Language Arts

Lessons about vocabulary, grammar, spelling, figurative language, context clues, and word relationships.

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Word Ladder: Fly to Bee (6-steps)

Word Ladder: Fly to Bee (6-steps)

Students will go from "FLY" to "BEE" by changing just one letter per step.

Word Ladder: Wild to Tame (5-steps)

Word Ladder: Wild to Tame (5-steps)

Students will go from "WILD" to "TAME" by changing just one letter per step.

St. Patrick and Other Legends

St. Patrick and Other Legends

How would real people feel about the legends that have been created about them?

Words Within Words: Patrick

Words Within Words: Patrick

How many words can you find within Patrick?

Words Within Words: Rainbow

Words Within Words: Rainbow

How many words can you find within rainbow?

Words Within Words: Ireland

Words Within Words: Ireland

How many words can you find within Ireland?

Getting Specific With St. Patrick’s Day Writing

Getting Specific With St. Patrick’s Day Writing

Let's take a starting phrase about St. Patrick's Day and get specific. No, even more specific!

Comparing Characters’ Bedrooms

Comparing Characters’ Bedrooms

What item's in a character's bedroom would reflect their deepest desires? And what if they toured a similar character's room?

Change A Story’s Genre

Change A Story’s Genre

What if we rewrote a story's climax into a totally different genre?

Words Within Words: LATKES

Words Within Words: LATKES

How many words can you find within LATKES?

Order, Chaos, and the Holiday Season

Order, Chaos, and the Holiday Season

Let's write a holiday song about order and chaos!

Holiday Emoji Story ⛷️

Holiday Emoji Story ⛷️

Students will create a story about ⛷️🌨️🌲🐻🤝

Holiday Emoji Story 🍪

Holiday Emoji Story 🍪

Students will create a story about 🍪🥛🔍🐾🦌

Holiday Emoji Story ☃️

Holiday Emoji Story ☃️

Students will create a story about ☃️👑🏔️🔭✨

Holiday Emoji Story 🎅

Holiday Emoji Story 🎅

Students will create a story about 🎅🛷🌀🚀🌍

Holiday Emoji Story 🚚

Holiday Emoji Story 🚚

Students will create a story about 🚚🎁🤔🐶🫣

Words Within Words: CORNMAZE

Words Within Words: CORNMAZE

How many words can you find within CORNMAZE?

Words Within Words: COBWEB

Words Within Words: COBWEB

How many words can you find within COBWEB?

Halloween Emoji Story 🎃

Halloween Emoji Story 🎃

Students will create a story about 🎃🕯️📖💥👻.

Halloween Emoji Story 🌕

Halloween Emoji Story 🌕

Students will create a story about 🌕🌲👣😱💨.

Halloween Emoji Story 🕷️

Halloween Emoji Story 🕷️

Students will create a story about 🕷️🕸️📩🔑🚪.

Emoji Stories 🦁

Emoji Stories 🦁

Students will create a story about 🦁👑🐗🎶🌄

Emoji Stories 🐌

Emoji Stories 🐌

Students will create a story about 🐌📬✈️🏛️ 📜

Emoji Stories 🚚

Emoji Stories 🚚

Students will create a story about 🚚🤖📻🛸🌌

Emoji Stories 🏟️

Emoji Stories 🏟️

Students will create a story about 🏟️🏹🍞🐦🔥

Emoji Stories 🕰️

Emoji Stories 🕰️

Students will create a story about 🕰️🎩🐀💎🕺

Emoji Stories 👁️

Emoji Stories 👁️

Students will create a story about 👁️🔮🌩️🚷🌲

Emoji Stories 🚗

Emoji Stories 🚗

Students will write a story about 🚗🗺️🌋🐉🌉

Emoji Stories 🤖

Emoji Stories 🤖

Students will create a story about 🤖💃🎵🕺🐔.

Emoji Stories 🐻

Emoji Stories 🐻

Students will create a story about 🐻🎩🎙️🐰🤣.

Emoji Stories 🏰

Emoji Stories 🏰

Students will create a story about 🏰📚🔍🔐🚪.

Emoji Stories 🛥️

Emoji Stories 🛥️

Students will write a story about 🛥️🏊🌊🐙🤝 .

Plexidemokinesis (Greek and Latin)

Plexidemokinesis (Greek and Latin)

Using the word Plexidemokinesis, students will create an invention, a creature, or a spell.

Psycholunaphase (Greek and Latin)

Psycholunaphase (Greek and Latin)

Using the word Psycholunaphase, students will create an invention, a creature, or a spell.

Hydromagnaphone (Greek and Latin)

Hydromagnaphone (Greek and Latin)

Using the word Hydromagnaphone, students will create an invention, a creature, or a spell.

