Creative English Teacher

Five Reasons To Teach The Scarlet Letter

American Literature Five Reasons To Teach Series

Five Reasons To Teach The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter is unquestioningly a pillar of American Literature (some argue the greatest American novel), but what does it have to offer young adult readers? Apart from peeling back layer after layer of symbolism, is there worth in making this novel required reading?                    There are very few books that I remember enjoying from my own high-school experience--no fault of my teachers but my own--and The Scarlet Letter  was one of them. Nothing about the premise of the novel drew me to the story: Puritans and unwed mothers are not the primarily interests of...

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The Fault, Dear Teachers...

Creativity Encouragement

I remember back to my first few years of teaching when my skin was still thin. I would spend tons of my free time developing what I considered to be a knock-out lesson only to have my students respond to it negatively. By responding negatively I do not mean rudeness or insubordination. I mean, boredom and apathy—two things I hate. And what was my response to their negative reaction? An even more negative one! I would allow my pride to get the better of me and went on the defensive. After all, didn’t I put all that time into the...

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How to Teach American Literature

American Literature Teaching Ideas

When I first became an English teacher, there was one subject above all others that I intended to avoid:  American Literature. You know, that typically junior-level elective with everything from dry Puritan writings to indecipherable Huckleberry Finn dialect. What fun. Not only did the literature fail to excite me, but as an American, it just seemed too familiar. The cultures of the rest of the world seemed more thrilling, more exotic, and, therefore, more interesting. World literature was my thing. Yet, as so often things go in life, I found myself walking the very path I had intended to avoid....

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The Benefits of Reader's Theater in the Secondary Classroom

Readers Theater Script-Stories Teaching Ideas

If you are looking for a way to motivate resistant readers, Reader’s Theater could be your secret weapon.  Without realizing that they are actually doing so, students participate in a group learning experience.  Many of my students (the majority of them upperclassmen) describe Reader’s Theater as “fun.”  Any time high-school students make this statement it should be considered monumental.  Yet Reader’s Theater is not simply a fluff activity.  As the students read the written word, they hear the words both spoken and performed.  This process can only improve their reading fluency through oral reinforcement and will most definitely increase their...

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