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Raising Rigor and Readers

I am a middle grades ELA teacher who loves teaching! One of my favorite topics to blog about is providing access to a quality education to ALL students. Thanks for stopping by!

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I am a middle grades ELA teacher who loves teaching! One of my favorite topics to blog about is providing access to a quality education to ALL students. Thanks for stopping by!
Holes Novel Study
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Holes Novel Study

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This is a complete novel study using the book Holes. The entire unit focuses on the Common Core Standards and shift to getting students to use evidence from the text to answer and defend their responses. The structure of my class was a vocabulary mini-lesson, mini-lesson connected to a skill, whole class and independent reading connected to the text. LESSON PLANS ARE IN WORD (AND PDF) FORMAT. This perfect for teachers who like to tweak class activities to the needs of their individual classes. Please note restrictions on commercial use. The Unit Includes: 25 Original Vocabulary Mini-lessons 24 Lessons (Questions from the chapters, Exit Ticket, Homework) 22 Mini-lessons aligned to skills from the text 4 Extension Activities (Create a Creature, Wanted Ads, Character Traits, Alternative Ending) Graphic Organizers 1 Character Study Mini-Book (9 pages) for students to track characters
Still I Rise by Maya Angelou
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Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

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Dr. Maya Angelou was an author, actress, singer, and most notably a poet. Known for her command of language, the poem “Still I Rise” is one of her most acclaimed works that speaks to overcoming oppression. This resource contains an in-depth analysis of the poem for teachers and aligned graphic organizers and text dependent questions for students. This is a NO PREP resource for teachers. Teacher Resources: - Detailed Lesson Plan - Text Analysis (3 pages) - Teacher Response Guide The Texts: - Dr. Angelou biography - “Still I Rise” student copy with wide margins for literal and analytical annotations Graphic Organizers: - Finding the Theme - Vocabulary
Common Core Aligned Poetry Resource Unit
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Common Core Aligned Poetry Resource Unit

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This is a unit that can stand alone as a "mini-unit" or supplement your current poetry unit. Each poem includes an in-depth analysis of the poem that requires students to evaluate the speaker’s message, use of literary devices, rhyme scheme, and summarize the poem. Lessons combine the elements of close reading with poetry, literary analysis, and free verse writing.Included: • Teacher Resource Guide aligned to CCSS • 13 poems with printable worksheets and answer keys. • Sample lesson plans • Writing Enrichment activities • Rigorous mini-lessons to teach simile, metaphor, personification, hyperbole with accompanying worksheets.
Poetry Analysis Resource
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Poetry Analysis Resource

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This resource is included in the Locomotion Novel Unit so if you have purchased that Unit please do not purchase this one. It includes Common Core Analysis of 10 poems. • “Ode to family photographs” by Gary Soto • “A Bird Came Down the Walk” by Emily Dickinson • “A Poem for My Librarian, Mrs. Long.” by Nikki Giovanni • “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost • “Humanity” by Elma Stuckey • “Something Told the Wild Geese” by Rachel Field • “Words as Free as Confetti” by Pat Mora • “In the Time of Silver Rain” by Langston Hughes • “The Sea” by James Reeves • “Wind” by James Reeves There is a bonus lesson included that gets to students to use the biography of Nikki Giovanni in order to analysis the poem through the lens of the author.
Short Story Lesson Plan - "Lamb to the Slaughter"
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Short Story Lesson Plan - "Lamb to the Slaughter"

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Lamb to the Slaughter” by Roald Dahl is a classic short story about a pregnant housewife who completes and covers for an unthinkable crime. All materials provided offer multiple opportunities to critically evaluate character motivation, plot elements, cite evidence and evaluate irony! The lesson also includes engaging extension activities. ★ Common Core Aligned Questions from the text w/Answer Key ★ Discussion Questions ★ Graphic Organizers ★ Writing Extension Activity (4) This resource is perfect for introducing a short story unit and reinforcing ideas from fiction reading. It is also simple enough to be used as an emergency substitute lesson plan!
Short Story BUNDLE
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Short Story BUNDLE

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This is a bundle of short story resources at a MAJOR discount. All materials provided offer multiple opportunities for students to critically evaluate character motivation, character traits, vocabulary, plot elements, theme, cite evidence and evaluate irony! Each lesson includes extension activities! Please download the preview to get a glimpse of what is included! Stories Included: ★ The Tell Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe ★ Lamb to the Slaughter by Roald Dahl ★ Common Core Aligned Native American Unit ★ Raymond's Run by Toni Cade Bambara ★ Thank You Ma'am by Langston Hughes
FREEBIE - Halloween Story Starters
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FREEBIE - Halloween Story Starters

