Tag Archives : Teachers pay Teachers

Critical Reading

A successful author should be able to control what one gains from reading his or her story, but what if  the meaning on the page is unclear? Voila! Here you have two critical reading stories which are perfect for group discussions and, that often sought after, accountable talk. Although the stories have a strong plot, the message is purposely written in a vague manner to trigger different interpretations.

In “The Fog,” Taylor leaves work only to hit something in the road . . . or does he? Perhaps, Taylor is not a he at all. Students are asked to answer questions after the story with a True, False, or Can’t Tell. Next, the students debate the answer. 

“The Fog” may be used with multiple grades. Although I originally wrote it for fifth graders, I had a blast listening to the discussion from a high school group. They took my little story to an entirely new level.  

This would be a great activity once the textbooks are collected. Critical reading stories sell for $1.25.

If “The Fog” is a bit too advanced for your students, here is another critical thinking story about a ride failing at Disney. “A Day at Disney” works well with your bright primary students as well as elementary kids. It is also a gateway for accountable talk. 


If you’re looking for short stories for your kids, please stop by Slide1

FREE LANGUAGE ARTS LESSON – “Trio of Writing Freebies”

FREE LANGUAGE ARTS LESSON – “Trio of Writing Freebies”


by Constance D. Casserly

Grades 6-12



With this Trio of Writing Freebies, teachers will just say, “YES!” to reinforcing proper paragraph format, to luring in readers with magnetizing hooks and to reinforcing powerful word choices.


 Language Arts Comprehension Check: Ten Sentence Format

 LanguageArtsComprehensionCheckTenSentenceFormat (1)_Page_3resized

This Ten Sentence Format is perfect for clarifying and reinforcing the parts of an essay, for using as an announced or unannounced quiz when teachers of students grades 6-12 wish to check reading and writing comprehension and for general writing practice or warm-ups.

This writing format reviews and reinforces the basic structure of a paragraph: Introduction (Hook, overview, Thesis statement), Body (Main Idea, supporting details), and Conclusion (Concluding statement – thelast thought). I call this final sentence a kicker, as the last statement should end with a bang and not a whimper (thank you T.S. Eliot for this phrase).

Once students master this concept, they can easily be shown how the Main Idea paragraphs can be expanded with details and developed into more paragraphs so they can create a complete essay.

Download it from https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Language-Arts-Comprehension-CheckTen-Sentence-Format-16081




Writing (All Types) Activity: Reel in Readers With Magnetizing Hooks



Readers are more apt to keep reading if the writer grabs their attention. Students are more apt to write with vivid verbs and specific nouns and adjectives that will snag their readers’ attention when we teachers entice them by baiting our lesson plan hooks with a multitude of opportunities for them to own their writing.

When we do this, our students will become emotionally involved with their writing and will understand that the lead sentences act as a fishing hook, and every word that forms them is the bait. They will learn that the hook has one main purpose: luring readers to the writer’s world.

Not only will they hook their readers, but they will also capture the interest of the people who rate their standardized test writing responses. Most importantly, though, they will embrace writing because they are Writing Right.

Download this Freebie from  https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Writing-All-Types-Activity-Reel-in-Readers-With-Magnetizing-Hooks-623112



Writing – “Just Say, ‘NO!’ to Dull Writing”



This year-long activity was always one of my core Middle and High School lesson plans. On the first day of school, I  handed it out to my students right after we reviewed the syllabus and classroom rules and expectations.

I explained to my charges that they were required to refer to it for any writing-graded or non-graded – throughout the year. Also,  I made a poster of it to hang in the classroom and I taped a copy of the list to each desk for continual writing reinforcement.

Olga, a former student who is now a senior in college, asked me to send it to her because she was tutoring at a Virginia university’s writing center. She said, “I have to do a presentation on making writing concise and precise. Would you send me a copy of your taboo words list please? It has been – and will continue to be – the best advice on writing well that I’ve found.”

When this Taboo Words and Phrases List impacts your students’ thinking and writing, it will become a lifelong tool for them,  just as it has been for Olga.

Download it from  https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Writing-Just-Say-NO-to-Dull-Writing-1555338


Give yourselves the gift of time and relax, knowing that this triple play of lessons lessons will review and reinforce the effective writing that you have been teaching them all year. If you are asked, “Are your students ready for the  standardized tests?” you can smile and say, “They are ready to hit home runs”.


Enjoy a Teach IT Now Day, every day,