Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Light up your nonfiction studies this fall with H.G. Bissinger's book - Friday Night Lights.

“I can't wait for high school football to start
'Cause Friday Night Lights will get to play a part.
This is the book that students will cheer
When teachers choose it to begin the school year.”
 (adapted from the song, “I’ve Been Waiting All Day For Sunday Night” sung by Carrie Underwood
and set to the tune "I Hate Myself for Loving You” by Joan Jett.)

Okay, okay, my colleagues. I hear your sighs and know you are rolling your eyes. 

I realize that some of you left your buildings a mere week or two ago.

I realize that most of you are thinking vacation plans and not lesson plans.

I realize that most of you are not ready to witness the zombie-like shuffle of teenagers at 7:20 A.M.

But...but, I know many of you would love to find a page-turning nonfiction read that could roll right into the first literature study of your autumn term. And, I think that when you find a book that will engage your students and match their fall football fervor, you would be very thrilled to obtain some ready to use lessons that would allow you to continue to relax for the rest of your summer.

Friday Night Lights H.G. Bissinger
Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger is the perfect match. Let me explain how my scoffing at a book about high school football turned into 14 years of, "Just say 'Yes! to the book" enthusiasm.

One July Saturday in the late '90's, my husband, Tim, and I were driving through Virginia on a clogged Route 95. We were on our way to Hatteras Island's Kinnakeet Shores, a resort area in North Carolina's Outer Banks.

To keep me from groaning about the lines of traffic, Tim began to enthuse over a book about Texas high school football.  Trying to hook my teacher brain, he explained that this book was not just a paean to football, but was a social commentary on how so many towns allow high school football to dominate their whole lives. The author, H.G. Bissinger chose Permian High School's 1988 football season (Odessa, Texas) to focus his study. 

Friday Night Lights Gender Issues
Tim iterated a list of issues developed in the book, such as the special treatment of athletes, athletics over academics, racism,  gender, class, entitlement, etc.  He offered anecdotes about how the black football players were considered equal on the field but separate off of it, and how some of the girls felt that  their sole purpose was to take care of their football players with gifts of food and  pigskin-themed decorated homes. He regaled me with stories about little kids who wore jerseys with their favorite high school and not pro team player, and how athletes weren't expected to accomplish much at all academically.

Yada, Yada, Yada. I was not impressed and fell asleep.

Friday Night Lights Conflict activity
Fast forward to a week later, our last day on the beach. As I lounged on the deck eyeing the ocean for dolphins, my husband's and son's animated conversation about the book, which my son had devoured in two days, wiggled its way into my attention span. Once again, I soon found myself caught on the Football Express. This time, after just a few pages, instead of wanted to get off, I bought a reading round-trip ticket.

Starting right then, and during the 6-hour drive home the next day, I read. After filling the washer with salt and sand encrusted clothes, I read.  As my husband slept and my dog snored, I read.

By the next day, I had finished H.G. Bissinger's iconic classic and was ready to subscribe to the Odessa American newspaper so I, too, could follow the Permian Panthers football season. 

The first thing Monday morning, I explained my desire to teach this book  to an the local HR manager for a national chain bookstore. She contacted whoever she needed to, and within the hour, I was the ecstatic recipient of two class sets of Friday Night Lights-in softcover. Next, I swung by the high school and begged, pleaded and generally pestered the principal until he gave me the thumbs up to teach it that fall.

Friday Night Lights H.G. Bissinger - Unit Plan
The rest of the summer, I developed my Literature - Friday Night Lights Unit Plan. This complete unit plan includes: Common Core standards which you can easily adapt to your state's benchmarks, the grade level and time frame, assessments, and detailed daily plans as well as writing journal openers, essay topics, chapter by chapter discussion questions, a project, a review sheet and a test. Ten analyzing the elements of literature activities go hand in hand with the lessons and follow Bloom's Taxonomy.

Reading this book along with viewing the movie is sure to generate some terrific analytic discussions.

