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8th Grade Introduction to Poetry Using Music and Film (from Curriki) It says 8th grade but the Educational Level states "Grades 6-8 / Ages 11-13". "This lesson plan introduces a poetry unit using music and film to get students thinking about the definition of poetry and how it fits into their lives. The end of the lesson introduces the concept of Found Poetry." This is a .docx file that you download. You must login first. That's OK, you really should join Curriki and take advantage of tons of free lesson plans and ideas.


9 PD James Quotes Every Writer Needs To Read "P. D. James, Member of the House of Lords; Rt. Hon. Phyllis Dorothy, Baroness James of Holland Park; OBE, FRSA, FRSL; commonly known as P. D. James, was an English crime writer. She rose to fame for her series of detective novels starring policeman and poet Adam Dalgliesh." (Wikipedia) Read more about her in this WaPo article. She leaves you a legacy with these nine practical tips for beginning writers. Read 'em and be enlightened!


13 Writing Prompts for Kids 13 Exciting, Innovative Writing Prompts for Kids + 9 Bonus Creative Journaling Ideas from Journal Buddies. "Okay… without further ado, below are listed some of my favorite kids writing prompts just for you and your students! Oh, and there’s even a bonus listing of creative journaling ideas, too." This is one little part of the 1,000+ journaling and writing prompts found on Journal Buddies. "Welcome to Journal Buddies. On our website you will find information, articles and resources about journaling, writing ideas, journal prompts, kids writing, building and strengthening self-esteem in children and other topics such as creative writing." New things are always being added.


15 Grammar Goofs The big 15 that make teachers and employers lose it. You do not want to make these mistakes at work, let alone in school. Study this infografic! Written by Copyblogger and designed by Blue Glass.


40 iPad Apps for Reading Disabilities Parents of children with reading disabilities, and educators who work with learning disabled students, are always looking for new tools to help the kids meet their potential and work through their disability. This is a list of 40 iPad apps designed to meet the needs of learning disabled kids and beginning readers alike. The apps are sorted into Helps, Fundamentals, Reading, Writing, and Spelling. This article is posted at Educator Technology and Mobile Learning, where there are a lot more articles like this one.


1000 Verbs to Write By from Dragon Writing Prompts (List created by by Deanna Carlyle, Copyright 2004 by Deanna Carlyle at "All the writing advice in the world can't replace good tools and lots of practice. This is why I've compiled the following list of over a thousand action verbs. I needed a handy, printable reference tool that didn't strain my eyes or my wrists. Try it for yourself sometime. It works." This list must be seen to be believed! There is also a list of "Said substitutes" from a group of writers that is interesting (a few are, frankly, weird). Why write "He said" when you can use "He sobbed" or any of hundreds of others on this A to Z list? Obviously these two lists are for use in creative writing/fiction.


English Thief.jpg


New Site
"What an astonishing thing a book is.
It's a flat object made from a tree
with flexible parts on which are imprinted
lots of funny dark squiggles. But one
glance at it and you're inside the mind of
another person, maybe somebody dead for
thousands of years. Across the millennia,
an author is speaking clearly and silently
inside your head, directly to you. Writing
is perhaps the greatest of human
inventions, binding together people who
never knew each other, citizens of distant
epochs. Books break the shackles of time.
A book is proof that humans are capable
of working magic."
Carl Sagan



A Guide to Writing for College by Veritas Prep "Writers can create coherent and incoherent composition... Other people judge an individual’s intellect based on their ability to write. Writing serves as an outlet for people to express themselves as individuals... Writing enables people to organize facts from opinions without getting confused. It also allows the writer to inject personal views to influence the readership." That being said, here are some reasons why you need to write coherently.

