Fun Fall Finds

It’s that time of year again: the days are shortening, the weather is cooler, and the leaves are turning scarlet and gold.  It’s the perfect time to curl up with a good book, hot drink, and warm blanket. So I’m joining up with hostess Ms. Fuller and other secondary bloggers to share fun fall finds and a fabulous giveaway! Here are two book recommendations that I hope you will find enjoyable.

1.  The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey:  The story takes place in 1920s Alaska where a childless couple chooses to homestead after a recent heartbreak.  However, the Alaskan wilderness tests their ability to survive physically and emotionally each day.   During the season's first snowfall, they put their troubles aside and build a girl out of snow. The next morning, the snow child is gone—but a girl from the woods suddenly appears. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this mysterious child who lives alone in the Alaskan forest, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place, life is often not as it first seems.  Something changes them all…

2.  The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah:  This historical fiction novel transports you to the turbulent time of WWII in a small French village. Two sisters face brutal hardships: Vivian’s husband is sent to the Front, her town is controlled by the Nazis, and her friend is persecuted for her Jewish faith while her younger sister Isabelle risks her life for the Resistance.  Although the sisters love one another and fight the same enemy, they are separated by experiences, circumstances, and misunderstandings.  Will the war tear them apart or make their love for each other stronger?   

Can’t wait to read one of these books?  Do you want your students to develop the passion you have for reading?  Then encourage them to take ownership for their reading and learning with Readers’ Roundtable discussion!  This resource provides tools to help you implement book discussions in the style of Socratic Seminar. 

You can enter to win this resource in the giveaway contest below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tricks That Are Treats

Once again this month, I’m joining the Secondary Smorgasbord bloggers’ link up sponsored by The ELA Buffet and Desktop Learning Adventures.  In anticipation of Halloween, we’re sharing treats from our classrooms, and in my case, some are tricks that I’ve turned into treats! So here are some tricks that are geared to create success in the secondary classroom:

1.  Have fun:  I have taken this job too seriously at times, and who can blame me?  I’m constantly pressured to make sure students are achieving high test scores and will be “college and career ready.”  No doubt, I believe in accountability and pursing higher education, but it can be a real chore at times.  Lately, I’ve been including Fun Friday videos to end the week.  Since I love dogs, recent ones have featured silly clips of dogs.  Here is one you may want to watch: 

I have incorporated more humor to manage students this year. Instead of getting mad that students keep forgetting their pencils, I got a box of golf pencils. Whenever a student asks, I point to the cup of golf pencils.  Guess what?  Not many have been asking me for pencils this year. 

Students often forget to put their names on their papers, which annoys and frustrates me.  I used this meme from Tracee Orman and posted it where students turn in their papers.  It gets the point across and makes everyone laugh! 

 Find these on Tracee's Pinterest Board.

Lately, I’ve also noticed that students have been struggling to open the door to my classroom because they have to pull it instead of push it.  For fun, I posted this Far Side comic on the door to help them remember:

2.  Be human:  For our SAT essay brainstorming sessions, I have students practice with retired prompts.  One of them asks the following question:  Do memories hinder or help people in their effort to learn from the past and succeed in the present?  This usually leads to a discussion of learning from the memory of one’s mistakes.

During this discussion, I tell a story about how I got caught cheating on a chemistry test in high school.  I explain how my chemistry teacher tore up my test in front of the class; not only was I upset about the failing grade, but I was certain that I would be disqualified from cheerleading since as a school representative, I needed to reflect good character.  So, of course I tell my students that I went to the guidance counselor and tearfully told her my mistake. She advised me to apologize, which I did.  I learned never to cheat, and they love hearing this story!

3.  Incorporate holidays with content:  In the secondary classroom, we usually don’t do Halloween parties or dress up anymore, but we can still connect our teaching to the ideas of the holiday.  In English, poems, stories, novels, and plays abound with frightening characters, spooky moods, and dark themes.  Edgar Allan Poe is the master of this, but I’ve even used The Crucible, “The Devil and Tom Walker,” “A Rose for Emily,” Frankenstein, and other texts during the days around Halloween.  In fact, this year, I’ve created poetry analysis prompts that are perfect for Halloween.  As a TREAT to you, they are offered for free.

You can also find more resources for Halloween here

Hope you enjoyed these tricks (really treats)!  What texts would you recommend for teaching near Halloween?  Share them in the comments below!

You can also find other great posts on these blogs!

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