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, videos, and more we found in September!

1. The Latest Crowd-Sourced Poem Is about Hope for the New School Year

As part of NPR’s Morning Edition show, Kwame Alexander, author of the middle-grade bestseller The Crossover, asked students, teachers, and parents to write about their goals for the new school year. From their responses, Alexander crafted this beautiful poem about hope, perseverance, and dreams. Listen now at the NPR website.

2. The Original Ring of Power

Long before J. R. R. Tolkien’s time, the Greek philosopher Plato described the story of a magical ring that granted its wearer powers. At the center of the story is a debate on whether or not a person would act justly if given the opportunity to act immorally without consequences. This video from TED-Ed explores the legend and offers viewers a question: If you had the Ring of Gyges, what would you do?

3. Creative Reading Response Activities for Any Novel

Is independent reading part of your curriculum this year? Have your students better connect to their choice of novels with these imaginative response exercises shared by Nouvelle ELA! Each activity promotes creativity while helping students develop key analytical skills.

4. How to Modify Your Writing Lessons for English Language Learners (ELL)

Unlike other students who are native speakers, English language learners may face more challenges when it comes to writing assignments. At her website Performing in Education, April Smith presents nine easy-to-implement strategies she uses for helping ELL students improve their writing skills alongside their peers.

5. Building a Foundation for In-Class Writing Clubs

Like reading clubs or book circles, in-class writing clubs offer students a chance to work collaboratively with their peers while developing creative and technical skills. Creating a successful writing club in your classroom requires constructing a space in which students are comfortable sharing their ideas. Discover five community-building tactics you can try when starting your own writing club in this post for Middle Web.