  • Writing is putting your thoughts on paper.
  • You are writing for Other People, not for yourself.
  • You will be judged by the quality of your writing.
  • It's not just a hoop you must jump through to get that diploma, it's a life skill!
  • Yes, and writing carries ideas down the ages.
  • This site will lead you to links to sites about:
  • The Writing Process,
  • Prewriting,
  • how to write a Thesis or Analysis,
  • how to do Revision,
  • brush up on Grammar and Mechanics,
  • write Research Papers,
  • and exploring Online Writing Labs for even more help.

    Write a lot, NOT alot. It isn't a lot to ask.Alot is not aword.



    New Site



    A SIMPLE Handwriting Trick {FREE Printable} by thisreadingmama Use these free pinted sheets to practice this trick.
    It goes from known to unknown, using c and l as the starts of other letters: "For example, a, d, g, and q are all formed by starting with the letter c. My kids knew how to form a c, but would start in all kinds of places to write the other letters. I also noticed that b, h, k and t all start by forming an l first." She designed progressively harder writing lines to scaffold young writers. This is a fine example of adaptive and creative instruction!


    animated alligator Alligators and Crocodiles at Enchanted Learning Giving crocodilians their usual epic treatment - Poems, art with facts to color, report worksheets, graphic organizers, report wheels, and more. Editorial: if you don't already subscribe to Enchanted Learning, you really should.



    Bug and Insect Crafts for Kids "How to Make Bug and Insect Crafts to use in Your Home School and Preschool. Insect Crafts, Science, and Creative Writing Learning Activities for Home School. Use 'nature bugs' in your science class to teach about insects and spiders, in your English class to promote creative writing or technical writing, and in your art class to promote creativity." Bunches of inexpensive kid-friendly craft projects. Make various insects, some spiders, and paper roly-polys (sowbugs, woodlouse). Everything's illustrated, with written instructions and parts lists, like a cookbook's recipes!


    CODE "Every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn to code." So say Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, President Bill Clinton, Senator Marco Rubio (R) - Florida, Senator John Thune (R) - South Dakota, Stephen Hawking, Sheryl Sandberg, Vice President Al Gore, Richard Branson, Ashton Kutcher, Dr. Oz, Arianna Huffington, NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Eric Schmidt - Google, Randi Weingarten - AFT, Wendy Kopp - Teach For America, Steve Ballmer - Microsoft, Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado, Enrique Iglesias, Snoop Dogg, Reid Hoffman - LinkedIn, Dick Costolo & Jack Dorsey - Twitter, Governor Jay Inslee of Washington State, Max Levchin - Paypal, Dara Khosrowshahi - Expedia, Gabe Newell - Valve, Yishan Wong - Reddit, Salman Khan, and many others. Read what they have to say. is a non-profit foundation dedicated to growing computer programming education. Our goals include:

    (1) Spreading the word that there is a worldwide shortage of computer programmers, and that it's much easier to learn to program than you think.

    (2) Building an authoritative database of all programming schools, whether they are online courses, brick+mortar schools or summer camps.

    (3) Our vision is that every student in every school has the opportunity to learn how to code. We believe computer science and computer programming should be part of the core curriculum in education, alongside other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses, such as biology, physics, chemistry and algebra.

    The Learn section has intros to simple programs like Scratch and Karel the Dog*. The Teach section has tutorials, curriculum you can integrate into classes, options to bring classes to your school, and more programs like Scratch and Alice to try out. * A subset of Karel the Robot? Dating ourselves?

    Bottom line: Business, industry, you name it, they're all screaming for people who can write code. Read the Quotes, like these: “Our policy at Facebook is literally to hire as many talented engineers as we can find. There just aren't enough people who are trained and have these skills today.“ "These are some of the highest-paying jobs, but there are not enough graduates to fill these opportunities.“ "... It's important for these kids, right now, starting at 8 years old, to read and write code.“ “support tha american dream n make coding available to EVERYONE!!“ “Computer programming is the single best professional opportunity in the world. We need more Americans in the field. Let’s go!“


