Teacher’s File Drawer

As a teacher, one of my favorite activities is designing units of study that will help my students learn and improve their skills. Now and then, I have shared a particular lesson or unit here on Literate Lives, and so I thought it might be useful to gather them in one place to make them easily accessible to both teachers and homeschooling parents. So, take a peek into my Language Arts Teacher’s Filedrawer.



happy-bd-president-lincolnPresident Abraham Lincoln–What a Writer!

Not only is Abraham Lincoln an awesome writer, but his Gettysburg Address provides an excellent illustration of the use of parallel structure both to combine similar sentences and create dynamic rhythm in the prose.



My Favorite December Writing Assignment~Holiday Letters

The thing I love about this project is the opportunity it gives me to talk to my students about voice and audience, and the opportunity it provided them to express their individuality.

Teacher's File Drawer: A Focus on Gratitude for NovemberA Focus on Gratitude for November

Studies have shown that people who are grateful tend to live happier, healthier lives. Since November culminates in the grand holiday of Thanksgiving, it only makes sense to build toward this crescendo by focusing on gratitude each day in the weeks leading up to it. Here’s three exercises to try in the classroom, at home or in school.

Summer Techniques of Poetry Notetaking GuideSummer Back-to-School Poetry Unit

My favorite unit I ever did with my students was a Summer Vacation Poetry unit. I liked that it was different from the usual “write an essay about your summer vacation,” that it allowed us to play around with poetry, and that working with poetry is a great way to build students’ word choice skills.

Puzzle Fun/Paul Revere’s Wild Ride

Read Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, “Paul Revere’s Ride.” Use the poem to inspire a list of words about Paul Revere that you can use to build a crossword puzzle.

Spelling Practice Sticky Style

Spelling Practice Sticky Style is a learning-to-spell-your-spelling-words strategy. Use sticky notes to help improve spelling. Play a game, and make learning fun.

Lift the Flat Book ReportA “Lift the Flap” Book Report

A “Lift the Flap” Book Report does not take a lot of materials, space, or time, yet it provides students an opportunity for writing and creative expression in reviewing elements of fiction that helped make the book unique. Completing the book report will enable students to consider and display their knowledge of characters, setting, plot, and theme. Scoring criteria included.

ABC Coloring Books and Collages

Make your own ABC coloring books and collage posters to help your young students learn their a,b,c’s.

Write Thank You Notes to Teachers, Staff, Family, Friends

An opportunity for students to put into practice the expression of their thoughts and feelings in writing for a real and specific audience.

End of the School Year Tanka Project

Introduce the Tanka form. Brainstorm all the categories of activities students have encountered through the school year. Select topics. Write, revise, and edit Tankas. Collect for a display or book.

Alternative Book Report—Character Scrapbook Book

As a means of reading accountability, assign alternative book reports. The Character Scrapbook Book Report is a fun exercise that makes use of inferential reading and synthesizing skills. Assignment and criteria information included.

Corny Quatrains

Teachers’ File Drawer: Corny Quatrains Valentines poetry lesson. Teach your students about quatrains, couplets, and rhyme schemes in poetry while having fun writing sweet and sour valentines.

An Attitude of Gratitude

Have your students use their daily paragraphs about what they are thankful for as a springboard for an essay about the three most important things they are thankful for. Assignment instructions and criteria included.

The Writing Process

Examine the writing process–pre-write, rough draft, revision, editing, publication– which will help you present your best effort with your final product.

The Humble Essay Revisited

A summary of Ron Humble’s The Humble Essay Chapter 6, which lists the many ways a person might want to organize an essay and discusses situations in which the various organizational schemes work best.

Learning Styles and Learning and Reading Strategies

Identify your child’s learning style and help him or her to learn and to comprehend what he or she reads.

Sound Effects in Poetry

Sound Effects in Poetry. Learn how to improve your poetry by using these “sound effect” techniques of poetry.

bus card cropBusiness Card Project

Get to know your students and help your students express themselves. Check out Literate Lives “Teacher’s File Drawer” Let Me Introduce Myself “business card” project.