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ReadWriteThink Connections: English Journal Vol. 105, No. 6 (July 2016)

ReadWriteThink, created by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and the International Literacy Association (ILA), provides free instructional practices and digital resources that support effective reading and language arts instruction for all learners. Most articles in English Journal include connections to ReadWriteThink lesson plans and other resources.

Lessons from History: Teaching with Technology in 100 Years of English Journal

In this lesson from, students research past copyright disputes and their relation to technology innovations before predicting future copyright disputes that may arise from advancements in technology. They sort images of technology advancements into chronological order and compare these advancements with changes in copyright law. Next, students research and report on several instances of how copyright laws have adapted to encompass new technologies and discuss the role of technology innovations in recent copyright disputes. They brainstorm emerging technologies or technologies that they think will be adapted or invented in the future. Finally, they write newspaper articles predicting the outcome of current copyright disputes related to technology and predicting copyright issues that may arise with new and future technologies.

The Power of Pleasure Reading: What We Can Learn from the Secret Reading Lives of Teens

In this lesson from, students brainstorm texts that they have read recently and map their choices using an online tool to rate and make notes about them. Students then look for patterns connecting the texts that they enjoyed the most and those they enjoyed the least. Once they’ve analyzed their past readings, students complete a reading plan by first listing categories of books they want to read. They then use booklists, book reviews, and other resources to create a wish list of books they hope to read in the future.

Composing Infographics to Synthesize Informational and Literary Texts

In today’s world, displaying information in the form of infographics is a common practice. In this lesson from, students have the opportunity to create their own infographics using Piktochart to illustrate their own technical writing. After writing step-by-step instructions using topics about which they feel they are experts, such as how to play a video game, how to use a form of social media such as Instagram or Snapchat, or how to pass a football, students will learn how to create infographics that complement their instructions. By creating infographics, students will work on developing many of the twenty-first-century literacies.

Slay the Monster! Replacing Form-First Pedagogy with Effective Writing Instruction

Students sometimes have trouble understanding the difference between the global issues of revision and the local ones of editing. In this lesson plan from, after reading several fractured fairy tales, students make a list of the ways the original stories have been revised—changed or altered, not just “corrected”—to begin building a definition of global revision. After students have written a “revised” story of their own, they revise again, focusing more on audience but still paying attention to ideas, organization, and voice. During another session, students look at editing as a way to polish writing, establishing a definition of revision as a multilevel process. 

In Search of Authentic Argument

Students need to practice all types of writing, and oftentimes argumentative writing is ignored in favor of persuasive writing. In fact, students may not even understand there is a difference between these two types of writing. In this lesson from, students examine the differences between argumentative writing and persuasive writing. After choosing topics that interest them, students conduct research that becomes the foundation for their argumentative essays. After completing their essays, students use Piktochart to create infographics to represent their research.

Moving Students toward Acceptance of "Other" Englishes

In the essay “Mother Tongue,” Amy Tan explains that she “began to write stories using all the Englishes I grew up with.” How these “different Englishes” or even a language other than English contribute to identity is a crucial issue for adolescents. In this lesson from, students explore this issue by brainstorming the different languages
they use in speaking and writing, and when and where these languages are appropriate. They write in their journals about a time when someone made an assumption about them based on their use of language, and share their writing with the class. Students then read and discuss Amy Tan’s essay “Mother Tongue.” Finally, they write a literacy narrative describing two different languages they use and when and where they use these languages. 

The Socratic Seminar in the Age of the Common Core: A Search for Text-Dependent Discourse

This strategy guide from explains Socratic seminars and offers practical methods for applying the approach in your classroom to help students investigate multiple perspectives in a text. To see the strategy in action, visit the lesson plan “Facilitating Student-Led Seminar Discussions with The Piano Lesson.” 

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