Gretchen Schroeder is a high school English teacher in rural Ohio, teaching everything from Advanced Placement Literature to a Poetry Workshop elective. Her passions include helping students find their voices through writing and introducing them to books they love. You can find her sharing books on Instagram @mrs_schroeders_shelves.
Gretchen Schroeder offers three poetry writing activities to take the pressure off of the writing process by using another poet’s structure and/or words as a starting point. You’ll be amazed by how deep and personal the resulting poems can become. Download a PDF for students to collect lines for a cento poem.
What do you do when students won’t write during class? Gretchen Schroeder offers a creative, practical, and effective solution.
Gretchen Schroeder addresses the negative and positive perceptions of rural people with her high school students through readings, discussions, and analytical writing. Download a guide for Critical Rural Perspective Analysis to use with your students.
Gretchen Schroeder explains the reason why she believes requiring high school students to read novels in verse during independent reading time is worthwhile for their reading identity and developing more sophisticated understandings of literary analysis.
Gretchen Schroeder confesses her fast-paced approach to sharing Macbeth with her high school students. Starting with the big picture of the story and then drilling down into specific scenes for skill practice not only accomplished the goals for the unit, but also freed up more time and space for other curriculum needs.
Gretchen Schroeder finds ways to increase the energy students have for doing work in her classroom. Her practical tips are useful for all students.
Gretchen Schroeder encourages teachers to make time for the things that are important. For her, it was poetry, and she outlines how she created a weekly poetry ritual in her high school classroom that enhanced the curriculum.
Gretchen Schroeder intentionally uses tried-and-true instructional practices to increase the inclusivity of texts and topics in her high school English class.
Gretchen Schroeder is surprised to find benefits of a stronger community and communication skills through a practical attendance practice in her high school classroom.
In this second part of a series on educational theorists, Gretchen Schroeder shares the way she has branched out to evolve and adapt to serve all students in an equitable way. Her reflection inspires all of us to branch out to make space for new ideas.
In this first of a two-part series, Gretchen Schroeder reflects on three educational philosophers who ground many practices, and pushes us to not stay stuck in the past. We must adapt these practices and honor new voices in the field that will keep us moving forward.
Gretchen Schroeder teaches her high school students how to notice and combat logical fallacies, a much needed skill due to the fact that most of her students use memes as their primary news source.
Gretchen Schroeder uses her reluctance as a marathon runner to reflect on how to encourage more engagement in reading and writing.
Gretchen Schroeder intentionally leads students to “jilted genres” in her classroom library.
Gretchen Schroeder shares the way she adjusts her reading quizzes to assess students’ analysis and deep thinking about texts.
Gretchen Schroeder supports her high school students to think deeply about the complexities around them, beginning with themselves and pop culture, and then moving to the texts they are reading.
Making workshop work is the theme of this week’s newsletter.
Gretchen Schroeder asks herself tough questions about her late-work policy for high school students. In the end, she changed her late-work policy and found that it took no effort on her part, other than a shift in mindset, while yielding powerful results.
Gretchen Schroeder discusses grammar tools and the reasons students should use them as writers.
Gretchen Schroeder shares a summative assessment inspired by Song Exploder in which her high school students craft an argumentative essay defending a choice of a great song.
Gretchen Schroeder shares her failures in preparing for antiracist literature instruction, and the principles she uses to empower meaningful conversations about race.
Gretchen Schroeder taps into the connections between characters by creating sociograms with her high school students.
Gretchen Schroeder makes the leap to digital notebooks and finds new life in a tried-and-true practice.
Gretchen Schroeder discusses recognizing bias on the podcast.
Gretchen Schroeder shares the building blocks she uses to define equity for herself and her students, as well as a practical way to put them into action in her rural high school classroom.
Gretchen Schroeder’s high school students build community by creating a shared text of things they love.
Gretchen Schroeder finds that picture books are the perfect tool for rhetorical analysis with her high school students.
Gretchen Schroeder’s students are almost all white and live in a rural community. She finds book clubs are a wonderful tool for expanding cultural awareness.
Gretchen Schroeder realizes her experiences from decades ago as a student are clouding her perspective on “flipped” literature discussions. Once she gets over her biases, she finds that online discussion of literature is a powerful equalizer for student voices.
Gretchen Schroeder uses picture books to help her high school students understand and write persona poems.
Polysyndeton, asyndeton—if you are a writer and a word nerd, you will love Gretchen Schroeder’s suggestions for helping your students create lists with style in their writing.
Gretchen Schroeder uses “appointment clocks” to ensure her students meet with a variety of peers for partner work.
Gretchen Schroeder finds her students’ enthusiasm for writing short stories flags quickly without some instruction and guidance.
Gretchen Schroeder analyzes the use of writing notebooks in her classroom, focusing on what’s confusing or frustrating for students. She makes some small changes that yield big results.
Gretchen Schroeder outlines a way to involve the entire school community in engaging in poetry.
Gretchen Schroeder has developed a fun version of Reading Bingo to help students explore their identity as readers. The activity includes clever social media inspired options like creating memes and “bookstagram” posts.
