FREE Activities

Check out all of the FREE ELA activities on this page.  You can download them from my TpT store under the Freebies link. I add more each week, so keep coming back to browse.

Happy Teaching!

Activity: Writing: Reel in Readers with Magnetizing Hooks
Middle and High School Writing Lesson
Students must learn to reel in readers with alluring hooks that grab the readers' interest. In this FREEBIE activity, teachers prepare mini-lessons on writing hooks. My blog: details ideas for how,when and why teachers should offer mini-lessons on writing interest-catching hooks. Types of Hooks and Choosing the Right Words, both with examples, are two of the topics that are addressed. This activity is an engaging way to lure students into wanting to write and to keep them writing. Isn't it time for a Write Now Moment in your classroom?

Activity: Picture This! Zooming in on Character
Middle School and High School Elements of Literature LessonIn this 4-page FREE product, students will work on revealing the external (physical) and internal (personality, beliefs, motivations, intelligence, emotions, etc.) aspects of a character from the story under study. For the first one, Fleshing Out the Character, they will cite details in the story, write them on slips of paper and glue them to the blank head on the handout to form a body. For the second one, Tee-Shirts: They Represent, students will design a tee-shirt to wear on the teacher-designated day. Along with this, they will write a paragraph explaining their design choice. On the designated day, the students will wear their tee-shirts and adhere their Fleshing Out the Character quote portrayals to the bulletin board. A group picture of the students sporting their character tees will add to the bulletin board.

This activity appeals to all students on some level as it involves written work, analytic thinking and reasoning skills, and artistic creativity.
First Day Writing Assignment
Middle School and High School First Day Writing AssignmentSince writing is an integral part of my teaching, I like to obtain an idea of each student's writing skills the very first day of school in September. Once we review the Syllabus for the class, I give students this assignment. Not only does it help me to gauge how to focus the writing elements we will need to cover, but it also serves as a smooth transition for the students from the summer break to the new school year.I also like how this assignment gets the students thinking in an analytic manner, as the ability to think and analyze is another basic element of my teaching.

Language Arts Activity: Oh, What a Character!
Middle School and High School Elements of Literature Lesson
Here is a freebie product for students to explore character. For this activity, they must employ their critical, and analytic higher-level thinking skills so they can see below the character's surface to the richer, deeper person who lies under their skin, behind their public faces and in their souls.This four-page activity includes a Teacher Notes page that includes the Common Core Standards and Bloom's Taxonomy points that are addressed in this activity as well as the Who, What, When, Why and How aspects teachers need to lead this lesson.A full explanation for teaching this worksheet can be found on my blog:

Language Arts Comprehension Check: Ten-Sentence Format
Middle School and High School Expository Writing Paragraph Format Lesson   Should educators tweet, "Good Bye" to proper paragraphs? Are these backbones of formal and informal writing becoming an endangered specie? Do students need to reinforce their basic understanding of the elements of a good paragraph in order to write and develop more in-depth essays? Do students need to learn how to write about the literature that they are reading? This Ten Sentence Format will accomplish all of that. It is perfect for clarifying and reinforcing the parts of an essay, for using as an announced or unannounced quiz when teachers of students grades 6-12 wish to check reading and writing comprehension and for general writing practice or warm-ups. It reviews and reinforces the basic structure of a paragraph: Introduction (Hook, overview, Thesis statement), Body (Main Idea, supporting details), and Conclusion (Concluding statement, last thought{I call this a kicker, as the last statement should end with a bang and not a whimper}). Once students master this concept, they can easily be shown how the Main Idea paragraphs can be detailed and developed into more paragraphs to create a complete essay.

This product forms a part of the Writing Module in my book, The House of Comprehension. I am offering it here as a Free Sample Lesson so you can see the quality of the material in The House of Comprehension. Teachers who want to show their students how to build strong houses of comprehension can find 40 more activities like this in the book. Check it out on www, or on, or click on the picture of the red and yellow house in the left sidebar on this blog's Home page. Download thhis FREEBIE from:

Writing: Exit Pass
Writing: Exit Pass
This Exit Pass offers teachers a way to end the Student Shuffle that occurs when students start to cram books and papers into their backpacks when a few minutes still exist in the period. In the last five minutes, require them to fill out this simple form where they jot down three ideas, thoughts or concepts that they will carry with them. In June, they will have a record of their year and their thoughts on the lessons they learned and in which they participated. This is designed for the 7th-12th grade levels, but can be modified to fit elementary age students. I also use this in my creative writing and journalism electives. It's a great closure technique for any level and any field of study.