    Conversation Pieces: Building Bright Ideas "My site targets students in grades 2-8, and it includes almost 200 book recommendations, and some of those include online book quizzes (over 90), discussion questions, vocabulary lists, and writing activities. I offer writing contests for students, and am adding a new section with Daily Writing Prompts. The site also includes independent study project ideas, online vocabulary quizzes, and a math problem of the week. Students can earn virtual badges in the Hall of Fame for Book Quizzes, Math Problems, and Vocabulary Quizzes when they earn high scores in those areas. Teachers and homeschooling parents can incorporate many of these activities into existing literacy and math programs, or use them to facilitate book clubs or enrichment activities." Wow! Yes, all that and more is in here! What a treasure for teachers!


    Daily Writing Prompt "This free resource provides consistent and meaningful "time on task". Students respond easily to our delightful menu of topics. Carefully crafted prompts appeal to a wide range of age, interests, and ability levels." Featuring The Daily Ten writing prompts, prompts by genre, ESL/TOEFL Prompts, story starters, grammar guides, punctuation rules, some good links, and more!


    Daily Writing Prompt from Writers Write Creative Blog "Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. To find out about Writers Write - How to write a book, or The Plain Language Programme - Writing courses for business, email [email protected]"


    Daily Writing Prompts from The Teacher's Corner "Creative Writing Prompts for every day of the year." These good prompts are organized by month. Check out January to see what's so great about these prompts!


    The Five Elements of a Story from Writers Write. "This is an interesting way to look at the layers of a story. This chart says that your character needs something to care about, something to want, something to dread, something to suffer, and something to learn." This easy to follow chart is great, especially for those who learn best with graphics! Also look at their page about Creating Characters.


    Free Language Arts Curriki Curated Resources! Here are 32 (it lists 33, but #2 and #14 are duplicates) separate collections of language arts lesson plans for middle school, high school, and ESL use. Not 32 lessons but 32 groups of lessons. Some could be adapted for upper elementary. Everything from parts of speech to Shakespeare. Lesson plans, lessons ready-to-go, rubrics, worksheets, videos, and more.


    George Washington George Washington Quotes from Notable Quotes. Nine pages of quotes, around 25 to a page. Also has a good biography and a trivia quiz. Great for American history among other things. The man wrote quite well and knew his grammar.


    Giggle Poetry Poetry for kids from author and poet Bruce Lansky. Five sections:

  • Poetry Class - Learn everything you need to know to become a "Giggle Poet!" The easy-to-follow instructions on this page will have you up and writing funny poems in no time at all. Dozens of easy poems to learn on.
  • Poetry Fun - Here are some of our most entertaining poetry activities. Do them alone or with a friend!
  • Poetry Theatre - You and your friends can perform poetry plays with these (34) popular and funny poems.
  • Word Games - 14 interactive online games (may be slow to load). Fun and colorful, with music.
  • Read & Rate - rate hundreds of silly poems using the Giggle Meter!

    Grammar from Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab) from Perdue University. The main site covers General Writing, Research and Citation, Teaching and Tutoring, Subject-Specific Writing, Job Search Writing, and ESL. This Grammar site is from the General Writing section. The whole site is huge! Go and find out for yourself! Anyway, in Grammar you can find:

