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9 Must-Have Back to School ELA Resources

It's hard to imagine, but it's back to school season again! As teachers, we are all in the same boat right now. To help ease some of the pressure of the start of a new year, we have compiled our favorite resources!

This DIGITAL back to school-themed escape room is a blast and the perfect way to start off a new school year! You have a lot of flexibility with this resource - use as a whole escape room or individual activities. This resource is 100% paperless. No printing. No locks. Just send the links and go!

Memes are a fun way to engage students! It's so much fun seeing the students' expressions when they read them and they are perfect for orientations, an open house, classroom rules, and more! In order to keep these current, a bunch of new memes were just added this year: social distancing, hand-washing and wearing a mask.

Do you need your students to work independently during distance learning as they learn how writers develop characters? This bundle includes a series of short lessons and activities that your students can do on their own, without you there to guide them.

Looking for a resource to use with ANY novel? This bundle of activities is perfect for lit circles, independent reading, or a whole-class novel. There are opportunities for students to analyze characters, respond to the text, create projects, and more!

Making grammar fun can sometimes be a challenge. The Grammar Challenge is a full-year, 40 week grammar program for middle and high school English language arts teachers that includes assessment, instruction, narrative stories, and weekly escape-style challenges to improve student grammar, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills!

Secondary Sara and The SuperHERO Teacher recently collaborated on a Grammar Bell-Ringer Journal for Grades 6-8! It has prompts for 190 school days and teachers all the grammar CCSS topics for middle school. They are so excited to teach it this year since it comes with printable and digital versions! Their Grammar Journal for Grades 9-12 is coming soon.

A favorite resource for teaching students how to write an essays is this Mastering the Essays Teaching Unit. This resource, which also now includes digital Google files, breaks down the essay writing process into step-by-step instructions for each paragraph complete with color-coded instruction and examples.

Collaborative Bell Ringers are a great way to start off each class period. Students work in teams to solve ELA-themed puzzles, about books, movies, TV shows, songs, poetry, and more. You can even keep a running score to encourage collaboration and friendly competition throughout the term!

We enjoyed sharing our must-have resources with you. Wishing you a wonderful start to the new school year from all of us at The Secondary English Coffee Shop!

Writing Essays in the Secondary ELA Classroom

Are you looking for some new strategies or ideas for teaching essay writing? Whether you are teaching online or in class this year, teaching essay writing is always challenging. Here are three tips for teaching students how to research, structure, and write an essay that work for in-person instruction and remote learning.

Assigning a Graphic Essay

One way that Christina, The Daring English Teacher, incorporates essay writing skills into her high school English class is by incorporating a graphic essay into her curriculum. After teaching all of the essential essay writing skills including how to properly embed quotes, how to write a thesis statement, and how to explain the evidence, The Daring English Teacher likes to shake things up a bit by assigning this alternate to the traditional 5-paragraph essay.

A graphic essay, or a visual essay, is a graphic representation of an essay. It combines all of the essay writing skills students use when writing a traditional essay along with essential career and college readiness skills of graphic design and presentation. You can grab a free graphic essay assignment sampler and read more about the activity in this post.

Starting off Right With Research

As a part-time librarian and English teacher, Addie Williams is passionate about teaching research skills and essay writing. She also knows the importance of starting students off on the right foot if they are writing a research essay. Too often students want to jump right in and start writing without fully understanding what they need to research and how to find the information. So, Addie spends time with students helping them establish an essential or foundation question before they start writing their essay. Once students have a clear goal they can then begin the research process and hopefully stay on track with their writing.

The time she spends teaching students how to plan and approach their research pays off when students are able to put together a well-researched and written essay. You can read more about how Addie approaches teaching research skills in her post HERE. You can also grab a FREE Research Planning Activity HERE to use with students with any research essay or project!

Essay Writing Escape Room 

Writing essays can feel tedious to students. Teaching essays can feel tiring to teachers. The Classroom Sparrow's one essay teaching tip is to break everything down, line-by-line. You can grab a FREE essay outline HERE.

Are you looking for a fun, new way to teach the essay writing process? You might like to try using this interactive Essay Escape Room! While this resource can be used collaboratively as a team, it can also be used as an individual assignment to assess one's understanding of the various elements that are important to the essay writing structure. The activities covered in this escape resource cover a variety of elements: types of essays, parts of an essay, 5 paragraph format, thesis statements and important essay terms.