Printables: A Summer Bucket List
This handout insures that children will keep their minds and bodies active and alert during their summer vacation. The plus is- they won't feel like they are completing an assignment or doing a task related to school while they keep their comprehension and their analytic and creative thinking and writing skills fresh. Although this list is best suited for children in grades 5-12, third and fourth graders will find activities that fit their abilities and skill levels, too. Many 6-10 year olds I know blow me away with their ability to text, use a
Middle School and High School Summer Activities
computer or a digital or Smartphone camera, play an instrument and cook, so they will find a number of suggestions to choose from. Ideas 8, 10 and 11 are more fitted to older children, though. Idea 13 is great for kids in grades 1-8. Using simple household supplies they can have fun with science experiments while learning chemistry, biology, physics and much more. Some parental guidance will probably be necessary with the younger kids. Tell the children and parents about this terrific book to use: The Everything Kids Science Experiments Book by Tom Robinson for $8.95 ($6.12 Kindle edition). They don't have to spend money on a book unless they want to, though. They can probably find similar books at the library. Best of all, they will find activities on-line using the search terms: kids science experiments.Be sure to give the handout to students in June. They will have a lot to show and talk about in September when their next year's teachers ask, "What did you do this summer?"

Activity: In Honor of Soldiers-Every One: A Veteran's or Memorial Day Project
Memorial Day and/or Veteran's Day Activity
This is a FREE activity to honor and remember all military personnel who died in battle (Memorial Day), and all men and women, living or deceased who served in the military (Veteran’s Day). Students select a book to read from the list provided, or one that they choose. After they read the book, they complete two projects: one more visual, and the second where they write a letter to an active duty soldier (websites are given for addresses). Teachers can also use the activities in this posting if they are reading a military-based book as a class (example: All Quiet on the Western Front-Remarque, The Red Badge of Courage-Crane, or The Things They Carried- O'Brien).

Printables: Grammar Grapplers: Activities and Assessments
Middle School and High School Grammar Lessons and Activities
Just the mere mention of the word grammar causes students’ eyes to glaze over and English teachers to argue methodology. I feel that students need to see the connection with the “what they say” and the “how they say it” aspects of their writing. Combined with my philosophy that learning can be fun, I attempt to eradicate the consternation associated with the study of the English language. The study of the concept in question continues with as much student involvement as time allows, utilizing both small and large group instruction. The FREE 36 pages of worksheets, tests and answer keys in Grammar Grapplers: Activities and Assessments are by no means conclusive, but are a sampling of how form and function can combine to increase students’ understanding of English usage.

Customizing Character Writing Warm-ups

Middle School and High School Writing Warm-upsThis FREEBIE activity offers five writing Warm-Up topics on developing original characters. Students will SHOW (not Tell) characters that they create by delving into each person's physical traits as well as his/her personality, emotions, thoughts, beliefs, etc. The two main objectives for students in this Common Core and Bloom's Taxonomy aligned activity are:
1. Show not Tell when writing, and
2. Make focused and specific word choices instead of vague, general selections.

Teachers may also use the five topic ideas for students to analyze the characters in stories that they study in class. If none of the descriptive nouns/adjectives in Topics #1, 2, and 4 fit the characters student are analyzing, they can use a thesaurus or dictionary to make new selections. In topics #3 and 5, students will need to stretch their thinking to choose information that shows the character in the story.

Activity: CarryOn!
Activity: CarryOn!
Other than hairstyle, few items show more about a character than the clothes someone chooses to wear and his/her accessories. This FREE Common Core and Bloom's Taxonomy aligned activity not only focuses on the type of purse/attaché case/tote/ backpack, etc. that a character would choose, but also the items he/she would keep in it.

After brainstorming what type of accessory celebrities would choose, as well as what items to store in it, students will do the same for their teacher-assigned character.