Geosynth (Greek and Latin)

Geosynth (Greek and Latin)

Using the word Geosynth, students will create an invention, a creature, or a spell.

Thermocryptograph (Greek and Latin)

Thermocryptograph (Greek and Latin)

Using the word Thermocryptograph, students will create an invention, a creature, or a spell.

Aquamorphotron (Greek and Latin)

Aquamorphotron (Greek and Latin)

Using the word Aquamorphotron, students will create an invention, a creature, or a spell.

Chronosonarium (Greek and Latin)

Chronosonarium (Greek and Latin)

Using the word Chronosonarium, students will create an invention, a creature, or a spell.

Pyrostasis (Greek and Latin)

Pyrostasis (Greek and Latin)

Using the word Pyrostasis, students will create an invention, a creature, or a spell.

Pluto – Mixed Up Paragraph

Pluto – Mixed Up Paragraph

Can you use the context clues to get these sentences about Pluto back into the correct order?

Great Sloths – Mixed Up Paragraph

Great Sloths – Mixed Up Paragraph

Can you use the context clues to get these sentences about great sloths back into the correct order?

The Moon – Mixed Up Paragraph

The Moon – Mixed Up Paragraph

Can you use the context clues to get these sentences about The Moon back into the correct order?

The Great Sphinx – Mixed Up Paragraph

The Great Sphinx – Mixed Up Paragraph

Can you use the context clues to get these sentences about The Great Sphinx back into the correct order?

Rainclouds – Mixed Up Paragraph

Rainclouds – Mixed Up Paragraph

Can you use the context clues to get these sentences about rain clouds back into the correct order?

Coral Reef – Mixed Up Paragraph

Coral Reef – Mixed Up Paragraph

Can you use the context clues to get these sentences about the coral reef back into the correct order?

Greekymon Studies – Round 3

Greekymon Studies – Round 3

What might a creature named "Aquacornus Rex" be like?

Greekymon Studies – Round 2

Greekymon Studies – Round 2

What might a creature named "Hypermnemonicus" be like?

Greekymon Studies – Round 1

Greekymon Studies – Round 1

What might a creature named "Ursolunascope" be like?

Mother’s Day Cards

Mother’s Day Cards

Let's write the cleverest Mother's Day cards you've ever seen!

Multiple Meaning Matcher – Theta

Multiple Meaning Matcher – Theta

Can your students match multiple meanings of the same five words?

Multiple Meaning Matcher – Eta

Multiple Meaning Matcher – Eta

Can your students match multiple meanings of the same five words?

Multiple Meaning Matcher – Zeta

Multiple Meaning Matcher – Zeta

Can your students match multiple meanings of the same five words?

Multiple Meaning Matcher – Epsilon

Multiple Meaning Matcher – Epsilon

Can your students match multiple meanings of the same five words?

Multiple Meaning Matcher – Delta

Multiple Meaning Matcher – Delta

Can your students match multiple meanings of the same five words?

Multiple Meaning Matcher – Gamma

Multiple Meaning Matcher – Gamma

Can your students match multiple meanings of the same five words?

Multiple Meaning Matcher – Beta

Multiple Meaning Matcher – Beta

Can your students match multiple meanings of the same five words?

Multiple Meaning Matcher – Alpha

Multiple Meaning Matcher – Alpha

Can your students match multiple meanings of the same five words?

Parts of Speech Party – Gift

Parts of Speech Party – Gift

How many different ways can we use the word "gift" in a single paragraph? Let's find out in this Parts of Speech Party!

Parts of Speech Party – Care

Parts of Speech Party – Care

How many different ways can we use the word "care"? Let's find out in this Parts of Speech Party!

Parts of Speech Party – Fruit

Parts of Speech Party – Fruit

How many different ways can we use the word "fruit"? Let's find out in this Parts of Speech Party!

Parts of Speech Party – Change

Parts of Speech Party – Change

How many different ways can we use the word "change"? Let's find out in this Parts of Speech Party!

Parts of Speech Party: Introduction (Check)

Parts of Speech Party: Introduction (Check)

How many ways can we use "check" in a paragraph? And can your students spot when it's a verb, or a noun, or an adjective?

Words Within Words: Ornament

Words Within Words: Ornament

How many words can you find within ORNAMENT?

Words Within Words: Wreath

Words Within Words: Wreath

How many words can you find within WREATH?

Bobbing for Apples

Bobbing for Apples

What is bobbing for apples like… for an apple?

Words Within Words: SCARECROW

Words Within Words: SCARECROW

How many words can you find within "scarecrow"?

Words Within Words: CRANBERRY

Words Within Words: CRANBERRY

How many words can you find within "cranberry"?

Words Within Words: STUFFING

Words Within Words: STUFFING

Students will build words using the letters found in "STUFFING."

