What It’s Like Teaching 1984 in 2016?

Every year, one high-school educator converts his classroom into a totalitarian state to teach George Orwell’s book. This year, the lesson feels different.

by Andrew Simmons



My classroom becomes a totalitarian state every school year toward the end of October. In preparation for teaching 1984 to seniors, I announce the launch of a new program aimed at combating senioritis, a real disease with symptoms that include frequent unexplained absences, indifferent reading, and shoddy work. I tell each class that another class is largely to blame for the problem and require, for a substantial participation grade, that students file daily reports on another student’s work habits and conduct; most are assigned to another student in the same class.

We blanket the campus in posters featuring my face and simple slogans that warn against the dangers of senioritis and declare my program the only solution to the school’s woes. Last year, my program was OSIP (Organization for Senior Improvement Project); this year, it’s SAFE (Scholar Alliance For Excellence). We chant a creed at the start of each class, celebrate the revelatory reports of “heroes” with cheers, and boo those who fail to participate enthusiastically. I create a program Instagram that students eagerly follow. I occasionally bestow snacks as rewards.

LINK: The Atlantic

SAT Essay Curriculum





Recommended by MSUToday

The curriculum scaffolds what writers look for in reading passages, how they plan a body paragraph around their reading insights, as well as how they draft an analysis paragraph and later essay. This progression gives teachers the opportunity to focus on selected reading or writing skills rather than working on the full SAT essay prompt.

LINK: ELI Review

Teaching Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar: Common Core-Style

by Court Allam

For the first eight years of my teaching career, my Shakespeare daily lesson plans went something like this:

“Good morning! Turn to Act II Scene 1 on page 234. I’m going to push play on the CD, let’s listen to a few lines…”  (Actors performing while students follow along for about 30 seconds. Pause CD.) Me: “Ok, what just happened there?” (The same 2-3 students telling me the plot.) “Great! Let’s continue on…”

Once in awhile, I would have the students act out a scene or two… but that usually led to monotone recitations and awkward moments helping students pronounce words.

LINK: iTeach. iCoach. iBlog