Free Resources For New Teachers

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2009 Distinguished Service Award

Congratulations to Anna J. Small Roseboro, the California Association of Teachers of English 2009 Distinguished Service Award winner. In our profession, so much is required in order to be everything our students deserve. The demands are great; this is no career for the uncommitted. Teaching well takes diligence, knowledge, passion, energy, flexibility, and skill. More »

Books written by Anna

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New Teacher Resources

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Women’s History Month – Research and Poetry

In the United States, March is Women’s History Month.

2015 National Women’s History Month
Theme and Honorees:

Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives

2015 Honorees

Here’s a link with resources to plan lessons to complement those suggested below.

What an opportune time to feature the writing of females and to encourage students who are doing research projects to choose women as their subjects.  Consider making this an international project and invite students to look at the contributions of women in all fields of endeavor from all around the globe.  How about recommending research projects on women in the career fields the students are considering, especially those in careers the students are considering for themselves. Or, a woman of the same ethnic heritage as the student.  Add photos and post your own gallery of women.  Okay to have students write about female family members, too.

One of my favorite ways to challenge students to explore and expand their poetry repertoire is to assign them to pattern a published poem or use a traditional structure like the sonnet, limerick, haiku, or pantoum.

After doing their research, your students could weave what they’ve learned into an ode or epic, a lyrical poem, or one of those biographical poems or  “I Am Frompoems they probably experimented with in elementary school.

If your students are ready or it fits your curriculum to teach journalistic writing, you could have them write newspaper columns about these women, or persuasive essays pleading the case for their featured women who may not yet have been inducted into the Hall of Fame!

Of course, each of these assignments can be designed to be multi-genre and small group projects give students an opportunity to practice the range of skills your teaching this school year.

What may be fun for some students is to use what they learn about a phenomenal woman and write three different kinds about poems about her:  a limerick, a pantoum, and a ballad, or a combination of their choice.  It would interesting to see what personality traits, incidents or memories about the women the students choose for each poetic structure.

Please think about posting your and your students’ poems and short bios about family members and friends in a folder called PHENOMENAL WOMEN?


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CATE 2015


CATE2015Logo_350wWhat a delight to see you at the PATTERNS session at CATE 2015 in San Jose.  Click link to view the slides from that presentation. Speaking and Writing from Patterns-CATE 2015

Please do me a favor.  Will you send me assignments you create as you adapt what we shared and also samples of student work in response to those assignments?




Credible Text???

What Questions Can Help One Decide?

Reading and WriringStudents sometimes wonder what questions they should be asking about a text.  Tell them about Five W’s and H questions. Invite students to adapt questions to the text, but be sure to ask at least one for each of the six words.

Who wrote this text?  Who seems to be the audience?

What are the author’s credentials, experience, and education?  What does author seem to believe about the audience? What seems to be the message of this text?  What kinds of arguments, evidence and or appeals does the author use to get his/her point across? What bias seems present in this text?

When was text published?  Has something on this topic been published more recently or by a more credible writer?  When in the reading did the author draw me in or turn me off?

Where was this text published?  Is the publisher/source reputable?

Why should this text be believed? Why would this text be worth reading or sharing
with others?Writing in Book Notebook

How does the author use language, organization, sources to develop the topic, create the characters, make this text engaging, entertaining, believable?

How can I use similar strategies to make my own writing better?

Reflecting and Projecting on Practice

Midyear – A Good Time to Start Anew?

Are you a new teacher? A veteran in the classroom? Or a student teacher just starting to plan for and work with students on your own?

Wondering how to get off to a good start in the middle of the school year? Yes, the beginning of the new semester can be great time to start all over again – even if you’re teaching a full year course. Sounds paradoxical, huh? Think about it.

You’ve had a full semester with most of your students and you now know more about them as individual learners and also as groups of learners. Why not start fresh, planning ways to adapt your spring lessons to what you’ve learned about this particular group of energetic youngsters?  How are you progressing on plans to meet Common Core State Standards or whatever curriculum goals you’re charged to meet by the end of the school year?

Consider developing a reflection/projection lesson. You could set aside a class period the opening day of the new semester and ask the students to reflect on what they’ve learned so far and what they can learn by the end of the school year.

There’s no need to leave those as open-ended questions. Instead, you can provide students with a list of department grade level objectives and ask the students to rate themselves on a scale of 1-6 on how close they are to reaching those objectives. Then, write a couple realistic strategies for maintaining, raising those rating or setting goals for reaching the remainder of the objectives for their grade level. Keep them encouraged by reminding them they have the rest of the year to reach those goals, improve their skills and expand their learning.

You may use your school standards for your course instead. Pulling this lesson together will refresh your memory, too. It’ll remind you of what you have accomplished and what you still can aim to accomplish before year’s end.

See a sample a self-reflection you could adapt for your students. Here’s a link to one of the Semester I Self-Reflection forms I’ve used. If you’ve never had your students take a “How Do I Learn?” quiz, consider administering one of the on-line versions. Very insightful and enlightening. Here’s one.

What’s Your Learning Style?  This on line quiz can help reveal how individual students learn, providing teachers valuable information for planning more engaging and effective lessons.

See my two new books on Teaching Writing and Teaching Reading.  One or both may be just what you need to rejuvenate you for the coming semester.




Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Lots of websites offer lessons to celebrate and commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his contributions to our nation and society as a whole.  One key way to validate his legacy is to ensure our young people see the value in education.  I’m so glad so many of you do just that.  Need a few fresh ideas?

Here’s a link to a site to help you quickly review events in life of Martin Luther King, Jr. with a follow-up quiz in several versions.  Can lead to discussions and connections to what you’re reading/studying right now.

BRAIN POP – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Here’s a link toFloCabulary for lesson on finding literary devices in his “I Have a Dream Speech“.