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 December!

1. Top 4 AP Lit Skills All Students Should Learn

While AP classes are primarily designed to prepare students for the rigors of college courses, they also help students develop the traits necessary to navigate any situations that require higher-order thinking. At her blog, Dr. Jenna Copper shares four key skills specific to AP Literature that all students should hone before heading into higher education.

2. For Your Classroom Library: Two Can Keep a Secret

With mature themes and violent content, Karen McManus’s young adult murder mystery Two Can Keep a Secret might not be the best book for a classwide literature unit. But the novel can be a great addition to your classroom library as an independent reading choice. Learn more about the book and why students might like it at The Daring English Teacher.

3. How to Pair A Christmas Carol with Social Justice Issues

A holiday classic, Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol offers powerful lessons on repentance and redemption. According to the folks at the Teaching Distillery, the novella can also be used as a vehicle to explore themes of systems and power. Visit their website to find inspiration for teaching the novella through this lens.

4. Leaning into the Recent School Board Book Debates

Once again, book banning has made headlines across the nation in the past few months. Regardless of opinion, the debate surrounding these controversies offers students a unique opportunity to develop research, analytical, and argumentative skills. In this article for Three Teachers Talk, educator Nathan Coates outlines his workshop model for helping students digest current events with objectivity and knowledge.

5. End of Semester Ideas for ELA

The final days of any semester are a weird time. With break just around the corner, students—and sometimes teachers, too—are already checking out. But class time isn’t over yet. Instead of boring busywork, try incorporating these activities for English language arts classes to make those last few hours meaningful.