizing student growth and achievement, end of the year celebrations, and tips for handling those hot days. The highlights are below.

Final exams and review:
*Make review game based and student directed*Have students reteach a topic
*Use Kahoot!  or Quizlet Live to make your own review or search others
*Give mock finals to prepare students for upper grades
*Use QR code scavenger hunts as a way for students to review while moving around
*Use review stations
*Use varied strategies to prepare students for state, local, or school exams
*Fill balloons with messages inside that have you review something new each day

Final papers and projects:
*Literary Jenga
*Make movies, Public Service Announcements, podcasts
*Do an author study with different groups of students reading different books by the same author
*Design a literary theme park
*Use Storyboard That for summarizing and conflict
*Share student created gods/goddesses and myths
*Take a virtual class trip
*Make a year in review music video by discussing "We Didn't Start the Fire" then creating your own version
*Create a themed poetry anthology
*Have students write a thank you letter to a teacher they had this year
*Other fun end of the year projects such as creating a scrapbook or soundtrack

Recognizing student growth and achievement:
*Compare pre and post-test data
*Reflect on goals and growth seen in conferences held throughout the year
*Compare first piece of writing from the year with the most recent
*Use Seesaw throughout the year to create a digital portfolio then give students time to reflect on all their work and blog about it
*Analyze all summative data and have individual conferences with students about their growth
*Use FutureMe to write goals to future selves and reflect on them when the emails arrive

End of the year celebrations:
*Watch a YouTube graduation speech each day leading up to the end
*Graduation
*Celebration dance
*End of year trip
*Picnic
*Talent show
*Kickball tournament
*Field day
*Awards night
*Play #finishstrong BINGO where students put their tickets for "super" prizes
*Write each student in your class a note to let them know how important they are
*Play Scrabble on the tiles of your classroom floor

What to do on those hot days:
*Turn on the AC and have students get comfy around the classroom and read for pure enjoyment
*Take students outside to read under the trees, play games, or do a descriptive sensory writing
*Give out popsicles as prizes
*Get crafty and make origami after writing out favorite memories
Hope you'll join us next Tuesday May 17th at 8pm EST to talk about reflecting on the school year. We'd also love for you to join our 2ndaryELA Facebook group (even if you aren't on Twitter). 2ndaryELA is a group of middle and high school English Language Arts teachers looking to share ideas and best practices. This group is an extension of our Twitter chat and a place for collaboration, questions, and encouragement. Feel free to post teaching ideas, success stories, resource links, photos, etc. that will enhance our instruction. 

If you missed this most recent chat, scroll down and read the whole thing below.