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Creative Ways to Teach Students How to Find Text Evidence

Using text evidence to support claims does not always come naturally to our students. When students answer a question or write an essay, they often will make a claim, but fail to back it up with sufficient evidence. This is such a critical ELA skill because we require it of students in so much of their writing. The problem is that having students find text evidence isn't always the most exciting task, but there are some creative ways that you can have students practice this important skill.  Below, you'll find my favorite ways to help students go back to the text to find the evidence they need to support their claims.

1. Give Them a Reading Challenge

One way you can get students to practice finding text evidence is with a reading challenge activity. A reading challenge is a short escape-room style challenge that requires students to work together to solve a mystery.

I always begin a reading challenge lesson with some direct instruction to show students how to find text evidence. I explain what constitutes text evidence and show examples of the different types (i.e., direct quotes, paraphrasing, summarising). Then, once they have a foundation, I have them demonstrate their skills with a fun, escape-style text evidence challenge. 


For the text evidence reading challenge I use, students assume the role of an avid explorer and anthropologist who is exploring the jungle in search of fabled Aztec ruins and artifacts. They have to imagine they are walking on a thin path enshrouded by thick, impenetrable vegetation when they discover a pack of snarling and vicious-looking jaguars is on their trail. 

I hook the students students into the challenge by having them read an original narrative backstory that sets them on the path to becoming text evidence hunters! They will examine the writing in an old leather-bound journal to find text evidence to support six given claims about what’s written inside. To escape danger via a gondola, they will need to find out how many pieces of text evidence there are to support the claims, revealing a mystery code. 


The text evidence reading challenge is an extremely comprehensive and entertaining way to refine these skills!

2. Introduce the RACE Strategy 

The RACE method is a reading response strategy formed out of the acronym R-A-C-E, which serves as a helpful mnemonic device to use when formulating a response. A strong response will (R)estate the question, (A)nswer the question, (C)ite evidence, and then (E)xplain the connection. Here’s what this looks like in more detail… 

  • (R)estate: During this part of their response, students should use the question stem to write their topic sentence. This means that they will turn the question asked into a statement. 
  • (A)nswer: After students have restated the question, they should answer ALL parts of the question, keeping in mind that some questions may have more than one part and that they may need to separate the question into two responses.
  • (C)ite: It is at this point that they must support their answers by citing text evidence. This can be an explanation of an event from the text or specific quotations that support their answer.
  • (E)xplain: Finally, they should explain or expand on how the evidence from the text supports their answer. They can also use your own background knowledge here to make connections.

I like to teach students the RACE method to help them see the role that textual evidence plays within a well-constructed response. Then, I give them the opportunity to practice using this response method. My favorite story to use this with is Raymond’s Run by Toni Cade Bambara. Given the story is itself about a race, it makes for a particularly fitting context to learn the RACE strategy! 

3. Have them Solve a Reading Mystery  

Another creative way to get students to practice finding and using text evidence to support their claims is with a reading mystery. For these, students work together in small groups, using text evidence strategies to solve high-interest mysteries, like the Mystery of the Missing Garden Gnome, which you can try for FREE by clicking here. Here’s the backstory…

Mrs. Henry lives alone with her dog in a small South Florida home. Her most prized possession is her garden gnome which she has named Gerome. After returning from groceries one night, Mrs. Henry notices that the garden gnome is missing from her yard. Someone stole Gerome, and your students need to figure out who did it.

Along with the narrative backstory itself, students are given various pieces of evidence to draw on to support their claims about who they think did it, such as a social media profile, a package delivery information page, an airplane ticket, a customer feedback form, a newspaper article, and much more! This makes for a great hands-on way to practice reading between the lines and finding text evidence. It’s also extremely fun—and free!

4. Send Them on a Text Evidence Scavenger Hunt  

A text evidence scavenger hunt is a fun and easy-to-implement activity that will help your students get good at finding text evidence. To do this, simply put up pieces of chart paper around your room, and write a different claim about the text you are reading on each one. For example, if you are reading “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe, one claim could be “The narrator of the story is unreliable. 


