Question Detail

Ideas for teaching 9th and 10th grade English?

Jul 14, 2013 2:28am

This will be my first year teaching English for 9th and 10th grade English with the Common Core State Standards. Do you have any suggestions or lessons that have worked well? Thank you!

  • English Language Arts


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    • Jul 15, 2013 12:57pm

      I have so much stuff! I used CCSS exclusively last year and will continue this year. My classroom focus last year was teaching students to cite textual evidence and question the text. What textbook will you be using? Once you know what you will be teaching, I would be happy to help fill in some gaps if you need help. :)

      • Jul 22, 2013 6:27pm


        I have taught 7th grade for the last nine years, but I too have gone to full scale implementation based on the Common Core. One huge shift was to close reading, where the focus is more on quality than quantity. Lessons that focus on multiple readings of similar articles are great. Also, the writing is primarily focused on text-based prompts, which is a big difference from narrative writing. I actually wrote a blog post on that which may help:

        I hope this helps!

        • Jul 25, 2013 3:40pm

          Hi Amanda and Elizabeth,
          I, too, am teaching English 10 this year (and am struggling with planning and aligning to the CCSS. This will be my second year teaching.) Would you be willing to share any of your units? I tried to find a way to message you, but could not figure out how to do so. Thank you for any help you can give. My email is


          • Aug 14, 2013 5:09pm

            Hi Jenn! Have you thought about using a reading workshop model so that students have some ownership of their reading choices. Workshop models also foster differentiation and student engagement. To make the CCSS lessons more manageable as you continue to learn your content, I might use shorter texts...fiction, nonfiction, whole class texts to specifically address the standards. By using shorter texts, you are also able to really address the issue of text complexity, allowing students to struggle with more challenging texts, while they are reading their own longer texts at their independent reading levels. I hope you have an amazing year with your new students! :)

            • Jul 15, 2013 11:16am

              This is also my first year teaching 9th with the CCSS; however, it is not my first year teaching freshman English. I have been pooling my resources. I highly admire Jim Burke and anything he publishes. I ordered his CCSS books. Also, I went to Teachers Pay Teachers and ordered some graphic organizers and reading strategies that are based off of CCSS. Sorry I cannot help more. :)

              • Jul 16, 2013 11:46pm

                Thank you, ladies! I will be getting a better feel as to what I will be teaching, on Monday. Thank you for your willingness to help! I will be in touch soon! Hope you're having a great summer!

                • Jul 24, 2013 9:12am

                  I am teaching 9th grade english this year too. I am teaching it to my advanced 8th graders. I really have NO idea where to begin. I don't even have a book. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. :)

                  • Aug 6, 2013 12:41am

                    Thank you for your patience! So, I'm wondering what novels you do and what supporting stories you use for them? I'll include a list of the novels we'll be using, asap. Thank you for your help!

                    • Aug 8, 2013 12:38am

                      Ok, so here are the novels we'll be working with.
                      9th Grade: The Hobbit, Animal Farm, Romeo and Juliet, and Tuesdays with Morrie
                      10th Grade: Alice in Wonderland, To Kill a Mockingbird, Midsummer Night's Dream, and Farewell to Manzanar

                      Thank you for your offer for help! Thank you!

                      • Aug 12, 2013 9:29am

                        I would love to hear more about the units you have put together for 10th grade. I've been teaching middle school English for seven years and am now moving to high school. It would be really helpful to see what has been working for you.

                        • Aug 14, 2013 2:40pm

                          It will be my 2nd year teaching 10th grade this year, and I'd love to hear some of your units that really worked for your students--the dystopia one sounds great, as we are covering 1984 and Harrison Bergeron. Thank you for any help you, and anyone else, can give!


                          • Aug 15, 2013 11:13am

                            Hello All,

                            My 9th graders focused on themes about creating and defining identity. We read both The Hunger Games and The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian (Sherman Alexie). Part-Time Indian was a HUGE success! Highly recommend it.

                            I structured my 10th grade year around the relationship between humans and their environment. We started off with a bunch of naturalism stories (including Jack London). Second semester we moved on to Night (Elie Wiesel) and other stories that explored man into seemingly impossible situations.

                            For both I highlighted and modeled active reading skills. We learned how to question, think, and process the material in a meaningful way.

                            • Aug 16, 2013 1:05pm

                              Visit for sample lessons

                              Also, since so many states have CCSS, it is easy to find resources on official state websites. Happy hunting!

                              • Sep 3, 2013 6:33am

                                Amanda, I would LOVE to get some ideas from you as well.
                                This is my first year to teach 10th grade English, and I am having a difficult time getting things to flow, or really even where to start.
                                If you could email me, I would GREATLY appreciate any help I can get.
                                Thank you in advance! :)
                                ~Tracy Simpson

                                • Oct 1, 2013 10:08am

                                  Hi Amanda Cordes,
                                  If you have a chance could you please send me some of your resources at

                                  Peace and Thanks,


                                  • Oct 13, 2013 6:01pm

                                    Kathryn Zucker
                                    October 13, 2013
                                    I am using the Common Core for the first year and the Gradual Release Model and all the 10th grade English teachers must teach the same articles from the core at the same time. We also have the same assessments at the end of each unit. I could use some examples of formative assessments to determine what to plan next. We read one article about proms and one article about Quinceaneras. The unit is Rites of Passage with articles that are about that topic, (rites of passage). I want to ensure that my students get the absolute most out of this unit. One of the summative assessments they will do is to write an argumentative essay synthesizing all four articles.