Make a touchdown with your students this fall and Download this 24-page plan Literature - Friday Night Lights Unit Plan, from 

As the July sun continues to warm your body and relax your soul, immerse yourself in the book that spawned a movie and a television series, and then check out the unit plan. Before you know it, you'll catch Bissinger's football fever and will be singing,

“I can't wait for this fall's school term to start
When Friday Night Lights will win my students' hearts.
This is the book that they will certainly cheer,
'Cause it speaks in such depth to all that they hold dear.”

Enjoy a relaxing summer and a Teach It Now Fall,

Need a FREEBIE review product that continues this football theme?  Try

Comprehension Activity: Score With the Literature Super Bowl.

Comprehension Activity - Literature Review

Monday, June 15, 2015

These 16 dos and 11 don’ts form “Writing? Yes!” classrooms

Finding Forrester DVD cover
In the movie Finding Forrester, Sean Connery’s character, William Forrester, shared his philosophy on writing with Jamal Wallace, who was struggling to create an opening sentence, when he told the young man, “First write from the heart, then from the head”. Those few paraphrased words create, “Writing? Yes!” classrooms. When students write their first drafts, be they for free writing, an assigned essay, or any time they wrestle with extracting thoughts and ideas wedged like impacted wisdom teeth in the crevices of their brains, they need to feel free to share their ideas without judgment.

Although the How Students Say It - word choice, spelling, grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure - is seriously important, it should be secondary to the What They Say.  Unless students feel confident expressing their thoughts, they will never reach the point of understanding or caring about the importance of these skill elements.

To become confident and willing writers, students must consider writing as
  •  a way for them to show ownership of their thoughts, their ideas, and their own unique voices. 
  • a way for them to write from the heart.
  • a way for them to believe in their thoughts and ideas.
To become confident and willing writers, students must never
  • consider the proficiency benchmark as the means and the end to writing lessons.
  • be told, “No that isn’t right,” because their thoughts differ from their teachers' interpretations.
  • feel that finely-honed writing skills are more important than ideas.
To foster confident and willing writers, teachers should instill confidence in their students

  • by explaining that every opportunity they have to express their thoughts and ideas in their pieces, they will learn what works and what doesn’t.
  • by offered a plethora of choices as well as a choose-your-own-topic option for every analytic writing.
  •  by focusing their editing on three to four content and grammar areas only, not every single misplaced comma, misspelled word, etc.
  • by answering questions about the piece length with words such as, “Write until you have fully developed your idea.” Note: a minimum length should be required, but never a maximum. Teachers may address students’ writing verbosity during conferences.

To create a love for writing, teachers should give young people opportunities to write for fun as well as for analysis. When they enjoy writing, students will increase their proficiency, thereby meeting academic benchmarks. Students should
  • create Madlibs.
  • write scripts for favorite TV shows to act ou.
  •  pretend they are on ESPN and prepare, perform and record interviews or sports commentaries.
  •  create song lyrics and write in journals that they are confident will be read by their eyes only.
  • combine drawing and painting with writing by creating storybooks that they share with neighborhood children or at local libraries during book reading times.
  • respond to  open-ended questions about their favorite television shows  or movies to generate a discussion about plot, characters, filming techniques, and casting.
Why talk about a TV program? Because with every conversation, young people are learning how to express their thoughts clearly. They will remember this and use these same techniques when they have to write a critique or an analysis of a literary piece.

This will ward off the Dreaded Literary Demons, too. When academic dialogs evolve from engaging discussions where students and teachers reveal elements that intrigue them or where they feel free to explain why the author’s words move them or how they create word pictures, students will learn how to write with the same passion and technical prowess that they use verbally. They will develop the faith that they can proficiently identify and evaluate, in writing, examples of themes, figurative language, or any other literary facet they may be asked to explain.