Then, in small groups, students will circulate the room with the story in hand. They will need to find text evidence that supports each claim and then write it underneath. Tell students they cannot use the same text evidence that was used previously by another group. This makes the activity increasingly challenging as they get to one claim which has, say, 4 examples of text evidence already used. 

5. Ask Them to Color-Code Responses

Instead of having students write out their responses, we can isolate the skill of finding text evidence with a color-coding response activity. For this, students will be given a list of comprehension questions. To answer each question, they will simply highlight the text where the evidence for the answer is. 


They can color-code their responses by using a variety of highlighter colors and highlighting the corresponding question the same color as the answer. This is just a creative and unique way to practice this skill that will make it interesting for students while also emphasizing the importance of finding text evidence. It's also an activity that takes less time, but still allows students to practice the skill.


There you have it! If you are looking for more creative ways to teach students how to find text evidence, check out the links below.  

Tips for Teaching Students How to Show Evidence from the Text by Tracee Orman

3 Tricks to Get Students (and YOU!) Excited for Poetry

3 Tricks to get your students (and you) excited about poetry


By Tracee Orman

Do your students groan when they think of poetry? Do you? I know that not everyone is excited about poetry and some people really, really struggle with it (including teachers). I have come across so many teachers in my career and as a curriculum writer that really hate poetry so they either skip it or speed through it. But it honestly doesn't have to be that way. 

So what do you do–how do you find excitement so your students will be excited, too? 

If you follow these three tricks, I guarantee you will find your unit more exciting and your students much more engaged!

My first step was to start with SONG LYRICS. Honestly, there was nothing more off-putting to students than having to read pages of verse...unless it’s from a favorite song! Use song lyrics to introduce the basics (rhyme, figurative language and devices, etc.) hooks them. Don’t believe me? Try it out and see! I guarantee your students will be excited to keep going if you start with songs. Besides, what are songs but poems set to music?

How to do it: 

Play a song in class, from start to finish. Let students just listen to it. (If you use a song like Wake Me Up by Aloe Blacc, they may want to get up and dance, and that is OK! Let them express themselves.) 

2. After listening to the song, introduce the lyrics by either projecting them or copying them onto a worksheet. Ask students what they think the song is about and why? Most songs will have a straightforward meaning but some may not. 

3. Next, ask students to identify a rhyme scheme. Again, most songs will have a clear one but some may not have one at all.

4. Have students identify any figurative devices. Obvious ones include similes, imagery, and personification. But also have them look for metaphors, hyperbole, symbolism, paradox, allusion, synecdoche, and onomatopoeia, to name a few.

5. After this deep dive into the song lyrics, ask students if they think the meaning of the song has changed at all. Chances are it will stay the same but maybe they will see it in a different way. This will help them when they start to analyze poems where the meaning is more complex.

You can also use song lyrics to talk about theme. Choose songs that have a similar theme to a poem. It’s much easier for students to practice with theme on a song first then pick out clues to that same theme in a poem. 

If you need help or further guidance, check out my bundle of song lyrics to teach poetry here.

When I transitioned from reading (and listening to) song lyrics to reading (and listening to) poems, I started with short poems. If you start with a longer poem, it may be too overwhelming for them. Stick to shorter poems to keep your students’ attention.

Some great short poems include: 
“The Red Wheelbarrow” and “This Is Just to Say” by William Carlos Williams
“We Real Cool” and “Cynthia in the Snow” by Gwendolyn Brooks
“Fog” by Carl Sandburg
“Nothing Gold Can Stay” and “Fire and Ice” by Robert Frost
“The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner” by Randall Jarrell
“Hope is the Thing With Feathers” or any other poem by Emily Dickinson
“There Will Come Soft Rains” and “I Love You” by Sara Teasdale

Think of these as bite-sized ways of ingesting poetry. Keeping them short makes the analysis not as intimidating. And I found that reluctant teachers actually prefer shorter poems, as well.


