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Key Elements of Short Stories

Gretchen Schroeder finds her students’ enthusiasm for writing short stories flags quickly without some instruction and guidance.

Writer’s Notebook Tweaks

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.

Reading Bingo

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.

The Power of Similes

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.

The Third (or More) Time Is the Charm

Gretchen Schroeder finds helping her students see the value in rereading poems is all about helping them pay close attention to imagery.

Hunting for Textual Evidence

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.

Teaching Tone: Deal Me In

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.

Fear of Reading

Gretchen Schroeder reflects on why some of her students have developed a fear of reading by the time they reach high school.

When One Door Closes

Gretchen Schroeder finds new routines in her high school workshop means letting go of old expectations.

Flipping Negative Teacher Emotions

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.

 

Spoken Word Poetry

Gretchen Schroeder uses online videos as resources to teach her high school students to appreciate spoken-word poetry and write their own.

Choose Your Own Grammar Adventure

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.

Using Podcasts as an Alternative to Article of the Week

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.

Focused Revision: Introductions

Gretchen Schroeder focuses solely on revision to introductions in her high school classroom with three fun activities to teach students new possibilities for beginnings.

Writing Effective Conclusions

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.

Quick Vocabulary Practice and Assessment

Gretchen Schroeder finds any vocabulary routine eventually gets stale in her high school classroom. She shares a couple of favorite options for reinvigorating word learning.

When a Book Doesn’t Work

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.

Humor Writing with Teens

Gretchen Schroeder develops a unit on humor writing that engages and delights her high school students.

My Five Objectives for the Start of the School Year

Gretchen Schroeder winnows many competing demands at the start of the year down to five clear objectives in her high school classroom.

Small Solutions for Big Problems with Classroom Discussions

Gretchen Schroeder shares some conversation fixes for when talk goes awry in her high school classroom.

Visual Essays

Gretchen Schroeder finds visual essays are a fun option for her high school students to present what they have learned just before Christmas break.

Random Poetry

Gretchen Schroeder finds creative ways to pique interest in poetry in her high school classroom.

Tweets in the 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.

Amazing Race

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.

The Case for the Sonnet

Gretchen Schroeder makes a case for teaching the sonnet to teenagers in the age of texts and Twitter.

Vocabulary Instruction: Where to Start?

Gretchen Schroeder looks for new ways to help high school students learn words.

Slow Down

Gretchen Schroeder has three strategies for slowing down with her high school students and savoring literacy learning.

Time for What Matters

Gretchen Schroeder has only 42 minutes with her high school students each day. She explains how she establishes priorities.

Extended Inquiry with Article of the Week

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.

Mentor Texts and Memoir Writing

Gretchen Schroeder finds one mentor text has many uses as her high school students explore memoir writing.

Reading Pictures in High School

Gretchen Schroeder melds famous artwork with literacy instruction in her high school classroom.

“Are We Gonna Watch the Movie?”

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.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

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.

Group Composing

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.

Using Lord of the Flies to Teach Argument

Gretchen Schroeder has suggestions for using short texts and close reading to help students comprehend The Lord of the Flies.

How to Get a Book to Catch Fire

If your goal is to get teens more excited about independent reading, Gretchen Schroeder has suggestions to help.

Rethinking Grammar Instruction in High School

What conventions can be taught in a way that sticks with older adolescents? Gretchen Schroeder slows down and focuses to improve her instruction.

Candy Memoirs

Gretchen Schroeder ditches the long discussion of rules and procedures with her high school students, and instead gives writing workshop a sweet start.

Act III: Exploring Subtext with A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare and the Common Core Series)

Gretchen Schroeder concludes her Shakespeare in the Age of the Common Core Series with activities to explore subtext in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Act II: Understanding Hamlet Through Close Reading (Shakespeare and the Common Core Series)

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.

Act I: Delving into Deep Questions with Macbeth (Shakespeare and the Common Core Series)

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.

The Cure for Senioritis? Poetry!

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.

Madness, the Spring Slump, and High School Readers

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.

Appointment Clocks

Gretchen Schroeder uses “appointment clocks” to ensure her students meet with a variety of peers for partner work.

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