What I’m Teaching This Week: 9/7–9/11

The three-day Labor Day weekend meant I was able to enjoy a date with hubs, unplug at a barbecue with one of my closest teacher friends, and still get all of those freshman summer work essays graded. Woo-hoo! My coding system and this handy little baseline essay rubric definitely helped to speed things along.

So what’s up for this week?

Monday (Labor Day Holiday – No school)

IMG_2590BBQ with the family at Annette’s house and finished these:


Open with a five-minute M.U.G. Shot (Mechanics, Usage, Grammar) mini-lecture/bell-ringer since school was closed on Monday. Then, present a quick Lit. Term Tuesday mini-lecture/bell-ringer.

Explain this week’s Quarter Trio contest task. Student teams need to find our lovable and hard-working campus supervisors, Vicki and Cameron, during a brunch or lunch break. All three team members need to greet Vicki and/or Cameron, introduce themselves, take a group selfie with each campus supervisor, post the selfie online (Instagram, Photobucket, etc.), and submit the url of the photo via a Google form I posted on my class website. (Once all of the photos have been submitted, I’ll build a posterboard-sized collage for our supervisors with all of the photos. Shh…it’s a surprise!)

Discuss students’ summer reading lit. analysis essays that they turned in last week, explaining how to fix the most common errors I spotted and sharing models of top performing papers from last year. Explain my coding system and step-by-step Essay Corrections procedure.

Hand back graded essays and allow in-class time to begin Essay Corrections. During this time, I’ll walk the room, explaining my comments and deciphering my handwriting for students. I move fast when grading and penmanship is sometimes sacrificed as I keep the stacks moving.

For HW, students will finish their Essay Corrections.


Open with a ten-minute Words on Wednesday vocabulary mini-lecture/bell-ringer.

Collect the corrected essays, which I keep on file in a writing portfolio for each student. The portfolio folders eventually will be given to their next level teachers at the beginning of next year.

Recap last week’s Qualities of Personal Narrative writing lecture. Assign the Personal Narrative essay and review two strong student samples. Discuss topic selection and explain the Storytelling Arc.

For HW, students need to select a topic for their Personal Narrative essay.


Complete a Storytelling Arc handout, with each writer showing the path of his/her Personal Narrative essay.

Discuss meaningful descriptive detail in narrative writing, looking at professional examples and then use “Show, Not Tell” writing techniques to improve several simple sentences. Trio teams will then share their rewrites, reading the best one of the three to the whole class.

For HW, students will need to complete their personalized Storytelling Arc, if not done in class.


We’ll play a round or two of Brain Teasers before settling in for S.S.R.

For HW, students will begin working on the Personal Narrative rough drafts.

That’ll keep the class going for a week. And, oh, how could I forget? Yesterday I was mentioned in an article published by…wait for it…The New York Times! Ack!

NYTimesI’m truly humbled (and a little embarrassed) by the attention, but TeachersPayTeachers.com really is a revolutionary resource for educators at every stage of their careers and I’m proud to help spread the word.

It’s been a fun and crazy weekend around here, for sure. I’ve heard from many of my current and former students, an old high school friend who now lives in Italy, my own high school leadership teacher from the late 1980s, and a whole tribe of beloved teacher friends. #feelingblessed

Hope you have a great week. Teach on, everyone!

4 thoughts on “What I’m Teaching This Week: 9/7–9/11

  1. Congratulations on being featured in the NY Times! You certainly deserve the accolades! I went on a “shopping spree” in your TPT store this past Spring, and I am finally getting to use the larger units this year. Everything I’ve used so far is top-notch.
    I am looking forward to starting your coding system next week, and I hope I can get through an impressive stack of papers like that in a weekend and still socialize! Wow!

    Thanks for posting your “What I’m Teaching This Week” updates. They are most helpful. Have a great week!

  2. Thanks, Michelle! My family is so grateful for your support of my shop and I love that you’re about to launch the coding system. It will take a little bit to get used to the new system, but once you memorize your codes you’ll be stunned at how much more quickly you’ll be able to work through the stacks. And thanks, too, for letting me know that the “What I’m Teaching” series is interesting to you. I was wondering about its usefulness, especially since I can’t seem to get to writing it until late Sunday night. I’ll try to post earlier, but we’ll just have to see how it goes… 🙂

  3. What do you use for openers on Thursdays? Your plans are great! I’m looking forward to using them this year!

  4. Thanks, Caroline! On Thursdays, I don’t use a specific bell-ringer/opener (it’s nice to take a break from that routine, too) and we just get straight into the action of whatever we’re currently working on. I tend to overpack my calendars in an attempt to prevent any dreaded “dead air” at the end of the period, so it’s good to hit the ground running on Thursdays which gives me time to take care of any spillover from earlier days in the week. I also often need to carve out a little time from SSR Fridays to wrap up any loose ends.

    Hope this is helpful info. So glad you found my blog and calendars. Enjoy!
    🙂 Laura

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