Finally, after we analyzed the short poems, I had students write parodies of the short poems. Again, using the shorter format makes it much easier when we are writing poems.

To execute this, use light-hearted short poems (for example, from the list above I would definitely NOT use “The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner”). Then have students mimic the poem, line-by-line, with their own “take” on it. Because students are mimicking the poem, they are practicing essential skills in syntax, reinforcing parts of speech, rhyming, and structure. (And CREATIVITY!)

For example, when using a poem like “The Red Wheelbarrow,” keep the first two lines “So much depends /  upon” then have students replace the rest of the poem with another item.

The Sharpened Pencil Poem

You can decide how much or how little of the original poem you wish to include for the parody poems. 

I have an excellent guided presentation (offered in both PPT and Google Slides formats) that provides the short poems (and even some history on the poets) and step-by-step instructions for writing the parody poems. It includes more poems than you may ever need! And I promise it will make teaching poetry so much easier and fun for you!

Numerous teachers have told me these tricks have helped them make an intimidating genre fun. Just remember, you don’t have to love poetry to teach it effectively. 

I hope these tricks are just what you were looking for and you have a successful unit!

Check out these great resources from my colleagues:

Poetry Writing and Analysis by Addie Williams

Poetry One-Pagers by Presto Plans

Poetry Bell Ringers by Nouvelle ELA

5 Ways to Make Poetry Fun & Accessible by Room 213

How to Teach Blackout Poetry by The Daring English Teacher

The Future of ChatGPT and AI in the ELA Classroom


The future of ChatGPT in the ELA Classroom

By Tracee Orman

We all know students cheat. If they didn’t, there wouldn’t be sites like Turnitin to catch them. But with the advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) writing generators like ChatGPT, students have an even easier way to cheat. A student can type in ANY prompt or question and it will generate a pretty good response. It will even write a short story or a poem using exact parameters. 

I asked it to write a poem about love using iambic pentameter. Here’s what it came up with:

Poem written by ChatGPT

Not bad, huh? And if you ask it to generate another prompt with the exact same parameters, it will come up with another completely unique response.

So what are we, as English teachers, to do? Is creativity dead? 

I don't think so. Just like the internet transformed our teaching, so will AI writing generators.

I know not everyone wants to incorporate this technology, nor has the means to do so in class. So this post has two parts: one for those who want to avoid it and one for those who wish to embrace it.

First, for those wanting to steer clear of using sites like ChatGPT in class, here are a few strategies and ideas you can use:

1. Assign all writing to be done IN CLASS. Yes, I know this is hard. It’s hard to fit in both instruction and time to write in a short class period. But if you want to ensure your students are not using AI writing generators outside of class, you’ll need to observe them writing in class. One of my favorite resources for writing practice in class is my Daily Journal Prompts. It is a great way to incorporate writing in class.

2. Go old school and ditch the laptops/tablets/computers, as well as access to the internet. Have students write with paper and pencil. This may not be 100% effective if you are assigning outside work since students could still copy from the website.

3. Meet with each student after they write their pieces and have them explain and defend it to you. For example, ask them how they came up with each point, what was their reasoning behind it, etc.

4. Use AI detecting websites when grading students’ writing. Here are a few that will help you decipher whether the piece was written by a human or AI:

GPTZero: This site attempts to judge whether the text was written by AI or a human.

However, I only had about a 30% success rate for it and it did NOT detect any of the 

poems I entered.

Writer.com: This free detector can only do 1500 characters at a time and, once again, 

did NOT detect any of the poems I entered as AI.

Content at Scale: Again, this one found about a third of the AI content but did not 

detect any of the poems.

AIWritingCheck.org: This site is brought to you by the people at CommonLit.or and 

quill.org and boasts that it is 80-90% accurate. Bad news, though: it also thought all the 

poems were written by humans.

