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]


Sonny's Blues

Posted by robbenwainer Dec 2, 2011


Wedding Sunflowers.jpg





Will the pleasure of listening to what we read ever be less creative How will a "Knights Sonnet," "Tunisia," and "The Way We Are With Friends," ever find it's way into our lives to mean more than a gift? In James Baldwin's Sonny's Blues can we still hope to find more than the good in expecting something to happen. Who we weave tales to, can build both interest and intrigue. Does James Baldwin mean that this is what happens in time? 

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