Teaching in November is crazy! There are so many short days, absences, and schoolwide assemblies or activities. It can really make planning tough. Here are some November lesson plan ideas for high school ELA to help you out!
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Tips for Easy Teaching this November
The best way to go about lesson planning this November is to plan way, way ahead.
Look at your calendar. Make sure you’ve marked off all of the short days and holiday breaks.
Assume that on the days before long weekends and your short days your attendance will be a little lower. Don’t do anything too important those days.
Make sure you have some easy review or enrichment activities planned for those days.
Need some ideas? I love this Instagram-inspired reading activity.
It can be done with any book–a whole class novel or an independent reading book. Keep copies on hand for days when half of your class doesn’t show up or your class time is cut too short to do any real learning.
November Lesson Plan Ideas for High School ELA for Reading
Reading is my favorite year-round activity! You probably already have a reading curriculum you’re following, but if you have an independent reading program in your classroom, use this month to push some seasonal books.
Celebrate American Indian and Alaskan Native Heritage Month
November is American Indian and Alaskan Native Heritage Month. So this is a great time to book talk and spotlight some indigenous authors!
I’m currently reading Fire Keeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley as I write this post.
It’s about a biracial indigenous teen Daunis who dreams of studying medicine. But a handful of family tragedies prevent her from attending her school of choice. When the newest hockey recruit appears, however, things get even more complicated.
The real twist, however, happens when Daunis get pulled into a murder investigation.
So far, I’m loving it. It doesn’t hurt that the book is set in Michigan, where we recently relocated, and I’m learning so much about the local tribes in the area.
Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith is another YA novel by an indigenous author I recommend. It’s a little simpler than Fire Keeper’s Daughter and less complex, but that makes it a great recommendation for weaker readers.
The story begins right after Louise a native has broken up with her boyfriend after hearing him make anti-indigenous remarks. She’s assigned to cover the school’s production of Wizard of Oz only to deal with another racist controversy.
This one is a great recommendation for the girls in your class who want a cute romance.
November Lesson Plan Ideas for High School ELA for Writing
Students need to work on their writing constantly, so why not use November as a time to mix in some variety in their practice?
Celebrate Academic Writing Month
November is Academic Writing Month. It might not be your students’ favorite thing to celebrate, but that doesn’t mean you can’t!
Use this as an excuse to review some academic writing basics. If you’re gearing up to write an essay soon or struggling with getting students to write coherent arguments, consider going over claim, evidence, and reasoning writing skills.
It might be a little late in the year for these, but if you can’t figure out why students’ paragraphs just aren’t making sense, it could be time to stop and review the basics.
If the students have already worked on smaller skills, consider introducing an essay to them now. They’ll have time this month to think and outline. December they can edit and turn it in. And you can have everything graded before the end of the quarter in January (assuming that’s how your academic calendar falls.)
Write a Letter
If you already have plenty of academic writing planned, consider adding something a little different to the mix by having students write a letter.
Writing a gratitude letter is a classic Thanksgiving lesson. Have students write a thank you letter to their favorite school staff member and then deliver them.
You’ll be able to teach students how to write a letter (they don’t know how. Promise.) You’ll also be able to review important formatting, tone, and punctuation lessons.
But more importantly, your colleagues could really probably use a pick-me-up at this point in the year. What could they use more than a kind word and a thank you from a students? By having the students write these letters, you’ll be the school’s hero.
With holidays coming up, you could also have students write a letter to the troops. Many members of our armed services don’t get a single letter during the holidays, but your students can help.
There are a ton of programs out there to connect you and your students to soldiers like Soldier’s Angels. Your students get to work on their writing skills and spread some cheer. Plus, the soldiers provide an authentic audience which can help motivate students to actually put some effort into their writing.
Teaching Letter Writing Tips
Obviously, you’ll want to cover letter formatting. You might even want to review appropriate or informal vs. formal tone depending on the letters’ recipients.
But don’t forget to teach students how to address an envelope!
Like cursive writing or reading an analog clock, addressing an envelope is now an archaic skill. Don’t assume students know how to do it.
A NOTE ON EQUITY: don’t have students address envelopes to their own homes. I learned this the hard way. I thought I would save myself some time by asking my students to address envelopes to their homes and stuff them with letters I needed to send out.
First, this is how I learned students don’t know how to address an envelope.
But secondly, I was shocked by how many of my students didn’t know their own addresses. Why? More of my students suffered from housing instability than I ever thought possible. They literally didn’t know where they were sleeping that night, let alone have an address memorized.
So if you do have students write a letter, make sure you have an address and recipient for them.
Want a done-for-you lesson? Check out this Letter Writing and Envelope Addressing Lesson with editable directions. Completely customize it for your letter-writing needs!
November Lesson Plan Ideas for High School ELA for Grammar
I believe that grammar needs to be a daily activity, so you should of course squeeze in some grammar lessons this month.
If you started teaching grammar to your students from week one, keep building on their progress. When I was teaching on a block schedule (90-minute classes daily), I would get through sentences, clauses and sentence types, verbals, and apostrophes by the end of November.
Your students’ progress will vary widely depending on your class schedule and your students’ starting point, but don’t forget to keep working on it!
(If you need some help sequencing grammar, check out this post).
With all the craziness of the holidays, it’s too easy to let your grammar lessons fall by the wayside.
You can also incorporate some fall-themed review. This grammar review worksheet pack for fall includes grammar review worksheets with themes like apples, leaves, and Thanksgiving. It’s another great way to fill some time on low-attendance or half days.
The biggest takeaway from these November lesson plan ideas for high school ELA is to be ready for chaos. Long weekends are coming. Attendances will be high and student memory will be low.
Keep making progress on your curriculum, skills, and grammar. But also know that progress might start slowing–and that’s ok.
Have some backup worksheets for days that don’t go as planned. Make sure you’re on target to get everything important done before winter break next month.
And, don’t forget, have a little fun along the way!