Jun 19

Weasel by Cynthia DeFelice

Weasel by Cynthia DeFelice is a historical fiction novel.

After the Removal Act of 1830, the U.S. government hires a man, known as Weasel, to remove the Shawnees from the Ohio Territory. Once all the Native Americans have fled, Weasel stays in Ohio. He then turns on the white settlers. 

One of Weasel’s victims is eleven-year-old Nathan’s pa. Nathan struggles between taking the law in his own hands and letting Weasel go.

Teaching Ideas for the Book

Book Opening Lines 

Great First Lines in Children's Literature

Weasel has a great opening line:

The dogs were dozing in their usual places by the fire when the knock came.

This free set of cards contains 20 cards with great opening lines from children’s literature. Have students sort the cards by type:

  • dialogue
  • question
  • vivid description
  • interesting fact
  • sound effect

Bringing Ezra Back by Cynthia DeFelice

Cynthia DeFelice reads from Bringing Ezra Back, the sequel of Weasel. The sequel takes place five months after the book Weasel ends. In the next book, Nathan sees a handbill advertising a show with a ‘white injun.’ Nathan plans to save Ezra from being an exhibit in the traveling show. He sets out from Ohio to Pennsylvania with Orrin Beckwith, a peddler. Along the way, Nathan encounters others who are both helpful and mean.

Book Covers

Compare book covers for the book Weasel.

 Weasel Weasel

 Weasel Book Unit

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

  • Vocabulary Practice for Chapters 1-2
  • Comprehension Questions for Chapters 1-2
  • Reading Skill Page on Analogies
  • English Lesson on Plurals

Weasel Book Unit

Weasel Book Unit contains printables for

  • vocabulary
  • comprehension
  • constructive response writing
  • reading skill practice
  • English skill lessons
  • Activities

Gay Miller

Jun 12

The Tiger Rising Book Activities

The Tiger Rising

As twelve year old Rob walks through the woods near his Florida home, he stumbles upon a caged tiger. The same day, he meets a girl named Sistine Bailey. Rob is full of bottled up emotions. Before long, he begins confiding his feelings with Sistine. Rob even shows Sistine the tiger. When she sees it, she insists they let it go. This leads to tragedy.

Teaching Ideas for the Book

Character Traits

Have students use easek.ly to create character maps of Sistine and Rob.

3D Tour of the Sistine Chapel

Sissy was named after the Sistine Chapel. Have students ‘visit’ the Sistine Chapel using this virtual tour.

3D Tour of the Sistine Chapel

Interview with Kate DiCamillo

Online Tiger Printables and How-Tos

Online Teaching Resources

Free Samples from The Tiger Rising Book UnitBook Unit Samples

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

  • Vocabulary Practice for Chapters 1-3 [harbor and astounded]
  • Comprehension Questions for Chapters 1-3
  • Constructive Response Question – Symbolism
  • Photos to Show What the Rest of the Unit Looks Like

The Tiger Rising Book UnitThe Tiger Rising Book Unit contains graphic organizers for an interactive notebook and game activities. Vocabulary, comprehension, constructive response writing, and skill practice are all included.

Gay Miller

Jun 08

The Westing Game Book Unit Activities

The Westing Game

Newbery Medal winner The Westing Game will keep the reader guessing ‘who did it’ from beginning to end. The story opens with Barney Northrup selling apartments at the Sunset Towers. Only a selected group of tenants receive an invitation to purchase the luxury estate at affordable prices.

Once the tenants move in, sixteen are invited to a reading of Sam Westing’s will. The heir who can figure out how he died wins Westing’s entire fortune.

This page turner takes many unexpected twists and turns. Not until the last chapter will the reader know the guilty party.

Book Trailer

Wanted Posters

The Westing Game Wanted Poster

Use Storyboard This to create wanted posters for each of the 16 heirs.