Super Specific Similes – Strong Uncle

Super Specific Similes – Strong Uncle

Let's make this simile about a strong uncle even more specific.

A Halloween Costume Gone Wrong

A Halloween Costume Gone Wrong

Let's go roller skating in a Halloween costume! What could possibly go wrong?

Super Specific Similes – Slimy Broccoli

Super Specific Similes – Slimy Broccoli

Students will make this slimy broccoli simile seriously specific.

Super Specific Similes: Quick Baby

Super Specific Similes: Quick Baby

Let's make this simile about a quick baby even more specific.

Super Specific Similes: Loud Class

Super Specific Similes: Loud Class

Let's make this simile about a loud class super specific!

Super Specific Similes: Stinky Seaweed

Super Specific Similes: Stinky Seaweed

Students will make this simile about stinky seaweed super specific.

Robot Writing: Volcano

Robot Writing: Volcano

Read three pieces of writing from three different robots about the same beautiful painting of a volcano. Who wrote it best?

Robot Writing: Acropolis

Robot Writing: Acropolis

One painting of ruins. Three robots. Three pieces of writing. Who wrote it best?

Robot Writing: The Bridge

Robot Writing: The Bridge

One painting of a bridge. Three robots. Who wrote it best?

Robot Writing: Orchestra

Robot Writing: Orchestra

Read three pieces of writing from three different robots based on a beautiful painting and decide who wins!

Words Within Words: General

Words Within Words: General

How many words can you find within "general"?

Words Within Words: Intro (Soldier)

Words Within Words: Intro (Soldier)

How many words can you find within SOLDIER? 20? 35? 50? Even more!?

Words Within Words: WESTERN

Words Within Words: WESTERN

How many words can you find within WESTERN?

Words Within Words: TEACHER

Words Within Words: TEACHER

How many words can you find within TEACHER?

Idioms About Money

Idioms About Money

Five sets of idioms related to money.

Think Like An Author: Hemingway vs Dickens

Think Like An Author: Hemingway vs Dickens

What if your students rewrote Dickens in the style of Hemingway and vice versa?

Word Pyramids

Word Pyramids

Start with a one letter word, add another letter, then add another. How tall can you make the pyramid?

Idioms About Fire

Idioms About Fire

Five sets of idioms related to fire!

Word Pyramid: D to ASIDE

Word Pyramid: D to ASIDE

Students will move from D to ASIDE by adding one letter at each step.

Word Pyramid: M to CAMPUS

Word Pyramid: M to CAMPUS

Add a letter at each step to form a new word. Can you connect the starting point and ending point?

Word Pyramid: U to Brush

Word Pyramid: U to Brush

Add a letter at each step to form a new word. Can you connect the starting point and ending point?

Idiom Tasks

Idiom Tasks

Four fantastically terrific tasks for a weekly idiom study.

Words Within Words: PARKING

Words Within Words: PARKING

How many words can you find within PARKING?

Prefixes and Suffixes in Other Languages

Prefixes and Suffixes in Other Languages

Let's go beyond merely memorizing word parts and instead analyze across languages. How do other languages make a word the opposite?

Idioms about Weather

Idioms about Weather

Five sets of idioms related to the weather.

Words Within Words: TROMBONE

Words Within Words: TROMBONE

How many words can you find within TROMBONE?

Idioms About Red

Idioms About Red

Five sets of idioms related to the color red.

Random Emoji Prompt Generator

Random Emoji Prompt Generator

Click up an interesting, visual writing prompt suitable for any grade or purpose.

Analyze Suffixes: -en

Analyze Suffixes: -en

Students will note the effects of adding a suffix to a word and then look for counter-examples to those patterns.

Looking Closely at Holiday Photos

Looking Closely at Holiday Photos

Let's write from multiple perspectives using an old timey holiday photo!

Holiday Writing: Packing Crates

Holiday Writing: Packing Crates

Students will look closely at this old image and write a short, structured poem.

Thanksgiving Photo Writing

Thanksgiving Photo Writing

Starting with an old-timey photo, students will write from a particular item's point of view.

Stories with the Same Problems and Solutions

Stories with the Same Problems and Solutions

Have you ever noticed that some stories have awfully similar problems? What if we looked for the most unusual way of solving a repeating problem?

Back to School: Rewriting The Beatles’ “Help!”

Back to School: Rewriting The Beatles’ “Help!”

Can your students come up with a one-syllable word to sum up their time away from school? And then rewrite The Beatles' song Help!?

Analyze Suffixes: -ly, -less, and -ful

Analyze Suffixes: -ly, -less, and -ful

What exactly does adding -less do to a word?

Writing About Art: Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons

Writing About Art: Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons

Students will create a pretty darn interesting poem about Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons.

