All blog content is owned by Kristy from 2 Peas and a Dog Teaching Resources. Powered by Blogger.

#2ndaryELA Twitter Chat on Tuesday 12/6 Topic: Celebrating the Holidays

Join secondary English Language Arts teachers Tuesday evenings at 8 pm EST on Twitter. This week's chat will be about celebrating the holidays.
Brynn Allison, The Literary Maven & Kristy, 2 Peas and a Dog host #2ndaryELA on Twitter every Tuesday evening from 8 - 8:30 PM EST. #2ndaryELA is a weekly chat for secondary English Language Arts teachers focused on a topic. Every Sunday, we post the topic and questions on our blogs to allow you to prepare for the upcoming Tuesday evening's chat. Thank you to everyone who joined us last night and we hope that you will join us again.

New in 2016 is our 2ndaryELA Facebook group, which we would love to have you join even if you aren't on Twitter. 2ndaryELA is a group of middle and high school English Language Arts teachers looking to share ideas and best practices. This group is an extension of our Twitter chat and a place for collaboration, questions, and encouragement. Feel free to post teaching ideas, success stories, resource links, photos, etc. that will enhance our instruction.

On Tuesday, December 6, our #2ndaryELA chat will be about celebrating the holidays.

The Format:
8:00 Intros: What and where do you teach? Include a link to your blog if you have one. #2ndaryELA
8:05 Q1: Does your school celebrate the holidays? With what types of events or activities? #2ndaryELA
8:10 Q2: Do you celebrate the holidays within your classroom? With what types of lessons or activities? #2ndaryELA
8:15 Q3: How do you keep students focused on curriculum during this month which is filled with special events and activities? #2ndaryELA
8:20 Q4: How do you get students to think about others during this month? Lessons? Videos? #2ndaryELA
8:25 Q5: Share some resources for helping students think beyond themselves during the season of giving (e.g. blog posts, Pinterest ideas). #2ndaryELA

The Directions:
1. Log into Twitter on Tuesday from 8-8:30 PM EST.
2. Search for tweets with the hashtag #2ndaryELA in the search bar. Make sure to click “All tweets.”
3. Introductions are for the first 5 minutes.
4. Starting at 8:05 (@literarymaven or @2peasandadog) will post questions every 5 minutes using the format Q1, Q2, Q3, etc. and the hashtag #2ndaryELA.
5. Respond to questions using the format A1, A2, A3, etc. with #2ndaryELA.
6. Follow any teachers responding and who are also using #2ndaryELA.
7. Like and respond to other teachers' tweets.

You can schedule your responses to the questions ahead of time using a scheduler like TweetDeck or HootSuite (but don't forget to use A1, A2, etc. and #2ndaryELA). Links are encouraged, so be sure to use a link shortener like tinyurlbitlygoo.gl or ow.ly Just visit one of those links and paste your long link to shorten it for Twitter. Using images is also encouraged when relevant.

New to chats? Here are the rules:
1. Stay on topic & stay positive!
2. Please do not post or promote paid products unless specifically asked.
3. If you arrive late, try to look through other posts before beginning.
4. Feel free to just read, like, and/or retweet.
5. Always use our hashtag #2ndaryELA, including in your replies to others.
6. Make sure your twitter feed is set to public. (Also keep in mind that Twitter is completely public – that means students, parents, and administrators can and will read what you tweet.)

Be sure to spread the word to any teacher friends who might be interested in joining us as well. We look forward to chatting with you Tuesday evening and in our 2ndaryELA Facebook group!

Get caught up on past chats here:








post signature

Using Mentor Texts and Sentences To Help Students Improve Their Writing

Use mentor texts and sentences to help your students improve their work. Great ideas shared by real teachers for teachers from the 2 Peas and a Dog blog.

During our weekly #2ndaryELA Twitter chat, we had a discussion on using Mentor Texts and Sentences in the ELA classroom to enhance our student's work.

Teachers shared their best ideas for finding resources and using this strategy effectively in their classrooms.

Read the curated Twitter chat below to gain more info and insight into this important topic.


post signature

Use mentor texts and sentences to help your students improve their work. Great ideas shared by real teachers for teachers from the 2 Peas and a Dog blog.

