10 January Language Arts Lessons

January can seem like a LONG month as teachers. Here are ten ELA lessons to get you through the winter.

You’ve returned from winter break. . . now what? Lauralee and Melissa are sharing their tips and ideas for making the most of January language arts lesson plans.

Test Prep

I don’t love test prep (who does?) but when I have juniors, students and parents alike ask for help in gearing up for those college entrance exams. I teach in small increments with daily bell ringers. These small samples also help me in deciding where to lead our grammar discussions.

Reading Habits

Students who read more grow more, know more, and do more! Ease into second semester by providing inspiration and relevance. Freshen up your bulletin boards and re-emphasize the importance of reading with a mid-year mini lesson on the importance of developing a life-long reading habit.

Cross-curricular Connection

I hit speaking standards and encourage students to reflect on their history lessons with this Susan B. Anthony analysis. I often pair speech lessons with literature that contains famous speeches, like Julius Caesar.

Plagiarism Refresher

Third nine weeks, I always dive into a comprehensive research writing unit. Generally, we have already discussed plagiarism, but I find students benefit from a refresher course. This plagiarism unit reminds students about the basics of what NOT to do…and what TO do (paraphrase, summarize, and directly quote) instead!

Bulletin Board

As the school year continues, I find my decorations start to sag. I created student-created bulletin boards so that my students would be invested in the bulletin boards. Plus, you can use that adjective display as an extension for any writing activity.

Reader Reflection

How often do your students take time to reflect on what they are reading? After winter break is the perfect opportunity to assess progress toward individual reading goals. How many books have students read? How diversified are the genres? How often are students reading outside of class? Use this FREE reader reflection activity with middle and high school students to start meaningful conversations.

Nonfiction Reading

Incorporating nonfiction into ELA class can be cumbersome. This free lesson is interesting and provides ample opportunity for additional research. Who isn’t fascinated by the Olympics?

Formative Assessments

Despite our best-laid plans, January can often lead to some lack-luster classroom transitions. If you need to maximize learning time, keep students focused, or check for understanding, having a transitions activity handy helps. Use these simple and versatile graphic organizers as brain dumps, brain breaks, transition activities, and formative assessments.

Interactive Notebooks

Sometimes, imagery and interaction turns boring grammar lessons into the highlight of the day. When students have interactive notebooks, they can manipulate and play with their language.

Turn and Talk Reading Cards

Whether students are reading fiction or nonfiction, I want to know their strengths and areas for growth. Are they strong at summarizing but needing to work on identifying cause and effect? Maybe they excel at visualizing but struggle with identifying author’s purpose. Use these turn and talk reading task cards to differentiate reading conversations and also to get a glimpse of what mini lessons students need.

ELA lessons for January! What should you teach after winter break with your middle and high school students? #ELAlessonplans

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