Ep 156: The Perfect Unit For After Winter Break - EB Academics

Ep 156: The Perfect Unit For After Winter Break

This has been a tough year for teachers and students across the world. Let’s turn the page on 2021 and ring in the new year with a fun mini unit to start things off on the right foot. The new year is a great time to recharge your teaching with some fresh ideas, and Caitlin and Jessica will share the PERFECT unit, which you can create on your own, to motivate your students and yourself.

You know that foreboding feeling at the end of a school break, when you know the vacation is over and you have to get back into the classroom routine? Remove that dread and enjoy your whole break by giving yourself and your students something to look forward to upon returning! Jessica and Caitlin will share 7 well-timed activities for Langston Hughes’ “Thank You, M’am,” which you can use during the first 5-6 days back to school.

This episode is a must-listen before you start your break. Prep these simple activities — like the Thank You Note activity, 5 Word Wonder, Socratic Seminar, and more — before winter break begins. Then go home and relax with your loved ones, knowing your whole first week back is already planned and packed with fun learning. It will be the holiday gift you give yourself!

Tune in now to hear:

  • [01:50] PLEASE — enjoy your winter break! Recharge and catch up at home. Then, come back to school ready with a great unit!
  • [03:10] Set up this unit before your break, so you can really enjoy your time off and be excited to return
  • [03:20] Traits of reluctant readers. Do you have one (or several) of these in your classroom?
  • [04:00] Think of the new year as an opportunity to take a fresh approach in your classroom. Jessica explains how this unit connects with fresh starts
  • [04:50] Use this one-week unit to review claims, evidence and justification. A great spiral lesson!
  • [05:10] Other benefits of this unit: low prep and includes a Socratic seminar, which is always a winning, easy-to-grade activity! 
  • [05:30] This unit also includes a writing component. Jessica’s tip: for less grading, have students partner-write their essays 
  • [06:10]  Listen to the rest of this podcast to learn how to create this New Year’s unit! Or if you want to save some time prepping, you can pick it up here. (If you’re an EB Teacher’s Club member, you can use your free coupon code in the EB Teacher’s shop! Search “Thank You, M’am” New Year’s Unit Digital and Print)
  • [06:20] Interested in joining the EB Teacher’s Club? Join the waitlist today! Our enrollment period opens for a short time at the end of December. It’s a wonderful community of middle school ELA teachers, just like you!
  • [08:00] This challenging (but achievable!) unit centers on “Thank You, M’am” by Langston Hughes. You can use it from 5th through 8th grade, with adjustments based on your class needs.  
  • [08:40] Starting with “5 Word Wonder,” an awesome pre-reading activity
  • [10:00] Annotating “Thank You, M’am” together as a class, focusing on conflict and characterization
  • [10:50] Socratic Seminar — Caitlin shares some example questions and offers a tip for seminars with young students
  • [12:20] New Year’s Resolution Activity, which ties into the theme of the story
  • [13:50] Character Haiku Activity with example
  • [16:00] Thank You Note Activity — a thank you note from one character to another, using a proper letter framework
  • [17:20] You can take the Thank You Note Activity further and have students write their own thank you notes to loved ones!
  • [18:00] Wrap up the unit with a Response to Literature essay — Caitlin gives an example of a text-dependent prompt for “Thank You, M’am”
  • [19:50] Rinse and repeat activities! Activities like Responses to Literature, 5 Word Wonder, Socratic Seminars, etc. can be used throughout the year.
  • [20:30] Have a great rest of your year — we look forward to seeing you again in 2022! Think about your “word” for the new year.

    Happy New Year and enjoy your winter break!  

Click here to listen now!

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Then, pick the date you’re going to teach it in your classroom, and sit back while you watch as your students show up to your classroom pumped about what the day holds…and gush about your class to their parents on the car ride home!

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