We hope that these tips and resources help you teach essay writing as effectively as possible in your secondary ELA classroom!

Check out these other great ELA resources:

Digital Collaboration Ideas for Distance and Hybrid Learning in the Secondary ELA Classroom

When I think about my teaching and instruction philosophies, I always come back to collaborative work. Since I like to focus on a hands-on, engaging approach to student learning in my high school English classroom, collaborative learning, and group assignments are the cornerstones of my classroom. Almost every day, I have my students work with a partner or in a small group for at least a small portion of the class.
Tips for engaging middle school ELA and high school English students in digital collaboration

Now, it is time to take some of the in-person collaboration digital. Encouraging digital collaboration in the classroom serves two purposes. First, it promotes student health and safety as we continue to persevere and teach during the COVID-19 pandemic. Secondly, digital collaboration helps provide students with a more real-world learning experience that will help them achieve college and career readiness.

So, while I’m not entirely ready to throw out the sticky notes, chart paper, and jumbo markers just yet, I am looking at ways to take in-person student collaboration digital.

Purpose of Collaboration

Before we can flush out ideas of the HOW to get students collaborating digitally, we first must look at, analyze, and understand the WHY of student collaboration in the first place. With student collaborative activities, students learn a new skill or concept, or students demonstrate their understanding of a skill or concept. 
Digital collaboration ideas for the secondary ELA classroom

Student collaboration has many benefits, including engagement, inclusivity, collaborative learning, scaffolded instruction, skill-building, and communication skill practice. When creating our lesson plans that include student collaboration, we must make sure that digital collaboration activities include some of these benefits. Otherwise, the work can quickly turn into busywork.

For digital collaboration, there are also two considerations teachers can make. Is the collaboration meant to be synchronous or asynchronous?

Synchronous Collaboration Ideas

Never underestimate the power of a Google Doc and real-time editing. A few years ago, I tried something new in my class: one shared Google Doc between one teacher and 35 students. At first, I shuddered at the thought of 35 sophomores, all editing the same document simultaneously. However, the result was amazing. By the end of the class period, students worked together, typing in their designated space, and collaborating to write the perfect sentence.

Making one Google Doc work for multiple students

There are several strategies teachers can use to make a Google Doc work for synchronous collaboration, even for whole-class collaboration, including color-coding and using tables.

Color-coding works best when each student selects their color to use for their contributions. There will always be some overlapping, but the use of multiple colors will show the collaborative process even with the overlapping.

Also, using tables and having each row numbered for a single student works too. This is one of my favorite options for synchronous digital collaboration. Since I have 36 students in my classes, I usually group my students into six different groups. Then, I create a Google Doc with six tables, each consisting of six rows so that every student has a dedicated space for whole-class, synchronous collaboration. To help you see how I do this, you can download this free digital collaboration document that provides teachers with multiple ideas about how to facilitate digital collaboration in the middle school or high school classroom. 

Digital collaboration ideas for the secondary ELA classroom

One way I plan to include digital collaboration in my distance learning and hybrid-model classrooms is through a collaborative analysis activity. I will place students into small groups (though they won’t be seated together), probably around four students, and assign a shared Google Doc to each group. Collaboratively, students will work through the Google Doc to analyze a short story, poem, or speech. Through collaborative work, students will work together to brainstorm various elements of the text. From there, I plan on moving the students to individual work to assess their knowledge. Individually, students will write a paragraph about the text. However, at any time, students can go back to the collaborative document to pull information and quotes to use in their writing. I currently have collaborative analysis lessons for theme, setting, conflict, characterization, and plot

Theme Literary Analysis Digital Collaboration Activity

Several years ago, when I was teaching my rhetorical analysis unit to my students, we completed a class rhetorical precis. All 35 of my sophomores were working and typing in one Google Doc at once. And yes, while it was a bit chaotic at first, students quickly adapted to the activity, and it worked well. With remote or hybrid teaching models, having all of your students in one Google Doc is a way to engage in whole-class collaboration.

Digital rhetorical analysis collaborative activity

Another way I plan to include digital collaboration in my classroom is through the use of group digital research projects to introduce thematic idea we will study. I started this collaborative approach several years ago when I had my sophomores complete a group research project before we read Night. I had students create groups of 3-4 people, and then each group researched a different topic related to Night. As they researched, students compiled a PowerPoint (yes, this is from THAT long ago) of the information to present to the class. Today, however, I have my students collaborate in a Google Slide. Google Slides is an excellent tool because students can work synchronously or asynchronously on the assignment. They can also chat in the discussion box. 

