Worried that you’ll lose your chance to start the school year right this time?
The first few weeks of school are crucial for your classes’ success throughout the year, and there is so much pressure to do it all: set the tone for your classroom; inspire students to work harder; establish rigor and expectations; teach students to think independently; get some solid assessments into your grade book. And of course, nothing is as important as establishing a strong connection with your students as soon as possible.
But deciding on the best way to bond with your classes while also setting appropriate standards is so challenging, and if you don't take advantage of those key days, you won't get the opportunity again.
Each fall, I have tweaked my beginning-of-school plans in a seemingly never-ending search for the perfect way to accomplish all of my goals for the fall term. Over sixteen years of teaching, I have honed my choices down to the most essential lessons for starting off the school year right.
These units are perfect for the beginning of the school year or any time you want to start over with your students.
- A unit on growth mindset will take advantage of students’ desire to start fresh with the new year and challenge your classes to persevere and work hard.
- A personal essay unit will help you get to know your students on a deeper level and teach them lessons on writing that they’ll apply throughout their studies.
- Three practical guides focusing close reading, literary analysis, and poetry analysis will empower your students to think and write independently about literature.
These units are all great choices for teaching skills and mindsets that will help your classes find success this year and throughout their lives, but the ultimate message that these units will give your students is that you care about their learning and in your class, their ideas and opinions matter.
Products included in this bundle, all available at a discount when you buy them together, include:
Poetry Lesson Plan | Poetry Activities, Poetry Writing | Dickinson & Whitman (normally priced at $9.97) By the end of this seven-day unit, your high school students will have the skills and strategies that they need to read, analyze, and write about poetry independently. The method that students will learn in these lessons is to unpack a poem using a graphic organizer. After sixteen years of teaching students to read poetry, I have found that this is the most practical and accessible way for students to understand how a poet’s choices help to create meaning. Additionally, by playing with poetry writing themselves, and creating original poems based on their own experiences, students will understand the elements of poetry from the inside out. You can view this individual resource by clicking here.
Close Reading for Any Text: Differentiated Reading Response Journal Prompts (normally priced at $5.97) This guide to reading response reaction journals based on quote analysis and close reading will get your students reading, analyzing, and writing about literature on their own. I have been teaching with reading responses for eleven years, and this guide includes what you need to teach your students to think independently without having to read and grade every single thing they write including: an introduction to using reading responses in your classroom; two differentiated step-by-step printable handouts for students; a simple but complete rubric for grading responses; suggestions for grading student work without burning out; student samples with analysis; printable student samples for your students to grade and discuss; everything that you need to implement reading responses in your classes tomorrow. You can view this individual resource by clicking here.
Narrative Writing Unit | Narrative Writing Prompts | Mentor Texts & Examples (normally priced at $9.97) These lesson plans that I have honed and perfected over fifteen years of teaching will enable you to see a noted improvement in your students' essays. Students love these lessons because they are practical, simple, and effective. You will love them because they are ready to go and because they work. You can view this individual resource by clicking here.
Growth Mindset Activities: Growth Mindset Bundle: Research, Questions for Teens (normally priced at $17.97) Included in this resource is everything that you need to teach your students about the brain science behind the theory of growth mindset and to get them thinking about how they deal with challenges and failures in their own lives including:
—Growth Mindset Activity: Growth Mindset Introduction | TED Talk, Question, Quiz
This introductory lesson will engage students with a quick quiz to test their grit and resiliency and a fascinating TED Talk about growth mindset.
—Growth Mindset Activities | Growth Mindset Nonfiction | Critical Thinking
The questions on this challenging non-fiction article will get your students thinking about the real-life consequences of mindset as well as about their own attitudes towards difficult work.
—Growth Mindset Activity | Poetry Analysis & Poetry Close Reading | "Invictus"
The lesson on these two poems will push your students to continue their exploration of the themes of the unit
—Adrienne Rich "Diving Into The Wreck" | Poetry Lesson to Teach Close Reading
This poem explores how we deal with the pain of the past; questions on the poem are engaging and accessible.
—Growth Mindset Activities | Growth Mindset Research | Collaborative Project
This group project will get your students researching real life examples of people who succeeded because of their hard work and determination in spite of many setbacks.
—Narrative Writing Unit | Growth Mindset Activities | Mentor Texts
Similar to my other narrative writing unit, this six-day unit focuses more explicitly on the importance of failure in our lives.
Bonus items include a suggested unit schedule, a guide and rubric for holding a graded discussion, a prompt for a synthesis essay, a graphic organizer for organizing that essay, and a letter to parents explaining the science behind the theory and what they can do to help their students. You can this resource by clicking here.
Close Reading Process Guide | Close Reading Lessons & Tips For Any Text (normally priced at $3.97) What makes this guide different from all of the other close reading handouts that you’ll find online is that it explains the process in a way that actually makes sense to students. Simply instructing them to fill in boxes or point out literary elements doesn’t teach them any skills. Instead, the explanations included here will help you and your classes make sense of the close reading process so that they will be able to take the lessons learned and apply them to any text. You can view this individual resource by clicking here.
"This is a wonderful collection of resources that I can use in all of the English levels I teach. Thank you for helping me get a great start to the year."--Karen Fox