Expect Unexpected Engagement When you try Hexagonal Thinking in ELA


310: Rock the Reading Block
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Welcome, creative teacher! I’ve been making you some things, and I think you’re going to like them.  You’ll find opportunities to sign up for so many curriculum packets sprinkled throughout this site, but I thought it would make it easier for you if I also popped them all right here. So take a look and see what I can help you with. Sign up for one, or sign up for them all. You’ll receive your free download(s) in an e-mail from me as soon as you confirm your address, and you’ll also see me popping into your inbox on Fridays with creative teaching ideas, recommended podcasts and blog posts, and even more creative curriculum. 

Digital Hexagonal Thinking Kit
Ready for an engaging online discussion tool? This kit does 90% of the work for you in getting set up for hexagonal thinking on Google slides. Just type in your terms and get your students started! 

One-Pagers (4 Templates with Complete Instructions)

Are you looking for a creative activity that you can do with any novel? My most popular free curriculum packet is a set of one-pager templates that will guide your students in creating a sketch notes version of the most important elements of any novel. Thousands of teachers have downloaded the packet, and I just love the photos of student work that keep sailing my way.

5 Days to a Better Reading Program Mini-Course

Imagine yourself on your way to class. You walk by one of your students laying in a sunny patch of hallway, reading The Hate U Give. You walk by another with earbuds in, and notice he’s listening to The Knife of Never Letting Go on audio. As you enter your classroom, you see two students over by your bookshelf, arguing about whether Stephen King or Orson Scott Card is more fun to read. You think happily of a letter you just got from a parent yesterday, telling you you’re the first teacher to get her son to read a book in five years.
Does it have to be a fantasy?
Sometimes it’s tough to fight the barrage of “I hate reading” you hear from students who have been repeating it for a decade. You want to change their minds, but you don’t know how. Your administrators sure aren’t telling you. You might have read 180 Days, or put No More Fake Reading on your Amazon wish list.
But… is it really possible to help readers this reluctant fall in love with reading? Like, as reluctant as your last period seniors?

It is. Sign up for this free five day e-mail course, and find out how to build the reading program of your dreams. 
Blackout Poetry

When it comes to teaching poetry, buy-in is huge. If you can get your students to feel just a little more comfortable with the concept of poetry, it helps a lot when you tackle the canon. Blackout poetry makes a fantastic writing workshop for poetry-shy students. And for poetry lovers, weellll! They’ll love it!

Reading Program Check-In Book Hashtag Activity

Want to find out how your independent readers are doing with their books but NOT feel like the book police? I know you don’t want to make your readers feel like you are hovering over their shoulders making sure they’re reading, so this is a fun, quick way to check in and hear what they are taking away from their books. Just ask them to choose three hashtags that describe the action so far, and then be prepared to explain their choices to a partner, small group, or the whole class as you wander around cheering them on. 

The Literary Food Truck Final Project

When you want students to think deeply about what they’ve read and analyze it in a new way, the literary food truck final project is there for you! Students will create food trucks that demonstrate their understanding of the novel by creating related themed menus, social media plans, and truck design that all reflect their analysis. 

Food truck example by the students of Gina Knight Hess

Editable Syllabus Templates

Figuring out how to smash a lot of important info into one little page that students will actually pay attention to is one thing you DO NOT have to deal with as the term begins. Get these great editable templates and tweak the text under the headings however you wish, add a photo of yourself, and print! Beats the heck out of fiddling around in Microsoft Word for four hours trying to figure out where you can fit your academic honesty policy and how much you should add about each unit.

40 Questions for Attendance

One super easy way to bond with your students and start to get to know them is to use attendance questions. Instead of asking them to say “here,” ask them to tell you the answer to a simple question when you call their name. Maybe you ask for their favorite book, or the one place in the world they’d like to visit most. It’s a great way to revamp boring old attendance and make it a fun and engaging time in your class period. Personally, I find it really helpful to have a list of questions by my desk so I’m not on the spot to come up with one every day. That’s why I made this little poster with forty questions to get you started!

Discussion Warm-Ups (Fifteen Creative Activities for Any Novel)

Is there anything worse than the sound of crickets as a discussion gets started? We want our students to dive into the conversation with enthusiasm, but sometimes their minds are everywhere else. I’ve found that a quick, creative discussion warm-up activity really helps get their wheels turning and makes discussions pop. After they spend ten minutes coming up with the Facebook profile of a main character, passing discussion questions around the room and responding in a silent discussion, or creating a playlist for the reading, they are so much more ready and willing to dive in.

Common Grading Errors

Oh man, the grading. On the night when you bring home 150 papers, coming up with a creative lesson is the last thing on your mind. The thing that helps me the most when it comes to grading is my list of common errors. By identifying the issues students most often face, giving them each the fixes for those issues, and then simply numbering the problems on the paper instead of writing in the fixes hundreds and thousands of times, I make grading far more efficient and effective. And so can you! The common errors handout is a great place to start, and then you may find you want to develop an error sheet of your own as you identify even more places where your students are making similar mistakes.

Book Posters for your Independent Reading Library

It’s no secret on this blog that I’m a HUGE FAN of independent reading. And one of the tricks of the trade is attracting students over to the library with great displays and colorful posters. That’s why I made these fun reading posters for you. You can just see a few of them in the photo – more await in the free download.

Ethical AI PBL Unit

3 Weeks of Attendance Questions

Better Discussion Toolkit


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