Digital Collaboration Ideas for Distance and Hybrid Learning in the Secondary ELA Classroom

Asynchronous Collaboration Ideas

The Google Suite is an excellent tool for educators because while it does provide for live collaboration opportunities, students can also collaborate at their convenience. If you are assigning any collaborative project for students to work on outside of class time, you’ll want to make sure that it is optimized for asynchronous student collaboration so that students can collaborate at a time that best suits their schedule and obligations outside of the school day.

Digital Collaboration Tools

  • Google Suite - this is one of the easiest and most versatile ways to collaborate digitally in the secondary ELA classroom. More than likely, you’ll stick with Docs and Slides most often.
  • Office 365 - if you aren’t a Google school, you’ll probably use the online version of Microsoft products for student collaboration.
  • Padlet - I love this site for digital gallery walks, sharing files, and posting digital projects. I have many of my students share their digital work, such as their graphic essays, to Padlet so that other students can see and comment on the work.
  • Adobe Spark - This is a great online tool that is free. With Adobe Spark, students can work together to make informative videos. However, it is only for asynchronous collaboration.
  • Flipgrid - This is an excellent tool for online video discussions. Teachers can create grids, and then each student responds with their own video response.

More Digital Collaboration Ideas:
Distance Learning and Student Engagement by Room 213
Reading Digital Escape Room by Nouvelle ELA
Digital Collaboration Ideas for Distance and Hybrid Learning in the Secondary ELA Classroom

Digital Learning in the English Language Arts Classroom

We all know that learning is going to look A LOT different next year. As of right now, most of you are unsure what will take place come back to school season. It's a very strange feeling. Will we be back in school? Will we have a mix of in-school and online teaching? It's all up in the air right now. While we all had a short introduction at the end of the school year, as to what we may be able to expect in the fall, we are still very much under uncertain times. The aim of this post is to help both new and veteran teachers get things organized digitally for the unknown 2020-2021 school year.

My best advice for you right now would be to become familiar with some sort of online platform to use with your students. If you are not already using Google, it's FREE to set up and most teachers are using this platform for their students to complete digital resources. It's fairy easy to navigate and students can easily send you the resources via the 'share' button once it's ready to be graded. Here are a few things that you can do NOW to ensure you are as prepared for whatever is thrown at you for the fall!

1. Organize your digital files!

Yes, this is a thing! I just discovered this myself. Kuddos to you if you are a step a head of me! I just finished color-coding my folders and got rid of a bunch of files that I did not need anymore!

I usually do this every year on my laptop anyway, so I figured this poster would come in handy for teachers now and students in the fall.

Grab a copy of this FREE poster HERE!

You can link this document as a back to school activity for your students to follow the steps, as well as to create a folder for your course. They will thank you later!

2. Convert your resources into digital activities

I know, the last thing you had planned to do this summer was to convert your resources into digital files. However, being that you will also be juggling a thousand other things, creating some fun activities for your students to get them going is a start in the right direction! For this reason, I created these Digital Escape Room Templates for both personal and commercial use. Create engaging activities for your classroom with the ready-to-go templates.

You can also give the templates to students to build their own digital activities using the information they learned. This gives them a hands-on activity to be creative and demonstrate what they learned. When they are done, these games can be shared amongst other peers to try out! (Don't forget to tell them to create a 'copy' first before they begin sharing it!)

Here's a sample of an activity that is simply an interactive matching game. For this particular activity, students will have to be able to make a connection with the nine words chosen. You can match anything: people to places, people to subjects, cities to countries, words to various terms, first names to last names, and so much more! It can also work in any subject area. 

Ready to use these in your classrom? Click HERE to learn more about these digital templates! The best part? They can be done remotely at home, should distance learning be here for a while!

3. Create an Interactive (Bitmoji) Classroom

If you haven't already considered creating your own virtual classroom, now might be the time! It's a fun and interactive way to communicate with your students, while they are out of the classroom. The interactive elements of the virtual classroom allow students to access their assignments, websites, etc. Click HERE to check out a video on how to set up your very own virtual classroom!

