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Teacher's Pet Studio Blog

We won! Best Middle & High School Curriculum 2021!

We won! Best Middle & High School Curriculum 2021!

I'm so happy to announce that Teacher's Pet Publications' LitPlans, Google Quizzes, Unit Tests and other downloadable literature resource products on our website (www.tpet.com) won an award for Best Middle & High School Curriculum 2021!You can r

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Failure: The Unseen Elephant

Failure: The Unseen Elephant

I once read that failure is the mother of success, and there's a lot of truth in that. Ask any inventor. Ask any scientist. Ask any successful business person. Ask just about anyone, and they'll tell you that they have learned from their mistakes and

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The Value Of Teaching Values Through Literature

The Value Of Teaching Values Through Literature

More than any other classroom teachers, those of us who teach literature have a golden opportunity to teach our students values: things like integrity, respect, ethics, morality, and tolerance. So why don't we?In this age of political correctness, wh

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Teaching Character In Lit And In Life

Teaching Character In Lit And In Life

We teach the elements of fiction over and over and over again as we teach novel after novel, and character is certainly an important element of fiction, but do we really take advantage of the opportunity to impact our students' lives with the study o

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Which Literature Guide Is Right For You?

Which Literature Guide Is Right For You?

We have a lot of teaching guide choices for some of the most popular titles. Deciding which one is best for you can be challenging. Here's a little summary about the products, that might help you:I Need A Whole Novel UnitLitPlans are the best choice

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Allusions in Literature

Allusions in Literature

We often define the term allusion when we're talking about literary devices, but did you ever stop to think about the real value of reading literature that is full of allusions--or what you could do with the allusions that are present?Why We Don't Lo

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3 Reasons To Use Rubrics With Every Assignment

3 Reasons To Use Rubrics With Every Assignment

"What the heck is a rubric?" I innocently asked. Turns out, it's just a form specifying the criteria for the acceptable completion of an assignment. It takes some time to create a good rubric, but the time spent is well worth it. Here's why:1) Rubric

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New to Teaching Literature?  5 Things You Should Know

New to Teaching Literature? 5 Things You Should Know

Some things would have been good to know in my early years of teaching literature. Here are five of them (in no particular order; they're all important): 1. You Don't Have To Know EVERYTHING.First of all, it's impossible for you to know everything

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3 Ways to Deal With Vocabulary in Your Novel Unit

3 Ways to Deal With Vocabulary in Your Novel Unit

It's October now--time for Halloween and spooky stories. A great time to teach the stories and poems of Edgar Allan Poe. But, sadly, many students won't be reading Poe this October. Why not? Because Poe's vocabulary is just too much to tackle for som

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Teaching The Scarlet Letter

Teaching The Scarlet Letter

Overview CommentaryThe social revolution of the late 1960's and early 1970s in America broke the chains of our country's moral conscience that had bound us to "right" and "wrong" regarding our personal behavior. "Free love" and the idea that "I can d

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Teaching Of Mice and Men

Teaching Of Mice and Men

Overview Commentary on Of Mice and MenOf Mice and Men is a short novel--just a little over 100 pages--and the reading level isn't particularly difficult. However, because of the subject matter, it is most appropriate for high school juniors and senio

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The Key To Teaching Literature

The Key To Teaching Literature

The key to teaching literature effectively is to see the books as a means to an end, not an end in themselves.If I thought the books were an end in themselves, I would have quit writing about them 20 years ago. I lose patience with characters like Ho

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Teaching 1984 by George Orwell

Teaching 1984 by George Orwell

Overview Commentary On 1984 The publisher's summary for the book 1984 by George Orwell says, "Orwell depicts a gray world dominated by Big Brother and its vast network of agents, including the Thought Police, quashing freedom in a totalitarian w

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How To Do Project-Based Learning In Your Novel Unit

How To Do Project-Based Learning In Your Novel Unit

Project-based learning seems to be better suited to science class or history class, but it can also be done in your novel units.That seems counter-intuitive. After all, in project-based units of study, reading is a means to an end, not an end in it

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How To Teach A Novel When Time Is Short

How To Teach A Novel When Time Is Short

Most of us would like to have six weeks to explore our favorite novel with our students, but sometimes that just isn’t practical. Too many other things have to fit into our limited class time. So, how do you teach a novel when time is short?Approa

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Tips For Teaching Analytical Reading

Tips For Teaching Analytical Reading

The essence of analytical reading is being able to recognize and understand things that aren’t written on the page by reading that which IS written on the page. Sounds kind of goofy, but it’s true. How do you teach someone how to do that?!First, r

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​5 Ways To Help Your Students "Get" Shakespeare

​5 Ways To Help Your Students "Get" Shakespeare

Your Students Should Love Shakespeare! Violence, Romance, Humor ... Something For Everyone No modern movie has anything on Shakespeare. Whether your students like to watch crazy violence, heart-wrenching romance, or prefer documentaries or com

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Theme in To Kill a Mockingbird

Theme in To Kill a Mockingbird

What Should Your Students Get Out of Reading To Kill a Mockingbird?More than anything else, your students should learn the importance of learning to walk in someone else's shoes.Harper Lee's classic novel, set in Alabama in the 1930's, is the story o

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Nightjohn :  Not For Literature Class

Nightjohn : Not For Literature Class

I had heard that Nightjohn by Gary Paulsen is a book about slaves on a plantation and the struggle of the slaves' learning to read and write. Given the topic, I thought this would be a worthwhile book to consider creating a literature teacher's guide

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How To Make A Novel Unit

How To Make A Novel Unit

One of the most common questions I get asked is, "How long should a novel unit be?".  After writing literature lesson plans for almost 30 years, I'm still surprised at how each book always presents its own set of circumstances that influence how

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The Key To Teaching Literature

The Key To Teaching Literature

The key to teaching literature effectively is to see the books as a means to an end, not an end in themselves. If I thought the books were an end in themselves, I would have quit writing about them 20 years ago. I lose patience with characters like

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Revisiting Fahrenheit 451

Revisiting Fahrenheit 451

I hadn't read Fahrenheit 451 since I wrote the original LitPlan for it about 20 years ago, but I picked it up again not long ago to write a new edition of the LitPlan. Whether it's because I'm 20 years older or times have changed so much in 20 years,

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What Is Teaching?

What Is Teaching?

If you want a sterile, black-and-white dictionary definition of teaching, it is "imparting knowledge." In terms of teaching in K-12 classrooms where fast-paced, full-color lives meet education, teaching must be defined as the art of helping students

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The Stargirl Challenge

The Stargirl Challenge

Every once in a while, a book comes along that slaps you in the face and says, "Hey, you! Wake up!" Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli is that kind of a book. It ought to be read by every middle school student.The Basic Plot Susan (self-proclaimed "Stargi

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How To Use Writing Folders In Your Class

Teaching writing should be an ongoing activity in every classroom. One problem that arises from ongoing writing is keeping all the writing organized. One easy solution to keeping students’ writing organized is to use writing folders.What Are Writin

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