I knew how to help my below-level writers become on-level. But how the heck do you make the next step?
Content Area: Language Arts
When you read a book with students, avoid getting bogged down with the nitty-gritty. Just pick one big idea and have fun reading! No quizzes, no memorizing, no essays. Just develop your students’ love of reading.
Here’s the perfect constraint for March! Writing with the digits of Pi.
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”?
Sixteen unlikely heirs? A mysterious murder? A fortune on the line? Let’s dig into The Westing Game!
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).
Take your students through Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol this holiday season and expose them to a classic while exploring the Universal Theme of Change. And, hey, since this story’s in the public domain, you can print out a PDF or link to the text at Project Gutenburg. A Christmas Carol Summary Dickens has organized […]
Here’s how I’d wrap a big idea around our study of “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler”. We’d investigate the paradox that people want to both fit in and be unique! A quote from the author, E. L. Konigsburg, will be our entry point.
Roald Dahl’s Matilda, a childhood favorite of mine, opens up some fantastic discussions about adults, being brave, and how power can be used and abused.
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.
Madeleine L’Engle’s 1962 science-fiction classic, A Wrinkle in Time makes for a fantastic classroom novel study.
A fun, abstract vocab puzzle in which students can add one letter per line, forming a pyramid of words.
A reader was looking for examples of high-quality books for gifted/talented 4th and 5th graders, but she was constrained to a lexile range of 900-1000. Here are the recs I received…
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!