Skip to main content

Article of the Week

The Life of an English Teacher
You may recall me mentioning Kelly Gallagher, my celebrity crush, in previous posts.  Well, I guess he's not exactly a celebrity but in my mind, he's a superstar! I stumbled across one of his ideas on Pinterest this summer.  This led me to purchase every single one of his books, which, in my opinion, has transformed, rejuvenated, and inspired me as a teacher!  
One of his ideas that I implemented this year is the Article of the Week! Each week I assign students an article to read and annotate. They must also write a summary of the article (I provide a template), as well as a personal response.  For the latter part of the assignment, students have numerous choices.  
Sometimes I choose articles from Gallagher's website, and other times I choose my own articles that complement what we are reading in class.  Here is a partial list of what we've read so far:

"That Flinty Taste"-about the lead in the drinking water in Flint, Michigan
"Teenagers, Friends, and Bad Decisions"-this worked well with The Outsiders
"The Wonder of the Teen Brain"
"The Distracted Teenage Brain"
"The 750 Dollar Pill"-about the high cost of prescription drugs in the United States
"Workplace Spying"
"The Frightening Truth about the Future of Driverless Cars"
"8 Reasons Europe's Refugee Crisis is Happening Now"
"Soccer's Corrupt Soul"
"How to be Loved by Everyone: 6 Powerful Secrets"-hint, be quiet and LISTEN
Meaningful Annotations-Summarizing and defining unknown words

Love how this student uses both drawings and words in her annotations

My students have learned to read critically.  They are now experts at identifying the author's central argument and writing accurate summaries using academic language.  Most importantly, they are learning about the world around them!  I believe that acquiring background knowledge on a variety of topics helps students become better readers and writers!  Plus, it makes them more interesting people!

Popular posts from this blog

Bottle Flipping

Last week someone posted article on Facebook about the newest trend with middle schoolers-bottle flipping.  If you haven't heard of it, you probably don't teach middle school or have a child in middle school! Consider  yourself lucky! If you know about it, then you also know it's annoying as heck.  Kids (usually boys), toss a partially filled water bottle into the air so that it flips in midair.  The goal is to have the bottle land upright.  This year I have had to ask several students to put their water bottles away because they wanted to flip them.  I know,  I'm mean!  

After reading the Facebook article I thought, "Hey!  I bet I can incorporate this into a lesson somehow."  Using my Oreo lesson as a model, that's just what I did.  First, I found two different articles about bottle flipping.  I went through both looking for key vocabulary words.  I then typed out the sentences with the words and created an activity where students had to guess the definit…

Oreos in China and Read 180

A few years ago I read an article about what happened when Kraft introduced the Oreo to the Chinese in 1996.  It was not a success.  The Chinese thought the filling was too sweet-the cookie too bitter.  Kraft almost pulled the beloved cookie off the shelves. Instead, they began a quest to find out how to make the Oreo appeal to the Chinese. Enter the green tea Oreo, the mango Oreo, and an Oreo in the shape of a straw (not sure that still qualifies as an Oreo).  The revamped Oreos were a huge success! I found the article fascinating and decided to design a lesson around  it to share with my students.

First I showed them a news clip from CNN about the topic. Then, I taught them a few vocabulary words that appear in the article using Kate Kinsella's method.  Next, we read the article together and marked the text. I did a think aloud as I read aloud to them.  After that, students created a T-Chart listing the ten most important words in the text, as well as five main ideas from the tex…

Making Comments on Student Writing Meaningful

As any English teacher knows, we spend countless hours grading and commenting on student work.  What I realized after a few years of teaching was that many students did not read my comments at all; they just looked at their grade. Some didn't even look at the rubric!   However, many students valued my feedback and relished every comment.  I felt as though I was wasting my time on more than half of the essays.   As evident from the next essay the students wrote, the majority of the students did not heed the advice I gave in the previous essay.  I came up with a solution!  Using Google Forms, I created a detailed survey for my students to fill out about the comments they received on their writing.  I will include pictures of various questions and answers.  Better yet, I told them that all responses would be read and a graded  for the thoughtfulness.  I had a sub that day, so I created a link to the form in my daily blog post for my class!  SO easy!  Students were forced to go back t…