To cultivate a love for writing, teachers should not
  • force students to discuss  a topic for which they have virtually no feeling
  •  mandate students to format their thoughts into five paragraphs only
  • order students to copy, “I will not…” sentences in their notebooks  500 times.
  • require students to complete essay quizzes as a penalty for not participating in class discussions or not completing the reading assignments.
  • expect students to face overly-edited papers that make them cringe instead of conjuring up an, “I can do this" attitude in their minds for the next writing mission.
  •  assign essays as a behavior modification technique
  • allow the How Students Say It overpower the What They Say.

Young people must be given a multitude of chances to write from the heart without worrying about being told their ideas are wrong, their writing has no style, or their spelling is atrocious.

Young people must be allowed to feel the flush of excitement when they string plain words into Kodak moment word pictures.

Young people must be allowed to hold onto that love for writing that they had when they were eight- years-old and the thoughts bubbled from the word fountain in their souls so they can open the floodgates to this very same passion when they are eighteen.

While you are generating your own summer Kodak moments, some of which you just might turn into Twitter, Facebook or Instagram word pictures, think about
  • what turned you on to writing, as a student, instead of blowing your desire to write fuse
  • why , as a teacher, you love grading some writing assignments and not others
  • which engaging  ideas that allow students to write from the heart before they  their head steps in, you should add to your writing collection.

Then, when your classes resume, you and your students will exclaim, “Writing?  Yes!”

Happy summer,


For more writing ideas, check out my store category ELA Writing Activities Grades 6-12


Monday, June 1, 2015

Teachers, Parents and Students - for a No-Bummer Summer, Try This Bucket List

Twas the Night Before Summer Vacation
Twas the night school ended, and in all the houses
Not a child was stirring-all alarm clocks were doused.
The backpacks were stored in the closets ‘till Fall
While children slept soundly - no reason to stall.

Moms and Dads tossed in their sheet-rumpled beds
While visions of chaos caromed through their heads.
Facing weeks with no schedules, nor essays to write,
Joey and Jane would probably just sleep, eat and fight.

When from their computers there rose such a clatter,
Parents clicked on the Net to tune into the chatter.
Facebook pages, Twitter and Pinterest flowed
With kudos for a Bucket List they just had to download.

The URL they copied, then they clicked on the link
Hoping for ideas so their worries would shrink.
When what to their grateful eyes did appear, but
A Summer Bucket List with awesome choices to cheer.

The thirteen suggestions would spawn stimulation,
Chasing away boredom which breeds during vacations.
Their kids’ minds and bodies would be active and aware
Even without homework and school lessons to bear.

“We must call the Timms, the Taylors and Turners!
We can’t let this wonder crouch on any back burners.”
Dads grabbed their Smartphones, their fears now abated,
While Moms sent emails and social statuses they’d updated.

As the sun rose announcing a school-free June day,
Refrigerators, world-wide, this List did display.
Not summer assignments, Oh no, not this list,
But propositions to tempt, to engage-not resist.

I offer this Summer Bucket List on TpT for free
To parents, to children, to teachers - what glee!
When asked in the Fall, “What did you do this summer?”
‘Cause of the List, no kid'll reply, “Mine was a bummer.”