                                    • Dec 8, 2013 5:11pm

                                      Amanda Cordes . . . could you share some of your units with me? I am a first year teacher. I teach 10th grade advanced English and 9th grade general English. I would love to see some of your ideas/units!

                                      Thanks in advance...

                                      • Dec 11, 2013 11:53pm

                                        hey i need some lesson plans for 9th grade language arts, I am a special education teacher, but one of my friend's brother needs help in language arts. Can you help me?

                                        • Dec 27, 2013 2:00pm

                                          Hi Amanda Cordes,
                                          I was curious if you would mind sharing a few of your units? This is my first year teaching and I teach 10th & twelfth grade, and I am struggling. Neither class has a book, and I have a hard time getting things started. It would be nice to see a thorough unit! Thanks in advance.
                                          Heather Shanks

                                          • Jan 3, 2014 4:07pm

                                            Hey Amanda! I need a 2 week unit for my 10th graders to finish off the semester. Our school just randomly added on an extra week, so my original plans got thrown off. Any suggestions? I tried to email you but I didn't know how.



                                            • Jan 9, 2014 7:33pm

                                              I joined Teaching Channel this evening and am hoping to find some resources for English 9 and 10. Amanda Cordes, I'd love to see what you have if you don't mind sharing at Thank you!!

                                              • Jun 20, 2014 2:51pm

                                                I'm going to be teaching high school for the first time. I'll be teaching grades 9 & 10. I'm coming from elementary. Amanda, I would to get your units also. Here's my email if you don't mind
                                                Thank you!

                                                • Jul 29, 2014 11:20am

                                                  Hey Amanda,

                                                  I will be teaching 10th grade English classes this year for the first time and I was wondering whether you would be willing to share your units with me. My email is

                                                  Thanks in advance!



                                                  • Jul 30, 2014 7:26am

                                                    Hi Amanda! I have always only taught middle school and this year I am being moved to 9th and 10th. I reallly need help !! Do you have any units that you could send my way?


                                                    Thank you soo much!

                                                    • Jul 30, 2014 6:09pm

                                                      Hi Amanda,

                                                      I am teaching 10th grade...What are you doing with the dystopia unit? I think it may be of great value to me this year. Thanks in advance!

                                                      • Aug 4, 2014 2:08pm


                                                        Can you email me some info on your units Amanda? Thank you!

                                                        • Dec 12, 2014 9:12am

                                                          Amanda Cordes, I would be really intersted in your dystopian Unit. My students seem to love that genre. I can't find a way to message you either. My email is thanks in advance. Gerri

                                                          • Jan 3, 2015 11:04am

                                                            I am also going to teach 10th grade for the first time this second semester...would you be willing to share your units? Thank you for any help!

                                                            • Jan 28, 2015 6:31am

                                                              Amanda Cordes, would you mind sharing some of your stuff with me as well? I taught Kindergarten last year and am now teaching 9th and 10th grade English...what a change! I would be eternally greatful.

                                                              • Mar 1, 2015 11:49am

                                                                Amanda Cordes:

                                                                I am a new teacher (10th grade) and I'd be very interested in seeing some of the units you have - especially the dystopian unit - but I'll gladly accept anything and everything you're willing to share. :)

                                                                Please e-mail me:

                                                                Thanks in advance,

                                                                • May 1, 2015 10:06am

                                                                  Hello, I am interested in hearing about the different units that you teach for your 10th grade classes. I teach 10th grade English in Minnesota. My email is
                                                                  Thank you!
                                                                  Kristin Hoffman

                                                                  • Jun 22, 2015 1:18pm

                                                                    I'm sure that you've been bombarded with requests, but I'd love to see your year plan, too.

                                                                    • Jul 8, 2015 1:13pm

                                                                      Greetings, Amanda Cordes!! I would also greatly appreciate your assistance!!! This will be my 1st year teaching 9th ELA, 9th ELA Honors, and 10th ELA... My email address is Thanks in advance!!

                                                                      • Jul 10, 2015 6:30pm

                                                                        I am also interested in the 10th grade units (

                                                                        Also, in they have an introductory lesson on dystopian literature that I used when I was student teaching. I plan on revising it to use The Hunger Games instead of The Matrix since it is more recent.

                                                                        • Jul 16, 2015 12:20pm

                                                                          I would love ideas as well!

                                                                          • May 29, 2016 2:54pm

                                                                            I know this is an old post but if you are still available, I am a new ELA teacher and would appreciate some help with structuring my 10th grade class.

                                                                            • Aug 1, 2016 9:48pm

                                                                              Hi Amanda Cordes! I know it has been a while since this post, but I was hoping you would be willing to share some of your resources. This is my first year teaching 10th English and I'm beyond nervous. My email address is

                                                                              Thank you in advance!

                                                                              • Aug 4, 2016 11:09am

                                                                                Hi Amanda, I would really appreciate if you could please share some of your 10th grade English units with me as well? My email is Thank you SO much! -Ann

                                                                                • Jun 13, 2017 7:11pm

                                                                                  Hi Amanda,
                                                                                  Thanks a lot for your willingness to share;I would like the units which focus on you teaching students to cite textual evidence and question the text and talk about writer's effects.
                                                                                  My email is

                                                                                  • Aug 2, 2017 3:01pm

                                                                                    Amanda I have the same question! How do I contact you? I am new to this website.

                                                                                    • Dec 29, 2017 11:14am

                                                                                      Hello team! Happy Holidays! I, too, am a new teacher. I am teaching 9th grade English. If anyone has any lesson plans they would be able to share, I would greatly appreciate any help. Guidance is also helpful as well!
                                                                                      Thank you to all! Here's to a great 2nd semester.