Writing About Art: Impression, Sunrise

Writing About Art: Impression, Sunrise

Students will create a surprisingly good poem based on Monet's Impression, Sunrise.

Automobiles – Mixed Up Paragraph

Automobiles – Mixed Up Paragraph

Can you use the context clues to get these sentences about automobiles back into the correct order?

Washington, DC – Mixed Up Paragraph

Washington, DC – Mixed Up Paragraph

Can you use the context clues to get these sentences about Washington, DC back into the correct order?

Trains – Mixed Up Paragraph

Trains – Mixed Up Paragraph

Can you use the context clues to get these sentences about trains back into the correct order?

Earthquakes – Mixed Up Paragraph

Earthquakes – Mixed Up Paragraph

Can you use the context clues to get these sentences about earthquakes back into the correct order?

Words Within Words: Airplane

Words Within Words: Airplane

How many words can you find within airplane?

Words Within Words: Leopard

Words Within Words: Leopard

How many words can you find within "leopard"?

Words Within Words: Saturn

Words Within Words: Saturn

How many words can you find within Saturn?

Sets of Idioms Related to Numbers

Sets of Idioms Related to Numbers

Two sets of idioms related to numbers.

Five Sets of Bird and Bug Idioms

Five Sets of Bird and Bug Idioms

Five sets of idioms related to birds (and bugs).

Word Pyramid: P to PLAINS

Word Pyramid: P to PLAINS

Add a letter at each step to form a new word. Can you connect the starting point and ending point?

Word Pyramid: T to PLANET

Word Pyramid: T to PLANET

Add a letter at each step to form a new word. Can you connect T and PLANET?

Word Pyramid: O to Stones

Word Pyramid: O to Stones

Add a letter at each step to form a new word. Can you connect the starting point and ending point?

Word Pyramid: I to LIONS

Word Pyramid: I to LIONS

Add a letter at each step to form a new word. Can you connect the starting point and ending point?

Sets of Idioms Related to Body Parts

Sets of Idioms Related to Body Parts

Five sets of five idioms, all related to body parts!

Sets of Idioms Related to Food

Sets of Idioms Related to Food

Five sets of five idioms, all related to food.

Word Pyramid: T to Patch

Word Pyramid: T to Patch

Add a letter at each step to form a new word. Can you connect the starting point and ending point?

Word Pyramid: H to CRASH

Word Pyramid: H to CRASH

Add a letter at each step to form a new word. Can you connect the starting point and ending point?

Greek and Latin Word Part Paths

Greek and Latin Word Part Paths

How can we go from Biology to Immobile?

Parts of Speech Tournament

Parts of Speech Tournament

Which part of speech is most useful? Interesting? Strange?

Writing in Pilish

Writing in Pilish

Pi can go beyond circles! What if you wrote using the digits of pi as your guide?

Writing About Art: Chōshi in Shimosha

Writing About Art: Chōshi in Shimosha

Get your students writing some pretty darn impressive poetry based on Japan's most famous artist.

Writing About Art: Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog

Writing About Art: Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog

Students will look closely at a piece of art and then write a structured poem about it.

Writing About Art: Twilight in the Wilderness

Writing About Art: Twilight in the Wilderness

Students will write about a beautiful painting from Frederic Edwin Church.

Antonym Paths

Antonym Paths

Does the antonym of an antonym bring us back to the same meaning?

Fancier Figurative Language: Use the Opposite

Fancier Figurative Language: Use the Opposite

Let's start with "As cold as fire."

Fancier Figurative Language: Move the Simile

Fancier Figurative Language: Move the Simile

What if we started a sentence with the simile?

Analyze Characters Using Philosophy

Analyze Characters Using Philosophy

What is the Brick Pig's philosophy? How would he apply it to the characters in Harry Potter?

Writing About Art: The Scream

Writing About Art: The Scream

Your students will turn the iconic painting The Scream into a vivid, sensory poem.

Analyze Paragraphs: Baseball

Analyze Paragraphs: Baseball

Students will read three paragraphs about the same topic, decide what makes each one different, and then create a super-paragraph!

Analyze Paragraphs: Cucumbers

Analyze Paragraphs: Cucumbers

Students will read three paragraphs about the same topic, decide what makes each one different, and then create a super-paragraph!

Analyze Paragraphs: Empire State Building

Analyze Paragraphs: Empire State Building

Students will read three paragraphs about the same topic, decide what makes each one different, and then create a super-paragraph!

Analyze Paragraphs: Tomatoes

Analyze Paragraphs: Tomatoes

Students will read three paragraphs about the same topic, decide what makes each one different, and then create a super-paragraph!

Analyze Paragraphs: Wolverines

Analyze Paragraphs: Wolverines

Students will read three paragraphs about the same topic, decide what makes each one different, and then create a super-paragraph!