(I adapted the format for this from Clement Moore’s Twas the Night Before Christmas.)
Summer Activities grades 4-12
Every summer, parents worry about how to insure that their children will not morph into the Abominable App Creature.
Every summer, kids become bored with sleeping until noon, lounging around and texting their BFFs, and crave some mental and physical stimulation-those not taking classes, working or attending various camps, that is. No, they don’t want summer assignments heaped on them, but they do want to think, to be inspired, to go places and to see people. And they want these experiences to be fun.
Over the years, I have been a teacher, a parent and a child. In all three roles, I endured the same anxiety, concerns and lethargy as summer rolled from one steamy day into the next. I remember all too well tossing around my parents’ bed while my mother ironed the family’s 100% cotton clothes. Bored to tears, I chose to irritate her with my howls of, “I have nothing to do!” And it wasn’t even the end of June, yet!
Although my two children are now grown and I no longer have to deal with the Summer Doldrums, I do have two granddaughters - ages 8 and 11- who visit me often, so I always need ideas to make our time together fun. And although I have retired from teaching, I will never turn my back on learning- no matter the season.
That’s why I created A Summer Bucket List. This FREE product offers young people from 6-16 opportunities to think, to sing, to write, to be physically active, to read, to use basic math skills, to experiment, to get involved in their communities and much more, but without the constrictions and restrictions of school. They choose, they do and they have fun. Check it out and maybe tape it to the fridge…just don’t tell your children that they will be practicing comprehension, computing, critical thinking and writing skills that they associate with school. Leave that to their teachers next fall.
Download this Free list of activities from 
Have a relaxing, restful and rejuvenating summer. You all deserve it!
connie's My Side of the Desk
ELA Teachers- Yes, I took a May vacation, but I am back at least once a week with musings, ideas and lessons on everything teaching from my side of the desk. Come on back-often.

Happy Summer,


Monday, May 4, 2015

A Task Card Basket Blooming with Reading, Vocabulary/Writing and Punctuation Activities

December, March and May can be the three toughest months to reel in students’ attention due to the Too Little and Too Much Flu. The main symptoms of this illness are: Too Little desire to learn, Too Little concentration and Too Much lethargy.

In May, though, another ingredient-Too Much testing crowns this month as the most frustrating for teachers.  Between A.P. and state Standards of Learning exams, students’ class attendance is spotty, and their desire to participate in lessons and activities has been sapped by preparing for Multiple Choice tests and writing to a prompt.

Lesson plan continuity endures a major blow although teachers still want and need to teach and students still need to add to their learning homes.

These three sets of Task Cards will alleviate teachers’ frustration and stress while reviving students’ motivation, concentration and attention and creating strong foundations of learning. 

Reading Comprehension - Literature Task Cards
Reading Comprehension - Literature Task Cards
With this set of Elements of Literature Task Cards, Middle School and High School students will reinforce, review and develop their understanding of a text any time that they need to work on expanding their comprehension/higher thinking skills and /or writing aptitudes.

Each element of literature: Plot/Conflict, Character, Setting, Theme, Symbols, Tone and Point of View as well as a set titled, My Insights, is represented by color-coded task cards that reveal questions which address: Understanding/Remembering, Applying Knowledge, Analyzing Ideas, Evaluating Situations and Characters' Actions. Students will also compose original pieces based on the text(s) that they are reading.

Vocabulary - FOR THE LOVE OF WORDS! Task Cards
Vocabulary - FOR THE LOVE OF WORDS! Task Cards
Middle School and High School students need to gather words that showcase their verbal and written language instead of relying on texting abbreviations to speak for them. When they understand the nuances of word meanings and usage besides just memorizing them, they will score higher on SAT and other standardized tests. Most importantly, they will be able to clearly communicate their thoughts, ideas and beliefs, and will comprehend what they read and what other people write and say.

FOR THE LOVE OF WORDS! is an 11-page Task Card vocabulary study with 32 individual, pairs, small group and whole class activities. These activities engage students' curiosity, and this inquisitiveness sparks learning because they are motivated  to own the words and not borrow them for a test.

Grammar - PUNCTUATION RULES! Task Cards & Activities
Grammar - PUNCTUATION RULES! Task Cards & Activities
Between Tweets, Facebook status updates, Pinning,Texting and various other sites limiting characters, students are forgetting how to properly punctuate their longer writing pieces. PUNCTUATION RULES! Task Cards & Activities, enable Middle School and High School students to improve their Language and Writing knowledge and skills.

