5 English Assignments I’m Not Giving Anymore

As a veteran English teacher, I have assigned countless essays, projects, and group activities over the years, all in an effort to engage my students and inspire them to develop their writing skills. However, as times and educational pedagogy evolve, I find myself reevaluating which assignments hold the most value. Here are five English assignments I’ve decided not to give anymore.

1. Book Reports

Traditional book reports are tedious and often fail to excite students about literature. Instead of assigning generic summary-driven reports, encourage students to explore novel ways of expressing their thoughts about a text. Ideas might include delivering a podcast or creating visual presentations discussing themes or character analysis.

2. Grammar Worksheets

While it’s essential for students to understand grammar rules, mindlessly filling out worksheets doesn’t provide essential context for applying these rules in real-world situations. Instead, incorporate grammar lessons into writing tasks that matter to your students, such as editing their own stories, workshopping peer essays or even revising social media posts.

3. Memorizing Vocabulary Lists

Although strengthening vocabulary is an integral part of English courses, assigning long lists of unrelated words for students to memorize does little to build genuine comprehension. Encourage students to find new words on their own within reading materials and bring these words back to class for discussion or quizzes customized by the students themselves.

4. Five-Paragraph Essays

The standard five-paragraph format has long reigned supreme in English classes but arguably limits student creativity and expression when used too frequently. Diversify your writing assignments by giving students creative prompts or asking them to experiment with different forms of writing like poetry, journalism or personal narratives.

5. Silent Sustained Reading (SSR) Time

While SSR provides a quiet space for independent reading, it doesn’t foster active engagement with the material or provoke thoughtful conversation among peers. Replace SSR with book clubs or literature circles where students can read together, discuss ideas and question their understanding in a supportive environment.

Overall, the key to successful English assignments is making them relevant, engaging, and adaptable to students’ unique interests and learning styles. By scrapping these outdated and often uninspiring tasks, you can foster a love for language and literature while challenging students to become better writers and communicators.

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