May 22

Activities to use with the Book The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson

The Goldfish Boy

In The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson, twelve-year-old Matthew suffers from OCD. He is afraid to leave his bedroom where he has complete control over how clean the space is. Matthew spends his days looking out his bedroom window at the neighbors in the cul-de-sac, cleaning his room, and recording what the neighbors are doing in a notebook.

One day two small children come to stay with his next door neighbor, their granddad, for the summer. The young girl, Casey, calls Matthew the goldfish boy because he stays behind his glass window watching but never interacting with the neighbors.

Matthew is the last person to see the toddler next door before he disappears. The police search for Teddy, but he can’t be found. Will Matthew be able to leave the safety of his room to help find Teddy?

Ideas for the Book

Learning about OCD 

  • OCD stands for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
  • When you suffer from OCD, your mind gets stuck on a certain thought or image. The thought plays over and over again. Along with the repeating thoughts, you feel anxious. You want to respond, to react, to do something to protect yourself.
  • Approximately 2.3% of the population between the ages of 18-54 suffers from OCD. In the United States, this is 3.3 million people. 
  • In children, OCD is more prevalent in boys. Typically OCD is reported at age 6-15 for males and 20-29 in females.
  • Some common obsessions of OCD include:
    • worries about contamination
    • fear of hurting others or yourself
    • being responsible for causing something terrible to happen such as fire

Lesson Plan

This free nine page printable from Scholastic provides ideas to use with the book.

The Goldfish Boy Book Unit

Free Book Unit Samples from The Goldfish Boy Book Unit

If you would like to try out the The Goldfish Boy Book Unit before you buy it, this download contains free samples including:

  • Vocabulary Practice for Chapters 1-2
  • Comprehension Questions for Chapters 1-2
  • Constructive Response Question – Inference – The Neighbors
  • Photos to Show What the Rest of the Unit Looks Like

Teaching Ideas to Use with The Goldfish Boy

The Goldfish Boy Book Unit contains graphic organizers for an interactive notebook and game activities covering vocabulary, comprehension questions, comprehension, constructive response writing, and skill practice.

Gay Miller

May 18

Making Connections with Text Lesson #1

Making Connections with Text

Lesson #1

Bloom's Taxonomy

This is the first of three lessons on teaching ‘Making Connections with Text.’ Teaching students to make connections between previous knowledge, experiences, and emotions and the text they are reading, will —

  • help the reader become more involved with the text
  • improve attention span when reading
  • enhance understanding of difficult material
  • help students retain information

Where to Begin

Begin by modeling for your students. Offer information such as:

Text to Text

  • This book reminds me of —- [another book] because —-.

Text to Self

  • I felt like —- when —-.
  • If this happened to me, I would —-.

Text to Media

  • This story reminds me of — [name specific TV show, movie, etc.] because —.

Text to World

  • This reminded me of what is happening in [name specific event] because —-. 

Often ‘text to self’ is the easiest place to start. Once students have seen the teacher model, they will often began making connections on their own.

Next ask questions to get students involved in the discussion. These might include:

Text to Text

  • How did something you have read help you better understand this?
  • How is this text similar to or different from other things you have read?
  • What other book does this remind you of?

Text to Self

  • How did reading this make you feel?
  • Have you ever experienced something like this?
  • What has happened in your life to help you better understand this?

Text to Media

  • What [movie, TV show, song, or other media] did this remind you of?
  • What did you learn from [television, films, songs, etc.] that helped you better understand this text?
  • How did the [song] help you understand this text?
  • What part of this text relates to the movie you saw?

Text to World

  • What has happened in the world that is similar to this text?
  • How did your knowledge of [what is happening in the world] help you better understand this text?
  • What part reminds you of something in the world around us?

Graffiti Notes Organizers

Free Graphic Organizers to use when Teaching Making Connections with Text

For students to begin making their own connections without prompting, you may wish for them to have an organizer with guiding questions.

Having students draw and color notes (a left brain activity) while studying facts (a right brain activity) promotes learning since both sides of the brain are active. The improved communication helps students focus and retain information.

The organizers provided are based on this idea. I call this type of resource “Graffiti Notes.” If you have students cut away the borders, these will fit into an interactive notebook to use as a reference.

Color copies may be used as class displays. Black and white versions may be duplicated for students.