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This is a fun freebie to get writing juices flowing with students. There are 24 different story starters and a few bonus goodies to assist students with Halloween themed writing. Enjoy!
Thank You Ma'am Short Story
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Thank You Ma'am Short Story

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“Thank You Ma'am” by Langston Hughes is a timeless short story with very rich themes. This story demonstrates the value of compassion and second chances. All materials provided in this resource provide multiple opportunities to critically evaluate character traits, character change, character challenges, and theme! One of the most amazing components is the inclusion of SIX original graphic organizers with answer keys. These organizers can be used with other text! This is a jam packed short story evaluation that includes: - Common Core Aligned Questions from the text - Six Original Graphic Organizers with Answer Key - Description of how to implement Graphic Organizers - Writing Extension Activity Excluding Title and Resource pages this resource is 18 pages! It is perfect for introducing a short story unit and reinforcing ideas from fiction reading. It is simple enough to be used as an emergency substitute lesson plan!
Holes Novel Study
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Holes Novel Study

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The entire unit focuses on the Common Core Standards and shift to getting students to use evidence from the text to answer and defend their responses. The structure of my class was a vocabulary mini-lesson, mini-lesson connected to a skill, whole class and independent reading connected to the text. LESSON PLANS ARE IN WORD (AND PDF) FORMAT. This perfect for teachers who like to tweak class activities to the needs of their individual classes. Please note restrictions on commercial use. The Unit Includes: 25 Original Vocabulary Mini-lessons 24 Lessons (Questions from the chapters, Exit Ticket, Homework) 22 Mini-lessons aligned to skills from the text 4 Extension Activities (Create a Creature, Wanted Ads, Character Traits, Alternative Ending) Graphic Organizers 1 Character Study Mini-Book (9 pages) for students to track characters
Argumentative Writing
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Argumentative Writing

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The unit was designed to teach students about argumentative writing. The Common Core Standards highlight the shift from persuasive writing to argumentative writing, which requires students to use evidence to support and arguable claim. This unit walks teachers and students through this process. This unit is designed for the middle grades! Mini-Lessons: - Argument vs. Persuasive Writing - Writing Claims - Fact and Opinion - Counterarguments - Writing Leads *********************************************** Grammar Lessons: Run-on Sentences Compound Complex Sentences Using Commas *********************************************** Graphic Organizers: Brainstorming Outlining Building a Case Problem/Solution Counterarguments Evaluating Arguments ***********************************************
Locomotion Novel Unit
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Locomotion Novel Unit

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This is a complete novel study using the book Locomotion by three time Newberry Honor winner Jacqueline Woodson. Locomotion is a Coretta Scott King Book Winner that is told in 60 poems. The poems are written through the perspective of 11-year old Lonnie who uses poetry to emote. This Novel unit has 10 additional poems embedded into the lessons and its great for not only introducing students to poetry, but also in getting them to develop their own poetry. In addition to being embedded the poems are formatted to be used as standalone resources for students. This item is also in my store if you want to preview before purchasing. Poetry Analysis Resource The entire unit focuses on the Common Core Standards and shift to getting students to use evidence from the text to defend their responses. Each lesson includes a copy of student work with answer key, vocabulary word of the day, daily exit ticket, and homework.
FREEBIE - The Dinner Party
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FREEBIE - The Dinner Party

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“The Dinner Party” by Mona Gardner is a short story about making generalizations, and perfect for teaching or reinforcing the elements of plot. The story centers on an argument that occurs at a dinner party while events happening during the argument counter claims being made. This resource is aligned to Common Core Standards and provides opportunities for students to critically evaluate vocabulary, steps to solving problems, how characters approach challenge, and theme using evidence from the text! One of the most amazing components is the inclusion of FOUR original graphic organizers with answer keys. These organizers can be used with other texts! This is a jam packed short story evaluation that includes: - Suggested Lesson Plan - Rigorous Questions - Original Graphic Organizers - Description of how to implement Graphic Organizers - Comprehension Questions
Rigorous Short Story - Raymond's Run
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Rigorous Short Story - Raymond's Run

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“Raymond’s Run” by Toni Cade Bambara is a short story about self-identity and confidence. The lead character Squeaky is a hard-working and smart mouthed runner who takes care of her brother Raymond who has a disability. As the story progresses readers are treated to an unexpected character change. This resource is aligned to Common Core Standards and provides opportunities for students to critically evaluate character traits, character change, character challenges, and theme using evidence from the text! One of the most amazing components is the inclusion of FIVE original graphic organizers with answer keys. These organizers can be used with other texts! This is a jam packed short story evaluation that includes: - Suggested Lesson Plan - Common Core Aligned Questions based on the text - Original Graphic Organizers - Description of how to implement Graphic Organizers - Comprehension Questions
Character Study Book
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Character Study Book