Here are the steps to follow:

1. Open up a blank Google Slide
2. Add a background, then insert the image. (Google image search " transparent wall and floor")
3. Add images to your classroom. (Google image search "transparent white board")
4. Include any items that you may already have in your classroom: desk, whiteboard, bookshelf, etc.
5. Add links to your images.
6. Add your teacher Bitmoji to the space if you have one! :)

*Add the word "transparent" when searching images on the web.

4. Become familiar with some sort of online learning platform

You might consider taking time this summer to learn about a few more online platforms. Perhaps the one you used this school year worked for you, but maybe there are more out there that would work better for you or have more feature options. Here are a few you might consider.
  • Edmodo
  • Moodle
  • BrightSpace
  • WizIG
  • Udemy
Read more about each of these HERE

5. Remote teaching tips

Hold your students accountable

Engage your students with participation activities and hold them accountable. How can you do this? Ask them questions!

Set reasonable expectations in terms of communication

Whether it be a Zoom call or a quick email, touching base doesn't have to happen daily necessarily (especially if they aren't right in front of you). However, making time once a week will surely make a huge difference.

Promote collaboration

When possible, promote collaboration among your students. Using shareable documents like Google Drive can make it easily accessible for students to work together, when they are not face-to-face.

Check out these other digital resources and ideas for your classroom:

Rethinking the Classics: Supplements and Updates for 10 Core Texts

Hey, y’all! It’s Danielle from Nouvelle ELA. I’ve seen a lot of y’all posting on social media recently and asking for help diversifying and decolonizing* your curriculum. This is not work we’ll be able to do overnight, but it is important that we start. I’ve asked Dr. Sheila Frye, a Literacy Specialist from New Jersey who blogs at TeachingLiteracy.me, to help me help you find some first steps.

[*NB: When Sheila and I talk about diversifying, we mean adding more voices to the material aspects of our classrooms, like updating our reading lists to include authors from backgrounds not currently represented. When we use the term decolonizing, this is changing material and immaterial aspects (such as discussion techniques) of our teaching practices to de-center White European heritage.]

Most of us can easily recall some of the books we were required to read in high school, no matter where in the United States we grew up. Of Mice and Men? Check. The Scarlet Letter? Yup. Romeo and Juliet? Us too. By now, we know that these texts serve to amplify white voices. Given the dynamic plurality of the citizens of our country, it is safe to say that a large portion of our students’ stories are being ignored or muted, all for the sake of past practice. The good news is that we all have access to tools to expand the canon and move it toward inclusivity and intersectionality. 

Before we dive into inclusive pairings for 10 commonly-taught texts, Sheila and I wanted to make some acknowledgements and provide you with some resources for your anti-racist work. (You can read our full notes on these affirmations in this post.)

1.        We acknowledge that representation matters.

2.               We acknowledge that diversifying the ELA curriculum is just one step. 

3.               We acknowledge that schools are under-funded.

4.               We acknowledge that teachers may have little say in the texts they teach. 

5.               We acknowledge that talking about race may be new to many teachers.

Sometimes, curriculum decisions are made at a district level, and it can be difficult or impossible to pivot in a single summer. Sometimes, core texts are approved a year in advance, and there’s little wiggle room. Within our recommendations, we’ll show you how to reframe conversations around your “fixed” texts to increase empathy and critical thinking in your students. Our goal is to help you use the tools you have to disrupt racism. (And since you’re on a budget, here’s an idea for how to get free books from Danielle’s blog.) 

With all this in mind, let’s jump into discussing specific texts. We’ve chosen ten commonly-taught texts from secondary ELA to reexamine with a goal of inclusivity. For each text, we’ll share easy changes, like supplemental texts you could incorporate on a budget. We’ll also share more difficult changes, like curriculum updates you could request in the future. We are not saying that you need to replace every text -- we want to continue a dialogue on how to make our curricula more inclusive.

Guiding Questions

For each text you teach, ask yourself: 

  • What themes will students consider?
  • What essential questions will students explore?
  • Which literary elements will students observe?
  • Which voices are absent in the current unit?
  • What other texts could students use to achieve these goals?

