How to Play Grammar Quidditch

For the past five years, I have been slowly improving and managing the “Grammar House Cup”, our Harry Potter-themed, inter-homeroom competition. (More on that later. But come on… if YOU had exactly four homerooms in your middle school, wouldn’t you do this, too?)

And for all five years of the “GHC”, I wished I could find a way to play Quidditch. But for a while, I couldn’t figure out how to do it WELL with the limited space of the classroom (and while engaging ALL the students instead of just some).

This past May, I finally figured it out and beta tested it with all of my 7th and 8th graders. I got the supplies from the gym teacher, grabbed my recess whistle, and took students outside. (This activity was actually part of our final exam review!)

6 Guest Speakers to Invite to Your English Class

The right guest speaker can get even the most grumpy teenagers to sit up straighter, lean in, and maybe put in a little more effort into your class.

The best part? Many presenters will come to your class for free, will require low/ no prep on your part, and will lend their credibility to what you're currently teaching.

Especially in the older grades, it's still important to invite any of these six types of speakers to your classroom, where they can add inspiration beyond what even the most talented teachers can do alone. Writing with me today is Danielle from Nouvelle ELA.

10 Tips for Using Flip Books in Secondary ELA

What do heavy backpacks, stuffed binders, and busy students all have in common? Information overload. Each school day, teens and tweens are being given worksheets, packets, readings, textbooks, and more… for six or more classes.

Though not a cure-all, flip books are a great alternative to give students information or guide them through a sequence. Chatting with us today is Danielle Knight, a flip book guru and fellow English teacher!

9 Ways to Upgrade Your Short Story Unit

One day, while tutoring, I asked a sophomore what he’d been doing in English class lately. To my horror, he replied, “Oh, we’re just doing a short story unit. But don’t worry, I don’t need your help with my homework for it… we’re just filling out some worksheets about each one.”

Ouch. My English teacher heart was broken, because I’m pretty sure his English 10 teacher designed the unit with better objectives and intentions than just worksheets… but to the student, that’s all he was doing.

That conversation has driven me to get more out of every text, short or long, and to make every story memorable through the skills, the experiences, or the factual knowledge gained. Teaming up with me to talk about this is Lauralee Moss from the Language Arts Classroom.