Browsing Category : reflections

Want to find Secondary ELA teachers to connect with on Instagram? These amazing accounts are a great place to get started building your educational community on IG. (Blog post at teachnouvelle.com)

The Best Secondary ELA Instagram Accounts to Follow


It can be isolating being a teacher. Maybe you’re the only one teaching Romeo & Juliet in your building, or maybe you really want to change this year’s spring novel and you have no one to turn to for fresh ideas. Whether you’re looking for classroom management strategies, decorating ideas, book recommendations, or a community that celebrates #feetupFriday, Instagram is…

Learn More »
Putting on a class play is a lot of work, but it's hugely rewarding. Here are some tips for a successful show! Read more at teachnouvelle.com.

Class Play: A Successful Show


Now, let’s talk about the best part of doing a class play: the performance! This is the fourth part of my class play series, so be sure to check out the posts on Logistics & Prep, Filling Their Toolkit, and Evaluation Ideas. We had two performances of our class play, and this was a good amount for amateur student actors.…

Learn More »
Dealing with grief in the classroom can be challenging for a teacher, but having a plan will help you be an effective support for your students. (Blog Post)

Grief in the Classroom


When you sit down to plan your lessons for the day, week, or year, you don’t want to think about what you’ll do if tragedy strikes. Grief and pain are as much a part of our lives as joy and learning, but we don’t like to think about them. However, it’s important that we, as teachers, are prepared to deal…

Learn More »
Pop Culture in ELA Every year, I surprise my students by pulling pop culture into the ELA classroom. They act surprised at first and seem to think that I’m pulling their leg or making fun of them, but that it far from the case. It’s important to use pop culture in ELA because it helps students understand why they’re studying English in the first place. Let’s back up. Why is English class important? There are many possible answers here – teaching students to communicate, helping students explore classics, exposing students to a wide range of stories, etc. I firmly believe that understanding archetypes, language, and form will help students connect to a cultural heritage (or several!) and make them better humans through empathy. If we can walk around in a character’s skin, we are one step closer to understanding another human and thus one step closer to world peace. Yeah, that’s a lot of pressure to put on an ELA teacher. I think that storytelling in any form is a great joy and that words have amazing power. I am obsessed with Shakespeare and T.S. Eliot, but I’m also obsessed with Ke$ha and Avatar: The Last Airbender and anything Kiera Cass has written. We are shaped by the intersections of these stories, and that’s why it’s so important to include pop culture in ELA. Consider this Ke$ha lyric: “Dirt and glitter cover the floor. We pretty and sick. We’re young and we’re bored.” This lyric is so beautiful and evocative to me, and I’ve had this line go through my head while reading E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars as well as Poe’s “Masque of the Red Death”. I think students deserve to know that, instead of me pretending that Ke$ha is not a brilliant storyteller just because she’s not in the cultural canon (yet). We need to validate the stories and we need to validate the knowledge. It may take a long time for your 10th graders to connect to Hester Prynne, but they may connect more quickly to Alex Parrish from Quantico or any of the handful of ostracized characters in Gossip Girl. Another great tool for using pop culture in ELA and really honing students’ awareness of any genre is by using tropes. A trope is any overused theme or device, and once you see one, you can’t unsee one. A great source for starting to explore these with (older) students is TV Tropes. For example, consider the trope “Helmets Are Hardly Heroic”: “In any work where a hero wears armor, whether powered or otherwise, the helmet is almost never worn even in combat. In Real Life the helmet is the most important piece of personal armor ever invented besides the shield, since the skull and the brain inside are highly vulnerable to all kinds of weapon blows and projectiles. So why does a character who has access to a helmet rarely use it?” -from TV Tropes First, start by simply proposing the idea to your students and see if they can name some examples from movies and television. Then, use this to segue into a bigger conversation of the role of stories: *Why would directors make this no-helmets choice? *Why does the audience suspend their disbelief (or not)? *What would change if heroes did wear helmets? Lastly, you can use pop culture in ELA very deliberately by using games. I LOVE trivia, so I have an ongoing trivia game to use with my students. You can find this game in my TeachersPayTeachers store. What are your favorite ways to use pop culture in ELA? Leave your ideas in comments and be sure to sign up for our monthly newsletter!

Pop Culture in ELA: Infuse Your Lessons


Every year, I surprise my students by using pop culture in ELA. They act surprised at first and seem to think that I’m pulling their leg or making fun of them, but that it far from the case. It’s important to use pop culture in ELA because it helps students understand why they’re studying English in the first place. Let’s…

Learn More »
Teach Public Speaking with small group presentations. Smaller audiences boost speaker confidence, keep audience members engaged and accountable, and improve usage of class time. Blog post.

Teach Public Speaking with Small Group Presentations


Public Speaking is an important skill for middle schoolers and high schoolers to develop, and some of them embrace the opportunity. For others, though, public speaking can be so daunting as to actually cause fear and nausea. How can we help our students develop public speaking and listening skills while still being respectful of their feelings? Small group presentations. Rethinking…

Learn More »
Make grading easier by only writing on the rubric. By writing focused comments on the rubric, you'll reduce your grading time while still assuring that your students receive valuable feedback. Read more at the blog post.

Make Grading Easier


I used to live in constant dread of my grading load, struggling under the weight of it all. I thought that to be a good teacher, I had to write copious amounts of feedback and notes on my students’ papers. In an effort to make grading easier, I stopped writing on student papers. In this post, I’ll talk about why…

Learn More »

Persuasive Techniques and Media Literacy


Persuasive Techniques & Critical Thinking I’ve taught persuasive techniques every year, but it feels more necessary than ever for our students to develop media literacy. Can they judge the worth (and truth) of the information presented to them? Can they identify how a speaker could be manipulating their emotions and instincts? I’ve teamed up with a group of teacher-authors from…

Learn More »
Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous "What is Your Life's Blueprint?" speech urges us to stand up and get going! This speech is perfect for motivating middle school and high school students (and teachers, too!) to take action and choose a direction for their lives. Blog post from teachnouvelle.com.