The Texts

Romeo & Juliet

Supplement the text: Have you heard about the Harlem Shakespeare Festival? When Debra Ann Byrd started the company, she was tired of not being given the chance to play a full range of roles in Shakespeare’s plays. Byrd said, “I decided that I am going to start a theatre company where classically trained actors of colour get opportunities to perform whatever classics they want to perform.” In addition to adding Byrd’s interpretations to your students’ discussions, check out Akala’s analysis of Shakespeare & Hip Hop. (I always use this TED talk to introduce my students to Iambic Pentameter)

A curriculum update: What are your main teaching goals with this text? If you’re looking for a lyrical tragedy that is character-focused, check out In the Time of Butterflies by Julia Alvarez. If you like the star-crossed lovers aspect, consider The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez. Both texts will engage your students and provoke deep conversations about destiny, choice, and responsibility.

To Kill a Mockingbird

Supplement the text: If you’d like to keep teaching this novel, teacher Christina Torres recommends exploring tough questions that are still relevant to our students’ lives today. For example, Atticus fights for Tom because he is a “clean-living” Black man. This is a great discussion starter! What does it mean to be “clean-living”? Is a citizen’s life only valuable under certain conditions? How does this ethos connect to the arguments various groups make today about police brutality?

A curriculum update: Consider adding or substituting the book Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. A lawyer, Stevenson shares the stories of those wrongfully imprisoned and their fights for justice. His work has been adapted for young adults and there’s also a new film adaptation. This would be the perfect way to give a Black writer space to tell stories about justice for Black people. 

The Odyssey

Supplement the text: Round out your teaching of The Odyssey by having it share the stage with other myths and legends from around the world. As students meet Scylla and Charybdis, have them research other mythological creatures. You can also connect the concept of xenia to current events, like the refugee crises in Syria or in Malaysia. Stacey Lloyd recommends drawing in essays from “The Displaced,” edited by Viet Thanh Nguyen. This is a collection of narrative nonfiction by refugee writers. Be sure to check out Stacey’s post on adding a global perspective for ideas on incorporating short stories, too.

A curriculum update: If you’re looking for a modern classic, The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline is an excellent pick. The Marrow Thieves is a coming-of-age dystopian about a young man on a journey. One of the beautiful things about this novel is that students can read it quickly for the adventure, and then return to it for deep discussions. You can listen to our YA Cafe Podcast discussion on the book here.

The Outsiders

Supplement the text: Highlight the relevance of themes by pairing the novel with other voices. “We Real Cool” by Gwendolyn Brooks is a classic poem with themes of identity tied in with delinquency. “What Love Isn’t” by Yrsa Daley-Ward underscores themes of love and loyalty. (Daley-Ward is a great addition to your curriculum in general because she is an “Instagram poet” and her work is very timely and accessible) You could also pair this novel with a modern YA tale, like Ghost by Jason Reynolds. Lastly, consider tying in the news article “Healing ‘Brick City’” to explore themes of heroism and home in a new mode.

A curriculum update: This is a great opportunity for literature circles on identity and belonging. Literature circles are one way to decolonize your curriculum because they center students’ experiences with a certain text. At the end of your literature circles time, groups can present to the rest of the class on how their book treats certain themes. You can also design “lit kits” around these themes. Addie Williams provides more on that approach here.

The Giver

Supplement the text: The core of any dystopian study is about external shaping of individual liberties. This naturally leads to a discussion of who is included in the utopian vision and who gets left out. Did you know that Thomas Jefferson dreamt of making the United States an Agrarian Democracy? Very quickly, students will point out that Jefferson enslaved people to work his lands. Does enslavement fit our notion of utopia? You can also draw in seven real-life utopias as students pursue these discussions.

A curriculum update: This is a great opportunity to pair The Giver with a more recent text. I love Jinxed by Amy McCullough, a Chinese Canadian author. It is about a young engineer living in a techy utopia. She gets the opportunity to go to a sleek high school that feeds into the major tech corporation. Once there, she realizes that not everything is as it seems. Jinxed is high-tech and features Battle Bots-esque scenes that will complement The Giver’s slower, rural setting well. 

Lord of the Flies

Supplement the text: One way I’ve supplemented this text in the past is with literature circles. Students have read Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens (a feminist retelling of LotF), The Maze Runner, Hunger Games, and The Grace Year. Honestly, still a pretty White view of dystopian lit. Next time I teach this text, I’ll pull in contemporary voices on leadership and terror, such as Farida Nabourema’s TED Talk “Is Your Country at Risk of Becoming a Dictatorship?” I’ll ask students to connect points of Nabourema’s talk to the events of the novel. 