Select the version that works best for you. Three connections and four connections are provided. If you wish to include movies, songs, video games, TV programs, etc. in the ‘Text to World’ connection use the version with three connections.

The student copies with lines may be used for writing definitions and/or question prompts. 

Gay Miller

May 15

Activities to Use with the The War with Grandpa by Robert Kimmel Smith

The War with Grandpa

In The War with Grandpa, ten-year-old Peter learns from his little sister that Grandpa is going to come to live with his family. He will be staying in Peter’s room because his bad leg won’t allow him to climb two flights of stairs up to the guest bedroom. 

Peter becomes angry that Grandpa will move into HIS room. Shortly after moving in, Peter  devises a series of pranks to drive out Grandpa. Grandpa does not give up easily causing a “war” between the two.

Ideas for the Book

Watch the Movie

An adaptation of Robert Kimmel Smith’s book will be in theaters on October 20, 2017. The movie began filming May 2 in Atlanta, Georgia. Robert De Niro is playing the part of Grandpa. The cast will also include Uma Thurman, Rob Riggle, Christopher Walken, and Cheeech Marin. Peter is being played by Oakes Fegle from Pete’s Dragon

Compare and Contrast the Book to the Movie

Free Organizers to Use When Comparing the Book to the Movie

These organizers may be used to compare any book with its movie. .

Comparing You and Grandpa

This link contains a printable Venn Diagram from students to compare themselves with a grandparent.

Family Timeline

This week long set of lessons from readwritethink includes some terrific ideas. Students not only create a family timeline, but also interview a family member. The lesson are designed for 3-5 graders which matches perfectly with The War with Grandpa.

The War with Grandpa Book Unit

Free Book Unit Samples from The War with Grandpa

If you would like to try out the The War with Grandpa Book Unit before you buy it, this download contains free samples including:

  • Vocabulary Practice for Chapters 1-3
  • Comprehension Questions for Chapters 1-3
  • Constructive Response Question – Point of View
  • Photos to Show What the Rest of the Unit Looks LikeThe War with Grandpa Teaching Ideas

The War with Grandpa Book Unit contains graphic organizers for an interactive notebook and game activities covering vocabulary, comprehension questions, comprehension, constructive response writing, and skill practice.

Gay Miller

May 11

Teaching Person vs. Supernatural Conflict with Movie Trailers

 

Person vs. Supernatural ConflictIn a person vs. supernatural conflict, a character battles that which is beyond nature. It can’t be explained by natural law. This could be witches, vampires, mythical creatures, and so forth.

Examples of Person vs. Supernatural Conflict from Literature

Picture Books

  • Vampire Boy’s Good Night 

Children’s Literature

  • The Witches
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  • A Wrinkle in Time
  • Ender’s Game
  • Harry Potter
  • The Lightning Thief
  • Oedipus Rex

Teaching Person vs. Supernatural Conflict with Movie Trailers

The Witches

While in a hotel in England, Luke spies on a convention of witches. He learns the Grand High Witch plans on turning all children into mice. Now Luke who has been turned into a mouse must fight the witches.

Gremlins

A gadget salesman buys his son a pet mogwai. He is warned never to expose it to bright light, water, or feed him after midnight. The boy inadvertently breaks these three rules. This unleashes a horde of mischievous monsters on a small town.

Predator

The U.S. government hires a team of commandos. The group goes to Guatemala. There they battle an invisible extraterrestrial with superhuman strength.

Jurassic Park

A team of specialists tour an island theme park. The park is populated by dinosaurs created from prehistoric DNA. Although the park is supposed to be safe, it suffers a breakdown. Ferocious predators break free and go on a hunt.

Abominable

Preston is attacked by a gigantic ape-like beast. When he contacts the local authorities, they dismiss him as delusional. He then sets out to stop the creature by himself.

Dracula Untold

In 15th century Transylvania, the Sultan demands 1,000 boys for his army. To save his son, Vlad makes a deal with a monster. This enables him to defeat the Turks. It also costs him his humanity. 

 

Independence Day

A satellite engineer spots a 3,000-mile-wide ship that’s approaching Earth. Fortunately, 20 years earlier, nations across the world started to use recovered extraterrestrial technology to develop a defense program. When the alien invaders attack, humans are ready for battle.

