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Reading & Language Arts

139 Posts authored by: tengrrl
tengrrl

Activities to Kick Off 2012

Posted by tengrrl Jan 3, 2012

Walter Dean MyersThere’s reason to rejoice for fans of Walter Dean Myers. As reported in the New York Times, Myers has been appointed the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. In this position, Myers will work to promote the importance of children’s and young adult’s literacy. The New York Times describes the Ambassador as “a sort of poet laureate of the children's book world who tours the country for two years, speaking at schools and libraries about reading and literacy.” For those of us who love Myers’ writing, it’s a great way to kick off 2012.

 

For classroom activities using texts by Walter Dean Myers, check out the calendar entry for his birthday—and for new and timely ReadWriteThink calendar entries,  lesson plans, and other classroom materials just keep reading!

 

New Resources

From the Calendar

 

Discuss These Topics with Other Teachers

 

 

If you have feedback or questions about ReadWriteThink, all you have to do is contact us.

 

—Traci Gardner

 

 

[Photo courtesy of Walter Dean Myers]

tengrrl

Top 25 Lesson Plans for 2011

Posted by tengrrl Dec 30, 2011

"25"2011 is on its way out, and it’s nearly 2012. Your mouse clicks have told us this year that you’re interested in resources on persuasion, plot structure, comparison-contrast, and cause and effect. You’re teaching lesson plans about poetry, essays, newspapers, and fairy tales. Students in your classes have talked about natural disasters, used literature circles, and environmental issues. And all that just accounts for the most visited resources on the ReadWriteThink site.

 

As you reflect on 2011 and begin thinking about the lessons that you’ll teach in 2012, spend a few minutes reviewing our top 25 lessons, based on site access on the ReadWriteThink site:

 

  1. Can You Convince Me? Developing Persuasive Writing (3–5)
  2. Creating a Classroom Newspaper (3–5)
  3. Teaching Plot Structure through Short Stories (9–10)
  4. Plot Structure: A Literary Elements Mini-Lesson (6–8)
  5. Action Is Character: Exploring Character Traits with Adjectives (6–8)
  6. Literature Circles: Getting Started (3–5)
  7. Exploring Cause and Effect Using Expository Texts About Natural Disasters (3–5)
  8. Teaching the Compare and Contrast Essay through Modeling (3–5)
  9. A is for Apple: Building Letter-Recognition Fluency (K–2)
  10. Genre Study: A Collaborative Approach (3–5)
  11. Figurative Language: Teaching Idioms (3–5)
  12. Improve Comprehension: A Word Game Using Root Words and Affixes (6–8)
  13. Exploring Compare and Contrast Structure in Expository Texts (3–5)
  14. Questioning: A Comprehension Strategy for Small-Group Guided Reading (3–5)
  15. The Big Bad Wolf: Analyzing Point of View in Texts (6–8)
  16. Teaching About Story Structure Using Fairy Tales (K–2)
  17. Color Poems—Using the Five Senses to Guide Prewriting (3–5)
  18. Author Study: Improving Reading Comprehension Using Inference and Comparison (3–5)
  19. Get the Gist: A Summarizing Strategy for Any Content Area (6–8)
  20. Guided Comprehension: Visualizing Using the Sketch-to-Stretch Strategy (4–6)
  21. Peer Edit With Perfection: Effective Strategies (3–5)
  22. Word Sorts for Beginning and Struggling Readers (K–2)
  23. Persuasive Essay: Environmental Issues (6–8)
  24. Scaffolding Comprehension Strategies Using Graphic Organizers (3–8)
  25. Acrostic Poems: All About Me and My Favorite Things (1–2)

 

Don’t see something that fits your classroom? That’s just 25 of the hundreds of lessons on the ReadWriteThink site. Visit the lesson plan section of ReadWriteThink site for many more options.

 

As always, if you have feedback or questions about ReadWriteThink, all you have to do is contact us.

 

—Traci Gardner

winterThe onset of winter weather varies from year to year and from place to place, but December 22, the winter solstice, is considered the first official day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere for 2011. The winter solstice marks the shortest day of the year. The days get longer as winter progresses. In the Northern Hemisphere, it also marks the day when the sun is furthest to the south.

 

Even though the days are shorter, we still have plenty of classroom resources for you plus ideas for fun  activities that families can try during the winter break. Just check out the ReadWriteThink calendar entries, new lesson plans, and classroom materials below.

