Videos for Teaching Inspiration

Reading together

Perusall logoWe’ll use Perusall to annotate and read together. Link here to Perusall.

Instructions for joining Perusall on the Getting Started page.

Designing Together

I look forward to designing educational spaces and activities together.

You can read about course design in a piece I wrote for Connected Learning here.



Assignments and Calendar

  • Projects (Unit Plan & Portfolio): 40% of grade
  • Presentations & Collaboration (YA Novel and Writing Assignment): ~30% of grade
  • Doing Things Together (Reading, Writing, Annotating): ~30% of grade

Reading & Discussions (~8@10 points/80 points)

various due dates

We’ll read and annotate some of our shared texts together in a platform called Perusall. My goal with the reading and these discussions is to support your Unit Project throughout the semester. See the Getting Started page for instructions for joining Perusall (links and course code).

Designing Unit Plans: Part I (YA novel teams) (70 points)

various due dates

YA Novels

You’ll read a newer, young adult novel with a small group, meet to talk about the book, and consider how you might use the book with middle or high school students. I’m inviting you to think about your group as your English Department team of teachers. Your teacher team will design a Unit, using this YA book as the anchor text. Each person is responsible for designing one of the 80-minute class activities and designing a writing assignment. Together, you’ll organize this individual set of class activities and writing assignments into a collaborative and coherent Unit Plan.

Your group will try out one of the 80-min class sessions with our class, asking us to take on the role of your students.

You will also swap the writing assignment you design with the members in your team and try out a partner’s assignment. You’ll give feedback on the drafts and feedback on the assignment designs.


  1. Each person in the team will create an 80-minute class lesson plan. (25 points)
    • Your team will choose one of the activities from your group to try out with our class. (20 points)
  2. Each person will create an informal or formal writing assignment. (25 points)
    • You will swap these writing assignments with a partner from your team and try them out.
  3. Together, you’ll assemble the class plans and writing assignments into a coherent Unit Plan and write a collaborative rationale for the unit.

 Designing Unit Plans: Part II (75 points)

various due dates

The final product for our course will be a month-long unit that incorporates elements focused on reading, writing, and language study. 


    1. Overall Rationale: What are your goals for the unit? What do you want students to learn? Why do you think these goals are important for students in an English class and beyond? How does your unit fit with the goals specified in the California Standards for English Language Arts? (most likely, you’ll write the rationale last, after you’ve figured out the other portions below)
      • Reading choices and rationale: What kinds of reading do you want students to be able to do? What texts will you use? What is your rationale for choosing these texts? Are you including a variety of genres and forms? The reading selections should be focused on one “anchor text” (a canonical or young adult literary selection or poetry, for example) and at least one associated non-fiction, non-literary text, and should identify a set of skills and/or approaches related to helping students “read” those texts.
      • Writing assignments and rationale: Create an assignment sequence: perhaps a major assignment and smaller assignments to support it. Or a series of smaller assignments. What kinds of writing will students do? Will there be both informal and formal writing? What genres will students compose in? Why have you chosen those genres? As with our YA Unit, you will try out each other’s assignments too in your teams.
      • Language rationale: What aspects of language will you teach? Why are those aspects important for students to learn? How do the reading and writing choices in your unit support students’ learning of language?
    2. Detailed Week’s Plan: What will a week look like? You’ll three days of lesson plans in detail and shorter descriptions of plans for the other days/weeks. 
    3. Assessments: What will you do to determine if your goals have been met? What will students do/say/write that will show you whether they have reached your objectives? 
    4. Reflection: What have you learned from creating this lesson unit? What excites you about the unit? What questions or concerns about it remain? 

Portfolio (25 points)

various due dates

Ashley Penning’s “Masquerade”

This project requires you to compile an online portfolio that synthesizes your work in the major, representing you as a competent practitioner of English studies. It will include your work from this class, as well as selections from prior classes that represent literature, language, and composition.

We will also include a short bio, your unit plan(s), your CV, and teaching statement.