October seems to be an easier month than September. Students have learned the expectations and procedures of your classroom, and they are no longer in summer vacation mode. Ideally, October can be a month of good, quality classroom time. So how do I best make use of it? Let’s talk October lesson plans for middle school ELA classes.
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During the month of October, I focus on literature and reading:
I particularly look at literary elements and plot devices. These include things like plot, character, setting, theme, conflict, etc. A solid handle on these now allows my students and me to be able to refer back to them later with much less trouble than if I just lightly brushed these now.
Depending on the year, the class, and our preferences, this focus on literary elements and devices can be done through a novel study or a unit on short stories like these ones #1 and #2.
If you are teaching multiple grades as I do, consider reducing your workload by using different novels for the different grades, but give each grade the same summative assessment for everyone.
Seventh-grade novel suggestions: The Giver, Fish in a Tree, Alexandra of Africa
Eighth-grade novel suggestions: Refugee, The Outsiders, A Long Walk to Water
One of the benefits of experience is the number of quality resources you have used, tweaked, and tried out. For my October lessons, here are a few of my favourite lessons that I use in my classroom:
Focus on Reading
Novel Study Activities for Any Novel: For use with any novel, this unit focuses particularly on literary elements and devices. Use this unit to introduce or review these important parts of literature with your students.
Short Story Unit #1 and #2: These units focus on the same skills and elements as the Novel Study Activities above, they just do so through the lens of great short stories.
If you do not have access to novels try out a serialized podcast like Mars Patel. These types of podcasts can teach the same story elements skills that a novel can. Check out this Mars Patel Podcast Unit to keep students engaged while learning about literary elements, literary devices and practicing their reading comprehension skills.
Focus on Writing
I use the writing tasks from either my novel study or short stories units. I also use this Halloween Creative Writing assignment which is a RAFT format. Students will select one of the provided character roles: pumpkin, costume store owner, street light, black cat, unwanted candy and create a written or visual product based on the character’s specific writing prompt.
I also have a complete Halloween Unit for teachers who want to get more than just a writing mark out of this fun holiday. This unit contains five different activities that will help reinforce your students’ reading and writing skills. Students will learn about the historical background of Halloween traditions and prepare for a Halloween discussion about current Halloween customs.
Focus on Speaking and Listening
Current Events Assignment: It is important for students to be informed about current events happening locally and globally. In this no prep, cross-curricular activity students examine online or print news sources to report on a current event for their class. Speaking and listening are also covered in the Halloween Unit.
Focus on Media Literacy
I select either a Media Review lesson or a Consumer Awareness lesson.
Media Literacy Review Writing Lessons: This set of lessons helps your students purposely engage with sixteen different media types using this differentiated review writing lesson bundle.
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.
Halloween Digital Escape Room – This Halloween-themed digital escape room provides students with the opportunity to work independently or with their peers to solve 10 Halloween-focused challenges. Students must solve these required challenges to “escape” from the haunted house that they have accidentally locked themselves into.
Last but not least, if you are looking for more articles to inform your teaching, here are a couple of great October suggestions:
- Ten Halloween Costume Ideas for English Teachers Enjoy a good pun? Have a favourite literary character? Some seasonal suggestions for embracing your inner English teacher nerd!
- Celebrating Fall Holidays in Middle School Connecting some of your curriculum to the season is one way to keep your students engaged and your curriculum relevant. Here are some tips for doing just that!
Whew! There we have October. Hope you are having a great year so far and that this gives you some ideas for October Lesson Plans for Middle School ELA that you can put into practice in your own classroom.
Have a great day and stay tuned for November.
Other Monthly Lesson Plans
- September Lesson Plans for Middle School ELA
- November Lesson Plans for Middle School ELA
- December Lesson Plans for Middle School ELA
- January Lesson Plans for Middle School ELA