This 20-page packet includes
~detailed Teacher Notes
~Rules for End Mark Insight, Comma Sense, Colon/Semi-Colon Credibility, Quotation Mark Quality, and Grasping Apostrophes and Dashes
~8 Task Cards for each of these 5 categories
~1 Task Cards-Punctuation Review Activity with a Part 2 Writing segment
~Answer Keys for all Task Cards
~2 Alternative Activities: Fill-It-In! a MadLib-type of challenge- with an Answer Key, and Proofreading Pride- a Three-Step Correction Format for students to use with any graded and non-graded writing piece- with specific directions.

All three of these Task Card sets are aligned with Common Core Standards and Bloom’s Taxonomy.
Most importantly, since they are beneficial for individual, small group or whole class study and discussion, for in-class writing and for homework, these task cards are the perfect antidote to the Too Little and Too Much Flu.

* These Task Card sets and all of my products are on sale at 20% off during The TpT Teacher Appreciation Days Sale- May 5th and 6th.

TpT Teacher Appreciation Days Sale- May 5th and 6th

Enjoy a Teach It Now Day - every day.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Make the Most of May with this Independent Novel Study Plan

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!
These lessons students want to complete
When the crazy testing schedules of May
Cause learning to take a back seat.
(Thanks to Lewis Carroll for his Jabberwocky inspiration)

Between  A.P. exams and the state standards of learning tests, May is a crazy month to teach. In my three decades teaching at the secondary level, every day anywhere from three-fifteen students missed English class due to the testing schedule. Plus, my colleagues and I had to monitor tests during our "Free" periods. Keeping teenagers inspired and the learning momentum smooth while maintaining my sanity made this month of May not so very merry.

Reaing Comprehension - Making The Most of May
Before I created Making the Most of May, trying to teach that one final required novel unit before the school year ended, while making sure that all of the students were up-to-date with their class work, was nearly impossible. 

I likened it to putting a straw hat upside down on the floor, tossing 25 balls in the air and waiting to see which ones made it into the hat without my being clobbered.

With this independent study plan, though, students are responsible for completing the assignments and projects and for being prepared with the work that they have finished for the mini-conferences. This enables them to be the leaders of their learning while the teacher takes an advisory roll.

The lessons and activities included in this packet ensure that the learning doesn't stop just because test review and reinforcement is done. Plus, students not only know that their fourth quarter grade is dependent on their work, but also they truly are engaged and inspired because they chose what to read and what assignments to complete.

The flexible plan takes absences due to testing into consideration, too, since students choose the novel that they will study, and they also create a daily reading and writing calendar that coincides with their scheduled exams and the teacher’s due dates. This creates a learning environment that engages students and promotes responsibility.  

To begin, teachers have two options. They may select six to eight grade-level novels from the book room for students to choose to read - up tp 4 students may opt to read the same book, or students may choose a book that meets the teacher's length and genre requirements. 

Once this aspect of the unit is completed, students will set their reading and activity completion schedules.The required activities included in the packet are:

  1. General Novel Packet with four aspects: Book Notes, Plot Diagram, Memorable Quotes and Theme worksheets
  2. Full-length Projects or Essays 
  3. Group Project: Threads-Making Connections.

Making the Most of May p.6
Making the Most of May p.9
Making ther Most of May p.4
Making the Most of May p.5

Every day the students will either 

  • read for half of the period, or 
  • work on their packets for half of the period.

The second half of the period, they will

  • participate in a whole class writing session, concentrating on a facet of writing, or 
  • discuss various aspects of their chosen novels with peers. 
NOTE: Each student in the group should be reading a different novel. Members take notes on the discussions. These will enable them to complete the Threads-Making Connections activity.

By managing their class time wisely, students will only have to complete any typing they had previously begun, and compile the required activities at home right before the final packets are due. They should bind all of the components together in some way - a folder with pockets is best.

Teaching time won’t be interrupted and chaotic because of testing when teachers choose this unit plan as their May learning keystone.  Its effectiveness stems from dual factors

  • students hold the ownership for what they are learning, and 
  • when they are learning. 

