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Diversifying the Literary Canon with #2ndaryELA

Join secondary English Language Arts teachers Tuesday evenings at 8 pm EST on Twitter. This week's chat will be about diversifying the literary canon.
Brynn Allison, The Literary Maven, & Lisa Spangler, Mrs. Spangler in the Middle, host #2ndaryELA on Twitter every Tuesday evening from 8 - 8:30 PM EST. #2ndaryELA is a weekly chat for secondary English Language Arts teachers focused on a topic. Every Sunday, we post the topic and questions on our blogs to allow you to prepare for the upcoming Tuesday evening's chat. Thank you to everyone who joined us last week and we hope that you will join us again.

We'd also love for you to join our 2ndaryELA Facebook group, even if you aren't on Twitter. 2ndaryELA is a group of middle and high school English Language Arts teachers looking to share ideas and best practices. This group is an extension of our Twitter chat and a place for collaboration, questions, and encouragement. Feel free to post teaching ideas, success stories, resource links, photos, etc. that will enhance our instruction.

On Tuesday, October 23, our #2ndaryELA chat will be about diversifying the literary canon.

Join secondary English Language Arts teachers Tuesday evenings at 8 pm EST on Twitter. This week's chat will be about diversifying the literary canon.

The Directions:
1. Log into Twitter on Tuesday from 8-8:30 PM EST.
2. Search for tweets with the hashtag #2ndaryELA in the search bar. Make sure to click “Latest.”
3. Introductions are for the first 5 minutes.
4. Starting at 8:05 (@literarymaven or @2peasandadog) will post questions every 5 minutes using the format Q1, Q2, Q3, etc. and the hashtag #2ndaryELA.
5. Respond to questions using the format A1, A2, A3, etc. with #2ndaryELA.
6. Follow any teachers responding and who are also using #2ndaryELA.
7. Like and respond to other teachers' tweets.

You can schedule your responses to the questions ahead of time using a scheduler like TweetDeck or HootSuite (but don't forget to use A1, A2, etc. and #2ndaryELA). Links are encouraged, so be sure to use a link shortener like tinyurlbitlygoo.gl or ow.ly Just visit one of those links and paste your long link to shorten it for Twitter. Using images is also encouraged when relevant.

New to chats? Here are the rules:
1. Stay on topic & stay positive!
2. Please do not post or promote paid products unless specifically asked.
3. If you arrive late, try to look through other posts before beginning.
4. Feel free to just read, like, and/or retweet.
5. Always use our hashtag #2ndaryELA, including in your replies to others.
6. Make sure your twitter feed is set to public. (Also keep in mind that Twitter is completely public – that means students, parents, and administrators can and will read what you tweet.)

You can also check out a quick video tutorial in this blog post.

Be sure to spread the word to any teacher friends who might be interested in joining us as well. We look forward to chatting with you Tuesday evening and in our 2ndaryELA Facebook group!

Get caught up on past chats here:

Tame The Grading Beast!


Grading might be one the worst parts of teaching but here are a few ideas to make it better!  #middleschool #highschool #system #policy


Grading has to be my least favorite part of teaching.  Maybe it's because there are SO many papers.  Maybe it's because it takes SO much time.  Or maybe it's because no matter what, someone will complain.   There has to be a better way to assess students to avoid all of this!

  That's exactly what we discussed on the most recent #2ndaryELA Twitter chat.  Scroll through to get some new ideas to tame the grading beast!




Q1: What are the requirements in your school concerning grades?
A1: We must have one grade per week. At least 5 major and 4 minor grades per nine week period
A1 My school is on an A/B schedule this year, and we are required to have two grades per five days. We have been asked to have a variety of grades in each category so that one category doesn't skew grades.
A1: We must have at least 2 grades per week in the online gradebook.
A1: The only requirement we have is to update our grades every two weeks as well as notifying parents of failing students
Q2: Do you use standards based grading or something else? What does that look like?
A2: We have been experimenting with standards-based grading, although it is not technically required.
A2: We do not do standards-based, but I do like what it would look like in a middle school setting. I think it would do wonders for their level of being in control (as they believe they are) and it would show growth a more consistent way. I like it!
A2: our school has no requirements for this, so everyone is different, which is messy and unorganized for parents and students
A2 part 2: My grade level decided on 40% for assessments, 25% quizzes, 25% HW/CW and 10% participation
Q3: How do you avoid taking grading home over the weekend?
A3: I use things like Google Forms and Google Quizzes to get what I need from students. I also grade selectively.
Replying to 
Yes, Quiz Fridays for Vocabulary and Reading Quizzes has been so much easier because of Google Forms. Things that I want a quick check for understanding, not necessarily an in-depth view of where everyone is at
A3: I had honestly mastered that until this school year... Suggestions I have though: close your door during planning, don't grade everything, and grade classwork during class!
A3: I also grade some assignments on completion (like warm ups), others on a quick assessment with little feedback, and others with in-depth feedback and spread those out so I’m not doing too many of the hard ones all at once
A3: I make my prep a priority for grading. I also learned a long time ago that taking papers home does not = grading them, plus my kids think they are art papers to draw on
A3: I work an after school program, and while the students are reading, I grade assignments. I also do short quizzes and summative assessments instead of long, formative assessments most of the time. OR I come back to the school Saturday mornings! ðŸ˜Ē
Q4: How you do handle being challenged over grades? Do you offer extra credit?
A4: I always make sure all students and parents sign the syllabus at the beginning of the year with the statement: I agree to these policies and will uphold them to ensure my student is held accountable.
A4: I do not give extra credit as an assignment. I give EC for winning a game or for answering an extra question.
A4: everything I do is very cut and dry, so no surprises or issues with admin or parents 🙌ðŸū. Our district does not allow extra credit or bonus points, but if a student received a failing grade, they are allowed to retest.
Q5: Share grading tips and tricks that you use to “work smarter, not harder”.
A5: I create a comment bank on Google Classroom or using , then I just type or copy and paste in frequently used comments to prevent me from typing them over and over again
A5: We build up to our essays with double entry journals where students find and embed quotes on one side, then analyze on the other. It helps me see the quotes and analysis they will use in their essay ahead of time, so essay grading is faster(and better usually)
A5: Sorry so many! I have students highlight key parts of their essays like thesis, topic sentences, quotes, etc. so I can see if they understand what those things are as well as easily read the focal points of whatever standards we set as goals
A5: I do a sorting activity every once in awhile. On paper, I can walk by and evaluate students based on numbering the correct answers and then keeping that list in my pocket. On the computer, I color code and can see them all as a thumbnail without opening each doc
A5: When grading longer pieces of writing, I grade for one or two elements only using a rubric.
A5: rubrics are life. I try to use them for everything, and it’s easier for the students to follow! They know why their grade is whatever it is instead of just guessing why points were deducted.
I hope you found some new ideas that will help you reduce your grading workload.  Remember, we keep the conversation going all the time over on our Facebook group and we'd love for you to join!

Join us every Tuesday night at 8pm Eastern as we discuss topics that we hope will help us all have better teaching experiences in our classrooms.

Thanks for stopping by!