Doing a quick search in Google for free AI detectors will summon numerous results. I 

tried several others and NONE could detect the poems. Therefore, if you are teaching 

poetry and having students write their own poems, I highly recommend my Poetry Unit 

in which students create the poems with you IN CLASS. Everything is presentation and 

in-class generated.

If you don’t wish to try those and want to embrace the new technology, here are some tips and ideas:

1. Have students generate an AI response with a writing prompt. Ask them to IMPROVE the AI’s response. Have them make it better by adding their own opinions and research to it.

2. Have students copy their first draft into ChatGPT and ask for grammar and writing tips. It can give feedback about improving sentence structure, spelling, grammar, and consistency.

3. Use ChatGPT to generate mentor texts. It loves to use the five-paragraph essay format. But you can direct it to write in any style you wish. 

4. Save time and have it write your lesson plans! Complete with objectives, it will do this busy work for you. 

5. Generate multiple-choice questions for pop quizzes or tests. You can even have it generate these for Kahoot (or similar) games.

6. Write letters home or letters of recommendation for students. Just tell it what you want to write and it generates it for you!

7. Write example sentences for vocabulary words. It can also help students understand new words beyond what a dictionary can tell them.

I am sure there are numerous other ideas for using AI writing generators in your classroom. The possibilities are probably endless. And because it isn’t going anywhere, we should adapt to this new tool and try to take advantage of it.

Check out these great resources from my fellow bloggers:

Five Ways to Use Chat GPT by The Daring English Teacher

Personal Narrative Writing by Presto Plans

What Can English Teachers Do About ChatGPT? By Room 213

Teaching Poetry Analysis in the ELA Classroom

Teaching Poetry Analysis in the ELA Classroom

  • Using a think-aloud strategy with students at the start of your poetry analysis unit provides students with the essential skills they need to confidently analyze poems.
  • Incorporating research-based instructional strategies is a proven way to help students learn how to read and analyze poetry.
  • Using SWIFT makes poetry analysis more accessible for all students.
When it comes to teaching poetry, many times both teachers and students take a step back. For a teacher, teaching poetry can be intimidating. As a student, learning how to analyze poetry can also be downright frightening. This is true in both the middle school ELA classroom and the high school English classroom. Heck, I even remember dreading it as a college student! However, it doesn’t have to be this way.

Here are three strategies teachers can use to help make teaching poetry analysis enjoyable, accessible, and effective!

Think Aloud with the Students

As you read and analyze poetry, especially during the beginning of the unit, think aloud for your students. By doing so, you’ll model a thought process that students can then try to implement themselves when they move to individual work. It’s important that students know how to approach poetry analysis.

As I think aloud for my students, I might describe images that I see as I underline words that help contribute to the imagery. I then might explain how the word is descriptive, how the descriptive words helped me form an image, and explain to my students that the image helps me to understand the overall poem.

Use “I Do, We Do, You Do” Teaching Strategies

At the beginning of a poetry unit, whole-group instruction and practice is essential. Since analyzing poetry can be such an intimidating concept for students, using proven research-based instructional strategies is key! When I teach poetry in my classroom, I like to use this comprehensive poetry analysis teaching unit. It includes direct instruction, a whole-class activity, and plenty of practice for students to work on either collaboratively or individually.
Poetry Teaching Unit

At the start of the unit, I like to provide students with brief instruction on poetry terms and show them some examples of the terms being used. Then, using the think-aloud method mentioned above, I like to think aloud with my students to help them make the connection of what the term is, an example of it being used in context, and explain why or how it is effective.

To move on to the “We Do” portion of the strategy, I like to spend at least one class period with a whole-class example. I’ll provide every student a copy of the poem we are analyzing. A good starter poem is “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth. As a class, we will work on analyzing the poem step-by-step and stanza-by-stanza, and we will do so together. I’ll ask the students to work with their desk partners, then confirm with their table groups, and then bring it to the whole class where we continue the analysis. In doing so, students gain experience and confidence as they learn a new skill.

