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Category Archives for "ELA Skills & Ideas"

Teaching Students to Write a Synthesis Essay

Writing instruction is challenging, yet rewarding.  Synthesis, an important common core skill, occurs when several sources are used and evaluated.  This typically occurs in expository writing where researched sources are brought together to prove a thesis statement or answer an inquiry question.  After reading to understand different sources and arguments, students often struggle with bringing them […]

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Creating Meaningful Questions

Teach students to write thoughtful questions using sentence stems.

James Stephens once said, “we get wise by asking questions, and even if these are not answered, we get wise, for a well-packed question carries its answer on its back as a snail carries its shell.” To ask a “well-packed” question; yes, that’s what I want my students to know and be able to do. But how? […]

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Teaching Students to Read: Set a Focus

Teaching Students to Read Complex Texts

Over the years, I’ve experimented with different ways to engage students in reading and writing activities, but in past years I would have labeled myself as a writing teacher more than as a reading teacher. Sure, I assigned different texts, and we discussed as a class and engaged in activities. The reality is, though, that […]

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