Our Favorite Secondary ELA Resources for the Second Semester

With the second semester upon us, it is time to energize our teaching practices and focus on higher-level ELA standards and skills. Here is a look at some of our favorite teaching resources for the second semester.

Asset-Based Profile Activity

Nouvelle ELA: I read Zaretta Hammond’s Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain in early 2020, and it totally transformed the way I want to start off the semester. Now, I’ll start with this Asset-Based Profile activity. Students begin by reading a story about three gamers. They assess each gamer’s soft skills (creativity, flexibility, problem-solving, etc.). Then, they move on to examine their own character traits. I will have students present their profiles to help build classroom community. If you want to know more about this activity, check out this blog post about using Asset-Based Profiles to help students value their soft skills.

The Reading Challenge Program

Presto Plans: I like to start off the New Year by focusing on improving student reading skills and analysis. I like to integrate The Reading Challenge Program into my curriculum. In these challenges, students work together each week to solve mysteries, get secret codes, find mystery words, or escape a risky situation all by using their reading and analysis skills! The program comes with instructional slides, escape-room style challenges, and engaging narrative backstories that your students will love. These challenges make me feel confident that my students will be invested in reading instruction that is rigorous, standards-based, and engaging.

Motivational Monday Writing Prompts

Tracee Orman: The start of a new semester is a great opportunity to introduce or continue using a weekly routine that will get you through the second half of the year. My Motivational Monday writing prompts pack is perfect for inspiring and challenging students. I’m always amazed by their responses and how much they open up in their writing.

Synthesis Argument Writing Unit

The Daring English Teacher: One teaching resource that I love to use at the start of the second semester is my synthesis argument writing unit. Begin able to synthesize information across a variety of resources is such a critical skill that students need in today’s society. With this synthesis argument unit, students will read several articles about a source and write an argument essay about the topic. You can read more about this critical skill in this blog post about assigning synthesis writing. You can also download a free synthesis writing fact sheet.

Active Learning for Reading and Writing

ROOM 213: I put a lot of time and energy into engaging my students in active learning in the early part of the semester, so they know our class is a place of collaboration and critical thinking. I have a collection of over thirty activities that I use for this, ones that can be applied to any text and used at any time in the semester. You can check out my collection of active learning exercises here. Or click here to get a free activity and a preview of the other ones.

Narrative Writing

Addie Williams: One of the first things I like to do with my students at the start of a new semester is to have them do some personal narrative writing. It’s a great way to get to know them a little bit more and to get an early look at their writing skills. I like to assess writing skills early on, so that I know where I need to focus my energies and what specific skills we can work on as a class. I use my Narrative Writing resource to help students brainstorm, plan, and organize their personal narrative. It has everything you need to get started right away!

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