September Lesson Plans for Middle School ELA

Planning your first month of school lessons can be overwhelming. Read this blog post to see what I teach during the month of September for middle school ELA. September lesson plans for middle school ELA by 2 Peas and a Dog. #middleschoolela #backtoschool #englishlanguagearts

September Lesson Plans for Middle School ELA can be difficult to find. This month means cooler breezes, fall colours, and back to school.  And while there is definitely a little sadness as summer vacation comes to an end, there is also the magic of new pencils and a fresh start. So how do I get the ball rolling for Middle School ELA in September?  Let’s talk about how I spend that first month.

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During the month of September, I try to cover five main objectives:

  • I have students complete reading and writing baseline assessments. For instance, here in Ontario, we use DRA, BAS, and CASI assessments. These give me a good handle on where my students’ strengths and weaknesses lie and let me plan accordingly.
  • I have my students complete reading and writing interest surveys. These allow me to tailor portions of my curriculum to their interests, letting me tap into things in which they already have some buy-in.
  • I introduce expectations in my classroom. I particularly focus on English classroom expectations (so that we are all on the same page as far as general behaviour and specific routines in my classroom) as well as readers’ and writers’ workshop expectations (as I use these frequently, a solid introduction lets students know what I need from them and how they will participate).
  • I use some of the literacy mini-lessons from The First 20 Days by Fountas and Pinnell. A quick Google search will help you find key ideas. Their book The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy Continuum, Expanded Edition: A Tool for Assessment, Planning, and Teaching, PreK-8 is a great read for someone looking to learn more about reading. 
  • I focus on reading strategies and paragraph writing. By hitting this hard and heavy at the beginning, I set my students up for success as the year goes on.

Like every teacher with a few years of experience under their belt, I have a whole bevy of wonderful resources that I use with my students.

For my September Lesson Plans for Middle School ELA, here are a few of the highlights:

Focus on Reading

Reading Strategies Placemats: This is a collection of different graphic organizers to help students engage, connect and think critically about their reading. Students can write directly on them or can collect their thoughts on sticky notes and use the graphic organizers as a study tool. These focus on plot, characters, connections, questions, predictions, and a before, during, after reading organizer.

Independent Reading Journal: These tracking forms help students stay organized and purposeful during reading workshop or independent reading time.  They are easy to use and help ensure student accountability and less teacher marking stress.

Focus on Writing

Fall Creative Writing: In this engaging assignment students select one of the provided character roles (coffee shop employee, garden rake, tree, family pet, or squirrel) and create a written or visual product based on the character’s specific writing prompt.

My Life in Logos: Students practice paragraph writing by writing about logos that represent their friends and family, entertainment choices, favourite foods, and things that remind them about school, enabling their teachers and classmates to get to know them better.  I find that this paragraph writing activity is a great get-to-know-you activity for any class—fun and engaging as well as very useful with all my students.

Focus on Speaking and Listening

My Life in Logos Presentation: Students present their creations from the writing activity above.

Start the Six Minutes podcast as a daily warm-up activity. This 205 episode podcast will keep your students engaged in your class. This bundle is perfect for any middle school ELA classroom to be used as bell work, listening comprehension practice or as nightly homework. Teachers will get access to a nonfiction article about podcasts, 205 quizzes, 205 journal entry prompts and a podcast choice board summative task.

Focus on Media Literacy 

Student Identity Art is found in my Back to School Bundle. Students create a piece of art that represents their cultural background and identity. This is a great classroom decoration that helps students get to know each other and helps develop a classroom community. This is a great first-week activity that keeps students engaged so you can get all the things organized. 

Consumer Awareness Lessons (Bundle): I pick one of the consumer awareness lessons in this bundle to use each month.  Topics include check out charities, clothing waste, gender price differences, outlet vs. retail, bottled water, misleading food labels, breakfast sandwiches, makeup testers, fast food chicken, and healthy or junk food.  There is no particular order that these have to be covered in, I just pick what appeals to me, my students, and any current trends in my classroom.

Media Review Writing  –  This media review lesson bundle contains 16 different media types for students to review. Help your students purposely engage with the media using these lessons. Assign 1 media type per month for students to review. 

Special Occasions 

  • Back to School Mega BundleTeachers save time and money by purchasing this back-to-school mega bundle. You will get access to 5 ready to go resources that will help you and your students get to know each other during the first week of school. 
  • Summer Creative Writing – In this Summer Creative Writing Assignment, students will select one of the provided character roles: ice cream store owner, student, tourism CEO, dog, author and create a written or visual product based on the character’s specific writing prompt.

Last but not least, if you are looking for more articles to inform your teaching, here are a couple of September suggestions:

And that friends, is my September.  Hope you find some useful ideas and tips for September Lesson Plans for Middle School ELA that you can use in your classroom.

Have a great day and stay tuned for more ideas. 

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