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

1. Using Pop Culture to Teach Rhetorical Analysis

Sometimes making connections to real-world content is the most effective way for teaching students certain skills. And Christina—aka The Daring English Teacher— agrees. In this post for The Secondary English Coffee Shop, discover her favorite techniques for teaching rhetorical analysis using pieces of pop culture like Disney songs, movie dialogue, and modern speeches as examples.

2. NPR's Student Podcast Challenge is Back

The sixth annual Student Podcast Challenge is now open for entries! Are your students ready to compete? In the past, the contest was open to students in grades 5-12, but this year, 4th-grade students are welcome to join the fun!

3. Transformative Strategies to Update Socratic Seminars for Today’s Learners

The Socratic seminar is a popular instructional strategy that puts student discussion at the center. At her website, educator Leah Cleary shares five new ways for using Socratic seminars to engage students in lively debates, deepen their understanding of the material, and foster critical thinking skills. Although they’re targeted towards social studies teachers, Leah’s strategies can be easily adapted for any literature class.

4. How Reading Fiction Affects Your Brain

We all assume that reading fiction alters the way our brains work, but what does the research say? Let YouTuber Merphy Napier walk you through some of the evidence in this short but informative video!

5. Take Text Annotation to a New Level with Purposeful Doodling

Text annotation is supposed to be a hands-on way of helping students closely connect with what they’re reading. But some students may find it hard to get all their thoughts written down. Why not draw instead? Visit Reading and Writing Haven to see how you can transform idle doodling into a dynamic form of active learning!