Each month, we share five things we love as part of our Footnotes Newsletter. Take a look at some of our favorite English language arts resources, articles, and more we found in November!

1. Is Your Classroom Library Culturally Sustaining?

It’s no secret that the more students read, the better their literacy skills grow, which is why it’s so important to offer them engaging book choices. But in today’s world, that means focusing on other factors besides text complexity. In this guest post for We Are Teachers, authors Laura and Evan Robb offer ten tips on building the best classroom library to meet the diverse needs of your students. 

2. Unmasking the Mythical Narrative Surrounding the Five-Paragraph Essay

Over the years, students have developed the idea that the five-paragraph essay is the way to write formal papers, suggests Anastasia Gustafson in this article for the NCTE blog. Read on to learn more about why this idea of standardized writing has persisted and what teachers can do to give students more agency in the writing process.

3. Intentional Word Work

In her classroom, Dr. Michele Haiken uses a number of methods to help students develop strong vocabulary skills, one of which is teaching vocabulary from the books they’re reading. Find out how you can use her techniques in your own curriculum by visiting her blog!

4. Making the Most of Your Bell Ringers So Students Master the Standards

Bell ringers should be more than just busywork at the beginning of class. Listen to this episode of Teaching Middle School ELA podcast to hear teachers Jessica and Caitlin talk about ways you can use bell ringers to reinforce concepts you’re currently teaching while making the activities fun for students.

5. Is This Our Toughest School Year Yet?

The current school year has been difficult to say the least. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, know that you’re not alone. This episode of Angela Watson’s Truth For Teachers podcast explores the reasons teachers across the country are having the same thoughts and what we can do to work toward a better, brighter future in education.