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,