 

New Resources

From the Calendar

  • December 15: Bill of Rights Day is observed. Students identify a students’ rights issue and explore the ways in which the Bill of Rights does protect and does not protect students. (For grades 5–12)

  • December 16: The Boston Tea Party took place in 1773. Students create a political cartoon for the Boston Tea Party and use the interactive Comic Creator to publish them. (For grades 7–12)

  • December 17: The Wright brothers made their phenomenal flight! Students celebrate the Wright brothers' flight in 1903 by having a classroom celebration that includes a multimedia timeline and comparisons of the Wright Flyer to the planes we have today. (For grades 3–6)

  • December 19: Author Eve Bunting was born in Ireland in 1928.Students listen to a news article about the LA race riots and then read Smoky Night to discuss how a younger observer might be affected by these events and their perceptions. (For grades 3–10)

  • December 22: It’s winter in the Northern Hemisphere. Students brainstorm words or images that they associate with winter, select and read a picture book about winter, and compare the two using the interactive Venn Diagram. (For grades K–6)

  • December 23: Avi was born in 1937. After reading Nothing But the Truth, students explore a current event topic and write their own short work of fiction in a similar multigenre format. (For grades 5–12)

  • December 25: A Christmas Carol was the first book transmitted over radio! Students write a script for A Christmas Carol on a level that primary students can read and perform. Older students   record the performance and create a website to showcase photographs. (For grades 7–12)

  • December 28: Poor Richard's Almanack was first published in 1733. Students explore some of the proverbs taken from Poor Richard's Almanack, give their impressions or someone who would write these statements, and choose one saying to paraphrase. (For grades 3–8)

  • Next month, find lesson plans and activities on the Jacob Grimm, Martin Luther King, Pat Mora, book awards, and more!

 

Discuss These Topics with Other Teachers

 

If you have feedback or questions about ReadWriteThink, all you have to do is contact us.

 

—Traci Gardner

 

 

[Photo: winter by dmitrybarsky, on Flickr]

Chinstrap Penguin with snow in its mouthThe last days of the year are counting down, and it’s likely that your days in the classroom are even fewer! As you’re planning for the last days of the calendar year,  consider using ReadWriteThink interactives for one of these  fun, winter activities:

  1. Choose an animal you think about during the winter (like penguins, polar bears, or snowshoe rabbit), and explore its habits and life cycle with the Animal Inquiry interactive.

  2. Use the Resume Generator to create a resume for a character from a favorite story or song. What would Scrooge list on his resume?

  3. Compose Shape Poems with the bus for the last day of school. Students can talk about all the things they hope to do during the winter break—after they ride home on the school bus for the last time this year.

  4. Have students map significant personal events they remember from previous winter holidays with the Graphic Map.

  5. Write a class alphabet book of activities to try during the winter holidays with the Alphabet Organizer.

  6. Ask students to think of a favorite event that happens during the winter break, and compose Acrostic Poems about it.

  7. Create Character Trading Cards for characters from winter-themed or holiday-themed books or songs. Imagine a trading card for  the Baby New Year!

  8. Reflect on all that has happened since the start of the school year in a class newspaper, created with the ReadWriteThink Printing Press.

  9. Explore school days and winter vacation in a Diamante Poem that unites the two opposing topics.

  10. Use the Profile Publisher to mock up social networking profiles, yearbook profiles, or newspaper or magazine profiles for characters from winter-themed or holiday-themed books or songs. What would Frosty the Snowman list on his Facebook profile?

Snowflake BeautyYou’ve probably heard that no two snowflakes are alike, but what you may not know is that that saying is thanks to the work of scientist Wilson A. Bentley.

 

Whether you have snow on the ground where you are or just see snowy scenes on television, you can talk about snow in the classroom. Choose among the lesson plans and related resources  on snow and “Snowflake” Bentley on the ReadWriteThink calendar—and find other  timely activities,  lesson plans, and classroom materials below.

 

New Resources

From the Calendar

Discuss These Topics with Other Teachers

 

If you have feedback or questions about ReadWriteThink, all you have to do is contact us.

 

—Traci Gardner

 

 

[Photo: Snowflake Beauty by CaptPiper, on Flickr]

Thanksgiving DayAlthough Thanksgiving Day has been celebrated for over 200 years, the fourth   Thursday of November didn’t become the official Thanksgiving Day until   1941, when Franklin Roosevelt signed the holiday into Federal law for the first time. Up until that time, the date had been in flux.