Word Ladder: East to West (4 Steps)

Word Ladder: East to West (4 Steps)

Students will go from "East" to "West" by changing just one letter per step.

Word Ladder: Work to Hard (4 Steps)

Word Ladder: Work to Hard (4 Steps)

Students will go from "Work" to "Hard" by changing just one letter per step.

Word Ladder: Two to Six (6-steps)

Word Ladder: Two to Six (6-steps)

Students will go from "TWO" to "SIX" by changing just one letter per step.

Word Ladder – Cold to Cool (5-Steps)

Word Ladder – Cold to Cool (5-Steps)

Students will go from "COLD" to "COOL" by changing just one letter per step.

Word Ladder: Fast to Race (4 step)

Word Ladder: Fast to Race (4 step)

Students will go from "Fast" to "Race" by changing just one letter per step.

Word Ladder: Arm to Leg (6-steps)

Word Ladder: Arm to Leg (6-steps)

Students will go from "ARM" to "LEG" by changing just one letter per step.

Word Ladder: Kid to Old (5-steps)

Word Ladder: Kid to Old (5-steps)

Students will go from "KID" to "OLD" by changing just one letter per step.

Word Ladder: Sky to Red (5-steps)

Word Ladder: Sky to Red (5-steps)

Students will go from "SKY" to "RED" by changing just one letter per step.

Word Ladder – Sun to Hot (5-steps)

Word Ladder – Sun to Hot (5-steps)

Students will go from "Sun" to "Hot" by changing just one letter per step.

Word Ladder – Tea to Hot (5-steps)

Word Ladder – Tea to Hot (5-steps)

Students will go from "TEA" to "HOT" by changing just one letter per step.

Word Ladder: Band to Sing (4 Steps)

Word Ladder: Band to Sing (4 Steps)

Students will go from "Band" to "Sing" by changing just one letter per step.

Word Ladder: Foot to Shoe (4 Steps)

Word Ladder: Foot to Shoe (4 Steps)

Students will go from "Foot" to "Shoe" by changing just one letter per step.

Word Ladder: Fire to Warm (4 Steps)

Word Ladder: Fire to Warm (4 Steps)

Students will go from "Fire" to "Warm" by changing just one letter per step.

Changing Coordinating Conjunctions

Changing Coordinating Conjunctions

What happens when we switch out a "but" with a "so"? An "and" with a "for"? How can such tiny words make such big differences?

Writing Technique: Triple Anadiplosis!

Writing Technique: Triple Anadiplosis!

Have students mastered the art of anadiplosis: ending one sentence with the beginning of the next? Now it's time to take it to the next level!

Doubling Up Writing: Anadiplosis

Doubling Up Writing: Anadiplosis

Repeating words can be what you want, if what you want is an interesting effect. (Psst, that's an example of anadiplosis!)

Fixing Shakespearean Run-Ons

Fixing Shakespearean Run-Ons

Can your students help The Bard? We'll fix five Shakespearean run-ons in three different ways.

Writing Sample: A Christmas Carol (Cold)

Writing Sample: A Christmas Carol (Cold)

Writing Technique: 3 Dependent Clauses

Writing Technique: 3 Dependent Clauses

A specific technique to help students add some spice to their writing. We'll be writing sentences with three dependent clauses.

Writing Technique: Contrast With Synonyms

Writing Technique: Contrast With Synonyms

A specific technique to help students add some spice to their writing. We'll be contrasting two ideas using synonyms.

Writing Technique: Opposite Adjectives

Writing Technique: Opposite Adjectives

A specific technique to help students add some spice to their writing. We'll be using antonyms to describe the same topic!

12 Phrases: The Zoo

12 Phrases: The Zoo

Given twelve random phrases, students will pick four and then write about the strange situation.

12 Phrases: A Day At School

12 Phrases: A Day At School

Given twelve random phrases, students will pick four and then write about the strange situation.

12 Phrases: Out To Eat

12 Phrases: Out To Eat

Given twelve random phrases, students will pick four and then write about the strange situation.

12 Phrases: Amusement Park

12 Phrases: Amusement Park

Given twelve random phrases, students will pick four and then write about the strange situation.

12 Phrases: A Magical School

12 Phrases: A Magical School

Given twelve random phrases, students will pick four and then write about the strange situation.

12 Phrases: Somewhere In Space

12 Phrases: Somewhere In Space

Given twelve random phrases, students will pick four and then write about the strange situation.

Writing Sample: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Falling)

Writing Sample: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Falling)

A passage from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland to use as a mentor text, discussion starter, or writing prompt.

Writing Sample: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Shrinking)

Writing Sample: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Shrinking)

A passage from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland to use as a mentor text, discussion starter, or writing prompt.

