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When Snoopy takes out his typewriter and begins to compose a novel atop his doghouse, he always begins with "It was a dark and stormy night..." This phrase — originally appearing in a schmaltzy 19th century British novel — has come to symbolize all that can go wrong with melodramatic writing, especially the clumsy attempts of a writer trying to evoke a dramatic setting within the first sentence of a work of literature.  Continue reading...
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Weekly Worksheet

A Wicked Worksheet of the Week

This week, we are emphasizing alliteration and assonance in some of our favorite lines from Macbeth. Click here for the worksheet and here to read the related lesson plan, "'Fair is Foul, and Foul is Fair': Sound Devices in Shakespeare's Macbeth."
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In this interview, Lori Wilfong, author of Vocabulary Strategies That Work — Do This, Not That!, describes some of her pet peeves about traditional vocabulary instruction and gives us some fresh ideas about how teachers can enliven their practice with student-generated definitions, word walls, and word jars.  Continue reading...
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Despite its popularity among teens, you're not going to find class sets of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series in the English department book rooms across the country. Even if most teachers don't incorporate trendy literature into their class syllabus, it doesn't mean that they can't take advantage of the excitement of the fad and harness it to teach some valuable lessons about writing, editing, and word choice.  Continue reading...
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Weekly Worksheet

Some Inflammatory Prefixes

This week's worksheet helps students sort out when the following prefixes are negative and when they take on other meanings: in-, im-, il-, and ir-. Click here for the worksheet, and here to read the related Wordshop article "Getting 'In' to Prefixes."
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Flexible and inflexible are opposites, but flammable and inflammable are not. Why is this? From a morphological and contextual perspective, Susan Ebbers discusses how to help students come to grips with confusing words, including inflammable, impregnable, and infamous.  Continue reading...
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The bad news: SAT reading scores have reached an all-time low, and recently released NAEP scores reveal that American students' vocabulary growth is "flat." The good news: It's no longer 2012. It's 2013, a new year, a time to buy gym memberships and to overhaul your vocabulary instruction. Just do it.  Continue reading...
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1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 15-21 of 215 Articles