Here’s the perfect constraint for March! Writing with the digits of Pi.
Content Area: Language Arts
Instead of just memorizing what a bunch of morphemes mean, we’re looking broadly, exploring patterns, finding unexpected similarities and weird differences.
Even what seems like a low-level “summarize” task can become beautifully high-level when we climb Bloom’s Taxonomy.
Here’s an interesting way to move students past mundane patterns in their writing. Ask for a rewrite, but without a letter (or two).
When you’re teaching a reading skill, can you replace some of those dull sample texts with glorious artwork?
How can we move a punctuation lesson beyond mere memorization and towards interesting thinking?
My 21st century 12-year-olds absolutely died watching Abbot and Costello’s “Who’s On First” skit. And we got a great homophone activity out of it too.
Students took the classic song, Help!, and rewrote it to be about their collective summers.
How one might revamp a “Wax Museum” project into something that focuses more on thinking than product.
Here’s how you can add some spice to an otherwise dull study of parts of speech.
The first unit in our writing program was always teaching the coordinating conjunctions. It always felt goofy teaching this to 6th graders – especially a gifted magnet class. I mean… do they really not know the difference between “and” and “but”?
Use a two-dimensional scatter plot to dig into the nuances of several synonyms.
How do we differentiate a dull lesson like “its” vs “it’s”? I decided to push it to an extreme (and include some unexpected novelty).
I got to work with several groups of students (of many ages) and I tried out this task: building a tournament to decide who was the most resilient historical figure or fictional character? Kids came up with some amazing ideas.
A fun, abstract vocab puzzle in which students can add one letter per line, forming a pyramid of words.
Once students have a topic they’d like to research, how do we help them form more interesting questions?
We’re going to take the Academic Valentine idea from earlier, and extend it into a full blown love letter – just in time for Valentine’s Day!
Begin with a small, simple word and identify its antonym. Then, take this second word and find its antonym. Many times, you’ll find that an antonym of an antonym isn’t always related the original word.
Palindromes are one of those fun ideas that some gifted kids just latch onto. We’ll check out palindromic words, phrases, and even numbers in this article.
Many students blow past grade-level spelling and vocabulary at a young age. Unfortunately, a common technique to “challenge” them is to find harder and more obscure words for their spelling list. Instead, let’s take advantage of the built-in complexity of common words with multiple-meanings.
To add depth to character analysis, let’s look beyond a character’s traits and dig into what influenced them to have those traits.
This type of sentence has great possibilities for classroom application because of its two different interpretations. It’s a perfect tool to: demonstrate careful reading, showcase the need for editing while writing, and encourage creativity and divergent thinking.
Let’s see how we can use a classic piece of poetry to enhance a lesson on parts of speech or context clues. This provides exposure to a great work and also increases the complexity of a typical task.
Mother’s Day is coming up, and it’s the perfect chance to practice figurative language. Help your students create thoughtful cards, packed with rich similes and metaphors that relate directly to their mothers.
Garden Path Sentences seem to begin one way, but quickly fall apart, forcing the reader to start over and interpret words in a new way. A simple example is: “The old man the boat.”