Writing Sample: The Velveteen Rabbit (The Toys)

Writing Sample: The Velveteen Rabbit (The Toys)

A passage from The Velveteen Rabbit to use as a mentor text, discussion starter, or writing prompt.

Writing Sample: White Fang (The Wild)

Writing Sample: White Fang (The Wild)

A passage from White Fang to use as a mentor text, discussion starter, or writing prompt.

Writing Sample: The Jungle Book (Bagheera)

Writing Sample: The Jungle Book (Bagheera)

A passage from The Jungle Book to use as a mentor text, discussion starter, or writing prompt.

Word Ladders Introduction

Word Ladders Introduction

You won't believe how this spelling and vocabulary puzzle will get kids' brains sweating over the smallest of words.

Think Like A Philosopher

Think Like A Philosopher

What would Socrates have thought if he watched Frozen?

Writing A Thanksgiving Letter

Writing A Thanksgiving Letter

What if an inanimate object could express thanks for a special person in your life? What would it write?

Ambiguous Sentences

Ambiguous Sentences

Rather than just demand that students "write clearly," we'll explore the hazards of poorly written sentences… and maybe create one of our own!

Words Within Words: Menorah

Words Within Words: Menorah

How many words can you find within MENORAH?

Remixing A Holiday Poem

Remixing A Holiday Poem

Let's take a classic Christmas poem and remix it to work with another holiday!

Holiday vs Holiday (from a Mascot’s Perspective)

Holiday vs Holiday (from a Mascot’s Perspective)

Want something to do during the holiday season that is both fun and involves thinking? Get students writing about what a snowman would think about Halloween or what a ghost would think about Thanksgiving.

Characters Dressed as Other Characters for Halloween

Characters Dressed as Other Characters for Halloween

What if one character dressed up as another for Halloween? Would the Cat in the Hat pick Captain Jack Sparrow, because they're both chaotic yet good-natured people? Would Elsa dress up as The Ice King since they are both lonely?

Virtue or Vice?

Virtue or Vice?

Aristotle noted that positive traits and negative traits are often the same thing, but just in different amounts. The right amount is a virtue, but too much or too little and it's a vice.

Punctuation Power

Punctuation Power

In a sentence, punctuation may seem meek when compared to those mighty words, but punctuation has incredible power over the meaning of a sentence. Students will try re-punctuating sentences to find new meanings - without changing a single word!

Writing Seuss Style Poetry

Writing Seuss Style Poetry

Sure, Dr. Seuss wrote for young students, but can older students analyze his writing and learn to mimic his style? THEN, they can produce Seuss-style poetry about any topic: Ancient China, the electromagnetic spectrum, Pride and Prejudice, and (yes) fraction division!

What’s In My Brain: May vs May

What’s In My Brain: May vs May

Students will determine when "may" is used for possibility and when it's used for permission.

Plurals: An Inductive Spelling Lesson

Plurals: An Inductive Spelling Lesson

Plural nouns in English are deliciously fascinating. Yet most plural lessons are so dull! In this experience, students are given a pile of plurals and then inductively create groups and pull out rules and patterns.

Paragraphs: Systems of Sentences

Paragraphs: Systems of Sentences

Want students to understand how a paragraph fits together? Explode one and make them reassemble it using the clues in each sentence! I even wrote a little app to bust a paragraph up for you.

Not Like The Others: Charlotte’s Web

Not Like The Others: Charlotte’s Web

Students will determine which of the characters is not like the others.

Fancier Figurative Language: Advanced Repetition

Fancier Figurative Language: Advanced Repetition

Is your students' use of repetition limited to, "The girl was very, very, very fast."? Let's borrow some ideas from Shakespeare!

Advanced Alliteration and Consonance

Advanced Alliteration and Consonance

When students learn about alliteration, it's hard to steer them away from goofy tongue-twisters. Certainly, there must be more powerful and practical ways of using alliteration. In this lesson, I draw on delicious examples from Shakespeare to show how a very advanced writer used alliteration. Then, I break those ideas down so students can try them out.

Writing Sample: The Wind in the Willows

Writing Sample: The Wind in the Willows

A passage from The Wind in the Willows to use as a mentor text, discussion starter, or writing prompt.

Writing Sample: Moby Dick

Writing Sample: Moby Dick

A passage from Moby Dick to use as a mentor text, discussion starter, or writing prompt.

Writing Sample: Peter Pan

Writing Sample: Peter Pan

A passage from "Peter Pan" to use as a mentor text, discussion starter, or writing prompt.

Writing Sample: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Writing Sample: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

A passage from "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" to use as a mentor text, discussion starter, or writing prompt.

Writing Sample: The Fall of the House of Usher

Writing Sample: The Fall of the House of Usher

A passage from "The Fall of the House of Usher" to use as a mentor text, discussion starter, or writing prompt.

