Teaching in June: Will You SLOG or SLAY?

If only I could draw.

I have this image in my mind of a frazzled, frizzy-haired teacher (Think Professor Trelawney) dragging herself across a desert . . . in a mask. Strapped to her back is a laptop with a Zoom logo on it. Tied to her leg is a string of exhausted students. Her principal is walking in front of her, cheering her on. “You can do it, Mrs. Thompson! Just three more weeks!”

I know that you may BE that teacher. You are still in school and may be until the END OF JUNE. For the love of summer, somebody call it! Let these people go!

If you are in the unenviable position of being a classroom teacher who is still, you know, teaching, I have some ideas for ways you might do more than slog through June; in fact, your students might actually be engaged.

TED Talks

Got an end-of-grade or end-of-course test coming up that requires students to respond to questions about non-fiction text? Use a TED Talk to do some test prep! But Angie, that’s a listening standard. Y’all, TED transcribes their talks! Give students the transcript and an active viewing guide, watch the talk, and touch on some skills they need to review.


Testing over but you need to use the remaining time wisely? Project a documentary from Netflix that could change the lives of your students. For my top pick, I recommend The Social Dilemma for adolescents—and their adult teachers—who are already being manipulated by social media. Once their eyes have been opened to the way algorithms work, introduce Minimalism for another look at one way to fight back against the impact of consumerism.

Screen Free (or Not)

Still need to deal with some lagging reading skills? Consider the story of Violet Jessop, a White Star Lines employee who ended up not only on The Titanic but also on her two sister ships when they each met with disaster. Her ironic and fascinating story is told in this resource on three reading levels with corresponding comprehension questions. If you’re still remote, this activity is still an option since it’s provided on Google Slides as well as PDF.

Deep Dive

Not just killing time? Want to offer up some serious critical thinking leverage? Spend some time teaching students how to spot fake news. If you still have some umph left in you, teach students about click bait, native ads, satirical content, bias, and hidden agendas.

Need more inspiration?

5 Ways to Keep High School English Engaging

What to Teach After the AP Exam


I’m a recovering high school English teacher and curriculum specialist with a passion for helping teachers leave school at school. I create engaging, rigorous curriculum resources for secondary ELA professionals, and I facilitate workshops to help those teachers implement the materials effectively.