Each month, we share five things we love as part of our Footnotes Newsletter. Dive into our January 2024 edition to discover the latest English language arts resources, articles, and other gems that we think you should see!

1. History: Pairing Primary Sources and the Arts

Though the lesson ideas in this MiddleWeb article are intended for history classes, they can certainly be adapted for literature units on classic works. Using free primary source materials from the Library of Congress, you can help students see the human element behind historical events. We especially like the found poem activity based on original letters and other documents.

2. 5 Ways to Promote Reading in the Classroom

In search of new ways to get students pumped for reading? In this article by The Classroom Sparrow, discover a variety of activities that will bring literature to life for your students, from dedicating time for leisure reading sessions to introducing thrilling reading escape rooms!

3. Learning How to “Read”

There’s a lot more to reading than just looking at words and letters on a page. Educator Laura Randazzo explains how critical analysis isn’t confined to texts but extends to everyday scenarios like interpreting song lyrics or guessing the motivation behind a social media post. Watch her short TikTok video to see how she introduces students to this idea through a quick lesson on art.

4. The Great Gatsby: Great Books Explained

Scott Fitzgerald’s seminal novel continues to be a classroom favorite nearly 100 years after its publication. This short but impressive video by the YouTube channel Great Books Explained is a perfect primer for students who want to know more about Gatsby. It gives background information on Fitzgerald’s life, his literary inspirations, historical notes about the time period, and a discussion on the major themes and symbols in the book.

5. Creative Ways to Jumpstart Student Writing

Changing students’ perception of writing is as crucial as teaching the skills. At Edutopia, seasoned educators share their top tips for helping students see writing as a powerful tool for expression rather than a tedious task.