Writing Sample: Anne of Green Gables

Writing Sample: Anne of Green Gables

An intriguing passage from Anne of Green Gables to use as a mentor text, discussion starter, or writing prompt.

Do Narrators Have Too Much Power?

Do Narrators Have Too Much Power?

Imagine being a character in a story. Are you worried that your story's narrator may inaccurately describe you? What if they reveal something you wanted to be kept secret? Do narrators have too much power!?

What’s In My Brain: Painting vs Painting

What’s In My Brain: Painting vs Painting

Can the concept attainment model make transitive and intransitive verbs interesting? In my experience, it sure can!

What’s In My Brain: Cute Baby vs Fast Cheetah

What’s In My Brain: Cute Baby vs Fast Cheetah

Can your students puzzle out the differences in these types of figurative language - without any instruction!?

Upgrade Research Questions With Depth and Complexity

Upgrade Research Questions With Depth and Complexity

Ever ask students to create research questions? Were their ideas a bit… blah? My own students had a very hard time writing questions they didn't already know the answer to! This video is how I solved that problem: upgrade research questions with depth and complexity.

What’s In My Brain – Independent vs Dependent

What’s In My Brain – Independent vs Dependent

What makes these clauses different?

Simple or Compound Sentences – Concept Attainment

Simple or Compound Sentences – Concept Attainment

Can your students puzzle out the differences in these two types of sentences - without any instruction!?

Run On or Not? – Concept Attainment

Run On or Not? – Concept Attainment

Can your students puzzle out the differences in these sentences - without any instruction!?

Complex or Compound – Concept Attainment

Complex or Compound – Concept Attainment

Can your students puzzle out the difference between these two types of sentences without any instruction!?

Sets of Idioms

Sets of Idioms

An ongoing series to expose students to five related idioms.

Progressive or Simple Tenses – Concept Attainment

Progressive or Simple Tenses – Concept Attainment

Can your students puzzle out the differences between these two tenses - without any instruction!?

What’s In My Brain – The Park vs The Museum

What’s In My Brain – The Park vs The Museum

Can students figure out the differences between sentences with past progressive and simple past tenses using the concept attainment model?

Parts of Speech Party – Well

Parts of Speech Party – Well

How many different ways can we use the word "well"? Let's find out in this Parts of Speech Party!

Parts of Speech Party – Thanks

Parts of Speech Party – Thanks

How many different ways can we use the word "thanks"? Let's find out in this Parts of Speech Party!

Parts of Speech Party – Limit

Parts of Speech Party – Limit

How many different ways can we use the word "limit"? Let's find out in this Parts of Speech Party!

Pronouns With Too Many Antecedents

Pronouns With Too Many Antecedents

What happens when a pronoun could refer to more than one noun? Big problems!

What Would Poetry Think About Prose?

What Would Poetry Think About Prose?

Imagine that Poetry and Prose meet for the first time at a party? What would they say to each other? How would they feel? In this video, I guide kids through the process of writing a script in which these two forms of writing interact.

Words Within Words: Nutcracker

Words Within Words: Nutcracker

How many words can you find within NUTCRACKER?

Upgrading Compare and Contrast Writing

Upgrading Compare and Contrast Writing

Upgrade compare and contrast writing with just a couple of key words.

Building Creative Analogies

Building Creative Analogies

We'll take two seemingly unrelated pieces of content (say volcanoes and the human body) and then build analogies to connect the two ideas. In the end, students can create a skit, comic, or story relating the two concepts.

Identifying Author’s Voice

Identifying Author’s Voice

What if... Edgar Allen Poe wrote Alice's Adventures in Wonderland?

Synonym Graphs

Synonym Graphs

So, which is happiest: happy, joyful, or ecstatic? Which is most temporary?

Passive to Active Voice

Passive to Active Voice

n this lesson, students will not just fix passive sentences, but break active sentences as they learn to put the star of the sentence first.

Jabberwocky and Context Clues

Jabberwocky and Context Clues

Context clues lessons can be a disaster. Here, we expose students to a delightful classic packed with nonsense words ("Jabberwocky") and ask them to decipher the meanings and parts of speech. Then, it's only natural for students to write their own nonsense poems.

Propaganda and Logical Fallacies

Propaganda and Logical Fallacies

Let's see how propaganda techniques can make even something great seem bad.

Showing A Character’s Trait

Showing A Character’s Trait

We tell students to "show, not tell" in their writing, but this advice isn't effective until they experience the difference. In this video, we'll put a famous character (of students' choosing) into a mundane situation and develop a fun scene to show off their main traits.

Multiple Meaning Matcher – Introduction

Multiple Meaning Matcher – Introduction

Your students will try to match up definitions that belong to the same homophone in this brain-boggling vocab puzzle.