  • Spelling - This resource covers common spelling errors including accept/except, ei/ie, noun plurals, and –ible/able.
  • Numbers - This section discusses numbers, how to write them correctly, and when to use numerical expressions instead.
  • Adjective or Adverb - This worksheet discusses the differences between adjectives and adverbs. It defines adjectives and adverbs, shows what each can do, and offers several examples of each in use.
  • How to Use Adjectives and Adverbs - This resource provides basic guidelines of adjective and adverb use.
  • Appositives- This handout defines appositives and explains how they are used.
  • Articles: A versus An - This short handout deals with which article to use before a noun -- "a" or "an."
  • How to Use Articles (a/an/the) - This handout discusses the differences between indefinite articles (a/an) and definite articles (the).
  • Prepositions This section deals with prepositions and their standard uses.
  • Pronouns This section has information about how to use pronouns correctly.
  • Relative Pronouns- This handout provides detailed rules and examples for the usage of relative pronouns
  • Count and Noncount Nouns - This handout discusses the differences between count nouns and noncount nouns. Count nouns can be pluralized; noncount nouns cannot.
  • Subject/Verb Agreement - This handout will help you understand this common grammar problem.
  • Verb Tenses - This handout explains and describes the sequence of verb tenses in English.
  • Active Verb Tenses - This handout gives some examples of the different tenses that verbs can have.
  • Irregular Verbs - This handout contains a list and discussion of common irregular verbs.

    Graphic Organizers for Personal Narratives Genia Connell, 3rd grade classroom teacher, offers ideas to get reluctant writers started. Writing is new for young kids, so guidance and scaffolding can really help. "I use a few different graphic organizers that have made a world of difference to my young writers. This week I'm happy to share with you some of the tools I use to help make planning and writing narratives that are focused, sequential, and interesting a bit easier for my students." There are organizers for generating ideas, prewriting, mini anchor charts, development of characters, and other ideas/resources. They work for this teacher, they may well work for you.



    Hidden Messages in Spirituals Lesson Plan unit from the NYS Core Curriculum - Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects, 6 - 12. Covers:

    Reading: Craft and Structure (meaning of words).


  • Test Types and Purposes (organize ideas, develop topic with facts)
  • Production and Distribution of Writing (develop, organize appropriate to task)
  • Research to Build and Present Knowledge (short research project, using term effectively)
  • This could also be used for history!
  • This is a complete lesson plan with pdf printables and a video. You can also download the Hidden Messages in Spirituals (608.2 KB) Lesson Plan (PDF).



    The Hobbit original book cover The Hobbit Literary Analysis Essay(pdf file) A complete essay test over The Hobbit and How to Create a Literary Analysis. Includes how to make a thesis statement, action words to use in place of "to be" verbs, transitional phrases, adverbs, conjunctions for compound sentences. A Topic Outline gives some scaffolding support. It's all self-contained and ready for your high school English class.



    The ins and outs of using quotation marks in your writing Short half-page explains the simple rules of quotation mark use, with examples. Another time-proven way to get your quotations straight is to read good books, fiction or non-, and see how the author handles quotations. Use those examples and the rules will make more sense to you.


    spinning gold star Josie's Poems It's fair to call this site "the biggest poetry website on the internet". "...knowing how very important rhyming and rhythmic poetry is for helping children develop phonological awareness, a key literacy tool, I’ve just written almost 900 poems for children of all ages." These are GOOD poems to read or to read aloud. The sort of poems that develop language skills, because they emphasize rhyming, rhythm, the way words sound in the head, mouth, and ear, and demonstrate the use of parts of speech! The haiku, cinquains, adverb poems, similes page is a shining example of how to teach poetry structure and grammar all at once! Read Apostrophe - Mr Blob and see what we're so happy about. There are ebooks, audios, and videos, too, and the chance to buy books (the rest of the site is FREE). This site is also used by ESL students in Europe. The English speaking world badly needs this sort of place on the web - so much of what is in here is no longer covered well (or at all) in many educational environments. We should have posted this site a long time ago. A big THANK YOU to Josie Whitehead, the teacher who created the site and most of the poems!


    Wow! Kids on the Net  "10 Years Online!" A fine literacy site for kids and their teachers from all parts of the English speaking world. Site includes: Writing With a Difference, with online stories written by elementary and middle school classes, story starters, and ways to contribute; also a teacher section and more. Authors and Reading has links to children's lit authors for kids to check out as well as teacher links. Good, practical advice for beginning authors here. Tell Us About It lets kids give input. Teachers shows teachers the various parts of the site. All these sections have Activities, too. There are some wonderful things in this site, go investigate!


