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 April!

1. 10 Best Slam Poems for High School Students

National Poetry Month may be coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean you should put off teaching poetry until next year. Keep the poetry conversation going by introducing slam poetry to your high school students. This post on reThinkELA highlights ten exceptional slam poems that will undoubtedly speak to your students. 

2. Library Study Finds ‘Challenged’ Books Soared in 2021

2021 saw 729 book challenges at public schools and libraries—the highest ever recorded since the American Library Association began keeping track of book bans. This article from AP News breaks down the top challenged titles and the reasons why some parents and politicians oppose these books.

3. Living Nations, Living Words: A Guide for Educators

For her signature project as the 23rd U.S. Poet Laureate, Joy Harjo created Living Nations, Living Words, an interactive map of First Peoples poetry across the United States. Visit the Library of Congress website to find exclusive teaching materials for exploring this project with students. 

4. How to Teach a Synthesis Essay to Boost Students’ Writing Skills

One of the main parts of the AP Language exam, the synthesis essay presents students with an argumentative prompt and a variety of sources about the topic. Students must then use the given sources to support their stance. At her blog, Dr. Jenna Copper shares her simple five-step plan for teaching synthesis skills to students in preparation for the exam.

5. The Argument Essay: A Contextual Pool Adventure

Another AP Language exam staple, the open argument essay asks students to consider a claim and argue a position using evidence from their existing knowledge. But many students simply lack information in their “contextual pools,” as described by Michael Ziegler in this post for Moving Writers. Read on to see how Michael prepares his students for this portion of the exam using a close study of language.