3-D Setting Organizer

3D Setting Organizer for The Westing GameI love this idea by Susie Rios. Students not only draw the characters, but write about them inside the window flaps.

Character Trait Cards

Free Character Trait CardsWith so many suspects, students get confused about who is who. Download this free set of cards (including an answer key) to help students

Activities

  • Sort the character cards by the places the characters live, families they belong to, etc.
  • Use the cards to discuss suspects.
  • Make a T-Chart on a large piece of construction paper. Sort cards by guilty or not guilty as evidence is revealed.

Book Unit Samples

To prevent you from having to download multiple samples, I included everything in one download. The file includes the following. 

#1 ~ Sunset Towers Organizer

Free Printable to use with The Westing Game

#2 ~ Free Samples from The Westing Game Book Unit

Free Samples from The Westing Game Book Unit

#3 ~ Lesson 1 for Writing a Mystery

This graphic organizer helps students figure out the housing arrangements of Sunset Towers.

Try out the first lesson of

 

The Westing Game Book Unit The Westing Game

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

Writing a Mystery UnitWriting a Mystery ~ A Common Core Unit

For teachers who would like just the Writing a Mystery without the full The Westing Game Book Unit, I have a product for you. 

 

Gay Miller

 

Jun 05

The Dark is Rising Teaching Ideas

The Dark is Rising is an exceptional contemporary fantasy on the Common Core Standards Grades 6-8 Exemplars List. The novel tells the story of Will Stanton who on his eleventh birthday learns he is one of the Old Ones who is destined to save the world from the Dark. Will must collect six Signs and join them together before the Dark destroys Earth. Read The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper to see if Will can defeat the Dark.

Teaching Ideas for the Book

Artwork 

 Artwork for The Dark is Rising  Artwork forThe Dark is Rising

Have students describe the scenes that are taking place in each drawing.

Movie

Have students watch the movie version and compare it to the book. This free printable will help students compare and contrast.

Links on the Web

Book Unit Samples

If you would like to try out The Dark is Rising Book Unit before you buy it, this download contains free samples including:

 

The Dark is Rising Book Unit 

Organizers from The Dark is Rising Book Unit

The Dark is Rising Book UnitGay Miller

Jun 01

Making Connections with Text Lesson #3

Making Connections with Text

Lesson #3

Bloom's Taxonomy

This is the third of three lessons on teaching ‘Making Connections with Text.’ If you missed the first two lessons you can find them here:


In this lesson students will read the story of Aladdin and make connections to the text.

The Lesson

Aladdin Story

Included in the printable is a three page printable story “The Adventures of Aladdin.”

The story is in the public domain, so it may be used freely. Here is the readability information:

Average Grade Level 6.1

You should be able to read the text out loud in approximately 14 minutes.

Vocabulary Words

  • mysterious
  • impatiently
  • cautiously
  • excitedly
  • obedient
  • sultan
  • respectfully
  • incredible
  • apparition
  • possessions
  • respectfully
  • astonished

Idioms

  • hand to mouth
  • at their wits’ end
  • down to earth

Organizers

Depending on the level and experience of your students, you may wish to read the story out loud to them. Stop and ask leading questions related to making connections.

Interesting Facts about Aladdin

  • The setting of the earliest Aladdin stories was China.
  • In early stories, Aladdin was not an orphan. He lived with his mother.
  • The popular Disney animated film of 1992 makes Aladdin an Arabian boy.
  • The genie in the Disney film was voiced by Robin Williams.
  • Williams would read each line as written in the script, but he would read it in 20 different character voices. This gave the producers a lot to choose from.

This eight-minute animated story “Aladdin and the Magician” has enough similarities and differences to make it a good version to compare to the text provided. 

Printables

Free Lesson on Making Connections with Text using AladdinThis download includes the three page story and organizers needed to complete the lesson.

Gay Miller

May 29

Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins Book Activities

 

Gregor the Overlander

Before she wrote The Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins wrote the Underland Chronicles. In the first book of the series is Gregor the Overlander. 