    LANGUAGE ARTS » SEQUENCE from Learn NC 16 lesson plans and ideas for teaching sequence to beginning readers and writers. Story structure, timelines, flip books, and more are used to help kids comprehend an event's beginning, middle, and end.


    Launch Pad: "Where Young Authors and Illustrators Take Off! is a new literary & arts magazine devoted to publishing fiction, nonfiction, poetry, book reviews and artwork by children ages 6-12." This looks pretty good. A place where young artists and writers can show off their work.


    Meet Me at the Corner, "Virtual Field Trips for Kids, is a dynamic, interactive site, which encourages individual expression and participation through video submissions from children worldwide, featuring their special corner of the world. Through these video pod casts we hope to create a community of children, who learn the art of self-expression and storytelling through video." Great idea and wonderful site!


    spinning gold starMr. Murray's Virtual Classroom Online high school English classes for grades 9 - 12! Includes composition, literature, poetry, and journalism. You want grade 9 - 12 course descriptions, including course content, homework assignments, and expectations? He's got them! Also covers short stories and novels; 1st-, 2nd-, and 3rd-person point of view; and has big poetry sections.



    Be aware these words have differing shades of meaning
    and different degrees of intensity.

    Other Ways to say...




    Paragraph Shrinking from Reading Rockets "Paragraph shrinking is an activity developed as part of the Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies (PALS). The paragraph shrinking strategy allows each student to take turns reading, pausing, and summarizing the main points of each paragraph. Students provide each other with feedback as a way to monitor comprehension." Everything is explained on the web page, with a video and printables.


    Id passive voice

    If it's not passive voice: "His brains were eaten by zombies.",
    then it's active voice: "Zombies ate his brains."


    Poetry Lesson Plans The Teachers Corner has a whole bunch of these, and plenty of links to poetry lesson plans and teaching units.


    Poetry Through the Ages From ancient Sumer to the 21st century, this site covers the subject in unique fashion using SpicyWeb, with nodes branching off into different concept areas. Covers various forms with examples for all of them. Learn about rondeaus, haiku, limericks, sonnets, and the rest - their structure, history, and poets; and how to make your own. The webs, if you use them, carry you off in whatever direction you want to go, it's all interlinked! Great art and lots of great poetry! One of many sites at WebExhibits.


    PIZZAZ! People Interested in Zippy and ZAny Zcribbling! "PIZZAZ! is dedicated to providing simple creative writing and oral storytelling activities with copyable (yes, copyable!) handouts for use with students of all ages. Permission is given to use these resources for in-class, non-profit use only." Site is in sections by genre - 11 different types of poetry, eight fiction activity links, other activities and resources. Also a Teacher section with links to sites like TESOL/ESL and Deborah Healy's Tech Tips


    Prewriting about "The Hunger Games" "Prewriting strategies help generate new ideas or help us better understand the ideas we already have. This lesson will introduce students to methods of prewriting to help them brainstorm for a paper about The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, yet this lesson could also work with any other text." Thanks to Joshua Ray, who posted this lesson plan on Curriki






    Scaffolding Literacy: A Practical Demonstration A good PowerPoint on scaffolding. This oldie from the Armidale School in NSW, Australia, and the University of Canberra gets into this concept and has some good information. It downloads easily and is worth your time.


    Signing Savvy THE place to go for ASL! "Signing Savvy is a sign language dictionary containing several thousand high resolution videos of American Sign Language (ASL) signs, fingerspelled words, and other common signs used within the United States and Canada." Watching a video of the signing is way better than looking at a picture with confusing curving arrows. This site will help you learn ASL! Includes search for words and phrases; or browse by letter. Look up fingerspelling, numbers, colors, animals, geography, baby signs, more! Free but limited access for guests. Full membership gives unlimited access to all site resources for $50 a year. Normally Good Sites would not run pay sites, but if you need to learn to sign this is worth it. Thanks Corey W. and Teri T.



    top_10_spelling_peeves_Grammarly.png Your_you're_smaller.png



    Taxonomy of Logical Fallacies from The Fallacy Files. This page shows the relationships between logical fallacy types in a taxonomy chart! Fallacies are arranged under formal and informal, the groups and subgroups are here. Great learning aid for forensics students and people who are interested in logic.


