Category Archives: Classic Literature

How to Teach Rhyming Poetry to Middle School Students (or Anyone Else, for That Matter)


How to teach 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th graders to write poetry that rhymes rhyming poemsNot everyone has the gift of poetic language, right? For those who find it easy, the poems just flow out of you like a river flows off a mountaintop!

For kids who are fairly new to the concept, they need a jumping-off point. It helps to have them hear poetry read aloud. It also helps to have them read a few poems of their own.

But how do you help them create poems that demonstrate rhyme? I recommend that you start with a rhyming web. You can see an illustration of one of these displayed on this page. Students who are writing a poem about baseball might start with the words ball or throw. They can then create a spider web of words that rhyme with ball or throw.

From there, you often have to help them remember that the rhyming words generally fall at the ends of lines. Otherwise, you’ll get poems that look like this:

throw the ball

to and fro

I’m a pro at baseball


To help kids understand the basics, I suggest you visit my page on poetry “rules,” as it offers three basic rules of traditional poetry. By teaching them these three basic rules, you’ll start getting poems that look more like this:

The ball is fun to throw

Back and forth, to and fro

It makes me feel like a real pro!


I Have a Dream Essay Handout


I realize it’s only November, but we all know that when Christmas break hits us, we sort of shut down. So this is the time to plan ahead for February, which is Black History Month of course.

If you have a copy of the “I Have a Dream” speech (in written form or as a DVD/video you use in your classroom), I have a handout to accompany it. Ideally, studying it as a written essay fulfills a number of common core standards for reading, so if you can get your hands on a written version of the speech, that could count for your essay analysis in terms of covering the common core!

Anyway, here’s my free, printable handout/worksheet/graphic organizer that accompanies Martin Luther King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech:

Free printables for black history month martin luther kings i have a dream speech speach

Handout Created by Chelly Wood

i have a dream essay assignment handout

Document Created by Chelly Wood

Student-made Map of Treasure Island


I’ve taught Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson, for 20 years. For any of my followers who are English or reading teachers, you really should have a look through all my Treasure Island stuff in the side margin under “Categories.” I have journal questions, essay test writing prompts, graphic images, and handouts available.

Today I’m posting a student-created map of Treasure Island, which you’re welcome to show your students. To make the map look archaic, the student steeped paper in tea and allowed it to dry before writing and drawing on it.

For writers who follow this blog, have you ever thought about creating a map of the world in which your characters reside? It can be very inspiring!

Here’s one of my students’ detailed maps of Treasure Island. Feel free to print it, photocopy it, and use it as classroom handouts:

Student-made Map of Treasure Island

Student-Created Map of Treasure Island

Virtual Video Tour of Ernest Hemingway’s Birthplace Home and Other Hemingway Digital Resources

Ernest Hemingway Virtual Tour Cuba Idaho Midwest World War I and II Spain

Image: iClipart

I used to teach Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway. To fulfill the state and common core standards for listening and viewing, I had students do a digital tour of Hemingway’s birthplace and other notable online locations. I’ll share those with you now, in case you also teach Hemingway.

Here’s the link to a digital tour of Hemingway’s birthplace home. That’s on a website called, “Tour Ernest Hemingway’s Birthplace and Museum.”

I also used this oceanography website, from the Office of Naval Research, and this one, called The World-Wide Web Virtual Library: Oceanography.

To wrap up my video tour of Hemingway, I had my students visit this website, which is found under the URL, under the heading, “Hemingway in Cuba.”

Although it’s outdated, I’ll close this post with my curriculum journal for Old Man and the Sea, which coordinates with Treasure Island, to some extent. If you wish to use this, teachers, you’ll have to adapt it to the common core and update it with the right numbers for those standards.

If you like my creations, show your appreciation by sharing, liking, and tweeting. Thanks!

Treasure Island Online Final Exam, Question 7

writing prompt treasure island robert louis stevenson

Image: iClipart

What happened to the various characters at the end of the book, Treasure Island? Name and number five characters. One of them must be a pirate or former pirate. Explain what happened to them at the end of the book.


1. Dude’s Name — Here’s what happened to him at the end of the book.

2. Dude’s Name — Here’s what happened to him at the end of the book.


Treasure Island Online Final Exam, Question 6


Name three pirate idioms used in Treasure Island and explain what each one means. (Hint: an idiom is a saying, like “Walk the plank!”)

pirate idioms treasure island lesson plans

Image: iClipart

Treasure Island Online Final Exam, Question 5


Hypothesize about how the treasure came to be on Treasure Island. Who was involved in gathering the treasure? What were their roles aboard the Walrus? Where was it buried? Who helped bury the treasure? Use examples from the book to prove your hypothesis. Remember, it’s these EXAMPLES that show the teacher you really paid attention to the book!

teachers guide for treasure island robert louis stevenson

Image: iClipart