Note: This makes a terrific end of the year activity with students choosing a character from any of the literature that they have read this school term.

For either of these activities, it doesn't matter if a character is assigned or chosen more than once. In fact, the explanations students write for repeat character choices will really show students' interpretive, analytic and critical thinking skill levels.

This plan includes detailed Teacher Notes, and is a terrific way for students to show their understanding of a character's personality, values, and interests.

Activity: Nonfiction Reading and Writing Analysis
Middle School and High School Analyzing Non-Fiction Lesson
Although all programs of study require core whole-class nonfiction readings, as often as possible, students should choose nonfiction informational reading that hooks their personal interest. The kids will be more inclined to want to read a topic of their choice (ownership) which will lead to the desire to express their thoughts and interpretations clearly and coherently. Their reading and writing proficiencies will blossom and solidify. This is a win-win teaching/learning idea for teachers and students.

This FREE 8-page product offers:
1. Almost 2-pages of Teacher Notes and teaching suggestions.
2. A Student Directions page that lists Types of Articles as well as Types of Newspapers, Magazines, Online article sources and Texts.
3. A detailed analysis worksheet for note-taking
4. A Ten Sentence format page so students can write a summary of the article using information from their notes, and
5. A format for students to expand their writing proficiency by turning a summary into a full-length essay.

This FREE Common Core and Bloom's Taxonomy aligned activity should be used with any core nonfiction reading as well as for raising reading comprehension thinking and writing skills proficiencies.

Elements of Literature PowerPoint 
Middle School and High School Elements of Literature PowerPointThis FREE ten slide presentation enables teachers to help students to analyze literature in depth. Each slide offers a visual lesson for Setting, Characters, Plot, Conflict, The World the Author Creates, Theme, Symbols, Tone and Literary Terms.

This presentation can be shown as an overview or reinforcement before analyzing a short story, a novel, narrative non-fiction, or as each element is introduced. I use this in English classes as well as Creative Writing classes when students are writing fiction.

By using this presentation in conjunction with any literature study, teachers are ensuring that students are building strong houses of comprehension. This slide presentation addresses the Common Core Anchor Standards for Literature (R1, 2,3, 5, 6 and 10) and Bloom's Taxonomy's Remember/Understand, Apply, Analyze and Evaluate thinking skills.

Activity: Write Right-Great Beginnings!
This FREE Great Beginnings! activity follows the same premise that Sean Connery's character- William Forrester-used in the movie "Finding Forrester" when he grabbed one of his writing folders and gave it to his protégé, Jamal Wallace. He told Jamal to choose one piece and use it to start his piece, continuing to copy Forrester's writing until his (Jamal's) own thoughts began to flow and the writing became his own.

Middle School and High School Writing Development
In this activity, students choose one of twenty-five first paragraphs from a variety of published authors, type or write it on their own papers and then create a complete story from that point on. They may just use the author's idea from the hook that they chose and totally change the setting, characters and any other information, or they can use the paragraph verbatim. In either case, they should include a parenthetical citation at the end of the paragraph that they used, before they continue their story, in their own words.

You choose the minimum length (I suggest 1500 words at the very least) and the maximum. I never gave a maximum, but told students to, "Write until you have finished saying what you need to say." The time frame depends on what else you are covering in class, how much of the class period that you want students to spend on this assignment after the first day, and any other parameters that you need to consider.

Along with the twenty-five Story Starts, students will fill out a 12- point Story Notes sheet to help guide them through their writing and to help them learn how to use each element of literature. Teachers receive a full page of Teacher Notes with the necessary Common Core and Bloom's Taxonomy standards and the who, what, when, why and How for the lesson.

With Great Beginnings! students will expand their understanding of the elements of literature from the an author's point of view instead of only the readers' point of view. This knowledge will help them add depth to their reading comprehension and creative and narrative writing skills.
Activity: Tell Me a Story
Middle School and High School Writing Lesson
This FREE activity enables students to develop both their analytic and creative skills. First, the students review a list of 12 qualities of Strong Fiction and analyze their personal examples for each of the various criteria.Next, they write examples of Specific Characters, General Objects, Specific Objects, Adjectives, Abstract Nouns and Setting on 3' x5' pieces of construction paper color-coded to match the topics. Finally, they select the basic bones of their story from the cards the class made in the prior segment of this activity and then they write either an individual story or a collaborative piece in groups of three. Whichever writing idea teachers don't select can be used for another lesson at a later date.