 

Find additional information on Thanksgiving, including how a letter writing campaign played a pivotal role in that federal law and classroom-ready lesson plans, on the ReadWriteThink calendar. You might even start a letter-writing campaign of your own with the Letter Generator.

 

Find other  timely ReadWriteThink calendar entries, new lesson plans, and classroom materials below.

 

New Resources

From the Calendar

  • November 13: It’s Bullying Awareness Week! Students create a poster to enter into a poster contest that educates others about issues surrounding bullying. (For grades 1–12)

  • November 15: The Lewis and Clark Expedition reached the Pacific Ocean in 1805. Students look at Kenneth Holder's paintings of the Lewis and Clark trail and transform their notes into a descriptive paragraph as if they were a   member of the expedition. (For grades 7–12)

  • November 18: Mickey Mouse appeared in his first animated feature. Students create a short, humorous story with at least one action character, and then use the Comic Creator to make a flipbook. (For grades 3–8)

  • November 19: Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address in 1863. Students practice the Pre-AP strategy called SOAPSTone, identifying important parts of the Gettysburg Address and comparing it with John F. Kennedy's inaugural speech. (For grades 7–12)

  • November 20: Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein was published in 1974. Students are introduced to a Silverstein verse and asked for their impressions. They then draw that they imagine when they read one of his lines and then write a line or two to continue the passage. (For grades 1–12)

  • November 21: It’s World Hello Day! Students study a letter written by a famous author to determine purpose, and words and phrases that make the letter meaningful. They can use the Letter Generator to write their own letter promoting peace. (For grades 5–12)

  • November 24: America celebrates Thanksgiving Day. After reading the book Thank You, Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving, students read the letter Hale sent to Lincoln and brainstorm a list of ways to make their community better. (For grades 5–12)

  • November 28: Poet William Blake was born in 1757. As a class, students brainstorm abstract concepts and personify that concept through a drawing or story told about the character who personifies that concept. (For grades 5–12)

  • November 29:  Louisa May Alcott was born in 1832. Students brainstorm important events and people that might serve as the beginning of an interesting piece of writing. They then use the Bio-Cube to plan their writing and write an essay about a memorable person. (For grades 7–12)

  • November 30: Jonathan Swift was born in 1667. Students explore satire and parody in television and film, advertising, and journalism and create a display that highlights their findings. (For grades 9–12)

  • Next month, find lesson plans and activities on Rosa Parks, David Macauley, Pearl Harbor, Snowflake Bentley, Emily Dickinson, and more!

Discuss These Topics with Other Teachers

 

If you have feedback or questions about ReadWriteThink, all you have to do is contact us.

 

—Traci Gardner

Native American Heritage Day0297After nearly a century of advocacy, National American Indian Heritage Month was first recognized through joint resolution by Congress in 1990. Now recognized annually, November is a time to learn more about the history and heritage of Native American peoples.

 

Explore the Native American Indian Heritage Month in the classroom with lesson plans, classroom activities, related websites, and additional resources on the ReadWriteThink calendar.

 

Find other  timely ReadWriteThink calendar entries, new lesson plans, and classroom materials below.

 

New Resources

From the Calendar


Discuss These Topics with Other Teachers

 

 

If you have feedback or questions about ReadWriteThink, all you have to do is contact us.

 

—Traci Gardner

 

 

[Photo: Native American Heritage Day0297 by Grand Canyon NPS, on Flickr]

The National Day on WritingCelebrate the National Day on Writing on October 20 by drawing attention to the remarkable variety of writing Americans engage in   and to help make writers from all walks of life aware of their craft. Find lesson plans, classroom activities, related websites, and additional resources on the ReadWriteThink calendar.

 

Find other timely ReadWriteThink calendar entries, new lesson plans, and classroom materials below.

 

New Resources


From the Calendar


Discuss These Topics with Other Teachers

 

If you have feedback or questions about ReadWriteThink, all you have to do is contact us.

 

—Traci Gardner

20070517 LaRabida: Nina, Sta Maria, PintaOn October 11, we celebrate Columbus’s landfall in the New World of the Americas in 1492. Just over two months after they set sail, the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria reached San Salvador, rather than their original destination of Cathay (China).

 

Celebrate Columbus Day in the classroom by inviting your grades 3–5 students to go on their own cyberspace exploration with the lesson Cyberspace Explorer: Getting to Know Christopher Columbus or having high school students read a concrete poem about Columbus in the Discovering Poetic Form and Structure Using Concrete Poems lesson.