Martin Luther King Jr. and Taking Action


Teaching & Learning with Martin Luther King Jr. If you need a motivational, reflective activity, you’ve come to the right place. One of my favorite ways to challenge my students to set goals is to listen to inspirational speakers. This is an excellent opportunity to use Martin Luther King Jr.’s classic “What is Your Life’s Blueprint?” speech to get students…

Learn More »
Whether you are a first-year teacher, a military spouse, or a veteran teacher moving to a new job, being the new teacher in a school can be intimidating. Check out this blog post for tips to succeed as the new teacher on the block. From teachnouvelle.com.

Succeed as the New Teacher


Rockin’ It as the New Teacher Whether you are a first-year teacher, a military spouse who’s always on the move, or a veteran teacher switching districts, there are times when it’s necessary to be a new teacher in a building. Here are some tips for new teachers that I’ve learned after five years of teaching in as many schools. Through…

Learn More »
How to Deal with Irritation in Rehearsal - Ways to Cope & Resolve the stress of directing a high school production.

How to Deal with Irritation in Rehearsal


When You Get Irritated in Rehearsal We are in the last few days of rehearsal for our Spring Musical, and I’ve been thinking about irritation a lot. I’ve been getting and trying to reflect on what makes me so (INFJs for the win!). I got home today from our big Saturday practice (9-3, phew!), and saw that Lisa and Jonathan…

Learn More »
Drama in the ELA Classroom - Build your students' competence and confidence with these basic drama skills.

Building Drama Know-How in ELA


Drama Skills for the Class Play In the last post, I talked about casting the class play. Now, I want to talk about developing basic drama skills. This will encourage engagement from all students, all the time. This is something that I struggled with in the beginning, but I developed some tools to help my students. If you’re like me,…

Learn More »
How to Set Up and Cast the Class Play - Use these tips to help integrate Drama in the ELA classroom.

How to Set Up and Cast the Class Play


Drama in ELA: The Class Play In this series, I’m going to share my experiences integrating Drama in ELA and producing a class play with my 9th grade English class. Drama is so engaging for students, but is often put aside because it seems like a lot of work or doesn’t obviously correlate to higher test scores. In this series,…

Learn More »

Drama in the ELA Classroom: Improv Games


3 Games to Introduce Drama in the ELA Classroom I have loved drama since my 3rd grade class got to be Arabian dancers in the school’s performance of “The Nutcracker”. When I was in middle and high school, I always wanted to do “acting” options for projects, sometimes asking my teachers ridiculous things like “can I show you the parts…

Learn More »

Independent Reading in High School


  How to Keep Kids Reading in High School One of my biggest goals as a high school teacher is to help my students love reading. I am an avid reader, and hit my book challenge for the year (75 books – woo-hoo!), and I want my kids to find books that they can connect with. I see the primary…

Learn More »
Fresh Start for the School Year

A Fresh Start for the School Year


Hello, all! It’s been a season of change here at TeachNouvelle, and I wanted to take this opportunity to welcome new readers. Whether you are a teacher, author, avid reader, or any combination of the three, I strive to develop wonderful resources for you to use. My name is Danielle, and I am a Coast Guard spouse living and working…

Learn More »
Need a fresh activity for back to school? Check out this blog post for some back to school anticipation, preparation, and celebration at teachnouvelle.com.

Back to School: Anticipation & Activities


Back to School Thoughts & Activities Hello, all! I’m Danielle and I am a teacher, military spouse, writer, runner, and reader. I graduated from the University of Idaho with a teaching degree, and then followed that up with a Masters from la Université de Poitiers in France. I’ve been teaching for five years now, working in Oregon, France, Germany, North…

Learn More »
tpt seller challenge #2: Dare to Dream

TpT Seller Challenge Week #2: Dare to Dream


For this week’s TpT Seller Challenge, we’ve been asked to dream big. Well, I have three major goals that my store on TeachersPayTeachers can enable, and they are to travel, to learn, and to share. 1. Travel I have always been very privileged to be able to travel a lot, and I want to continue this in my adult life…

Learn More »

Why I Started Blogging


Why I Started Blogging   Oh, blogging! It’s true that I’ve had this blog for a very short time, but I’ve been journaling and blogging for years now. I’ve kept a *paper journal* for seventeen years and had a *LiveJournal* in high school and college, and then kept a public travel blog while I lived in Europe. It was a…

Learn More »

Goals for the Summer


My Goals for the Summer This summer, I am focusing on three major goals: 1. Learn Spanish We recently (5 weeks ago!) moved from Philadelphia to San Juan, Puerto Rico (thank you, Coast Guard!) and have been “coasting” as far as Spanish goes. We currently live in the very touristy area of San Juan, and everyone can identify us as…

Learn More »
5 Ways that I'm a Terrible Student image

5 Ways that I’m a Terrible Student


What I have learned from being a terrible student I am a military spouse and we are about to be stationed in Puerto Rico. I’ve been “learning Spanish” for over a year now, and I just haven’t made much progress. I use every stall tactic in the book and I’m just not where I think I should be. This is…

Learn More »
6 TpT Sellers I Admire

6 TeachersPayTeachers Sellers I Admire


This is my very first blog post, and so I want to start by looking outward. I’ve been selling (seriously) on TeachersPayTeachers for over a year now and I’m ready to push myself even further. I’ve been spending some time in reflection on who I am as a teacher, as a student, as a seller, as a buyer, and as…

Learn More »