Engaging Struggling and Non-Readers in the High School Setting

Starting my career teaching English at an alternative high school, my classes were stuffed with students who had given up on reading. Some students were 2-3 grade levels behind their peers. Others were perfectly literate, but had no interest in reading. As a green teacher, these students seemed impossible to educate. 

Fortunately, I had a good mentor teacher, and after a few years in the classroom, I learned many strategies to engage struggling and non-readers. In this article we’ll explore three valuable techniques rookie teachers can use no matter the subject(s) they teach. So if you’re ready, let’s learn how to turn your students into readers!

An Entry-Level PBL for High School English and Social Studies Teachers

Over the last decade, project-based learning (PBL) has transformed secondary education throughout the United States. In a PBL school, students are active learners, and take ownership of their education. The teacher is a facilitator to knowledge, and not the gatekeeper. 

If your school has yet to adopt PBL, knowing where to start is no small challenge. To get you and your students’ feet wet, you need to use an ‘entry-level’ PBL, one that is challenging but not overwhelming.

This article proposes a PBL that pairs an English III and U.S. history teacher (along with their students). It is adapted from a PBL that the author helped develop and implement in spring 2013. 


Introducing Your Students to Primary Source Documents

For English Language Arts (ELA), social studies, and even science teachers, primary source documents are a staple of classroom instruction. From historical speeches to song lyrics, primary sources have the ability to bring deeper meaning to a lesson. In addition, primary source documents often appear on high-stakes standardized tests, meaning that all students should know how to analyze them.

How to Create (and Teach) an ACT/SAT Preparation Course

Creating a new course isn’t easy, especially if the goal of said course is to raise students’ standardized test scores. Public high schools are often judged on their ACT/SAT scores, and even the smallest dip can lower a school’s credibility, or worse, funding. If you’re tasked (like I once was) with creating an ACT (or SAT) preparation course from scratch, it probably feels like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. But there is hope. Let’s get started.

Teaching Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders in the General Education Classroom

What most people think of as Autism is not really one condition. Two children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) may exhibit different symptoms, and require unique accommodations in the general education classroom. Even for experienced teachers, teaching students with ASDs can be a monumental challenge. The goal of this article is to introduce new teachers to ASDs, and describe best practices in working with these students and their parents.

How to Engage a Classroom of Diverse Learners

For some people, the term ‘diverse learners’ conjures the image of students who are learning disabled. Yet for a teacher, this image is an outmoded mindset. Every student has strengths and weaknesses. Every student has her own way of learning. Most importantly, every student has her own way of best expressing what she has learned.