 

Looking for more lessons and activities about the great explorers of our past?  Check out Verizon Thinkfinity’s collection of classroom resources about explorers and adventurers. And while you’re exploring,  check out the ReadWriteThink calendar entries, new lesson plans, and other materials below for  other new and timely classroom-ready ideas.

 

New Resources

From the Calendar

  • October 6: The Jazz Singer debuted on this day in 1927. Students think about the sound in a movie they have seen multiple times. Then students predict what sounds they expect to hear in a short scene from a film with the sound turned down. (For grades 5–12)

  • October 7: Sherman Alexie was born in 1966. Students imagine they have been asked to participate in a museum exhibit, take photos/videos of a significant location, and write or record reflections. Students can also create an exhibit from something they have read. (For grades 3–12)

  • October 8: Faith Ringgold was born on October 8, 1930. Students use Ringgold’s books as a springboard for a discussion of race, gender, and civil rights, and then write and illustrate original picture books on these topics. (For grades 5–12)

  • October 9: In 1940, Musician and peace activist John Lennon was born. After listening to “Imagine,” students reflect on the lyrics and answer questions. Then, they have a chance to write a stanza for their own song. (For grades 9–12)

  • October 11: Celebrate Columbus Day!Students create a class or individual “Book of Privileges” based on accomplishments that students have achieved and the rewards they have received as a result of their work. (For grades 3–8)
     
  • Later this month, find lesson plans and activities on Teen Read Week, Kodak, Beverly Cleary, Noah Webster, and more!

Discuss These Topics with Other Teachers

 

If you have feedback or questions about ReadWriteThink, all you have to do is contact us.

 

—Traci Gardner

 

 

[Photo: 20070517 LaRabida: Nina, Sta Maria, Pinta by Wild Guru Larry, on Flickr]

tengrrl

Talking About September 11th

Posted by tengrrl Sep 1, 2011

September 11 TilesSeptember 11, 2011, marks the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on  the Twin Towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia and Flight  93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Visit the Thinkfinity group for lessons, resources, and conversations about teaching this event, as well as the archived version of the recent online conference   hosted by the Smithsonian and other museums that explores additional   teaching strategies.

 

For other new and timely classroom-ready ideas, check out the ReadWriteThink calendar entries, new lesson plans, and other materials below.

 

New Resources


  • New punctuation lessons just arrived from The Electric Company.
     
  • New on ReadWriteThink: Become a Young Archaeologist (Grades 1–4)
           
  • Learn more about Thinkfinity and the many resources you can use in the classroom by viewing a recorded webinar.
      
  • Use the Guided Writing strategy guide to learn how to use small-group, guided writing instruction to teach students effective strategies and improve their ability to produce text independently.

  • Thinkfinity has lesson plans and interactives you can use to explore Constitution Day (September 17th) with students.

 

From the Calendar 


  • September 1: Library Card Sign-up Month begins today. A school or public library librarian is invited to visit the classroom to talk to the students about the advantages of having a library card. Students then take a library tour to acquaint them with the general features and resources available. (For grades K–6)

  • September 3: Google was formally incorporated this week in 1998. Students are guided in an exploration of search tools and have a discussion about the purposes, benefits, and disadvantages of each. (For grades 5–12)

  • September 4: Richard Wright was born in 1908. Students read an appropriate excerpt from Black Boy, discuss the incident in which Richard gets into trouble, and write found poems. (For grades 7–12)

  • September 5: In 1952, Paul Fleischman was born on this day. Some of Fleishman's memories in his essay "My House of Voices" is shared with the class. Students then write a descriptive essay that gives a tour of the voices in their homes, school, etc. (For grades 1–12)

  • Later this month, find lesson plans and activities on International Literacy Day, Hispanic Heritage Month, authors Roald Dahl, William Carlos Williams, and Elie Wiesel, and more!

 

Discuss These Topics with Other Teachers


 

 

If you have feedback or questions about ReadWriteThink, all you have to do is contact us.

 

—Traci Gardner

 

 

[Photo: September 11 Tiles by edenpictures, on Flickr]

Portable Seal Brainstorm ChartFirst grade teacher Beth Dunning from Denton, Texas asked students to use ReadWriteThink’s Acrostic Poem interactive as a culminating activity for an inquiry project on seals. Read about her project in her Community Story.

 

For more classroom-ready ideas, check out the ReadWriteThink calendar entries, new lesson plans, and other materials below.

