It’s Pi Day!

pi day

Infographics for the Week of January 4th: The New Year

Happy New Year!

To help our students and us usher in 2016, this week’s infographics are all about this new year.

Statistics on New Year’s Eve in NYC:


These are New Year’s Resolutions from around the world:


And these are New Years Resolutions that include SMART goals for our Resolutions . . . just like our SGOs . . .



Infographics on Infographics for the Week of 12/7/15

This week’s infographics are all about . . . well, infographics.  These are great resources if you’re looking for students to create original infographics in lieu of notes, as a study guide, or as a product of their research.  These can also begin discussions about purpose and audience and the decisions writers must make to reach the audience for their desired purpose.

Included are:  “The Anatomy of a Great Infographic,” “An Infographic about Infographics,” “7 Tips to Create an Awesome Infographic” “Why Infographics,” and “Why You Need Infographics.”

If you want students to create their own, check out and sign up for free!


anatomy of an infographicinfographic about infographicstips for creating an infographicwhy infographicswhy you need infographics

Meme Monday: Grammar RULES!

This Monday, we have more comma memes for grammar instruction, review, and practice.  In case you missed it, check out last week’s comma meme post.

The first meme hints at this rule:

In sentences where two independent clauses are joined by connectors such as and, or, but, etc., put a comma at the end of the first clause.

Incorrect:He walked all the way home and he shut the door.

Correct:He walked all the way home, and he shut the door.

Some writers omit the comma if the clauses are both quite short:

Example:I paint and he writes.

The second meme makes this mistake:

Many inexperienced writers run two independent clauses together by using a comma instead of a period. This results in the dreaded run-on sentence or, more technically, a comma splice.

Incorrect:He walked all the way home, he shut the door.

There are several simple remedies:

Correct:He walked all the way home. He shut the door.

Correct:After he walked all the way home, he shut the door.

Correct:He walked all the way home, and he shut the door.

The Oxford-comma support comes from meme 3:

Use commas to separate words and word groups in a simple series of three or more items.

Example: My estate goes to my husband, son, daughter-in-law, and nephew.

Note: When the last comma in a series comes before and or or (after daughter-in-law in the above example), it is known as the Oxford comma. Most newspapers and magazines drop the Oxford comma in a simple series, apparently feeling it’s unnecessary. However, omission of the Oxford comma can sometimes lead to misunderstandings.

Example: We had coffee, cheese and crackers and grapes.

Adding a comma after crackers makes it clear that cheese and crackers represents one dish. In cases like this, clarity demands the Oxford comma.

We had coffee, cheese and crackers, and grapes.

These rules/examples are from  

commas 3 commas 4 commas oxford

#TBT Flashback to Iconic Photographs of the 21st Century

This throw-back-Thursday post is bringing back a resource that Karyn found, “These 75 Iconic Photos Will Define The 21st Century So Far. Everyone Needs To See This.”

A year later, I might ask students to evaluate the impact of these images and choose one event from the last year & a corresponding photo to add to the gallery – explaining why they added it (aka why the event/image is significant).  You’d hit some research standards here, including writing standard 7 (short as well as sustained research projects) as well as reading standard 1 (textual evidence).  This could be good practice for skills they’ll need for the fast-approaching research paper (more slowly approaching for 10th & 12th grade), such as:

  • using advanced searches
  • determining the reliability of sources
  • citing textual evidence
  • creating a works cited & parenthetical citations
  • differentiating between essential and non-essential (in selecting the image they want to add to the list)

Here’s the link to the previous post with the original ideas for how to use these photos in the classroom.

tbt photos

Infographics for the Week of October 26th: Halloween Around the World, Costumes by State, and Top Costumes for 2015

These infographics about Halloween are great for analysis of visual text (RI.9-12.7) and especially author’s choice in regard to structure.  Since it’s visual, it’s easier to talk about structure.  So if your students are struggling with CCSS Reading standard 5, infographics may be a great way to enter the conversation.

These can also be a great opportunity to get students prepared to develop and answer inquiry questions for research papers and/or performance assessments.  Since this is the compiled research, they can work backwards to determine the possible research question and then assess how well the creator/author of the infographic answered that question.  This kind of analysis could then be turned into a checklist-of-sorts of how you sufficiently respond to a research question.

These infographics could also be great for practice with inference, with formulating questions, etc.