    Teaching Writing from the National Writing Project Hundreds of resources for writing teachers, grouped into over 30 different areas, from A - W (Audience through Writing Prompts)! A clearinghouse and starting point for teachers who are looking for resources.


    This graphic teaches the usage of tenses in English. All your tenses in one place, using the action verb, "to cut".

    "All our tenses are belong to you!"


    Words to Use More Often


    Write Your Heart Out.png


    The WriteAtHome Blog The goal of this blog is help young adults learn to write better. This blog has several dozen tips on the proper use of various literary devices, such as figures of speech. "100 Ways to Say 'Bad' " is one of three entries designed to broaden vocabulary while teaching about shades of meaning. Check these out and go through the rest of the blog entries as well. Their commercial site, Write At, is aimed at homeschoolers ("We teach writing so you don't have to!"). It looks like it could do the job. Anyway, the three entries:

  • 100 Ways to Say "Bad" and its downloadable poster (with definitions for every word)
  • 250 Ways to Say "Went" and its poster, no word definitions (Get the dictionary!)
  • 100 Ways to Say “Said” and its poster, no word definitions (Get the dictionary!)


    WriteSite An interactive language arts and journalism project for middle schools, developed by ThinkTVNetwork, Dayton, Ohio.


    Union Jack Writing from Barnes Primary School in the UK, a ‘knowledge centre for the teaching of writing’. This page offers an outline of their writing program as taught to staff at other schools. "We use a model that offers a high level of scaffolding of the writing experience. " Four .doc files show how. Imitation and deconstruction (.doc title = Teaching writing – An overview of a teaching methodology) explains techniques such as "Hotseating", "Conscience Alley", and "Freeze framing" as preparatory activities for the Three-part Shared Writing M. It's all in the .doc. "As part of our approach we provide children with words to use in their writing. We refer to these sheets of words to use as word mats, and children have these available at the point of composition. Giving pupils words or phrases to start sentences with really helps them to get started. Different sentence starters are provided according to the style of writing that is being taught." Most common words in English – word mat , Sentence starters for Key Stage 1 , and Sentence starters for Key Stage 2 are the same .doc files that Barnes uses. Save them and use them as a starter for your program!


    spinning gold star reddit has a subreddit for Writing Prompts! English/Writing teachers: Having a hard time coming up with prompts? They have thousands. It would be nice if you signed up with reddit and submitted your own, too, 'cause they have contests for the best submissions! GSFK suggests you use this as a source for lessons, and that you check it out, not the kids. Some parts of reddit are PG-13 at best.


    Union Jack Writing Resources from Fourfields Community Primary School, Cambridge, UK. There's a lot of good things on this resource page, for parents and teachers both. Writing Resources are halfway down in the left hand column. Some are .pdf, most are Word .doc files. There are teaching aids, sentence starters, parts of speech and punctuation help, and more. All are designed to teach and improve writing skills!


    Writing Resources from Teen Ink Writing guidance, tips, and links. Covers General Writing (lots of very useful links!), Poetry (good links), Journalism (good links), Play/Screenwriting (great links), Grammar (one link, pretty useless), and Source Citation (APA Style only, but covers it well).


    ZZCad Sentence Parsing Program "Type a sentence in the box below, and click on the button to see its parse." This will automatically break down a sentence into component parts and subsections, and show how they relate to each other. Parsing lets you choose words and word order, to convey shades of meaning. Parsing is a skill that can be learned.

    Sentence parsing program









    dog writing on note pad

    dog typing


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