What I’m Teaching This Week: 9/14-9/18

I’m starting to fall in love with Quarter Trios. The kids were enthusiastic about this past week’s challenge to snap a group selfie with our campus supervisors and we ended up turning the photos into posterboard-sized “thank you” cards, one for Vicki and one for Cameron. The challenge helped the new trio teams bond, the photos are a super-cute addition to my classroom wall, and we made two of the hardest working people on campus feel some love from the Class of 2019. (Seriously, those two have been running around campus in 100-degree weather all week. Oof.)

TrioNamesThe teams also were rather creative with their name selections, as you can see. “The Fellowship of the Bling” and “Olive Garden’s Mother-in-Law” are among my favorites.

We started Personal Narrative writing last week, but I need to hit the pause button on that work because my school’s librarian has set up a once-in-a-lifetime T.E.D. Talk experience for the 700+ freshmen on our campus this week. He’s combined professional speakers and hand-selected students from our school to present a full day of presentations (click here to check out the talent) under the theme of “Embracing Obstacles.”

For my classes, this means we’ll take a short break from the foundations of writing to focus more of public speaking. Gotta seize those teachable moments, right?

Here’s what the week will look like:

Open with a five-minute M.U.G. Shot (Mechanics, Usage, Grammar) Monday mini-lecture/bell-ringer.

Finish our discussion from last week about how to handle dialogue and how to add meaningful sensory details to our Personal Narrative writing. (Essays are due Sept. 23)

Using the Write Like a Pro lesson, I’ll show how professional writers such as John Green and J.K. Rowling seamlessly stitch participles, absolutes, appositives, adjectives shifted out of order, vivid verbs, and similes/metaphors into their writing. Then, we’ll practice these six techniques in small groups and individually.

For HW, students will need to finish their six writing techniques assignment, if not completed in class.

Open with a five-minute Lit. Term Tuesday mini-lecture/bell-ringer.

Explain Thursday’s on-campus TEDx event and present my How to Give a Powerful Speech lesson, where students identify and analyze the elements of powerful public speaking. This lesson uses an informational text article written by Chris Anderson, TED Talks’ curator, and examples of weak and powerful speeches I found on YouTube.

For HW, students need only to remember to bring earbuds because we’ll be listening to speeches tomorrow in the computer lab.

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

Then, we’re traveling to the computer lab, where students will enjoy a Choose-Your-Own-TED-Talk Adventure by going to www.ted.com, choosing whichever TED Talk they want, and completing this worksheet (free in my shop!).

If time remains after finishing the written assignment, students may watch another TED Talk or read their S.S.R. books.

For HW, students should continue reading their S.S.R. books.

It’s showtime! After a quick check-in for attendance, students will join all of the other freshman-level classes that period for viewing of our TEDx event. Different speakers will be presented every hour. So even if a student sees the program twice in the school day, the content will be different each time.

TEDxFor HW, students need to bring their S.S.R. books to class tomorrow.

We’ll debrief students’ experiences from yesterday, talking about what worked and what didn’t work in the presentations. We’ll play a couple of rounds of Brain Teasers to keep the Quarter Trios on their toes. And then we’ll finish with an abbreviated session of S.S.R.

For HW, students will finish writing the first drafts of their Personal Narrative essays because it’s back to work on our writing next week.

I’m especially looking forward to Thursday’s program, which our tireless librarian has been working on with his student volunteer team for nearly a year. Oh, this is gonna be good…

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

10 thoughts on “What I’m Teaching This Week: 9/14-9/18

  1. Suzanne Sosa says:

    HI Laura
    I was wondering what your actual lesson plans look like – you know – the ones you have to actually turn in to administration at the end of the year ??
    Suzanne in Florida

  2. Okay, Suzanne, so you’re going to hate me, but my district doesn’t require any documentation of my lesson plans. That’s right…nothing. I know some folks have to turn in weekly (even day-by-day?) plans with the standards and resources listed for every single activity. Out here in California, things in my district are…er…a little looser. (Shh…don’t tell anyone.)

  3. Kelly Webber says:

    I was wondering about vocabulary quizzes. You don’t list those in your schedule. Do you do those every Friday at the beginning of class?

  4. Ah, Kelly, great question! When I do them, they’re always on Fridays before SSR. I try to fit them in every other week instead of weekly because I sometimes feel like I’m quizzing my kids to death.

  5. Hi! I am a first year teacher and one of the other teachers in my department introduced me to your blog. I have to say, this blog might actually save my life!!!

    I’ve been stressing so much about how I want my classroom to be structured, what I want to do for Bell Ringers, how I want to plan instruction…and I have to say, I will probably be stealing from you! How on Earth do you have time to teach, have a personal life, and run this amazing, in-depth blog???? HOW? Haha. But, really, thank you SO much for sharing! It’s a life-saver. 🙂

  6. Ha, Tori, you made me laugh! Let’s just say I’ve found a way to make insomnia work for me. 🙂 So glad you found the blog!

  7. Hello! I just graduated with my bachelors and am beginning my 9 months of student teaching this September. I’ve been so nervous about what to expect that I’ve been searching for some in-depth explanation that I could tweak and make my own. As a soon to be first year teacher, I am so excited to try some of your techniques out! Thank you for providing this.

  8. Congratulations, Megan! I’m so glad to welcome you to this side of the teacher’s desk. As my good friend Stacey always tells me, you’re nervous because you care a lot about this, which is a very good thing. You’re launching your career during an incredible time for teachers because we now have so many digital tools to keep us connected and sharing ideas. You’ve found my blog (yea!), but there’s also a bounty of Facebook Groups, hashtags, and YouTube communities out there to give you support. This summer, I’ve been filling up my YouTube channel with advice for new teachers. Here are two videos I think you’ll like:



    Also, I have a free full-year curricular plan for Eng. 9-10 that would be a useful tool. Even if you’re not teaching either of those classes, it’s helpful to see how another teacher paces her class. The calendar can be downloaded here:

    Again, welcome to the fold! Don’t hesitate to reach out with questions as the year rolls along. I love talkin’ shop and the blog community here is great at throwing around lots of ideas and solutions for each other. Have a great year! 🙂

  9. Jessica Beaver says:

    Thank you so much for this blog! What a Godsend. Between this, TpT, and your YouTube channel, I feel like I’m not going to throw up when I think of my first day back to High School!

  10. Aw….Jessica, you are so welcome! My online work has been a labor of love and it’s gratifying to know you’re finding value in all the things I’ve made. We’re in this together. 😀

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