So, some specific ways for students to interact (individually, in pairs, small groups, etc.) with these infographics might include:

  • What accounts for the differences and similarities among countries in “Halloween around the world”? (inference practice)
  • What do the traditions in different countries reveal about them? (inference practice)
  • What conclusions might we draw based on the top costumes by state in “America’s Favorite Halloween Costumes by State”? What research or inquiry questions could we develop about these states based on the costume? (great opportunity to practice writing these types of questions and perhaps engage students in researching to find the answers) (inference practice, W.9-12.7 if they conduct the research; developing the question is good practice for getting them to meet this standard on their own as well.)
  • How does pop culture help determine what people wear on Halloween? What other factors may influence this? (“Top Costumes”)
  • What research or inquiry question is each infographic seeking to answer? (RI.9-12.2, RI.9-12.7, W.9-12.7)
  • How does the author organize/structure his/her information? Is it effective – why or why not? (RI.9-12.2, RI.9-12.5, RI.9-12-.1)
  • What is the connection/relationship to the information provided ____________ and that provided __________? (RI.9-12.3)
  • Analyze and evaluate: Which of these infographics is the most useful? the most effective? the most dynamic?  (Support with specific textual evidence – RI.9-12.1)

And of course, if these are discussions with specific expectations/roles/teacher modeling – students would likely be hitting speaking & listening standards as well, particularly SL.9-12.1a-d.

halloween around the world

halloween costumes by state



Meme Monday: Comma Sense

It’s Meme Monday here at BHP English Headquarters, and today we’re visiting the most used and the most misused punctuation mark, the comma.

Memes can make us laugh, but they can also be valuable teaching tools in the classroom.  They give a quick and often funny saying paired with a visual.  Displaying these in the classroom can help reinforce class rules and expectations or, in the case of today’s post, reinforce or teach grammar rules. (They also make for a more creative/out-of-the-box thinking assignment that could easily be a classwork/homework grade.)

The following memes could be used as warm-up activities where students try to define/identify the comma rule that’s being misused (aka . . . why are these memes funny?), as part of Writing Workshop mini-lessons, or has reminders of and references to comma rules you’ve already taught.

The comma rules our memes are covering today are:

  • Use commas to separate words and word groups in a simple series of three or more items.
  • Use commas to set off the name, nickname, term of endearment, or title of a person directly addressed.

commas 2 commas 5 commas

Infographics of the Week for October 19-23: The History & Benefits of Social Media

“Infographics of the Week” is back!  The subject for next week’s cluster is all about social media as a way to reach customers and about the evolution and trends in social media.  With the constant barrage of the negative aspects of social media, these infographics could begin a conversation about social media that is broader than usual.

Infographics are fun and valuable ways to work with students in hitting CCSS.  They can easily be used for:

  • analysis practice (how ideas/claims are developed = RI.9-10.5, effectiveness of structure = RI.11-12.5)),
  • in-depth compare/contrast (what information is included in and excluded from each and why?, evaluation of sources, how sources address a question  – RI.9-10.7, RI.11-12.7)
  • evaluation of the credibility/reliability of sources – (W.9-12.8 – “assess the usefulness of each source”)
  • as a way to gather information on a question or topic (W.9-12.9)
  • models for organizing and designing their own research-based infographics (such an assignment would include W.9-12.4 [“development, organization, and style appropriate to task, purpose, and audience”], W.9-12.6 [“Use technology to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, taking advantage of technology’s capacity to link to other information and to display information flexibly and dynamically.”], W.9-12.7 (“Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question or solve a problem . . . synthesize multiple sources on the subject . . . demonstrate an understanding of the subject.)
  • Socratic Seminar texts and writing prompts
    2015-BusinessWire-MediaLeaders-PR-Social-Media-Infographic-700x700 a8445b4fa7241590c02e76782b31e313 history-social-media-2004-2014 social-media-trends-infographic social-media-users-02-2015-2

Introducing . . . Meme Mondays! This Week: Book Censorship

At last year’s in-service, one of the suggestions for the blog was “Meme Mondays,” and so today we roll out the red-carpet for Memes.

To coincide with Banned Books Week, these memes are all about censorship.

censorship students first amendment self censor thought police

A few ways to use memes in your classroom:

  • As warm-ups to start a discussion or concept you’ll be introducing
  • As classroom rules/expectations
  • As discussion starters, enhancers, or “curve-balls”
  • As prompts for writing
  • In a group or paired with another text, as seminar text (the really good memes)
  • As models for memes students will create (based on grammar, literature, authors, current events, etc.) – Mematic is just one free app available for easy meme-making.

Additional resources: