Creative Summer Reading Assessment Ideas

Posted by Emily Guthrie on Aug 15, 2015 12:49:05 AM

Summer reading can be a struggle for students who can sometimes lack time, motivation, and skills to complete the task. Not to mention, with all of the internet shortcuts and summaries at the tips of their fingers it is an equally daunting task for teachers to assess whether or not the reading has actually been completed. Although this struggle is formidable, personally, I do not think it's time to throw the baby out with the bathwater. As English teachers, we work everyday to hopefully make small strides toward creating a love of reading among our students. One way that we accomplish this goal is through a three prong assessment structure:

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Topics: assessment, Literature, literature, summer reading

Using Drama as a Culminating Activity

Posted by Emily Guthrie on Jun 19, 2015 1:36:05 AM

A few weeks ago, my dear friend and fellow Bruin alum teacher, Carmen shared pictures of her students reenacting scenes from Romeo and Juliet.  The students seemed so engaged in owning their unique spins on the Shakespearean classic that I had to ask her if I could share her class photos to inspire our English teacher community here at Simply Novel  to try a similar project with any drama on next year's reading list. We are all about adding to the collective tool boxes of secondary English teachers and I think this is definitely a fun one to file away!

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Topics: assessment, Drama, plays, projects

Anchor Papers: A Journey Toward Better Student Papers

Posted by Emily Guthrie on Sep 16, 2014 7:35:07 AM

 I've recently had an ah-ha moment about teaching writing at all levels using anchor papers.  Anchor papers are basically a set of papers that each represent the characteristics of a particular grade range. For example, given a writing prompt about Native American mythology, I could have a set of anchor papers in which 1-2 papers are solid As, 1-2 papers are solid Bs, 1-2 papers are solid Cs, 1-2 papers are solid Ds, and 1-2 papers are Fs.  When we are finished with our literature unit on Native American mythology, I can have students write on the prompt with a clear rubric.  When the papers are complete, I can give students the unmarked anchor papers to categorize and grade based on the rubric.  After we have discussed which papers received which grades and for what reasons, students can self-assess their own papers with clarity. Then I could use a similar rubric with the next paper on Puritan literature, allowing students to self-assess without anchor papers before they turn it in for my grading.

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Topics: assessment, Essays, teaching tips, tips, writing

Quizlet Tutorial for Teachers

Posted by Emily Guthrie on May 6, 2014 7:55:11 AM

Remember when I told you about a few apps that my students taught me to love?   Well, I just jumped on the bandwagon and realized that one of them is going to change the way I assign vocabulary study.  No matter what words or book you are using for vocabulary, you have to check out this tutorial on quizlet:

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Topics: assessment, Classroom Tech, teaching tips, technology, tips, video, vocabulary

How to Get Students to Answer Questions About Literature

Posted by Emily Guthrie on Apr 29, 2014 7:20:18 AM

Today, I want to share with you some of my rules for answering questions about literature. Please leave a comment with any additions or questions you have!  Together we can make a master list and raise the bar in classrooms around the country!

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Topics: assessment, Literary Analysis/Reading Strategies, Literature, resources, teaching tips

Grammarly Review and Video Tutorial

Posted by Emily Guthrie on Apr 22, 2014 7:31:37 AM

The kind folks over at Grammarly recently let me try out their service with my high school English classes.  The service offers to help students continue to develop writing skills through automated instructional feedback in grammar and word choice, as well as plagiarism tracking. I tried out the teacher/student version, which you can learn more about at Check out the video tutorial below and the pros and cons list.  Please let me know if you have questions or comments and remember to check back weekly for more teacher tips, tutorials, and tirades. ;)

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Topics: assessment, Classroom Tech, Essays, essays, grammar, grammarly, teaching tips, technology, video, writing, writing tips

Tips to Stop Student Cheating

Posted by Emily Guthrie on Dec 31, 2013 8:32:30 AM

I've been writing a short series about the 10 most surprising difficulties I face as a teacher and today I want to tackle my struggle with student cheating.  I've tried my best to get away from homework assignments that are easy to copy and moved instead to reading assignments or online forum discussions.  However, the problem of assessment cheating continues.  Below are my main issues followed by tips and tricks I use during tests, quizzes, and essays.  I would love to hear your stories and tips from the trenches, so feel free to leave a comment!

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Topics: assessment, cheating, Classroom Management, tips

Re-Thinking Assessment in a Technology Rich Common Core Classroom

Posted by Emily Guthrie on Nov 5, 2013 8:24:30 AM


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Topics: assessment, Common Core, standards, technology

Video Tutorial - How to Use Flubaroo to Grade Google Form Assessments

Posted by Emily Guthrie on Oct 8, 2013 3:43:02 AM

Flubaroo is a great tool for quickly grading assessments created with google forms and, in even better news, it is absolutely free!  If you want more information about how to use google drive and create google forms, check out our video tutorial by clicking here and if you want to know more about using google forms in the classroom, click on over to this blog post!

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Topics: assessment, Classroom Tech, technology, tips, video, Flubaroo, google forms

Using Google Forms in the Classroom

Posted by Emily Guthrie on Oct 1, 2013 8:33:39 AM

A few weeks ago, we featured a video blog about how to use google drive, and as a follow up, I'd love to share some ideas for how to use google forms in the classroom.  Here are some of the things I love about using google forms:

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Topics: assessment, Assessments, classroom management, Classroom Tech, teaching tips, technology, tips

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