If you want stronger poetry from students, a good starting point might be to explore how to write a powerful simile. Gretchen Schroeder explains how she helps her high school students play with and create better similes.
Gretchen Schroeder finds helping her students see the value in rereading poems is all about helping them pay close attention to imagery.
Gretchen Schroeder finds just telling her high school class to include textual evidence when making points and arming them with sticky notes leaves many students bewildered. She regroups and comes up with activities to scaffold their understanding of what makes for valid evidence.
Gretchen Schroeder’s high school students are surprised to see a deck of cards on their supply list. The cards are a tool for teaching the vocabulary of tone in creative ways.
Gretchen Schroeder reflects on why some of her students have developed a fear of reading by the time they reach high school.
Gretchen Schroeder finds new routines in her high school workshop means letting go of old expectations.
Gretchen Schroeder struggles to understand the meaning and value of her teaching when two former students overdose and die in separate incidents, and another is indicted on murder charges. These events lead to deep reflection on how teachers can move beyond feelings of sadness, apathy, and envy.
Gretchen Schroeder uses online videos as resources to teach her high school students to appreciate spoken-word poetry and write their own.
Gretchen Schroeder shares a quick exercise she’s developed for her high school students to hone grammar and editing skills using online video resources and individual Chromebooks.
Gretchen Schroeder adapts the popular "Article of the Week" activity with podcasts as an alternative in her high school classroom, and shares some of her favorite podcasts to use with students.
Gretchen Schroeder focuses solely on revision to introductions in her high school classroom with three fun activities to teach students new possibilities for beginnings.
Anadiplosis, tricolon, syntax and such — when Gretchen Schroeder's high school students are stuck in rhetorical ruts, she teaches them some new rhetorical tricks for crafting conclusions.
Gretchen Schroeder finds that any vocabulary routine eventually gets stale in her high school classroom. She shares a couple of favorite options for reinvigorating word learning.
Gretchen Schroeder is frustrated when a novel that has worked well for many years doesn’t appeal to her current high school students. Letting go of it is hard.
Gretchen Schroeder develops a unit on humor writing that engages and delights her high school students.
Gretchen Schroeder winnows many competing demands at the start of the year down to five clear objectives in her high school classroom.
Gretchen Schroeder shares some conversation fixes for when talk goes awry in her high school classroom.
Gretchen Schroeder finds visual essays are a fun option for her high school students to present what they have learned just before Christmas break.
Gretchen Schroeder finds creative ways to pique interest in poetry in her high school classroom.
Gretchen Schroeder finds that tweets are a terrific quick assessment tool for analyzing student understanding of everything from nonfiction texts to character development in classic literature.
Gretchen Schroeder uses the format of the Amazing Race television show to help her high school students master materials for final exams and get moving throughout the school for a fun break.
Gretchen Schroeder makes a case for teaching the sonnet to teenagers in the age of texts and Twitter.
Gretchen Schroeder looks for new ways to help high school students learn words.
Gretchen Schroeder has three strategies for slowing down with her high school students and savoring literacy learning.
Gretchen Schroeder has only 42 minutes with her high school students each day. She explains how she establishes priorities.
Gretchen Schroeder finds the article of the week activity is an excellent vehicle for learning about content literacy gaps in student background knowledge and how to fill them.
Gretchen Schroeder finds one mentor text has many uses as her high school students explore memoir writing.
Gretchen Schroeder melds famous artwork with literacy instruction in her high school classroom.
Gretchen Schroeder finds her high school students are always eager to see the movies related to the novels they are reading in class. Yet it rarely makes sense to show the entire film. She explains how to choose clips judiciously.
Gretchen Schroeder finds the classic dinner party assignment is a fun way for her high school students to explore kindred spirits in literature late in the school year.
Gretchen Schroeder finds group composing is a fun way to build community, writing skills, and understanding of how arguments work with her high school students.
Gretchen Schroeder has suggestions for using short texts and close reading to help students comprehend The Lord of the Flies.
If your goal is to get teens more excited about independent reading, Gretchen Schroeder has suggestions to help.
What conventions can be taught in a way that sticks with older adolescents? Gretchen Schroeder slows down and focuses to improve her instruction.
Gretchen Schroeder ditches the long discussion of rules and procedures with her high school students, and instead gives writing workshop a sweet start.
Gretchen Schroeder concludes her Shakespeare in the Age of the Common Core Series with activities to explore subtext in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Gretchen Schroeder continues her Shakespeare and the Common Core series on teaching the classics in high school, explaining how she uses Hamlet in creative ways to teach close reading strategies.
Gretchen Schroeder launches a three-part series on Shakespeare in the Age of the Common Core. This week’s installment is a fresh take on teaching Macbeth to high school students.
There may be a group of students somewhere less eager to learn than a class of high school seniors during the last weeks of school, but that group would be as tough to locate as Bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster. Gretchen Schroeder discovers a surprising cure for senioritis — modern poetry.
Are your adolescent readers present in body but not necessarily in spirit by springtime? We've featured the "book madness" bracket activity in the past for elementary students. Gretchen Schroeder finds the ranking, competition, and passionate discussion about favorite books is just what her high school students need to get their heads back in the reading game.
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