Teaching Conflict in Literature (Person vs. the Environment) Using Movie Trailers
Teaching Conflict in Literature (Person vs. the Environment) Using Movie Trailers
FREE Conflicts in Literature Organizer
Additional Conflicts in Literature Posts
Environment Conflict – publishing 3/30/2017
Society Conflict – publishing 4/6/2017
Technology Conflict – publishing 4/13/2017
Self Conflict – publishing 4/27/2017
Person Conflict – publishing 5/4/2017
Supernatural Conflict – publishing 5/11/2017
Gay Miller

 

May 08

Activities to Use with the Book Rules by Cynthia Lord

Rules

In the book Rules by Cynthia Lord, twelve-year-old Catherine must spend the summer without her best friend who goes to California for the summer. A new girl moves in next door. Catherine hopes her autistic brother does not keep her from making friends.

Ideas for the Book

 Using a Communication Board

Free Communication Board Activity - Have students try to communicate using a communication board only to see how Jason feels in the book Rules by Cynthia Lord.

I created this communication board to use with the novel Out of My Mind; however, it is a great activity to use with the book Rules as well. Jason uses an album of cards to communicate. In the story, Catherine is frustrated by this limited means of communication, so she makes Jason additional words. 

Activity:

  1. One student will randomly draw a request slip from the stack.
  2. The student will read the strip without showing his/her partner
  3. The student will then try to make the request using only the “Communication Board” with no verbal instructions.

Discussion:

  • Which questions were the most difficult?
  • How did you feel when you couldn’t make your partner understand your request?
  • What words do you think should be added?
  • How would you draw words like gross, beautiful, or frustrated?

Download the “Communication Board” and request strips here.

Teaching Ideas on the Web

Children’s Books with Characters who have Special Needs

  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio
  • Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
  • Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick
  • Al Capone Does my Shirts by Gennifer Chodenko
  • The Cay by Theodore Taylor
  • Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr
  • Thank you, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco
  • El Deafo by Cece Bell
  • Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin
  • Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
  • The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker

Rules Book Unit

Free Samples from Rules by Cynthia Lord Book Unit

If you would like to try out the Rules Book Unit before you buy it, this download contains free samples including:

  • Vocabulary Practice for Chapters 1-2
  • Comprehension Questions for Chapters 1-2
  • Constructive Response Question – Character Traits – Catherine
  • Photos to Show What the Rest of the Unit Looks Like
 Teaching Ideas to use withe the Book Rules by Cynthia Lord

Rules Book Unit contains graphic organizers for an interactive notebook and game activities covering vocabulary, comprehension, constructive response writing, and skill practice.

Gay Miller

May 04

Teaching Person vs. Person Conflict with Movie Clips

 

Person vs. Person ConflictIn a person vs. person conflict, the conflict is between two forms of like beings. This is often the protagonist versus the antagonist. The conflict may be verbal, physical, or emotional.

Examples from Person vs. Person from Literature

Picture Books

  • The Ugly Duckling
  • Rumpelstiltskin
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit
  • Angel Child, Dragon Child
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  • Harriet and the Promised Land
  • The Hundred Penny Box

Children’s Literature

  • Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • The Westing Game
  • Out of my Mind
  • Shiloh
  • From Where the Red Fern Grows
    Billy and his dogs are attacked by a mountain lion, and they must do everything they can to survive.
  • From Weasel
    Nathan is captured by Weasel, an Indian fighter. Earlier in the book, Weasel had attacked Nathan’s pa, had taken away Pa’s riffle, and had killed the farm animals.

Teaching Person vs. Person Conflict with Movie Trailers

Cruella De Vil from 101 Dalmatians

Cruella is is married to a furrier who she claims has never made her a fur coat from dog pelts. She becomes enemies with the Radcliffes when she they refuse to sell their puppies. 

Shere Khan and Kaa from The Jungle Book

Shere Khan, a Bengal tiger, is the main antagonist of Disney’s 1967 animated version of The Jungle Book. Shere orders Kaa to act as an informant.

Gaston and the Beast from Beauty and the Beast

Gaston wants to marry Belle because she is the most beautiful girl in the village. He becomes upset that Belle does not show and interest in him and instead likes the Beast.

Jafar from Aladdin

Jafar is the Royal Vizier of Agrabah who plans to overtake the kingdom through the power of a genie.

Hades vs Hercules

Hades is the antagonist of Hercules in the Disney version of the story. 

 

Captain Hook and Peter Pan

Captain Hook is a pirate who repeated fights Peter Pan. 