Improving Presentations 2: Planning The Outline

Improving Presentations 2: Planning The Outline

After watching some great presenters, let's outline your presentation!

Improving Presentations 1: Watching The Greats

Improving Presentations 1: Watching The Greats

Get better at giving presentations by studying the greats!

Academic Love Letters

Academic Love Letters

What if Kylo Ren wrote a love letter to Abe Lincoln or the Sahara Desert wrote one to the Moon?

Studying and Remixing “The Raven”

Studying and Remixing “The Raven”

Ready to push kids beyond the boring, old ABAB rhyme scheme and into something a bit more complex?

Persuasion and Packaging: Ethos, Pathos, and Logos

Persuasion and Packaging: Ethos, Pathos, and Logos

How does a drink's packaging affect us emotionally and logically?

Analyze Character Change with Depth and Complexity

Analyze Character Change with Depth and Complexity

Your students will use Depth and Complexity to note how a character's main trait changes across a story.

Elements of The Fantasy Genre

Elements of The Fantasy Genre

Dig into the common elements of the fantasy genre.

“Its Big Day” – A Children’s Story About Its and It’s

“Its Big Day” – A Children’s Story About Its and It’s

Let's spice up a typically dull lesson about the difference between "its" and "it's" by asking students to write a children's story about the adventures of a critter named It.

Introduce Symbolism with Pixel Art

Introduce Symbolism with Pixel Art

Create a pixelated icon that represents the essence of a character!

Characters’ Talents and Multiple Intelligences

Characters’ Talents and Multiple Intelligences

How do characters from novels line up with Gardner's Multiple Intelligences?

Literary Technique: Juxtaposition

Literary Technique: Juxtaposition

Put a grumpy character next to a joyful one and they make each other stand out even more. Opposites are powerful!

Ways to Start a Sentence – Part 3

Ways to Start a Sentence – Part 3

We'll show students how to add more variety to their writing by starting sentences with gerunds, participle phrases, and absolute phrases.

Ways to Start a Sentence – Level 2

Ways to Start a Sentence – Level 2

We'll show students how to add more variety to their writing by starting sentences with a reason, a prepositional phrase, and a simile.

Ways to Start a Sentence – Level 1

Ways to Start a Sentence – Level 1

"Add more variety!" I'd say to my class. But I never really knew what this actually meant. Suprise! This bad advice never improved students' writing. In these videos, students learn nine specific ways to add variety just by changing the beginning of their sentences. This was easily one of my students' favorite writing tools - because it actually helped them.

Ongoing Greek and Latin Word Part Activities

Ongoing Greek and Latin Word Part Activities

Rather than just memorizing word parts, students will use those word parts to create four possible products.

Motivation and Moral Development

Motivation and Moral Development

Can someone do the right thing, but for the wrong reason?

Writing Summaries in Haiku

Writing Summaries in Haiku

Let's write a summary. A very short summary. With VERY strict rules.

Teach Non-Fiction Writing Structure With Fractals

Teach Non-Fiction Writing Structure With Fractals

Did you ever notice that the structure of an essay is very similar to the structure of a paragraph? Hmm…

Common English Words From Other Languages

Common English Words From Other Languages

Bored with typical spelling studies? Let's dig into the origins of common English words from other languages!

Fancier Figurative Language: Start with a Cliche

Fancier Figurative Language: Start with a Cliche

We'll start with the cliché "as cold as ice" and go somewhere much more interesting.

Writing Clear Directions

Writing Clear Directions

Can you write directions so clear that a group of kids can put a toy together with no illustrations?

Better Stories Part 5: Plot Structure

Better Stories Part 5: Plot Structure

Ever read a student's story that was just event after event after event and then a very sudden ending? They lack an understanding of a plot's structure. With the help of Finding Nemo, I break down how to set up a well-structured plot.

Greek and Latin Dinosaur Names

Greek and Latin Dinosaur Names

Let's create a new dinosaur using Greek and Latin stems!

Better Stories Part 2: Types of Conflict

Better Stories Part 2: Types of Conflict

If your students' stories are packed with endless ninja fights or arguments between frenemies, it's time to expose them to a wider range of conflicts.

Better Stories Part 3: Literary Themes

Better Stories Part 3: Literary Themes

A typical student narrative includes plot and characters but lacks a larger idea to hold it all together. This is where a lesson on themes comes in…

Better Stories Part 1: The Big Idea

Better Stories Part 1: The Big Idea

We open our unit on narrative writing with a big idea: "structure increases creativity." I show how this is true by bringing in examples from across all disciplines.

Better Stories Part 4: Character Archetypes

Better Stories Part 4: Character Archetypes

Are students' characters a bit flat? Archetypes give them a strong foundation on which to build their own characters as well as a tool to analyze existing stories.