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Creative Lesson Ideas

Use these creative lesson ideas in your middle school and high school classrooms.

Creative Lesson Ideas

New year = creative lesson ideas. I love new beginnings. I often use the weeks after a holiday break to implement new things in my classroom. It feels more natural than trying to start something in the middle of the week.

During last week’s Twitter chat, we discussed creative lesson ideas to help us get energized and focused for the new year. Read the curated chat below to gain ideas for your middle and high school classrooms.

Q1: Where do you find creative, new ideas? What structures do you have to set up in your classroom to make these ideas successful?

  • A1. I find them on Pinterest mainly and reading blogs!
  • A1. Best ideas come from my #aplitchat Voxer PLN and then spiral from there. I’m an “anything goes” kind of teacher.
  • A1 Blogs, podcasts, Facebook groups I’m addicted. I don’t listen to the radio anymore or my music, just podcasts
  • A1: I find things in the  Facebook group, on Pinterest, on Twitter, and I read A LOT!
  • A1. Pinterest is my go to, but thanks to Pinterest, I have founds a lot of other teachers’ blogs, and they have helped to push me to try new things.
  • A1. I need to try podcasts! Which ones do you listen to?
  • A1. I love finding great blog as well! I don’t have time to write an Ed blog, but I ❤️ reading them
  • A1: Angela Watson, Every Classroom Matters, Google Teacher Tribe, Grammar Girl, Hack Learning, Hacking Engagement, Talks with Teachers, Teachonomy Talks, Cult of Pedagogy, This I Believe, Why I Write


Q2. Share your most interesting fiction and nonfiction pairing.

  • A2.This year, I paired Poe’s “Tell Tale Heart” with the literary nonfiction of “Serial” and the kids absolutely loved it.
  • A2. To be honest, I don’t do a lot of text pairing like that though I see a lot of people looking for pairings on Facebook.
  • A2: Not all that “special” but we recently paired “They’re Made Out of Meat” with a NASA documentary about exploring Mars.
  • A2: This is a hard one. I pair nonfiction w/ fiction, but I can’t think of anything I’ve specifically loved…
  • A2  I like to pair A Lesson Before Dying with articles from the Marshall project news site

Q3: What text (novel, short story, poem, non-fiction) would you recommend to other teachers that they’ve likely never heard of?

  • A3: If you’re reading The Giver, you’ll definitely want to read “The Unknown Citizen” (poem) by W.H. Auden
  • A3. Everything that is suggested on #apbkchat poetry–Counting Descent, novel–Homegoing, SS–“The Deep”
  • A3:I love Sold. It is one of my go-tos for reluctant readers in 11th grade. It is so satisfying to finish a book quickly when you struggle to read.
  • A3: Find non-fiction resources here:
  • A3: I’m currently reading The 57 Bus Dashka Slater! It’d be a great addition to classroom libraries!
  • A3: “They’re Made Out of Meat” by Terry Bisson (short story) – Great for perspective


Q4: Share a creative activity or project you’ve had success within your classroom that is also rigorous and focused on standards.

  • A4: My students read a biography and then create a cardboard life map of that person
  • A4: Escape Rooms! I just did my first one with “A Christmas Carol”
  • A4: I love having “dinner parties” at the end of a unit. The kids come as a character and have to discuss and answer questions without prompting from me. They also do brief writing assignments beforehand as prep work for the event.
  • A4: One-pagers can be rigorous! This is something that has really changed student engagement in my classroom!
  • A4: The bookballs I did last semester was also rigorous. The components made the work thought-provoking.
  • A4. Musical chairs to intro Macbeth, sonnet shuffle (all cut up into 14 lines that have to organize), The Imp of Being Earnest tea party with Victorian word games, sestina writing for Mudbound.


Q5: What’s your most unusual method of getting students out of their seats while still engaged in learning?

  • A5: Gallery walks and silent conversations! During silent conversations, students walk around and write on the paper and respond to each other.
  • A5: I play “Scoot” and “Scatter”
  • A5 I have music playing and when a song is over, kids have to find new partners. We do this for writing activities, editing, vocabulary games…
  • A5. Gallery walks, silent discussions, rating scales, flip grid, four corners for AP MC discussions

Creative Lessons

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