Teaching Everyday Language Arts

Teaching Everyday Language Arts

Using everyday practices to teach language arts.

Murder Mystery Games | Hunt A Killer 30/11/2021

This is grim, I realize - but has anyone tried these in a classroom?

Murder Mystery Games | Hunt A Killer Immersive murder mystery games to play solo or cooperatively. Sign up for a monthly subscription game box or purchase an all-in-one box full of puzzles and mystery.


So THAT's why SAT reading is challenging.


UNMUTE! I have been asking my students to "unmute," or keep their audio on, if they feel at all comfortable doing so. I think it's helpful for all of us to hear human movement, intakes of breath before talking, and laughter. For me, it feels less like I'm teaching into the vacuum of outer space. How's it working for you?

Opinion | Pass-Fail Raises the Question: What’s the Point of Grades? 01/07/2020

Lots of districts moved to pass/fail last spring. Teachers in Madison WI said, “We cannot grade with equity when students’ experiences learning at home will be so varied.” Since that's always true - students' home experiences are always so varied--does that mean that we should hold onto pass/fail (maybe on our way to something else)? https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/25/opinion/coronavirus-school-grades.html?referringSource=articleShare

Opinion | Pass-Fail Raises the Question: What’s the Point of Grades? This pandemic has surfaced a dilemma frequently ignored: A-F grades are used poorly and for too many different purposes.


Good for a little work on connotations in context.


Some of these work especially well for ELA classes and considerations of the purpose of imagery and, frankly, language. The Grand Canyon is indeed a "very large hole." So why don't we just describe it that way?

Opinion | ‘American Dirt’ Has Us Talking. That’s a Good Thing. 30/01/2020

Debates over "American Dirt" and other texts drive students to consider what they think literature is "for." Try these two articles together: https://lithub.com/dear-oprah-winfrey-82-writers-ask-you-to-reconsider-american-dirt/ and

Opinion | ‘American Dirt’ Has Us Talking. That’s a Good Thing. The publishing industry changed its opinion of Mexican immigrant stories only after someone outside our community wrote one.


"Language Arts teacher" describes the job better than "English teacher." What do you think?

Two States. Eight Textbooks. Two American Stories. 16/01/2020

In case you haven't seen this - exercises where kids get to compare different versions of an event will support their understanding of connotation and power of language.

Two States. Eight Textbooks. Two American Stories. We analyzed some of the most popular social studies textbooks used in California and Texas. Here’s how political divides shape what students learn about the nation’s history.


The power of language as shown by my latest text exchange with my kid:


In 1900, students taking standardized tests in New York read about 300 words during a three-hour exam. In the 1990s, they read about a thousand words. Today, on Common Core-aligned exams, they read about 6,000 words - about 4 - 5 non fiction texts and two longish fiction/poetry pieces. That's probably too many words. What do you think is reasonable? If anything?

The Controversial Use of Rap Lyrics as Evidence 22/09/2019

What is literature for? When and why does a reader distinguish between an author and a narrator? How much does authorial attention matter? Try this article to explore these questions.


The Controversial Use of Rap Lyrics as Evidence The use of hip-hop in the court of law requires an intellectually dishonest reading of what art is and of the function it serves for both creator and audience.


Are we too quick to push for "evidence"? Here's a thing I'm seeing in my research: The focus on argument in Language arts classrooms may lead students away from a literary experience and toward a search for evidence. I see this in the way students talk about a text not as a story, novel, poem, etc., but as "evidence," as in "Well, it says here in the evidence that Gatsby loved Daisy."

But not all discussion of literature should be focused on proving a point -at least, not right away, even though our standardized tests suggest otherwise. Literary reading can and should be a venue for emotion, exploration, and experience.

So one suggestion for teachers is to slow down in the press for evidence. Even something as small as asking for an example as opposed to evidence might help.

What do you think?

Does listening to audiobooks still count as reading? 14/09/2019

You will probably comprehend just as much of a story by listening to an audiobook as you will by reading words on a page. But for close reading or a lot of non-fiction, the page is "your best bet."


Does listening to audiobooks still count as reading? Like many adults these days, I struggle to find time to really immerse myself in a book. I often attend my beer and book club without quite having finished the month’s selection, or end up powering through the weekend before. But some members, who…


For now, please enjoy page 1 of a standardized English test from 1907:


Hello to teachers and others interested in language arts education: I'm trying out a FB page to share some things my colleagues and I are learning about teaching. I know that FB is kind of bad for our health, but so is me trying to create a web page.

Want your school to be the top-listed School/college?