Activity: Mental Picture Moment-Make Every Word Count

Middle School and High School Vocabulary Lesson and Activity: word choiceWriting that includes generalities instead of be-Be-BEING Specific bugs me. That's why I created this activity based on bugs- a cockroach- to be exact. Students don't know this, though.

I copied the poem, "Roaches", by Peter Wild, replacing specific nouns, strong adjectives and vivid verbs with weak, bland words. I titled the poem, "Bugs". Students are to rewrite the poem turning my foggy word picture into a one as sensory-explosive as the original, or even more captivating. Because they won't see Peter Wild's poem until they have finished theirs, they will need to stretch their ability to create word pictures as much as they can.

Bulletin Boards with Brain Brawn
Middle School and High School Bulletin Boards
Creating bulletin boards for secondary classes that are visually eye-catching, mentally stimulating and that build on the concepts promoted in the grade level’s Program of Studies can be difficult. The key is to create eye candy with mental... muscle while showcasing existing lesson concepts through completed student work. This FREE product can make the topic and design a breeze.

Activities for Analyzing Character: Getting to Know Them...Getting to Know Me
Middle School and High School Reading Analysis LessonsELA Teachers: you have completed the myriad list of Must Dos that accompany every first week of school. Now you need a few go to activities for exploring the elements of literature, in this case-Character.

These engaging FREE activities will hook students into reading and writing about the first text that they will study. The two activities will check off two of your, "Need to Do" boxes. Not only will they engage students in their character exploration of the people they meet in their reading, but they will also allow your charges to reveal their own personalities and thoughts.

This is a great way for young people to turn their private "The Me You Don't Know" traits and thoughts into their "The Me I Want You to Know" word pictures that they are willing to share publically.

ELA Activities and Assessments: Novel Necessities
Middle School and High School ELA Activities and AssessmentsTeachers have many demands on them. Sometimes a few warm-ups for a novel, or a generic list of projects that will fit any text will spark a, “Phew! I needed that!” respite during a stressful day. 

Many school districts require the re-testing of students who earn less than a D on an assessment until they show comprehension mastery. In these cases, an extra, ready-to-print test will serve the purpose. The three tests in this packet can be used as the main novel assessment or as an alternative one. 

The material in these activities offers teachers a variety of uses. For instance, teachers can choose to use the Warm-Up topics for the specified unit as: warm-ups, for a quick short answer quiz or as a full-length essay. The Individual Novel Projects may be applied to any book-fiction or narrative non-fiction. A few can be adjusted to become group projects, too. For the Othello Projects, by deleting the names of the characters in Othello and inserting those of the protagonist, antagonist or any other person from another text, teachers have ten more project ideas to add to their repertoires.

Activity: Tying it All together
Middle School and High School Reviewing the Elements of Literature
Stories must build durable structures, be they short pieces or novels.To do so, authors use the elements of literature for the framing, the finish work and the decorations. Each student's level of knowledge forms his/her understanding and creates this person's own house of comprehension.

This FREE 10-page activity offers teachers 8 activities: one each for Character, Plot, Conflict, Setting, Theme, Symbols, Point of View and Closure. Each activity supports Common Core Standards. Depending on each student's skill, ability and understanding level, teachers may choose to have their charges complete one, some, or all of the activities. When all are completed, students will advance their understanding of each aspect of Bloom's Taxonomy: Remember/Understand, Apply, Analyze, Evaluate and Create. This enables them to develop their higher level thinking skills, a crucial aspect of learning.

Because the activities are open-ended, teachers can have students who need reinforcement in any of the areas complete any of them after the assessment, or in future literature studies.

Understanding how the elements of literature create resilient structures empowers students to build sturdy academic homes.