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Characters Booklet This “booklet” will assist students in keeping track of characters in the books and/or stories they are reading. This is an excellent resource if you are working on character analysis as students are required to analyze multiple characters from the text by detailing when they are introduced, key quotes, and explain their importance to the text. The book also includes a list of character traits to help students think through how to accurately describe characters. The booklet includes: *Character Comparison Graphic Organizer *Character Change Graphic Organizer *Character description Graphic Organizer *Character Review writing component Directions for how to print this booklet are included as it is intended to be copied double sided and folded in half.
FREEBIE - Cinquain Poetry
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FREEBIE - Cinquain Poetry

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This is a sample from my Poetry Resource Pack: Mini-books, Templates, Graphic Organizers resource. It teaches students about cinquain poetry.
Greek Mythology Unit – Stories, Activities, Task Cards & More!
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Greek Mythology Unit – Stories, Activities, Task Cards & More!

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This is a rigorous Greek Mythology unit geared at student engagement, thinking, reading, and writing skills. It also includes a number of activities that would be perfect for literacy centers. There are more than 100 pages which include: Rewritten Greek Myths with Common Core Aligned Questions and Activities: - Once Upon a Beauty: The Story of Medusa - The Wonderful Weaver: The Story of Arachne - The Trojan Horse - The Greek Army - Love’s Echo - The Midas Touch - Psyche & Eros: The Story of Love - Heracles: The Twelve Labors - The Story of Zeus *********************************************** Myth Writing: Suggested Scope and Sequence Mentor Text Brainstorming Outlining Character Development Drafting Paper Revision & Editing Checklist Rubric ***********************************************
Argument, Personal Narrative, Explanatory/Informative BUNDLE
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Argument, Personal Narrative, Explanatory/Informative BUNDLE

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This is a bundled writing unit that saves buyers 25% versus buying each unit separately. There are more than 200 pages of materials. Each unit includes: ★ Graphic Organizers ★ Mini-lessons ★ Mentor Texts ★ Language Lessons ★ Rubrics for each Genre ★ Editing Checklists ★ Revision Checklists …AND MORE
The Tell Tale Heart
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The Tell Tale Heart

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“The Tell Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe is a classic short story that is riveting from start to finish. This is one of Poe’s most recognized works, and it is sure to grab the attention of your students! This resource is aligned to Common Core standards and age/grade appropriate. All materials provided in this lesson will position students to make a claim about the narrator and engage in deep conversations regarding the events that unfold. This unit infuses a bit of technology with the use of QR codes, but no worries, teachers are still set up for success without the technology. This unit is designed for Grades 8-10! Mini-Lessons: - Mood and Tone - Prefixes and Suffixes - Context Clues - Irony *********************************************** Text Materials: This unit includes the text for students. There are two different options (with and without guided questions) and a teacher annotated copy to assist with analysis.
Informative Writing - Middle Grades
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Informative Writing - Middle Grades

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This unit is directly aligned to Common Core Writing and Language standards, and is designed for students in grades 6-8. This unit will lead you and your students through the process of writing different types of informative pieces. Download the preview for a peak at the resources. There are more than 65 pages which include: ★ Explanatory/Informative Writing Overview ★ Mentor Texts (4) ★ Writing topics (32) ★ Student Revision Checklist ★ Student Editing Checklist ★ Common Core Aligned Rubric Graphic Organizers by Organization Structure Descriptive (5) Problem Solution (2) Compare and Contrast (2) Cause and Effect (4) Generic (4) Mini-lessons: Drafting From an Outline Recognizing Bias in Writing Compare and Contrast Formats Cause Effect Language Lessons: Infinitive and Infinitive Phrases Gerunds
Short Story Lesson Plan - "Charles"
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Short Story Lesson Plan - "Charles"

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“Charles” by Shirley Jackson is an amazing short story that is sure to grab the attention of your students. Students are invested in close reading for clues, find evidence, and determining the elements of plot. All materials provided in this lesson will allow students to do this at a high level! One of the most amazing components is the higher level vocabulary activities that position students to make inferences, use new words to describe characters, and summarize sentences where the word is used. This is a jam packed short story evaluation that includes: - Detailed Lesson Plan - Five Original Graphic Organizers - Common Core Aligned Questions from the text - Task cards to assign student annotated reading role (3 different roles) - Extension Activities It is perfect for introducing a short story unit and reinforcing ideas from fiction reading. It is simple enough to be used as an emergency substitute lesson plan.