As students move on to the “You Do” for this strategy, I like to incorporate choice. Provide students with an assortment of poems to choose from, and have them analyze the poem of their choice with either these annotating poetry task cards or these poetry analysis task cards.

Use SWIFT for Analysis

One way that I like to help make poetry analysis more accessible to all of my students is by using an acronym to break down the poetry analysis process. I use the acronym SWIFT in my classroom: structure, word choice and tone, imagery, figurative language, and theme.

Teaching Poetry Analysis in the ELA Classroom

With each new letter of the acronym, I have my students read the poem again, looking at and analyzing the poem for just that function.

  • S - STRUCTURE: What kind of poem is it? How many stanzas are there? Does the poem follow a rhyming scheme? Does the poet use repetition? Are there any patterns?
  • W - WORD CHOICE AND TONE: What words does the poet use that stand out to you? What words are strong or emotionally charged? Do these words have a positive or negative connotation? What kind of tone do these words convey?
  • I - IMAGERY: What descriptive language does the poet use to paint a picture? What picture does this paint? How does this image enhance your overall understanding of the poem?
  • F - FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE: What figurative language does the poet use? How does figurative language enhance the audience’s understanding of the poem? How does the figurative language contribute to the imagery? Why is the figurative language effective?
  • T - THEME: What is the poet’s overall message of the poem? How does the poet develop and contribute to this message?

By implementing these three strategies into your next poetry analysis teaching unit, you and your students will have a much more enjoyable experience learning to read, analyze, and love poetry.

Poetry Activities in the Secondary ELA Classroom

Once your students have a good understanding of poetry and poetry analysis, it is time to incorporate some fun and engaging poetry activities into your classroom. My students always enjoy writing an epistolary poem, and it is an easy way for them to open up. Another fun activity is having students create blackout poetry! I am also a really big fan of group analysis poster presentations. You can read more about how I use the SWIFT method with collaborative poetry analysis presentations.
How to Teach Blackout Poetry

Helpful links and resources:

3 Strategies to Motivate Students

 how to motivate students

I'm seeing it everywhere: teachers are tired and frustrated. And one of the biggest problems they are facing (among many) is the seemingly insurmountable task of motivating apathetic teens. If you are one of those teachers, read on for 3 strategies to motivate students.

I wish I had a one-size-fits-all approach that will work every time for every single student. I don't. But, I've got more than three decades of experience that taught me what gets students excited about being in school. I learned the most about this in the last five years because there is no question that it's getting harder to motivate students.

And we can blame all the factors that have lead to this - social media, parents, video games, lockdowns, etc. - or we can dig in and deal with the problem that is sitting in our classroom everyday. Because, as we know, that's what teachers do.

So let's get to it. How can you motivate students to learn? Read on and I'll give you strategies to:

✅ Start with a hook that makes students want to show up

✅ Chunk your lessons in a way that holds student attention

✅ Motivate your students by making the teaching and learning more visible

1. Carefully plan your hook

I realize that the concept of a hook is pretty basic Teacher - 101 stuff. But it's basic because it's super important. And I'm not talking about something complicated, highly entertaining, or time-consuming to prepare. Instead, you can motivate students with a regular pattern for how you begin your classes.

A good hook gets class started on time, is short but engaging, and is (usually) focused on the learning for the class.  Despite what they might show you, humans - even the teenage variety - crave routine. Also, when students know you always start at the bell, they will be much more likely to show up on time - especially when there's a hook that they look forward to.

The hook doesn't have to be long: it could just be one single question that gets students thinking & talking, or a quick story you tell that relates to your topic. It could be just a fun riddle to get their minds working.

