Happy New Year and Welcome Back to The Master Classroom!

Welcome back to The Master Classroom. It has been a while since I have posted, but not much has changed. I am still fighting the good fight in an effort to support teachers and impact student achievement. I’ve learned a lot in my time away and I cannot wait to share all that I have learned with you. Currently, I am working on ways to support culturally competent teaching as this appears to be a major challenge, especially as we approach Black History Month. That said, I have a few things in the works, – blog posts, curriculum recommendations, and lesson plan ideas – so stay tuned, and WELCOME BACK!

man wearing black crew neck shirt reading book

Critical Thinking: Analyzing Quotes


I have always found great appreciation for a thought-provoking quote. In fact, I can remember having great discussions in class about quotes from whichever novel we were reading. Sometimes I would provide the quotes, and other times I would require students to find their own meaningful quotes. What was most interesting about the process was student application. Students are impressive young people, and when you hit the right cord, they will blow your socks off. And so, a quote activity was born.

What’s Included

  • 18 weeks of analyzing quotes, 1 for each week.
  • 5 activities for each quote
  • Critical thinking, constructed response, text-to-text, text-to-self, and text-to-world activities.
  • Challenges for students to share their own quotes and create activities
  • Opportunities to work with a partner

How It Works

If possible, print each student their own booklet of quotes. The booklets can be stored in the classroom so students always have them if there is a concern about the notebooks being lost.

At the beginning of each week, assign students a new quote. Have them complete the paraphrase activity first. This is a great way to assess students’ understanding of the quote because they have to rewrite it in their own words.

As you progress through the week, have students complete a different activity each day. To generate discussion, you can have students share their responses with a peer or in small groups. For class discussions, have students share their responses and respond to other’s points of view.

At the end of the week, you can collect the notebooks and provide students with feedback. Another option is to use daily discussion to gather information about each student’s comprehension and provide feedbacl through discussions.

The Purpose

The purpose of the activity is to teach students to think critically. Instead of giving students a grade for a “right” or “wrong” answer, provide them with feedback. Ask them questions as opposed to giving them an answer as there are a variety of ways to answer these critical thinking questions.


By the end of the 18 weeks, students will be able to:

  1. Analyze quotes for meaning
  2. Make connections between quotes, themselves, the real word, and other texts.

To purchase this activity, click here.

Grammar Tasks: Building Strong Paragraphs

In order to teach students grammar in a meaningful way, it must be taught through their writing. In this latest addition to my TpT Store, I have created Grammar Tasks: Building Strong Paragraphs, and it tries a different approach to teaching grammar.

Start at ApplicationCheat Sheet

Students are given a Cheat Sheet and a rubric so that they can begin with application. The Cheat Sheet provides definitions for each convention with examples. Students can even use the examples in their own writing. As for the rubric, it allows the student to understand the expectation before they begin. By placing these two resources on the same sheet, the student has everything he/she needs in one place.

When designing this resource, I had Bloom’s Taxonomy in mind. This activity cuts out the “remember” phase and supports students through the “understand” phase so that they can start at “application,” and begin to put the information into practice.

Grammar StoriesCover Photot

Each level of Grammar Tasks has 10 original grammar stories with varying content. These can be used in a number of ways:

  1. Assign 1 story to the entire class and allow them to work together or independently.
  2. Laminate the stories so that they can be used repeatedly, and allow each student to choose a story.
  3. Create a Grammar Station and allow students to work together to enhance a story. Then, have them use the rubric to grade another group’s.

Task Sheets

task sheet

Students are provided a task card with an original paragraph that tells an interesting story. Students are tasked with enhancing the story using the grammar tasks on their Grammar Story Task Sheet.

Through revising and editing, students enhance the original paragraph. Have students keep all of their grammar stories in one notebook. All revisions and editing happens in the notebook. Then, on the task sheet, have students write their final draft. This is important for two reasons:

  1. When students have one place to house all of their writing, they can appreciate how far they’ve come. A student that has revised 5 different stories should see growth in word choice and development of the writing.
  2. When students have to copy the original story down before they can revise and edit it, they are reading and processing the information, as well as understanding where punctuation is impacting the reader.

Story TrackerFeedback

Each time students complete a paragraph, they need feedback. Students should turn in their Task Tracker with their Task Sheet. There are two options here:

  1. Provide feedback directly on the final edit and have students record their score on their task tracker. Then, have students choose 1 piece of feedback to place on their tracker. This will be their focus area of improvement for the next paragraph.
  2. Provide feedback for the paragraph on the tracker with a score.

Beyond the Task

Other ways to use the tasks include:

  1. Have students compare the original story with their revised story. This could be a discussion or a constructed response. What do they notice?
  2. Analyze how words impact tone and mood. Have students only choose positive words. Then, have them choose only negative words. What do they notice? How do the words impact the tone? mood? meaning? the reader?
  3. Challenge students to make the passage more concise. Teach students how to replace chunks of words with more specific words.
  4. Add a figurative language challenge.


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