#2ndaryELA Twitter Chat on Tuesday 11/29 Topic: Mentor Texts & Sentences

Join secondary English Language Arts teachers Tuesday evenings at 8 pm EST on Twitter. This week's chat will be about mentor texts and mentor sentences.
Brynn Allison, The Literary Maven & Kristy, 2 Peas and a Dog host #2ndaryELA on Twitter every Tuesday evening from 8 - 8:30 PM EST. #2ndaryELA is a weekly chat for secondary English Language Arts teachers focused on a topic. Every Sunday, we post the topic and questions on our blogs to allow you to prepare for the upcoming Tuesday evening's chat. Thank you to everyone who joined us last night and we hope that you will join us again.

New in 2016 is our 2ndaryELA Facebook group, which we would love to have you join even if you aren't on Twitter. 2ndaryELA is a group of middle and high school English Language Arts teachers looking to share ideas and best practices. This group is an extension of our Twitter chat and a place for collaboration, questions, and encouragement. Feel free to post teaching ideas, success stories, resource links, photos, etc. that will enhance our instruction.

On Tuesday, November 29, our #2ndaryELA chat will be about mentor texts and sentences.

The Format:
8:00 Intros: What and where do you teach? Include a link to your blog if you have one. #2ndaryELA
8:05 Q1: Do you use mentor texts as models for writing in your classroom? For what purposes? #2ndaryELA
8:10 Q2: Where/how do you find mentor texts that will engage and inspire your students? #2ndaryELA
8:15 Q3: Do you use mentor sentences as models for writing in your classroom? For what purposes? #2ndaryELA
8:20 Q4: Where/how do you find mentor sentences that will engage and inspire your students? #2ndaryELA
8:25 Q5: How do you connect what students learn from working with mentor sentences with larger writing assignments? #2ndaryELA

The Directions:
1. Log into Twitter on Tuesday from 8-8:30 PM EST.
2. Search for tweets with the hashtag #2ndaryELA in the search bar. Make sure to click “All tweets.”
3. Introductions are for the first 5 minutes.
4. Starting at 8:05 (@literarymaven or @2peasandadog) will post questions every 5 minutes using the format Q1, Q2, Q3, etc. and the hashtag #2ndaryELA.
5. Respond to questions using the format A1, A2, A3, etc. with #2ndaryELA.
6. Follow any teachers responding and who are also using #2ndaryELA.
7. Like and respond to other teachers' tweets.

You can schedule your responses to the questions ahead of time using a scheduler like TweetDeck or HootSuite (but don't forget to use A1, A2, etc. and #2ndaryELA). Links are encouraged, so be sure to use a link shortener like tinyurlbitlygoo.gl or ow.ly Just visit one of those links and paste your long link to shorten it for Twitter. Using images is also encouraged when relevant.

New to chats? Here are the rules:
1. Stay on topic & stay positive!
2. Please do not post or promote paid products unless specifically asked.
3. If you arrive late, try to look through other posts before beginning.
4. Feel free to just read, like, and/or retweet.
5. Always use our hashtag #2ndaryELA, including in your replies to others.
6. Make sure your twitter feed is set to public. (Also keep in mind that Twitter is completely public – that means students, parents, and administrators can and will read what you tweet.)

Be sure to spread the word to any teacher friends who might be interested in joining us as well. We look forward to chatting with you Tuesday evening and in our 2ndaryELA Facebook group!

Get caught up on past chats here:








post signature

Promoting Joy During the Holiday Season

Ideas for creating more JOY in your classroom during the holiday season from the 2 Peas and a Dog blog.

The holiday season can leave many people feeling stressed out - determined to have the perfect classroom, house, decorations, meal, etc. You name it and people feel that holidays is synonymous with perfection. My challenge to you this holiday season is to promote joy not only in your classroom, but around your school. Don't let yourself and your students get worn down this season and say YES to more JOY.

Cooperative Games
One of my favourite things to organize in my classroom or for my grade team is a cooperative games afternoon. Each class has their students assigned to a team. Each team is made up of students from all of the classes in a grade team or a school if you teach in a small school. The team rotate through different classrooms working through different cooperative activities. Students get to practice their collaboration and problem solving skills. Some of my favourite activities are: tarp flip, spaghetti and marshmallow tower creation, yarn spider's web and spoon races (students must go through an obstacle course while holding out a spoon with something balanced on it). A quick Google or Pinterest search will provide lots of group challenges and games that can easily be adapted for classroom use. Some examples of cooperative games can be found here.

