BeeIt’s the time of year when spelling exotic words that you’d never use in day-to-day communication is all the rage. The final rounds of the Scripps  Spelling Bee take place, with daily coverage on ESPN.

 

As I wrote in an NCTE Inbox blog post a couple of years ago, the problem is that while spelling has apparently become prime time entertainment, spelling bees still aren't good pedagogy. A  2007 Washington  Post article explains that spelling bees provide limited support to students learning about words and the ways that they work. Sue Ann Gleason, the teacher quoted in the article explains the spelling bees “honor the children who already know how to spell, but they do little to support those who need explicit instruction.”

 

So while the Spelling Bee may get kids and their families interested in spelling for a few days, take a look at the spelling lesson plans and activities on ReadWriteThink for ways to support every student (not just the ones who can spell funny words like weissnichtwo. And check out the calendar entries, lesson plans, and classroom activities below for  more classroom-ready ideas. 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: Bee by _PaulS_, on Flickr]

El Camion Mexicano, Soho, W1Now that classes are nearly over, it’s that time when I begin reflecting on the year and  deciding which activities I want to be sure to try again next year. I try to think of the resources that surprised me or particularly engaged students.

 

One of my favorites is Cooking Up Descriptive Language: Designing Restaurant Menus. It gave students a chance to compose menus that reflected their family and cultural backgrounds, and they were able to learn more about text design and layout. I’ll definitely try it again, and I’m considering other possibilities for the activity, like using it as a book report alternative by asking students to create a menu for a restaurant that characters in a novel visit (or might visit). It was definitely a keeper!

 

For more great classroom activities, check out the calendar entries, lesson plans, and classroom activities below for this week. Have a great week!

 

New Resources

  • Share the stories of war,  sacrifice and honor of these heroic women and   men with your students  with this special collection of lessons,   interactives and resources on Honoring Our Military.

  • Help students understand  the science of spring with lessons and activities from Thinkfinity.org,  including The Science of Spring from Science  NetLinks.     

  • Explore the universe with your students. Launch rockets, explore planets and test gravity with lessons and interactive tools.   

  • Make the most of summer. Use the Verizon Thinkfinity resources to kick off a summer of learning for students.

 

From the Calendar 

  • May 22: Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood premiered in 1967. After thinking about TV shows, books, and movies from their childhood, students write about what they remember and revisit how they feel about it at an older age. (For grades 7–12)

  • May 23: Author Scott O'Dell was born on this day. Students select a set of books to read and compare fiction and nonfiction books and discuss their findings as a class. Students can follow up by   writing short stories about the topics they explored.(For grades 5–12)

  • May 24: The Brooklyn Bridge opened on this day in 1883. Students explore the literary concept of point of view by examining a pair of picture books that highlight the controversies surrounding the Brooklyn Bridge. (For grades 5–12)

  • May 25: Ralph Waldo Emerson was born in 1803. Students visit a quotation attributed to Emerson and identify the definition of success. Students then use the Postcard Creator to write a note to a person that they feel is successful. (For grades 7–12)

  • May 26: Sally Ride, first American woman in space, was born in 1951. After exploring information about Sally Ride on the StarKids Who's Who site, students write a letter using the Letter Generator to Dr. Ride. (For grades 3–8)
      
  • May 27: On this day in 1907, Rachel Carson was born. Students learn about Rachel Carson, explore different environmental websites, and write a Diamante Poem about a particular habitat. (For grades 3–12)   

  • Look ahead to next week for lesson plans and activities on  Memorial Day, the National Spelling Bee, the debut of CNN, Jesse James, and Walt Whitman.

 

Connecting with Other Teachers


 

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

 

 

—Traci Gardner

 

[Photo: El Camion Mexicano, Soho, W1 by Ewan-M, on Flickr]

More empty classroom stuff, UMBCThe school year is soon coming to a close. Students will make their way to summer camps, family vacations, and nearby pools and parks. Before you face that room of empty desks, spend a few minutes thinking about the resource that worked best for you this year, make plans to reflect with students on all you’ve done during the year and encourage families to keep students learning during the summer months. Check out the calendar entries, lesson plans, and classroom activities below for this week and the approaching last weeks of the school year on the ReadWriteThink site. 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: More empty classroom stuff, UMBC by sidewalk flying, on Flickr]

29th Asian Pacific American Heritage FestivalIn her Community Story, Jacquelynn Pleis describes how she uses ReadWriteThink’s  Exploring and Sharing Family Stories lesson plan as part of a year-end celebration of students’ cultural backgrounds. If you don’t have time for the kind of cultural fair that Pleis describes, try one of the cultural or historical events from this week’s calendar.

 

You can look at music and the blues, civil rights in the U.S., and the Puerto Rican Independence movement. For a wider focus, ask students to talk about their personal heroes, whether cultural, historical, or both, as part of a celebration of Star Wars creator George Lucas’s birthday. Finally, May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, so it’s a wonderful time to  honor the heritage of Asian and Pacific Americans and their contributions to the United States.

 

Find lesson plans and classroom activities to kick off your cultural and historical exploration  plus what’s new on the ReadWriteThink site detailed below. Have a great week!

 

New Resources

 

From the Calendar 

 

Connecting with Other Teachers

 

  • Get connected! Join our group focusing on all things reading and language arts.

 

 

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

 

—Traci Gardner

 

 

[Photo: 29th Asian Pacific American Heritage Festival by Asian/Pacific American Heritage Festival, on Flickr]

tengrrl

Get Caught Reading!

Posted by tengrrl May 2, 2011

May is Get Caught Reading Month!May is Get Caught Reading Month, a nationwide public service campaign launched by the Association of American Publishers to remind people of all ages how much fun it is to read. The celebration is supported by hundreds of celebrities, including LL Cool J, Dylan and Cole Sprouse, and the newest addition, Olivia the Pig.

 

This week on ReadWriteThink, you can find activities for Get Caught Reading Month and many other events as well as other lesson plans and classroom resources. Have a great week!

 

New Resources

 

From the Calendar 

  • May 1: Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is in May! Students consider the portrayal of Asians in popular culture by exploring images from classic and contemporary films and comparing them to historical and cultural reference materials. (For grades 9–12)

  • May 1: May is Get Caught Reading Month! Celebrate by doing a reading-related service project such as planning an intergenerational reading day or organizing a book drive. (For grades K–12)

  • May 2: Teacher Appreciation Week honors our teachers.In celebration of Teacher Appreciation Week, students read a book about a teacher and follow up with an activity related to the book using the Venn Diagram, Letter Generator, Story Map, or Essay Map. (For grades 3–12)

  • May 2: Celebrate National Children’s Book Week!Children show support for their favorite Children’s Choice Book award finalist by designing a promotional book cover. (For grades K–6)

  • May 3: National Public Radio began broadcasting in 1971. Students make predictions about the content of some of NPR’s programs, then listen to the programs and report on the contents and discuss with the class. (For grades 7–12)

  • May 5: It’s Cinco de Mayo. Students research a piece of art, music, dance, literature, or food that suitably represents Mexico and create a presentation for the class. (For grades 7–12)

  • Look ahead to next week for literacy activities on blues legend Robert Johnson, Newbery Medalist Christopher Paul Curtis, the Puerto Rican Independence movement, and Star Wars creator George Lucas.

 

Connecting with Other Teachers

 

If you have feedback or questions about ReadWriteThink, all you have to do is contact us. Have a great week!

 

—Traci Gardner

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