 

New Resources

From the Calendar 


Discuss These Topics with Other Teachers

 

If you have feedback or questions about ReadWriteThink, all you have to do is contact us.

 

—Traci Gardner

Comic Creator8th grade science, grammar, literature teacher Jennifer Smith from Monticello, Illinois uses ReadWriteThink to coteach an eighth-grade language arts/literature class with a special education teacher. Read about how she used the Comic Creator student interactive from the site in her Community Story.

 

And be sure to check out the ReadWriteThink calendar entries, new lesson plans, and classroom materials below for more great ideas for your classroom.

 

New Resources

From the Calendar 

 

Discuss These Topics with  Other Teachers

 

 

If you have feedback or questions about ReadWriteThink, all you have to do is contact us.

 

 

—Traci Gardner

Patrick at 2Touch IWBInteractive whiteboard redefine hands-on activity in the classroom, as students manipulate information on a giant digital display. They also bring teachers a new challenge: what activities can you use to make the most of this new technology?

 

Teachers on the Thinkfinity Community have been busy collecting answers. Theresa Gibbon suggests trying ReadWriteThink’s interactive Word Mover for “I Have a Dream” and Word Mover for Holes and asking students to rearrange the words on the whiteboard as a class experience. Find dozens of additional ideas on the Thinkfinity Community discussion board.

 

And be sure to check out the ReadWriteThink calendar entries, new lesson plans, and classroom materials below. Have a great week!

 

New Resources

From the Calendar 

Discuss These Topics with  Other Teachers

 

 

If you have feedback or questions about ReadWriteThink, all you have to do is contact us.

 

 

—Traci Gardner

 

[Photo: Patrick at 2Touch IWB by pablog61, on Flickr]

MuitimboThinkfinity offers a collection of free live and recorded webinars that help you learn more about ReadWriteThink and the other Thinkfinity partners. Try out on-demand sessions like these:

In addition to those resources, be sure to check out the ReadWriteThink calendar entries, new lesson plans, and classroom materials below. Have a great week!

 

New Resources

From the Calendar 

  • July 31: J.K. Rowling and her Harry Potter celebrate birthdays today. Students are encouraged to think about why people challenge Harry Potter books, do a Web Quest that allows them to research the issue, and decide whether the books should be banned from the public library. (For grades 7–12)

  • August 1: The prototype for the World Wide Web was created in 1990. Students look at pictures from the past using the WayBack Machine and brainstorm a few websites to explore to think about how they have changed over the years. (For grades 3–8)

  • August 2: Get ready to go back to school! Students share details about their lives with one another using the interactive Graphic Map and share their memories in small groups or with the whole class. (For grades 3–6)

  • August 4: President Barack Obama was born today in 1961. Students are introduced to a passage by President Barack Obama in his book Dreams from My Father and are encouraged to engage in an examination of the ways they are portrayed by the media. (For grades 7–12)

  • August 5: French author Guy de Maupassant was born on this day in 1850. Students read and then rewrite a de Maupassant short story, updating its vocabulary and setting to that of the 21st century. (For grades 9–12)

  • August 6: The first woman swam the English Channel in 1926. Students brainstorm a list of famous athletic competitors and establish criteria   for what makes an athlete “famous.” Students then forecast which of today’s athletes will still be remembered in 75 to 100 years. (For grades 3–8)
      
  • Look ahead to next week for lesson plans and activities on the first picture of Earth from space, the Smithsonian Institute, and the birthdays of  Seymour Simon, Alex Haley, Walter Dean Myers, and William Caxton.

Discuss These Topics with  Other Teachers

 

 

If you have feedback or questions about ReadWriteThink, all you have to do is contact us.

 

 

 

—Traci Gardner

 

 

 

[Photo: Muitimbo by pemba_vilankulo, on Flickr]

tengrrl

New Spanish Resources and More

Posted by tengrrl Jul 19, 2011

Yuyi Morales Book Reading Public Library 11-15-08 IMG_7542If you work with Spanish speakers, you now have three new resources you can use alongside our collection of Spanish-language resources that support reading at home: 

 

In addition to those resources, be sure to check out the ReadWriteThink calendar entries, new lesson plans, and classroom materials below. Have a great week!

 

New Resources

From the Calendar 

 

Connecting with Other Teachers

 

 

If you have feedback or questions about ReadWriteThink, all you have to do is contact us.

 

 

—Traci Gardner

 

[Photo: Yuyi Morales Book Reading Public Library 11-15-08 IMG_7542 by stevendepolo, on Flickr]

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