Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Here's Help with 5 Confusing Words

The words who's or whose and their, there, or they’re are frequently confused and used incorrectly. 

Here are some simple tips to help you use these words correctly.

Their means it belongs to them.
Example: I listen to their music.

There indicates a location. (Replace it with the similar word “where” to help you remember its meaning.)
Example: I am going there after school.

They’re is a contraction for the words they are.
(Read a contraction as two words.)
Example: They’re (They are) my parents.

Whose means it belongs to whom. 
Example: Whose coat is this?

Who’s is a contraction for the words who is. (Read a contraction as two words.)
Example: Who’s (Who is) coming with me tonight?

After you finish writing, search for the words above to be sure you have chosen correctly. 

Ask yourself these questions:
Do you mean “where?”  If so, choose “there.”
Do you mean “it belongs to them?” If so, choose “their.”
Do you mean “they are?” If so, choose “they're.”

Do you mean “who is?” If so, choose “who’s.”
Do you mean it belongs to whom? If so, choose “whose.”

The following sentences are correct:
Whose photos are posted there on the bulletin board? Who's going to write their names on the backs of the photos? They're going to be left of of the yearbook if we don't figure this out.

Click here to buy a set 5 of the task cards your students can use to review the use of these confusing words.

Click here to buy the TASK CARDS BUNDLE and save 20%.

* This blog post is updated to reflect the money-saving bundle that is now available.

         All the best,

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Monday, July 30, 2018

Back to School 2018

Teachers' minds are probably whirling around right about now. Preparing for the beginning of a school year is a daunting task. It should get easier with time, but somehow it doesn't. Every year there are so many changes and so many new requirements, not to mention the exciting but challenging task of getting to know a whole new group of students. For a secondary teacher, that could mean learning well over a hundred names. It makes me tired just thinking about it.

The digital age has helped teachers in many ways, but we still have to input all the data, and let's face it, many tasks still require paper and pen. In secondary schools, the first few days are chaotic because while counselors balance the classes, teachers must enroll students in their classes one day, only to find that they drop out the next.

Often, classes are interrupted by class meetings, fire drills, preparing books lists, recording locker numbers and bus assignments, just to name a few.

I suggest setting three major goals to achieve during the first few days of school:

1) Get organized (Class rosters, seating charts, student information sheets, add and drop forms, book lists, bus routes, etc.)
2) Get to know your students.
3) Set the tone for your class.

How can you accomplish these three goals in just a few days? It's not as hard as you think. Use my activities to introduce students to you and to one another and hone their writing and oral presentation skills at the same time. 

I have a unit that might help. One of the first things I tried to do as a secondary ELA teacher, was to access the writing and speaking abilities of my new students. I developed a back-to-school unit to get the new semester or school year off to a good start. Everything you need is included in this unit. Five pages of instruction for the teacher and a four-page handout packet for the students. 

When completed, students will have introduced each other to you and to their classmates, and you will have taken three assessment grades.

This lesson is aligned with: CCSS.ELA - Literacy.CCRA.L.1 and CCSS.ELA - Literacy.CCRA.L.2   

This assignment can be easily adjusted to meet any challenges you encounter such as unexpected class meetings, fire drills, and so forth. This is a fun and interesting way to begin a new year of school. I used it every year with my students, and we all enjoyed getting to know each other.

As a bonus, students can work independently and in small groups while you attend to the paperwork that accompanies the beginning of a new semester or school year.

I hope this helps you and your students to get the 2018 school year off to a great start. If you would like to try this unit, click here.

Group of students with notebooks

You will find several FREE resources in my TeachersPayTeachers Store. Come on over and take a look!

I hope your new school year is the best one yet! 

Thanks for reading,

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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

It's May and Time for Engaging Review Activities


The month of MAY signals the end of a school year for many schools.

Make every lesson count,
All you have is a few weeks left.
Yes! It’s summer vacation.
 Here are five lessons that I used at the end of the year. I wanted to review the concepts the students had learned while keeping them engaged and interested. Maybe one or all of these would be useful for your students.

 A unique way to analyze poetry and prepare for the AP Literature Exam or advanced English courses in both high school and college. I devised this method to help students who have trouble remembering all the elements of poetry. I hope it helps your students as much as it helped mine. 


This interactive digital resource for Google Drive will teach your students to rewrite sentences without changing their meaning. This is good practice for students to achieve sentence variety. At the same time, they will be reminded of things that are associated with the end of the school year.

Good writers vary their sentence patterns by sometimes placing phrases or clauses at the beginning of their sentences. The twenty End-of-Year-themed sentences in this exercise all begin with the subject and the verb.


Challenge your students with this four-page, twenty-question practice exercise. This review will help students learn to write sentences correctly. Students will read a sentence and then decide which of the five choices following it best replaces the underlined passage. Teachers can use this exercise as a diagnostic tool or a pre-test to create a lesson plan, or as an assignment or test.

The sentences contain errors in parallelism; verb tense; use of "which" and "that"; subject-verb agreement; use of irregular verbs: lie, lay, sit, set; misplaced modifiers; comparative and superlative degrees of comparison; and more. . .

The answer sheet not only supplies the correct answer, but also has a detailed explanation to make the teacher's job easier, and allows the students to see exactly why their choices are right or wrong.


Nursery Room Newspaper Creative Writing Activity 

How many times have your students wished they could do something different and fun in your room? Probably more often than you know.

Here's a chance for them to do something they will really enjoy while practicing several valuable skills such as critical reading, creative writing, editing, proof reading, and cooperative learning. Students will work in groups to create newspapers based on nursery rhymes. They will have so much fun being creative and clever, it will not seem like class work at all. 

Gratitude Booklet Creative Writing Project (FREE) 

And last but not least, this free activity would work as a Mother’s Day or Father’s Day gift that students could prepare.

This is a creative writing unit that requires students to research one of their own family members or significant friends and write biographical sketches. They will enjoy learning more about their family history and will experience the joy of giving a truly unique and special gift. The recipient of the Gratitude Booklet will learn how loved and valued they are by those who contributed to the booklet.

The student will learn:
• to write interview questions.
• to interview family members.
• to write a biographical sketch.
• to write/edit anecdotes.
• to compile a booklet.

Giving the booklet as a gift to the person it features is a special bonus and gift they will never forget.

I hope your May (or June) is successful, and I hope you have a restful vacation.

Thanks for reading!