Gregor and his baby sister fall through a grate. In just moments, they go from their apartment building in New York City to a fantastical subterranean world.

This kingdom, known as the Underland, contains fantasy creatures. Giant roaches, bats, rats, and spiders talk and fight. Gregor meets a race of people with translucent skin.

One of their leaders, Vikus, announces that Gregor is the “Warrior.” Gregor must follow the the words set out by the ‘Prophecy of Gray.’ He agrees. By following the prophecy, he will save father who has been a prisoner of the rats for over two years.

Gregor must make dangerous alliances. He must also travel over treacherous lands. During the quest, he must battle rats. Will Gregor be successful? Can Gregor rescue his father? Will the Underland race prevail? 

Teaching Ideas for the Book

Comparing Two Books with Underground Settings 

Underground settings have been popular for years. One of the first books with this setting was Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864). Just a year later Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) was published. 

Free Activity - Compare The City of Ember to Gregor the Overlander

The City of Ember is a great book to compare to Gregor the Underlander. In one scene of the book, Gregor tries to escape from the Underland by riding a boat down the river. Although Gregor’s journey ends in a vicious fight with rats, the actual boat ride resembles Doon and Lina’s ride out of Ember. Many other comparisons between the two books can be made as well. Download this T-Chart to help students compare the two books.

Additional Subterranean Books

Here are some additional books your students might like:

Artemis Fowl

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

This story focuses on crimes by or against a fairy-folk who live beneath the earth’s crust.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Battle of the LabyrinthTunnels

 

 

 

 

 

The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan

This is the fourth book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. In the story, the protagonist must navigate a supernatural maze under the United States.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tunnels by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams

Will’s dad disappears. While investigating, he finds an underground community known as the Colony.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gregor the Overlander Book Unit

Free Samples from Gregor the Overlander Book Unit

If you would like to try out the Gregor the Overlander 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 – Summarizing
  • Photos to Show What the Rest of the Unit Looks Like

Gregor the Overlander Book Unit

Gregor the Overlander Book Unit contains graphic organizers for an interactive notebook and game activities. Vocabulary, comprehension, constructive response writing, and skill practice are all included.

Gay Miller

May 25

Making Connections with Text Lesson #2

Making Connections with Text

Lesson #2

Bloom's Taxonomy

This is the second of three lessons on teaching ‘Making Connections with Text.’ If you missed Lesson #1, you can see it here.

In this lesson students are going to do the following:

  • read The Town Mouse and the County Mouse
  • write statements that make connections related to the text
  • state the type of connection that is made
  • compare characters from The Town Mouse and the County Mouse to characters in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  • read statistics about the rich and poor in America
  • make connections between what is taking place in the world to the texts 

The Lesson

Activity #1 Making Connections with Text

Free Printables to Use with Teaching Making Connections with TextPrint the handout provided. Read The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse. A short version of this story is provided on the handout. If you prefer, you can have students read another version of the story.

Have students complete the handout by writing statements about the text. For each statement, students must select which type of connection is being made.
 

 

 

 

Activity #2 Making Text-to-Self Connections

Free Printables to Use with Teaching Making Connections with TextIn the next printable provided, students select one of the characters from The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse. They then complete the Venn Diagram to compare and contrast
themselves to the character.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Activity #3 Making Text-to Text Connections

Free Printables to Use with Teaching Making Connections with Text

Two printables are provided. The first contains short excerpts from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for students to know a little about the characters Veruca Salt and Charlie Bucket.

The next handout contains a Venn Diagram for students to compare The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

 

 

 

 

 

 

Activity #4 Text-to-World

A final handout is provided with a couple of links. These go to statistical information and facts about the richest and poorest Americans. Students can use this information to make connections to The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Get the printable here.   

Students use The Town Mouse and the County Mouse PLUS characters in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to make self – text - world connections.

Gay Miller

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

Get the printable here.

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

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