Holiday Craft Stations
No matter what the age of your students, they like to build/create things. Using the same teams as the cooperative games or arrange this on a small scale just for your class, have students rotate through different holiday themed crafts i.e. picture frame making, ornament making, card making. Vary the activity by the age level of your students. Another Google or Pinterest search will yield fun and engaging activities.

Turn Curriculum Into Meaningful Holiday Activities
I really like to consolidate lessons with hands on activities that teach my students multiple skills. When I taught math, I liked to end my unit on Circles and Cylinders by having students create felt ornaments or decorations. Students had the option to create a snowman, Santa or a reindeer. Each of these options involved cutting out circles. The students were required to measure the felt, cut it out exactly and find measurements for the different parts of a circle. After all the math was complete, students got to sew their ornaments closed and decorate their creation. For many of my students it was their first time sewing.

School Mascot on the Shelf
I know a lot of teachers like to bring a Christmas representative to watch over their classes during the holiday season. Why not bring school spirit into your classroom by using your school mascot instead? All the same activities you could do with your Christmas representative can still be completed with a small version of your school mascot.


Whatever activities you decide to do this holiday season with your students ensure that it brings joy to you and them. Read more ideas for bringing joy this holiday season by clicking on the links below.






post signature

Holiday Season Lesson Ideas

With the holiday season approaching the air in our classrooms becomes filled with excitement. It is important that we enjoy the season with our students while maintaining a focus on curriculum and instructional time. Several holiday classroom management tips and lesson ideas are shared in this blog post by 2 Peas and a Dog.

With the holiday season approaching the air in our classrooms becomes filled with excitement. It is important that we enjoy the season with our students. I have compiled a list of classroom management tips and engaging lesson ideas to help teachers and students enjoy the holiday season while maintaining a focus on curriculum and instructional time.

Classroom Management Tips

Routines Are Essential
Keep teaching and stick to your routines. Even during the last week before school breaks for the holidays I assign small tasks for homework and keep students accountable for their learning. Instructional time is important. Keep going to the library for weekly book check out, quizzes and tests must still occur. Students need to understand that learning does not pause for the whole month of December

Reserve The Movies 
During my many years as a teacher, I have seen teachers break out the holiday movies very early in December. Reserve movies (if you are permitted to show them) until the the last week before school breaks for the holidays. I still show educational videos related to the Science or Social Studies curriculum during the month of December, but save any special videos for the last week.

Holiday Lesson Ideas

Historical Connections
Connect the holidays to historical events. One important event to share with your students is the Christmas Truce that occurred during World War 1 when British and German soldiers left their trenches and celebrated Christmas together. I have read the picture book Christmas in the Trenches by John McCutcheon to my students. After the read aloud we have a class discussion about the events of the story, and continue our research about this event.

Creative Writing 
Students need to get up and move during lessons. I have created a free Interactive Christmas Writing Prompts resource that provides teachers with 7 different story prompts. I print out several copies of each writing prompt, and display each prompt around my classroom on a clipboard or taped to a hard surface. Students must rotate around to the different writing prompts and add one line to the story. Each line must build upon the previous. Students practise their creative writing skills in an engaging manner.

Holiday Lesson Freebies
Last year several secondary ELA teachers got together to celebrate the season with a blog hop. If you are looking for holiday themed lessons check out this blog post




Tis the season to give, not get. This is an important message for our students to learn. Read the curated recap from our #2ndaryELA Twitter chat last year on Helping Students Think Beyond Themselves. Teachers shared what they do in their classrooms to help spread this message.




Spread Holiday Cheer

Don't forget to spread the holiday cheer around your school with small gifts for your staff. During the school year we see our co-workers for many hours during the day. A gift is a nice small gesture to share your appreciation for their hard work and support. If you have a large staff you might consider giving a small gift to your grade team as well as any support staff that are essential to your school life (i.e. Educational Assistants, Custodians, Secretaries). Some easy to create gift ideas can be found on this blog post.

Enjoy this holiday season with your students, colleagues, friends and family.

If you teach the younger grades, in addition to your middle/high school students, check out the blog hop below for some festive holiday ideas.


post signature
Try these free engaging Christmas writing prompts from 2 Peas and a Dog.
Back to Top