Teachers do need to 

  • specify minimum length, genre and anything else they deem necessary for their charges.
  • mentor students’ progress with mini-conferences where students bring their partially completed required work to discuss.
And you, my teacher friends, will appreciate the fact that your students are challenging themselves mentally as they increase their reading comprehension, their critical thinking and their writing skills with substantive activities and no loss of learning continuity.

Making the Most of May, which is aligned with Common Core Standards and Bloom's Raxonomy, includes detailed Teacher Notes and a Project Grading Rubric.

Download Making the Most of May from ($), and

Enjoy a month of Teach It Now days,

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Secondary Smorgasbord - "What's Growin' in My Classroom"

April Secondary Smorgasbord

When faced with that proverbial piece of blank white paper- whether in a notebook, on a computer screen or rolled into my old Underwood Olivetti typewriter- my brain’s creative center teeters on the edge of the PITS – Profoundly Impacted Thoughts Syndrome.

A gasp or two rushes through my lips, my heart performs an arrhythmia jig and my brain clogs with cold, lumpy oatmeal.  It does not matter if the first page is fully inscribed on my mind’s walls, immediately before I type a quick an email, or creating a blog post, a lesson plan or a book.  All of the words stored in my brain’s Vocabulary Repository freeze the nanosecond I settle in to write, leaving me with no creative teeth, no fresh ideas-but just white noise buzzing around my brain.

Every. Single. Time.

The roots of impacted wisdom teeth wrap around the jawbone and scream at the dentist, “I refuse to let go!” The stalks that form PITS do the same thing in the brain. After entangling their stems in the Frontal Lobe, they insinuate themselves in every crevice of the Temporal and Parietal Lobes, squeezing out the energy, emotion and essence from each and every ingenious and imaginative, or mundane thought.

And Great Googly Moogly- I am not alone with my apprehension of the blank white page. Many writers also forge strategies to keep their writing fresh and to avoid tumbling into the PITS. (All of these quotes are from

John Updike faced the blank page by letting loose his imagination, “Each morning my characters greet me with misty faces willing, though chilled, to muster for another day's progress through the dazzling quicksand the marsh of blank paper.

Jodi Picoult revealed the power of revision when she said, “You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can't edit a blank page,”

Vladimir Nabokov welcomed the challenge of the blank page issue when he shared, “The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible.

Students often feel an onset of brain freeze when they face a blank sheet of paper, knowing that no matter how great or small the number, they have to come up with Every. Single. Word. And this may be the pits because it could lead to one of the major effects of PITS - Writing Phobia.

Everyone has anxieties when it comes to writing. For me it does not matter whether I am creating a two-page activity, a 350-page romantic comedy, a 176-page teachers’ program, or an email apology to my sister-the challenge to use my words to say what I truly feel- to paint word pictures- is daunting.

“Like anyone who has to record their words on paper or type them into a computer,” I explain to my students, “I am also subject to tremors when I wonder how others will receive and perceive my writing. But my biggest phobia coils around one concern- finding the confidence in my skills and abilities to use my words to clearly reveal my thoughts.” After they hear that even their teacher has to squash some writing fears, they are willing to face theirs.

The key for all writers is to avoid Writing Phobia and not fall into the PITS.  Like Updike, Picoult and Nabokov, when they steer clear of this menace, their writing will blossom. 
Following this same thought, no matter the season, classrooms that are garden-fresh, blooming with crisp thinking and energetic writing fortified with vigorous thought will banish the PITS!

Thanks to Pamela Kranz-
Desktop Learning Adventures!
and Darlene Anne Curran- for this April-fresh Secondary Smorgasbord.

And a special thank you to Pamela for suggesting that I write about the PITS during a Facebook chat. Because of her encouragement, the PITS never chewed up and swallowed my words.

Check out What's Growin' in My Classroom garden.

