Author Archives: Jessica Sawyer

Acrostic Poetry

What is it?

Acrostic poetry is a poem that is constructed by using the first or last letters in a name, word, or phrase that spells out a description of what you are trying to say or remember. This is a great tool to use for student ice-breakers to help the student discover who they are through writing; and also a short, fun way to get to know students and allow them to get to know each other.

For example:

Just going with the flow of things
xcited for what the future holds
Self-sufficient woman
Sporty, active, and healthy
In opposition of discrimination and suppression
Energizes others with positivity

Out With The Old, In With The New: Teaching Writing!

It Is Time For A Change!

Throughout my college years I have noticed that, even as an English major, my high school did not prepare me for college or the real world. Coming into college I did not have a resume, or did not know how to construct one, did not know how to properly write a professional email or letter, had never used APA format, could barely use MLA format, and had never written a paper anything different than a standard five paragraph essay. That is a long list of core essentials I missed out on. Other college students and young adults are just as clueless and some have even less instruction than I have been given.
IT IS TIME FOR A CHANGE! Writing skills can be accumulated through a variety of activities. Free-writing at the beginning of class, no matter the age, for five minutes will kick start students thinking about what they will be learning for that day. Projects such as debates, wax museums, news broadcasts, etc. are all creative ideas that will have students learning out to write as well as developing their social skills and public speaking skills. And with the availability of technology, students can learn how to innovate new ideas with film projects, story boards, and blogs (just like this one!)

News Broadcast Assignment

Why should you do it? Not only is it important for teachers to use technology to stay creative and versatile with their teaching, it is important to teach students how to use new mechanisms and incorporate them in assignments. I have come up with a news broadcast assignment for students and have provided a sample of what it should look like. Note that the girls in the video do a “Roll Call” where they call on a random school in the country, this is not necessary. However, the girls reporting real life issues that they have research is the purpose of the project.

What is it?
 The video will be in replacement for a standard research paper. The students will be in groups of three. The students will choose a company to complain to in a sense, they will choose a problem they have with a company or organization and research ways to improve the company. The students will still be required to write the “research paper” however, instead of the standard five paragraph essay, students will write a professional proposal letter to the head of a company of the students choice addressing a problem and possible solution for such as: a product the student has not liked (and why), environmental issues the company faces, (and why) ethical issue the company faces, (and why) and any topic the student is passionate about. The proposal letter will still require the same amount of research to be included as a research paper, but the students will be writing to a different audience, as well as creating a video to work on technology techniques, public speaking, and transforming their writing to speaking.


Who Am I?

Hello world!


My name is Jessie Sawyer, I am a junior at Longwood University and on the road to becoming a high school English teacher. Growing up, I loved journalism and wrote about silly nonsense, politics, nature, and everything that would happen in my life everyday. I essentially trained myself to write through journaling and picking up tactics in the books I read. Teaching had always been an option for me, however, coming into college I simply had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I changed my mind on a career more than I changed my clothes. Until, I took the basic requirement (English 150) class at Longwood my freshman year and it was, to this day, my favorite class. And it made me realize how good I was in this field and wanted to share that with others. My friends began asking me to edit papers and help them brainstorm, and in doing so I began to realize how little instruction students have in grade school with writing. My friends didn’t understand even the basic grammatical structures, organization, and could barely write a choppy five paragraph essay. This all really got under my skin, and then one day it all just clicked. I came to the realization that the perfect profession and lifestyle for me would be to teach the subject I love the most and feel is the most essential to success. So here I am, on the road to hopefully becoming the teacher I would want, and that my friends needed.

“There is something magical that happens when school becomes something other than, ‘question-correct answer-repeat’ ” -Tom Mullaney 

Wax Museum Project

Older teacher is collecting prompt ideas for the student’s final research paper.

“What if we did something entirely different for the final project?”

“We’ve always done a research paper, why should we change things?”

“A wax museum would be more interactive and give students a chance to be more creative.” “What if we have them research the same amount of information, but create a sort of mini essay, that is not as standard, to explain what they are presenting?”

“Okay, that’s a good idea. They’ll pretty much be doing two projects in one.” Blah