Or, it can be something fun that gets students brains engaged in a skill you want to work on. When I start persuasive writing, for example, I start with an activity where students have to persuade each other to do things like wear the same outfit every day for a week or shaving their head. My students always loved this exercise  and it was a wonderful way to hook and motivate them. Check it out here and grab the activity for free.

bell ringer

If you want even more ways to hook your students, click here to grab a resource full of ideas, including ongoing group challenges you can use.

👉🏻 And don't forget to close your class in a way that's both meaningful and engaging. Check out these strategies.

2. Chunk Your Lessons to Keep Students Motivated

According to John Merino of Brain Rules, we don't pay attention to boring things.

Now wait. I'm not suggesting that YOU are boring.

But let's get real for a minute. Most of your students are in your class because they have to be. They didn't select you on a menu because they thought I'd really like to spend an hour learning about Writing/Shakespeare/ Rhetoric today. So we need to face the fact that no matter how engaging we are, no matter how active our lesson might be, students may not be into it.

The other reality we have to face is that these students are different than we are. Let me take you down a quick walk down memory lane to show you what I mean:

When I graduated from high school in 1985 the only access I had to information was the five year old Encyclopedia Brittanica in my house, the card catalogue and the microfiche in the library, and the three channels on our tv. If I wanted a book, I could choose from the selection that our book store had - there was no Amazon.

My youngest graduated in 2018. He had the world in his back pocket, as my father says of the cell phone. He had access to soooo much more information than I did and he consumed it in very different ways than I did.

In fact, I consume information very differently than seventeen year old Jackie did. When I read online, I jump from news story to social media platform to video and back again. I cannot focus they way I once could.

Technology has changed our attention spans, but our practices in school have largely remained the same. Students won't sit and listen to a long lecture or participate in long activities unless there's some chunking.

What does that look like?

First of all, aim to keep your lectures and lessons short and focused. In Focus: Elevating the essentials to radically improve student learning, Michael Schmoker recommends time limits between sections of a lecture; he says that the teacher should, "talk for 'no more than five minutes' before giving students an opportunity to process the new information—by writing or by interacting with their peers about the stated learning goal."

So, look at your lessons and devise a plan to chunk them into smaller bites. Pause around five minutes (obviously it may take more or less sometimes) and build in a chance for students to not only process but to switch things up. You can do this with:

• A quick reflection about what they have learned

• A chance to practice a skill you've just taught them

• Turn and talks (or stand-and-talks) where they discuss a question you pose or share their learning (and confusions)

• A short video that relates to the topic

Instead of your class structure looking like this: 20 - 30 minutes of teacher-centered time followed by 2o minutes of students working, consider ways you could chunk this: five minutes introducing one part of the lesson followed by a reflection. Another five minutes of the lesson followed by a turn-and-talk,  a chance to try a skill, etc.

Give students a break: it's also ok - and very effective - to give students a break part way through class. It was probably one of the best things I ever did to increase engagement in my classes. Click here to open the link to a blog post that explains why, so you can read it when you finish here.

3. Engage Students with More Visual Learning

If you follow me, you know that I am a HUGE proponent of making teaching and learning visible. It's actually my number one strategy to motivate students. That's because when we find ways to model our own processes and create opportunities for students to "see" how learning works, they will engage and be more motivated to learn.

Trust me; it works.

Activities that keep students active - mentally and physically - will also keep them more motivated to learn. Conversely, passive learning - the type that has students sitting and listening, doing lower level thinking activities - can do a lot to sink them into apathy.

I've had some of my greatest successes with active learning and visible thinking activities and I'm going to share one that it is always a hit. Students learn about the power of brainstorming, the importance of adding detail that shows rather than tells, and the effect of perspective on a subject - all with a gummy worm. Grab it here and try it and see how motivated your students will be!

Brainstorming with candy

Find more ideas and inspiration by going to the blog posts linked below.

⭐️ Get theories and ideas for visible learning

⭐️ Find out why hexagonal learning is the BEST - and grab a template to use

⭐️ Get more visible thinking activities here and here and here.

Another aspect of visual learning is the way we present information to our students.