Teaching Person vs. Person Conflict
FREE Conflicts in Literature Organizer
Additional Conflicts in Literature Posts
Environment Conflict – publishing 3/30/2017
Society Conflict – publishing 4/6/2017
Technology Conflict – publishing 4/13/2017
Self Conflict – publishing 4/27/2017
Person Conflict – publishing 5/4/2017
Supernatural Conflict – publishing 5/11/2017
Gay Miller

 

Read the rest of this entry »

May 01

Scar Island

 

Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart is the perfect book for reluctant middle school readers. This gripping adventure story is an easy read (Lexile rating of 610).

Twelve year old Jonathan has been sent to the Slabhenge Reformatory School for Troubled Boys. Jonathan thinks he deserves going to to this remote island just large enough to house the crumbling stone school that was once an asylum for the terrible thing he did. Just a few chapters into the book, a lightning strike kills all the adults. The boys struggle for leadership roles as a hurricane hits the island.

This page-turner contains chapter-after-chapter ending in cliffhangers. I found myself not being able to put the book down.

Activities for the Book

Activity #1 ~ Book Trailer

Activity #2~ Parallel Classics 

Jonathan goes to the library four times during the novel. Each time the librarian gives Jonathan a book to read that in some way parallels the events that are taking place on the island. Have students watch summaries of these classics and compare them to the events that are taking place in Jonathan’s life.

Robinson Crusoe

Treasure Island

Lord of the Flies

Moby-Dick

This student created video is a little difficult to understand.

Activity #3 ~ Anti-Bullying Campaign

Sebastian and Benny become extremely abusive when they decide to become the leaders. Have students make a list of how they abuse power.

Have students create a poster, skit, video, and so on that shows the effects of bullying. Students can research statistical information to add to their campaigns.

Activity #4 ~ Letter Writing

Each day the boys at Slabhenge write letters home. Have students write letters to friends or family. These letters could include book summaries.

 

Free Samples from Scar Island Book Unit

Scar Island Book Unit Free Samples

If you would like to try out the Scar Island Book Unit before you buy it, this download contains the following free samples:

  • Vocabulary Practice for Chapters 1-2
  • Comprehension Questions for Chapters 1-2
  • Constructive Response Question – Setting
  • Photos to Show What the Rest of the Unit Looks Like

Scar Island Book Unit

Scar Island Book Unit

Scar Island Book Unit contains graphic organizers for an interactive notebook and game activities covering vocabulary, comprehension questions, constructive response writing, and skill practice.

 

Gay Miller

 

Apr 27

Person vs. Self Conflict

 

Person vs. Self ConflictIn a person vs. self conflict, the main character has a problem within him/herself. This type of struggle takes place in the character’s mind. The character has to make a choice between doing something that is right or wrong. The character may also have to overcome emotions.

Examples for Teaching Person vs. Self from Literature

Picture Books

  • The Dog who Cried Wolf
  • Dogzilla
  • Edward the Emu
  • My Rotten Red-Headed Older Brother
  • Owl Babies
  • Ira Sleeps Over
  • Hey, Al

Children’s Literature

  • Pinocchio
  • Stargirl
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
  • Chocolate Fever
  • From Weasel
    Nathan spends the winter months struggling with his conscious. Should he go back to Weasel’s cabin to seek revenge or forget about Weasel?

Teaching Person vs. Self Conflict with Movie Trailers

Almost Famous

A teenage rock star journalist goes on the road with and up-and-coming rock band in the early 1970s. 

Toy Story

Andy gives Woody to Bonnie.

Inside Out

Riley moves from a Midwestern town to San Francisco. She struggles to adjust to her new  life.  

Tangled

Rapunzel struggles with the idea of freedom vs breaking her mother’s heart.

Luke Skywalker Surrenders to Darth Vader

Aladdin and the Genie

Aladdin needs to tell Jasmine the truth about who he really is.

 

The Grinch

The Grinch struggles with finding something nice to wear.

Teaching Person vs. Self Conflict using Movie Trailers

FREE Conflicts in Literature Organizer
Additional Conflicts in Literature Posts
Environment Conflict – publishing 3/30/2017
Society Conflict – publishing 4/6/2017
Technology Conflict – publishing 4/13/2017
Self Conflict – publishing 4/27/2017
Person Conflict – publishing 5/4/2017
Supernatural Conflict – publishing 5/11/2017
Gay Miller

 

Apr 24

Teaching Ideas to Use with Pax

 

Pax is a wonderful novel by Sara Pennypacker. In the book, Peter and his much loved pet fox named Pax are separated because of war. The book contains chapters alternating between Peter’s and Pax’s perspectives as they make their way back to each other

Teaching Idea for the Book

Father and Son Relationships

Peter has a difficult relationship with his father. Explore different father and son relationships by having students listen to songs. 