Writing Warmup Activities: Creative Writing - Mental Stretches ($1.50)

Enjoy a Teach It Now Day, every day,

Monday, April 6, 2015

Three ELA Activities that Nurture Students' Writing Gardens

To paraphrase an old adage, "Spring has sprung, the grass is riz, it's time for students writing to fizz!" These three lessons, each with more than one activity, offer endless possibilities for middle and high school students to blow away the doldrums that entangled their brains during winter's dullness.

Writing: Write Right! Time for Spring Cleaning
In Writing: Write Right! Time for Spring Cleaning, students have the opportunity to

  • expel the roadblocks that stymie their chances for writing success before they can mine their hearts and minds for ideas where they can incorporate sensory imagery with the Writing Hang-Ups activity,
  • mine their hearts and minds for the ideas and the emotions that they want to express with the Airing Out Musty Memories activity, and to
  • choose the sensory imagery that will help them to accomplish their writing goal with Making Sense out of Scents.

Students may use these activities to sweep away the cobwebs that have clogged their creative endeavors.  Now, their analytic and creative writing pieces will blossom. As for these tasks where students had to spring clean their writing homes to erase fears, to find ideas and to allow the sense of smell to permeate their pieces? Consider them done.

Download these three Common Core and Bloom’s Taxonomy aligned activities that come with detailed Teacher Notes from  for $2.00.

Poetry Activity: April Excursions-Poetry in Motion
April, National Poetry Month, is the perfect time for teachers and students to take an excursion on the Lesson-Up Express.  Poetry Activity: April Excursions-Poetry in Motion offers two tickets:

Option 1- A Literary Connections Tour
This ticket offers students the chance to find poems, poets and lyrics that fit the themes of any novel or narrative non-fiction book that they are studying.  To complete this trip, students will work individually or in teacher-chosen groups to analyze a poem (teacher or student selected).  See the Teacher Notes for finding poems that connect with story themes.

Stops on this tour include:
A. Atmosphere Alley
B. Poetry Junction
C. Imagery Island
D. Theme Mountain
E.  Project Pass: On this final leg of this tour, students must prepare the final draft that includes the analytic results of each of their stops on the tour in a poster or in a travel brochure format.


Option 2- A Poetry Camp Trip
If students choose this ticket, they will create five original poems from the types written on the tree branches on the cover of this offering and/or types they choose with the teacher’s approval. After they have composed the poems, they will put them in a literary magazine that they created, and will illustrate  each one with original or found images.

Activity 3- Poetry Performance Buffet is Required
All students will present either the results of their Literary Connections Tour or two poems from their Poetry Camp Trip at the Poetry Performance Buffet at the end of the month. See the download for complete details on how to manage this aspect of the project.

This packet also includes Teacher Notes and is aligned with Common Core Standards and the Bloom's Taxonomy thinking skills.  The last page reveals tickets to the Poetry Performance Buffet.

With this packet, April will be the Coolest, not the cruelest month. Download it from for $3.00.

Reading Comprehension - Writing About Reading
Finally, to strengthen the roots of students' comprehension and writing skills, check out  Reading Comprehension - Writing About Reading.  Teachers can never have too many ideas for secondary students to explore when their brain isn't sparking any thoughts, or when we want them to write to a prompt.

This packet,Writing About Reading, offers teachers two new activities
1. Quotation Journals: What did the character say?  What did the character mean? (Note: this is terrific for nonfiction pieces as students can explore the author's point of view, tone, etc.), and
2. Writing Journal Topics (30 writing ideas).

As always, a Teacher Notes page details the Common Core Standards and Bloom's Taxonomy objectives that apply to this packet. Download it from for $2.00.

When students have the chance to read text, to write about it and then to speak about what they wrote, they will remember so much more about what they are studying. At the same time, they will add depth to their comprehension, writing and thinking skills.

These eight lessons which offer almost a complete 9-innings, coincide with another Spring rite-the start of Major League Baseball.  Teachers, here is your triple play! Have a powerful  teaching season.

Enjoy a Teach It Now day every day,