Activity: Score With the Literature Super Bowl
Middle School and High School Super Bowl Reading Review Activity
I am offering it because I absolutely love how it engages and energizes students to review the novel or narrative nonfiction book that they have been studying. This comprehension analysis activity not only checks students’ understanding of facts, ideas and details, but it also assesses their analytic and interpretive comprehension, ergo, it develops their higher level thinking skills. 

The Teacher's Notes in Score With the Literature Super Bowl include specific directions for creating and playing the game, as well as all game pieces-football cards for the point values and questions, a spinner, and a score sheet. 

With this teamed activity, students will quit playing their off-task Desktop Football with that folded triangular paper football that they flick toward their index finger goal posts. Instead, they will be singing,

“I've been waiting all week for this review 
The tough get rough when they’ve gotta’ clue. 
The last one standing gets an A for the game 
After this day you’ll remember my name.”
Download it from:

Language Arts Activity - "Taking a Break"
Middle School and High SchoolLanguage Arts Activity
This free activity is great for an end of the year recap to assess the students' comprehension, understanding and analytic skills of the material that they read, or for any time during the year prior to a vacation. For this activity, students are going on a dream vacation. To keep them company on this trip, they ask three characters from books that they have read for school assignments that year to go on the trip with them. Who will they take? Why them? Where will they go? How will these people help them have a perfect trip? They are to answer these questions as they relate vacation plans.
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Activity: Think It and Link It
Activity: Think It and Link It cover
Educators are always searching for engaging, sound and practical activities to check their students' levels of comprehension-the Key ability behind any learning, no matter the subject area. Here is a Common Core and Bloom's Taxonomy aligned FREE activity for ELA teachers. Through this activity, students show their understanding of a reading assignment by listing their thoughts, opinions and comments for three categories: Observations, Wonderings and Connections.

Students will write literal and inferential comprehension statements, ask questions about textual issues or vocabulary that caused them confusion, and will connect content with examples from television, movies, theater, music and art that share the same experiences, thoughts and feelings the author revealed. This activity allows students to exhibit their understanding of all aspects of the elements of literature as well as their grasp of analytic and critical-thinking skills. 
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Language Arts Activity - "Predicting Outcomes"

Middle School and High School Language Arts Activity
All people, real and fictional, have experienced the WouldaShouldaCoulda dilemma at least once in their lives. With this FREE lesson,Language Arts Activity - "Predicting Outcomes", students dig into this Choice/Consequence quandary that a specific character experiences throughout a story. 

The chart that students complete for this activity will show the round and dynamic qualities of the character as well as how the person  acts and reacts to the Plot/Conflict.
Language Arts Activity - Tripping Through Time
In this 4-page Free activity, Tripping Through Time, students use their thinking and writing skills
Middle School and High School Language Arts Activity
to reveal their understanding of the character, conflict and other elements of literature in the piece that they are studying through narrative writing.

As the character of their choice from the reading, they are transported to a totally unfamiliar time and geographic area. After researching this different time and place, the students will write a personal narrative comparing and contrasting both societies. Their responses must reveal the point of view of the character that they chose to personify, not their own.

The students’ completed writing will show their comprehension of the reading, of the material that they gathered in their research, and they will strengthen their higher level thinking skills.

Language Arts Activity - Me & You: Mirror Images or Polar Opposites?
Sometimes students meet characters that seem like their alter-egos; other times they feel that these people are their polar opposites. In this FREE Language Arts activity, "You & Me: Mirror
Middle School and High School Language Arts Activity
Images or Polar Opposites?," Middle and High School students choose the character from the story that they are currently studying or from any book that they studied in class this year with which they most identify.

Language Arts Lessons – Everyday People A Trio of Comprehension Activities
Middle School and High School Language Arts Lessons
The characters in fiction are everyday people, aren't they? That's what Middle and High School students will determine in these three comprehension lessons. Go to The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs for hundreds of free and priced lessons.  # Language Arts Lesson Plan  # Elements of Literature  #TpT

Language Arts Activity - Fiction's Physique

Middle School and High School Language Arts Activity This English Language Arts activity- Fiction's Physique activity - enables Middle and High School students to develop their comprehension and reasoning skills as they show- in writing and orally- a story's buff or flabby qualities. Download this FREE activity from

Language Arts Activity - Characters Just Keep on Dancin'
Middle and High School Character Analysis Activity
No matter their age, students love music and dancing. In this FREE handout, "Language Arts Activity - Characters Just Keep on Dancin," Middle and High School students will select characters from the literature that they have studied throughout the year for a dance competition.

