In today’s society, it is important that students can use their critical thinking skills in their everyday lives. The perfect place for students to learn how and to practice critical reading, writing, arguing, and even listening is the high school English classroom. Here are 10 critical high school English lessons and skills that teachers should be teaching their students!
10 Essential High School English Lessons to Teach
1. High School English Lessons to Teach: Rhetorical Appeals
When students learn about rhetorical appeals and can identify them in a text, students gain a much stronger understanding of the text, its purpose, and why the author wrote it.
Learning about and understanding rhetorical appeals also helps students become stronger writers themselves.
This unit includes a presentation for direct instruction and student activities to use throughout the school year.
2. High School English Lessons to Teach: Logical Fallacies
Students need to know about logical fallacies. Students need to be introduced to logical fallacies, they need to be able to identify logical fallacies, and they need to be able to tell when someone if using logical fallacies in their everyday lives.
Logical fallacies are everywhere, and once students have a solid understanding of them, our students will be able to think more critically.
This logical fallacies unit includes a presentation for direct instruction and student activities.
3. High School English Lessons to Teach: Synthesis Writing
When students learn how to synthesize information, they use multiple sources to prove a point. True synthesis requires critical thinking skills and the ability to read and understand multiple texts simultaneously.
This synthesis writing unit includes multiple topics and links to articles to make assigning a synthesis essay in your classroom a breeze!
4. High School English Lessons to Teach: Email Etiquette
Email is key in the 21st Century, and as we prepare our students to be productive members of society, it is absolutely imperative that they understand how to write an email correctly and professionally.
I make it a priority to teach this unit to my students every single year toward the beginning of the year. Ever since I started teaching email etiquette to my high school students, my inbox is a much friendlier place.
This email etiquette unit includes a presentation for direct instruction and student activities to use throughout the school year.
5. High School English Lessons to Teach: Paraphrasing, Quoting, and Summarizing
One of the best ways to teach students how to become better writers is to teach them the difference between paraphrasing, quoting, and summarizing, and then to teach them how to integrate all three skills together in one paper.
This writing unit helps students learn how to do so. It includes a presentation for direct instruction that will help you teach your students how to paraphrase, quote, and summarize the text. It also contains student activities that can be used again and again.
This annotating text bundle includes three separate text annotation lessons: annotating text, annotating fiction, and annotating poetry. Each unit works together, but each lesson also focuses on key elements for the genre.
Just like teaching email etiquette, this is also a staple lesson in my high school English classroom.
7. High School English Lessons to Teach: Peer Editing
Peer editing is an essential skill that helps students be better writers and editors. However, for students to know how to peer edit, we first must teach them how to peer edit.
This peer editing stations and rotations activity includes direct instruction that helps students learn the art of peer editing and a proven stations and rotations method to help students effectively edit their peers’ papers.
I make sure I incorporate peer editing into all of my high school English writing units because it is such an important skill and part of the writing process.
8. High School English Lessons to Teach: Thesis Statement Writing
One could argue that the thesis statement is an essential part of an essay. Without a thesis statement, students’ papers lack direction. Every year, I resort back to this lesson to teach my students how to write a thesis statement for their first essay.
This thesis statement writing lesson includes everything teachers need to teach their students how to write a thesis statement.
It has a step-by-step and color-coded presentation and student activities to help them work through writing a thesis statement. You’ll come back to this lesson year after year.
9. High School English Lessons to Teach: Research Paper Writing
I feel like I am always telling students that the researching part is the most difficult part of the research paper writing process.
Students must learn how to research topics and compile their research into a well-organized paper.
This research paper writing unit includes a presentation with a step-by-step guide to help students navigate the tough research paper waters.
10. High School English Lessons to Teach: Speaking Skills
Finally, speaking skills are essential for students. I like to use these bell ringers as a way for students to come into the classroom and start working immediately. Each bell ringer includes a quote and a thought-provoking writing prompt.
I like to give students about five minutes to quickly write their responses, and then we dedicate some class time to sharing responses and engaging in a class conversation with one another.
These ten high school English teaching resources are sure to help you not only get through the school year, but engage your students and build them into stronger, more confident critical thinkers, writers, and scholars in your classroom.
If you are looking for must-teach middle school ELA lessons, check out this blog post!