Let's go back to they way that we consume information now. It's very visual and very interactive. Your students read a lot online. They engage with all kinds of information and learning every day.

We can tap into this natural curiosity, but we may need to consider how we deliver our content if we want to capture their attention.

When I was in high school, we read text, lots of it. There were no links to videos or audio because the technology to do so did not exist. I - and most of my classmates - were ok with reading long handouts because that was how it was done. There was no alternative.

Fast forward thirty years, and my son who recently graduated from high school, was getting handouts that looked just like the ones I got. There was nothing wrong with them, but my son - by the very fact that he grew up in the 21st century - is a very different consumer of information than I was at his age.

Visual learning

Our students are used to snazzy visuals and quick sound bites. They consume A LOT of information, but they like to do it quickly.

Is it any wonder their eyes glaze over in class?

In my experience, when I made material more interactive or visual, but adding images and embedded videos, more students read and absorbed it. I have some examples if you'd like to learn more, click below:

Another way to make learning more visual - and to get students to think about the material, is by using sketch notes. This video gives a very good explanation of how and why to use them.

There are also tools on Google Slides that can help students create their own graphic organizers. Get a great list on Ditch That Text Book.

So, there you have it: 3 strategies to motivate students. I really hope you found something that can help you in your classroom. Don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions - or leave a comment here and I'll answer as soon as I can. 

And, if you'd like to work on your classroom management skills, I've got a course you can take (for PD hours). Find out more here.

Check out other strategies for motivating students:

Presto Plans: Figurative language escape room

The Daring English Teacher: 8 ways to get students moving

Jackie, ROOM 213

Bulletin Board Ideas for English Language Arts

Can high school teachers have colorful and engaging bulletin boards in their classrooms? Absolutely! In fact, something I have noticed over the years is that not only do bulletin boards add a pop of creativity, but students genuinely enjoy the change. I am sharing a few ways that you can easily add a burst of color to your classroom, while at the same time, making the content meaningful and engaging. 

1. Interesting Words

A fun way to get your students thinking is by using one of your bulletin boards to display words that are not common in their everyday vocabulary. It's fun to watch the students pronounce and then read about each word on this particular bulletin board. Displaying absurd words are a great way to get your upper elementary, middle or high school students engaged. 

Click HERE to take a closer look at other ways you can use this idea with your class. 

2. Career Education 

Career education is becoming a more common occurrence in English classes. I created this bulletin board to go along with one of my Career Exploration Project. This activity requires students to explore a career of interest. So, for my bulletin board, I printed out "Hello My Name Is..." name tags (found online), then I typed in the name of each of my students and the career that they were interested in learning more about. It was a nice way to see the various careers everyone in the class was interested in.

Click HERE to take a closer look on how you can use this idea with your class!

3. Holiday Activities

When you think of ugly sweaters, you typically think of Christmas. While I typically use this bulletin board around Christmas time, the activity itself does not necessarily need to be used during the month of December. 

In fact, you have have your students create ugly sweaters that they could wear anytime of the year! The focus of the assignment is to make logical connections about the items that a particular character would want on their sweater and then have your students explain those connections.

Click HERE to take a closer look on how you can use this idea with your class!

Can you guess the book or movie each of the sweaters were created for?

4. Exemplars

(I ran out of bulletin board space in my classroom during the time of this photo!) When I completed an essay writing unit with my class, I wanted to be able to show my students exactly what I was looking for. I posted three different essay samples for my students to peruse. I wrote various characteristics around each essay, so students knew exactly what I was looking for. 

For example:

90% sample included: 7-8 sentences per paragraph, engaging topic, strong thesis statement, etc. 

80% sample included: good title, interesting ideas, expanded word choice, etc. 

70% sample included: five sentences per paragraph, basic title, basic word choice, etc.

These are just a few of the fun bulletin board ideas I wanted to share! For more fun ideas for your classroom, check out my Instagram

 For more classroom decor ideas, check out the following links:

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