A curriculum update: Because Lord of the Flies is an allegory, you could meet many of the same teaching goals by using another allegory. One notion that comes up with the novel is that perhaps only boys and men have the capacity to abuse power. The Power by Naomi Alderman imagines a world in which teenage girls have the biological ability to shoot electricity from their fingertips. Alderman explores the implications of this in her dystopian setting. You could also replace the novel with shorter stories, like any of the dark fairy tales in The Merry Spinster by Daniel M. Lavery (as Mallory Ortberg). This would be a great opportunity for students to work in groups to present one tale and examine how different tales explore different archetypes.

In terms of centering student expertise and experience, students can write their own short stories. They can begin from “What if… (teenage girls had the power to shoot lightning)?” and imagine the answers. This is the core exploration in any dystopian novel. 

Death of a Salesman

Supplement the text: When discussing Willy’s role as a tragic hero, students can explore the character traits that bring about his demise. He’s well-liked, yet struggles. In a 2015 interview, Audie Cornish and Shankar Vedantam talk about a study that links childhood emotional skills to future success. Center student experience through discussion. Do they believe the American Dream is still relevant and achievable? If so, why? This could take the form of class discussions or an argumentative research presentation.

A curriculum update: This is another one you could replace with “A Raisin in the Sun,” particularly if you want to touch on elements of genre or compare the text with adaptations for the stage or screen. For 11th and 12th graders, you could also use Louise Erdrich’s LaRose as a countertext to the American Dream. It really questions who has access to this notion (hint: it’s not Native Americans). Additionally, this book touches on similar themes of betrayal, loss, and familial relationships.

The Great Gatsby

Supplement the text: Make sure you’re truly teaching about the era before students jump into the text. I’ve written before about building context for this novel. Students need to understand where the nation was after World War I, particularly those people for whom the 20s weren’t exactly “roaring.” Black Americans were migrating to Northern cities as part of the Great Migration and White women had just won suffrage. Both of these inform the novel. Goin’ North is an amazing oral histories project about the Great Migration, so you could easily integrate some of these authentic voices. 

A curriculum update: Consider replacing this novel with “A Raisin in the Sun” by Lorraine Hansberry. Students can still explore themes of money and the American Dream through this text. They’ll also still be able to discuss how gender impacts access to this dream. 

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Supplement the text: If you want to continue teaching either novel, I recommend checking out the article “Teaching Huck Finn without Regret.” Any teaching of either novel MUST include a firm foundation in satire and an acknowledgement of the historical context. You can draw connections to modern satirists and comedians. Trevor Noah has some excellent examples. You can spend time discussing Mark Twain’s life and his family’s evolution of ideas about anti-racism. Lastly, be prepared to openly discuss with students whether this book “holds up” for those reasons, or not. This is a great part of a larger literary debate -- when do we need to let a work of art go?

A curriculum update: One argument for keeping Twain’s novels is exposing students to a realistic depiction of the era. If this is one of your teaching goals, consider replacing the novel with Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, American Slave (1845). This is a first-hand account and definitely brings the realism! Moreover, students don’t experience racism and poverty through the eyes of a young White boy -- they hear from Douglass himself.

The Scarlet Letter

Supplement the text: Add more perspectives on these themes. In Lewis Sawaquat’s essay, “For My Indian Daughter,” he touches on many of the same feelings Hester expresses for Pearl. You can also include Sarah Kay’s slam poem “If I Should Have a Daughter” and have students discuss parents’ hopes, dreams, and sacrifices for their children. This is also a good chance to draw in current events. In this #MeToo world, it’s hard to imagine reading this book without connecting it to the women who have bravely spoken up against the men of power existing without consequences. The novel tells a story about power, and we can still see those struggles today. 

A curriculum update: If you’re looking for an engaging replacement, consider Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. You could use either the novel or the graphic novel to get students talking about what ostracization looks like in a modern setting. For a more complex novel exploring societal norms, family drama, and betrayal, check out Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones. 

What's Next?

However you are planning to include more voices in the curriculum this year, we’re here to support you. Diversity in the texts we share with students is just one step in our work to be anti-racist educators. Sheila and I are also making extended lists of supplements and updates, so check those out! 

Also, be sure to check out our full notes on our affirmations and let us know if you have any questions. 

Happy teaching!
-Danielle and Sheila

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