Videos

Cat Stevens “Father and Son”

In this song by Cat Stevens, the father tries to give his son advice about how to live his life. The son is tired of being ordered to listen. He needs to go out on his own and make his own decisions; he can’t just simply follow his dad’s advice.

Dan Fogelberg “Leader of the Band”

Dan Fogelberg is honoring his father in this song. He tells a little about his father’s life. He thanks him for giving him the talent of music.

Neil Young “Old Man”

The video with this song is super powerful in its message. It will help the students understand the meaning of the song. The son realizes that he is very much like his father.

 

Harry Chapin “Cat’s in the Cradle”

The father is super busy working and doesn’t spend time with his son. The son grows up to be just like his father. 

 

Brad Paisley “He Didn’t Have to Be”

This is a son/stepfather relationship. The son loves his stepfather. The son hopes “He is at least half the man that he didn’t have to be.”  

Bruce Springsteen “My Father’s House”

The son returns to his father’s house. The house is still there, but his father isn’t. The implied message is that the son and father separated after a disagreement. The son waited a long time to make amends, too long; his father is no longer there. 

Will Smith “Just the Two of Us”

The father tells his son how much he loves him. He gives advice to his son about how to be good.

Rodney Atkins “Watching You”

The father tells the story of his small son. The son watches his dad and imitates his father’s actions.

Free Samples from Pax Book Unit

FREE Samples from Pax Book Unit

If you would like to try out the book unit before you buy it, this download contains the following free samples:

  • Vocabulary Practice for Chapter 1-2
  • Comprehension Questions for Chapters 1-2
  • Constructive Response Question – Character Traits
  • Photos to Show What the Rest of the Unit Looks Like

Pax Book Unit

Pax Book Unit

 

Pax Book Unit contains graphic organizers for an interactive notebook and game activities covering vocabulary, comprehension questions, constructive response writing, and skill practice.

 

Gay Miller

 

Apr 21

The Wild Robot Writing Activities

 

Teaching Ideas to Use with The Wild Robot

The Wild Robot

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown combines a science fiction story involving a robot of the future with a fantasy in which animals talk. The outcome is a book that is both charming and exciting. There is no question about it; your students will love this book!

Writing Ideas for the Book

CHARTING THE STORY 

Compare and Contrast Printables for The Wild RobotThis free printable with answer key included helps students keep track of the story. Students use the chart to write details about how Roz helps the animals on the island and then how they in return help her. After students complete the chart, it may be used create a T-Chart to compare and contrast the animals to Roz.

COMPARE AND CONTRAST WRITING IDEA

The Wild Robot Comparing Characters Anchor Chart

Have students write a compare and contrast essay using the information on the chart. Students can compare how different animals helped Roz by detailing which animals made the most impact on saving Roz’s life.

EVALUATING THE IMAGES WRITING IDEA

Peter Brown not only wrote The Wild Robot but illustrated it as well. Visit his website to learn about the process he went through in creating the story as well as the illustrations.

Have students write an essay explaining how the illustrations in The Wild Robot help the reader better understand the story.

SEQUENCING WRITING IDEA

These two videos show how to create robots from common household items. Cardboard boxes and plastic cups are painted and glued together. The robots are decorated with buttons, pipe cleaners, and various other materials.

After creating a robot from recycled materials, have students write instructions for how to build a robot.

 

The Wild Robot Book Unit

If you would like to try out the The Wild Robot Book Unit before you buy it, this download contains free samples including:

  • Vocabulary Practice for Chapters 1-2
  • Comprehension Questions for Chapters 1-2
  • Constructive Response Question – Point of View
  • Photos to Show What the Rest of the Unit Looks Like

The Wild Robot Book Unit contains graphic organizers for an interactive notebook and game activities covering vocabulary, comprehension questions, comprehension, constructive response writing, and skill practice.The Wild Robot Book Unit is available at Teachers Pay Teachers.


Teaching Ideas to use with The Wild RobotGay Miller

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