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Writing Papers - HELP!

I am currently teaching a new class called Conquering College which is a required class for all new in-coming freshmen. In the class, we learn about learning styles, AVID strategies, how to take notes, how to read a textbook, etc. Their final project is a poster with an accompanying paper.  Here are the guidelines I give my students
when it comes to writing the paper.

1) This paper should link and connect your ideas with any aspect of self, identity and personality concepts, mindset or learning styles we have discussed in class. In other words, use the class readings and discussions as a “lens” through which you view this person. Do this by using specific vocabulary used in class (e.g. conscious identity claims, growth or fixed mindset, grit, introvert or extrovert, learning style, soft and hard skills, etc.). 

2) Be sure to discuss how and what made this person successful. You might discuss their background, how and where they were raised, what challenges they overcame to succeed, how they reacted to failures and mistakes, what gave them the desire to succeed. 

3) This is not a facts paper about the person. This is about the character traits and attributes of the individual. Although facts can be included, most facts should be on the poster part of this project.

The first semester, the papers were just awful. I could use other words, but needless to say, they were painful to read. The next semester, I created A Graphic Organizer for Writing Papers. My students were amazed at how much easier writing a paper was. Many had never used a graphic organizer like this in English; so, this whole concept was new to them. (This was hard for me to believe, but I guess on the college level, such visuals are rarely used.) 

Only $2.75
This graphic organizer not only helped my students to arrange ideas thus communicating more effectively, but it also facilitated understanding of key concepts by allowing the students to visually identify key points and ideas more efficiently.

The blank graphic organizer found on Teachers Pay Teachers is divided into 11 sections, one for each paragraph. The students write the main idea followed by five details for each paragraph, not in sentence form but in a few words. Separate grids for the introduction and conclusion paragraphs are included. Even though there are 11 paragraphs, the organizer can be reduced to include as many paragraphs as you desire. My students were required to write a paper that was about two pages in length (500 words) when typed; so, this worked well in getting them to that point. Why not take a peek at the preview to see what you think? And if you choose to purchase the item, I would love your feedback.

I trust your students will find this graphic organizer easy to use as well as being a helpful aid in writing papers.

A Go Figure Debut for a High School English Teacher Who Is New!

Her Store Logo
During college, Literary Roses worked as a writing tutor at a university writing center. This experience solidified her desire to become a teacher. Currently, she is a high school English teacher and has been for ten years. She teaches Shakespeare, poetry, plays, writing, and a many other different literary works.

Literary Roses loves to interact with her students! In some students she sees a similarity to those stressed out college students she tutored who were striving to learn with difficulty. She is aware that not all students will grasp what comes so easily to others, and their struggling makes her want to work to help them connect with difficult concepts and skills. Even though teaching is very challenging, she states that she values her profession and believes in its worth.

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The resources in her Teachers Pay Teachers store reflect her passion for literature. All of her products are geared towards eleventh and twelfth graders. One of her 112 products is entitled Elie Wiesel’s Night: Common Core Curriculum Unit.

This unit contains many power points that answer the ten most frequent questions students have regarding the Holocaust, and includes graphs and photos to aid in comprehension. It also teaches concepts such as the dehumanization of Holocaust prisoners, the symbolism of the young Pipel, personification and irony with so much more discussed in this unit. It has 113 ratings with one person in particular saying,

"This is the most incredible, creative unit I have ever located on Night!
It is one of my favorite autobiographies to teach, and my students will benefit from these incredible resources and activities. I've been teaching English for over 20 years,
and I have to say this is the most extraordinary, first-rate novel unit I have ever seen.
I cannot thank you enough. :-)"

Free Resource

Literary Roses also has over 20 free resources in her store. Introduction to the Romantic Period is just one of them. It is an 11 slide power point that explains the Romantic Period to students. It includes the causes for the shift in ideas and the characteristics reflected in the literature. If you are a high school English teacher, you might want to download it.

In addition to teaching and creating resources, Literary Roses enjoys shopping, running, reading, and being with her church family. Her two children keep her quite busy, but she believes being a mom and a teacher are truly works of the heart! Why not take a few minutes and check out the quality resources in her store? 

Heart Rebuses

Hearts and Valentines Rebus Puzzles
My college students love to do rebus puzzles like the one on your right. Do you know what the picture represents? The clue I will give you is that it has to do with an expression that contains the word "heart". (See the answer at the end of this post.)

Since it is close to Valentine's Day, and college students don't have class Valentine's parties, I decided to create several rebus puzzles that represent familiar expressions that contain the word "heart". (e.g. "From the Bottom of My Heart" or "Cross My Heart") Each illustration uses a picture or symbol to represent a word or phrase. The students must use logic and reasoning skills to solve the 24 rebuses. (Yes, I ended up with 24!)

If you purchase this resource, all you have to do is copy the 12 pages of illustrations (two per page) using a color copier. If you do not have access to a color copier, you can enhance the hearts by hand coloring them or have a student help you color. (My grandkids are great at coloring!)

Each class period during the month of February, I put up two heart illustrations as a focus activity. However, you could place one or more up at one time or all of them up at the same time. As my college students enter the room, they try to figure out what heart expressions the two pictures represent. Sometimes they solve them immediately; other times it takes them a while.  But no matter how long it takes, my students find that it is fun and engaging, in addition to being a very challenging Valentine's Day activity!

*The answer to the above rebus is "A heart full of love."  Did you get it?


It's a Puzzling Situation!

One of my colleagues completed a Leadership Project with her ten students that I want to share with you. She had two ‘alike’ 100 piece puzzles. (The puzzles are fairly inexpensive at Walmart or Dollar General.) Kay took these two similar puzzles which had alike colors/pictures on them and mixed them up. She then separated them into two baggies, and put each baggie in one of the original two boxes.

The class numbered off, 1-2-1-2...and so on, and then separated into two groups. At first, the students thought this was going to be a race to see which group could complete their puzzle first; however, each group started at the same time, writing the starting time on the board. After that, Kay didn’t say a word, and answered no questions! She simply observed the students. The students tried asking her, "Hey we don’t have all the edges; these pieces don’t match; are these the right puzzles?" Something is wrong; what's up?"

Kay waited to see who would take the lead to combine the groups, and how they joined. She wondered, "Would they join peacefully? Would they gather and form one group; two new groups; work together, or divide again?"  As she continued to observe, she began to write names on the board of those who were positive and took leadership. She then wrote the time on the board when they commenced to form one group.

When they finished, she held a Socratic Seminar (an Avid strategy) about how they felt concerning the activity. One student, who did not want to join a group in the beginning, became so involved during the project that he actually was the leader in getting the groups together.  It was one of those fantastic teacher moments!

Kay's students learned quite a bit from the activity since in reality, this is how life, social, and work environments are. She pointed out that they may not have a project that is going well, but by joining together with another group, you can problem solve, gain assistance, and acquire more pieces to your puzzle to accomplish your project.

Since working together doesn't seem to be a skill that comes naturally, I plan to use this activity with my college freshman as they begin their final group projects. Plus, as you think about your class and are puzzled about how you can get your students to work well in cooperative groups, keep this activity in mind.  It might just put the pieces together for you.