They are to reveal their comprehension of these characters’ personalities, emotions, and moral fiber in their writing and speaking. This product supports Common Core Standards and Bloom's Taxonomy. Use the given standards as guidelines, adapting them to the benchmarks that your state follows.

Students' brains will boogie to the learning beat with this FREE activity. When the music flows and the characters dance, students will be engaged and motivated.

Comprehension- Deconstructing Texts Activity: What's the Idea?

Middle School and High School Reading Analysis Activity
Students need to learn how to deconstruct complicated texts so that they can understand them, and, subsequently, the whole piece. In this free activity, students will select a passage that they find difficult to understand. Teachers can use this FREE activity again and again to check the development of their students’ comprehension as well as how they utilize their higher level thinking skills orally and in writing.

“What’s the Idea?” reduces students’ fear factor when they read challenging fiction and non-fiction. This Freebie is aligned with Common Core Standards and Bloom’s Taxonomy, and includes a detailed “Teachers’ Notes” page.

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Back to School Freebie- Teacher CLASSMART List

Teacher Back-To-School List
Welcome back to another school year! This Back to School FREEBIE list is comprised of 12 supplies that will save teachers' sanity during the school year. Three of the Items included are:
1. Hand cleanser (extra-large). Classrooms are Free-Range Germ Zones.
3. Antiseptic cleaning spray. This is a must in Germ Warfare Defense to use with students who sneeze or cough on their homework/ tests and then try to hand in the tainted papers. When they do, smile, hand them the bottle and tell them to go into the hall and de-germ those weapons of mass congestion. This is also a necessity for desk cleaning and purifying the air. and
10. Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. Just like burgers need fries and eggs need bacon, grading that stack of essays calls for the fruit of the cocoa bean…in any form.

Fill your supply closet with these items, and enjoy a year that is as germ-free, stress-free and headache-free as possible. Download this FREEBIE from

Writing - "Just Say, 'NO!' to Dull Writing"

Middle School and High School Writing Lessons
In my repertoire of lessons, my year-long,"Just Say, 'NO!' to Dull Writing" activity has always been one of my star middle and high school lesson plans. On the first day of school, it was always the one that I handed out to my students right after we reviewed the syllabus and classroom rules and expectations. 

Not only did I explain to the students that they were required to refer to it for any writing-graded or non-graded - but I made a poster of it to hang in the classroom and I taped a copy of the list to each desk. 

Although it is a integral part of 'Chapter 2 - The Foundation' in my teacher resource book, "The House of Comprehension," I am offering it in my TpT store for FREE. The Taboo Words and Phrases list and coordinating lessons are crucial for empowering students to write clear, specific sentences instead of those with meaningless word choices and weak structures. 

Comprehension and Writing - "Sing, Sing a Story

Middle School and High School Comprehension and Writing
The debate about what motivates adolescents the most-food or music-is ongoing. This FREE Middle and High School ELA activity, "Sing, Sing a Story," focuses on food for students' minds,hearts and souls- Music. With "Sing, Sing a Story," students will be thrilled to keep tuned in to their music and turned on to showing their comprehension, writing and higher level thinking skills. Teachers will want to dance to the music of their students' learning.

Reading Comprehension & Writing -What Do I Know? How Do I Know It?

Middle School and High School Pre-reading Activity
This activity, "What Do I Know? How Do I Know It?" offers two charts for Middle and High School students to complete as a pre-reading activity. First, they read the front, back and inside covers of the book they will study, as well as the first five pages. Next, they fill out Part 1 of the chart, answering the questions, "What I Know," What I Think I Know," and "What I Want to Know".
After that, they divide into groups and fill out the Part 2 chart, "What We Know," "What We Think We know," and "What We Want to Know". For Part 3, they individually complete this Closure activity. When students are finished with that, they discuss the three basic questions and individual Closure points as a class. This chart is a perfect way to introduce any fiction or narrative non-fiction text, be it a short story or novel-length piece.