Site icon Laura Randazzo – Solutions for the Secondary Classroom

Start Class the Right Way, Every Day

The final tardy bell hasn’t yet sounded, but your students are already in their seats, binders open, jotting down your beginning-of-class lecture materials from the board. Too good to be true? This is my every day.

Here’s how it works:

With M.U.G. Shot Mondays, students master Mechanics, Usage, and Grammar by working together to proofread real-world writing examples. These 38 weekly grammar editing sessions address the most common errors made in middle-school and high-school writing. Students write down the flawed sentence and then work together to edit/make corrections. After the class agrees on all of the edits made by the student writing at the board, I go over the marks, explaining the rules that apply. After three sessions, I collect the students’ papers and give points for accuracy.

On Lit. Term Tuesdays, class begins with a high-interest short lecture featuring classic literary devices paired with modern, pop-culture examples with which your students are certain to identify. Sure, everyone knows protagonist and antagonist, but have your students learned about anti-heroes (think: Walter White from Breaking Bad, and Dexter) or foils (Jude Law’s Watson to Robert Downey Jr.’s Sherlock Holmes)? Freshen up their literary term knowledge with these once-a-week-lectures in the fall semester, ranging from five-to-15 minutes each. From Will Ferrell to Stephen Colbert to Ferris Bueller to Mad Magazine, there are plenty of lively examples included in these lectures to help your students relate to the techniques used in our greatest classic tales. I’ve also included links to 19 video presentations I made (one per weekly lesson) to serve as lecturer notes/prep materials. Feel free to use them to prep yourself for the bell-ringer lectures.

Then comes Words on Wednesday, a weekly lesson to build higher-level vocabulary in your college-bound students. These lessons feature words commonly used on the SAT that educated adults also use in their everyday lives. Even if your students aren’t bound for a university, they’ll still benefit from knowing these words as they enter the work force. Each vocab. lesson, which takes about 15 minutes, goes deep into understanding denotation and connotation of five separate words and includes definition, synonym, antonym, and a sentence relevant to a teenage audience. Instead of using a list of 10 words each week that students memorize and then promptly forget the next week, I’ve found more success with going deep on five words. We discuss them and use them in regular conversation. I’ve been delighted to see many of these words show up in students’ in-class writings, and they also excitedly point them out to me in passages we read in class. This method helps words “stick” in their heads better than any other method I’ve tried in my 16 years as a high school teacher.

On Thursdays, my classes take a break from the routine procedures and focus solely on our current unit of study.

Fridays? Why, S.S.R., of course; it’s the best way to end the week. Click here for my FREE materials on how to manage your students’ quiet reading time – easy grading for you!

Use this massive bundle of my popular mini-lessons to teach the Common Core-aligned grammar, literary term, and vocabulary skills your high school students need. This full year package of materials includes everything you’ll need to keep your students actively engaged from the very start of each period.

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