Please add your ideas to this article. There are two ways to do so:

Option #1: Scroll down and click "edit" next to "New Idea". Then replace the "New idea" with your title and type a short description below. Click "Save Page" at the bottom when you are done.

Option #2 (if there are no more "New Idea" spots left: Click "Edit this page" above. Scroll down to the end. Copy and paste the last idea and then replace it with your idea. Click "Save Page" at the bottom when you are done.

Harkness TableEdit

Teacher observes discussion & makes a map of the flow for 10 minutes. Then the class analyzes what worked/didn't work. More advanced maps can be color coded (blue for information, green for questions, red for opinions, etc.)

Vocabulary BasketballEdit

NOTE: This game can be played either in the gym or in the classroom with crumpled paper and the recycle bin.

Teacher says a vocabulary word. The first team to get the ball in gets the chance to say the definition for a point. Variations: The whole team has to say the definition in unison.

Paper QuiltEdit

Each student makes a quilt block from your current book or story. Use colored paper and tape to create the squares. Squares are then mounted on butcher block paper and hung.

Diagram Sentences in colorEdit

Use different colors for verbs, direct objects, etc to help your visual learners.

Socratic SeminarEdit

Have half of your students hold a discussion while the other half observe. Each observer should have a specific thing to observe (e.g. # of times each person speaks, # of questions asked, # of times people said "like", etc.). Once the time is up, the whole class evaluates the discussion.

Rewrite the story as a rap or poemEdit

Students rewrite the current book or story in their own words. Teacher can assign the mode or the students can choose.

Use artwork or music to jumpstart creative writingEdit

For example, if your current book takes place during the Harlem Renaissance, show artwork, play music, and/or read poems from the era. Have students pick a piece and write a story about it.

Camus' The Stranger TrialEdit

During our reading of Camus’ The Stranger, which has a trial scene, we created our own trial in which we argued the main character’s morality.

Songs as AnecdotesEdit

To teach students how to create an anecdote (a short narrative), play music that tells a story. This can be a folk ballad or a classical piece. Talk about or draw the elements that allow the composer/song writer to “complicate” and “resolve” the action.

Shakespeare Game ShowEdit

Select passages from Shakespeare that bear further discussion. Set up jeopardy-like teams that can tap in to explicate each passage.

Drawing PoetryEdit

Choose passages from poetry that contain particularly detailed or beautiful imagery, and ask students to draw what they read. Interesting discussion often follows because the drawings can be illuminating but they can also be hyperbolic.

Compound Sentence ConstructionEdit

This activity teaches the class about conjunctions and simple vs. compound sentences. Each student writes an independent clause (one idea) related to a theme we pick—a popular theme is food and eating. Examples might include “I like pizza” “oatmeal is gross” or “I’m hungry.” Each of these independent clauses is a simple sentence. Then students take smaller pieces of paper, writing commas on some, and conjunctions on others (and, but, or, yet, so, for). Then they get out of their seats and find a partner to make a logical sentence with, using a comma and conjunction to combine them (example: I like pizza, but oatmeal is gross). That’s a compound sentence! I usually have them move around and find a new partner a couple times, asking them to try to use a different conjunction each time. Each time they all find a new partner, they stand next to them and hold their compound sentence up to read for the class. The same activity can be used to teach about semi-colons or complex sentences.

Plot ComicsEdit

Students team up to create comic strips based on their reading. They can delegate (or trade off) who illustrates and who finds quotes from the book that work as captions for each drawing.

Poker Chip Discussion/DebateEdit

Each student gets 3-5 poker chips before we begin a class discussion or debate. To contribute to the discussion, each student must toss a chip into a hat in the center of the room. Each student must spend all of his/her chips. Self-moderated discussion plus hand-eye coordination in one! Brilliant.

Tennis Ball ShakespeareEdit

A fun exercise to get students used to Shakespeare’s language and make them comfortable reading it aloud in class. Each student gets a slip (or two) or paper that bears a line from the play we’re going to read (I go for funny lines and lines that sound silly or naughty when taken out of context). Students start tossing a tennis ball around the room. When a student catches the ball, they read their line. This continues for several minutes, and students are encouraged to ham it up as much as possible. Much giggling ensues.

Green Eggs and I-ambsEdit

To familiarize students with iambic pentameter, give them copies of “Green Eggs and Ham” with the syllable stressors written above each line. Students get up and begin marching around the room “like a king with a limp” to pound out the iambic rhythm: da-DUH da-DUH da-DUH da-DUH da-DUH. They march and chant the poem in iambs. Usually we then look at the first lines of whatever Shakespeare we’re going to read and do the same stomp-march to follow its meter.

Immersion ReadingEdit

Like they did in Dead Poet’s Society, have students read while kicking around soccer balls and listening to classical music.


a collection of short stories (linguistic Intelligence)


A character from a novel (intra / inter personal)

Alternate EndingsEdit

Create an alternate story changing a plot detail. What is Hercule Periot had not been on the Orient Express? (Linguistic Intelligence)

Create a PodcastEdit

Instead of writing an essay, record a podcast of the essay. (Linguistic intelligence)

Create the Musical ScoreEdit

Identify several pivotal scenes in a work of literature and decide on the musical score that would underlay these scenes. (Musical Intelligence)

Restructure a ParagraphEdit

Use the electronic Whiteboard to restructure a sentence/ paragraph essay. (Kinesthetic Intelligence)

Word PuzzlesEdit

Crossword puzzles and word searches are great ways to learn vocabulary as well as plot points and character identifications.

Faulty LogicEdit

Find examples of faulty logic in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

New ideaEdit

Type a short description

New ideaEdit

Type a short description

New ideaEdit

Type a short description