5 Non Fiction Articles to Pair with Classic High School Novels

5 Non Fiction Articles to Pair with High School Novels

Are you searching for new ways to inject some life into the teaching of your novels? Have the staples of your curriculum grown stale? I use the pocket app to save great pieces of non fiction that I come across. Typically, I go back each month and revisit some old classics that get pushed further down the line with each article that I add. Here are five favorites from the last few years and some suggestions about the novels with which they can be paired.

It is not an exclusive list. As you will read, many of these articles are so well written that they can apply to a number of great novels. I encourage you to share your ideas on how they would fit into your curriculum in the comments below.

1. I Am An Object Of Internet Ridicule, Ask Me Anything

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The Secret to Close Reading Success

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Wait a minute… if you hand out a study guide and ask students to find the answers in the textbook, that doesn’t count as close reading?

That is what some of my high school teachers did. They had stacks of ’em. Finish one ditto and they would whip out another. Classwork and homework simply became a scavenger hunt — scan topic sentences, search for dates or figures, guesstimate where an answer would be — and you didn’t have to really read. The work was predictable, routine, and easy.

But did deep understanding occur? Were we learning? … Read more…

The Flipped Grammar Experience

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Last year my principal presented a very unique opportunity for me to flip instruction in my classroom. His motivation was to try and reach more students on all levels. As our conversation progressed, we discussed specifically students who struggle getting homework turned in and students who need to be challenged. Furthermore, we talked about how flipped lessons provide student an opportunity to go back and watch a lesson over as many times as needed if the student was not understanding it the first time as it often happens after a teacher is going through a lesson while in front of the classroom. Unfortunately, there is no rewind button for teachers. However, if a student is watching a flipped lesson, they can rewind as often as needed. 


Flipping is not a secret and is an innovative way to deliver instruction to students. A flipped classroom is where a traditional teaching methods are switched where instruction is delivered through online videos and other resources such as websites. In addition, the “homework” portion is then done in the classroom. Students watch lectures outside of classroom, working at their own pace and application of the learned processes take place in the classroom with the help of the teacher. Having some background knowledge of what a flipped classroom is and does, I was more than willing to implement this instructional strategy into my classroom. In the Spring of 2013, my principal sent myself and one other teacher to a professional development where we were able to have some hands on experience with how to flip our respective classrooms. In addition, he handed us Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day by Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams. 

Upon furthering my own knowledge of flipping, I took the time to develop a plan to flip just one part of my instruction when it came to my language arts classroom. I didn’t want to overwhelm my students and I didn’t want to overwhelm myself when it came to this innovative way for my instruction. So, I decided to flip only the grammar part of my instruction. There are educators who do flip their entire language arts classrooms, but with me being a novice I was not ready to take that plunge. I have chosen to flip grammar because most students find grammar boring and to be quite honest, so do I as their teacher. Flipping grammar allows me to put together an instructional video where I use Camtasia, Snagit, or Touchcast. Camtasia and Snagit are both products from Techsmith and are fairly inexpensive. Touchcast is free, which fits everyone’s budget. Below is a sample of a Touchcast flipped lesson I did using Touchcast.

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Getting Real with Book Clubs

book clubs

Teacher:  Jennifer Brittin School:  Warren E. Sooy Elementary School, Hammonton, New Jersey Class:  4th Grade Language Arts   Along the Way I’m here to confess that I ruined book clubs for several of my fourth grade classes.  You may be wondering how that’s possible. Book clubs build community in the classroom, get students excited about … Read more…

The Giver Lesson Plan: Teaching Problem Solving

The Giver lesson plan


My freshmen are reading The Giver  this week. We were six chapters in on Wednesday and paused the reading for a day.

After reviewing how to brainstorm correctly, (time yourself and write as many ideas down as possible, not editing or organizing), students were given two minutes to brainstorm the topic “Problems in the World.” Students counted how many ideas they had written and the one with most received a piece of gum. Simple but effective. Gum is like gold at high school!Read more…