September 2017 archive

Word Wheels – A Teaching Strategy

Four Free Fun Word Wheel Printables

Who said teaching vocabulary had to be boring? This post contains four word wheel activities for students to enjoy while learning more about words.

Word Wheel #1

Set a two minute timer. Have students write down as many real words as they can using only the letters in the wheel. All words must include the center letter of the wheel. Words can be any length. Letters may be repeated or doubled. Encourage students to create long words.
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The Secret Garden – Chapter 10 Dickon

Free Teaching Materials to use with The Secret Garden Chapter 10

Chapter 10 Dickon

The audio file for Chapter 10 “Dickon” is 20 minutes 56 seconds in length.


The sun shone down for nearly a week on the secret garden. The Secret Garden was what Mary called it when she was thinking of it. She liked the name, and she liked still more the feeling that when its beautiful old walls shut her in no one knew where she was. It seemed almost like being shut out of the world in some fairy place. The few books she had read and liked had been fairy-story books, and she had read of secret gardens in some of the stories. Sometimes people went to sleep in them for a hundred years, which she had thought must be rather stupid. She had no intention of going to sleep, and, in fact, she was becoming wider awake every day which passed at Misselthwaite. She was beginning to like to be out of doors; she no longer hated the wind, but enjoyed it. She could run faster, and longer, and she could skip up to a hundred. The bulbs in the secret garden must have been much astonished. Such nice clear places were made round them that they had all the breathing space they wanted, and really, if Mistress Mary had known it, they began to cheer up under the dark earth and work tremendously. The sun could get at them and warm them, and when the rain came down it could reach them at once, so they began to feel very much alive. Continue Reading

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Concept Webs – A Teaching Strategy

Free Concept Web Practice

Since the human brain processes visuals much faster than text, using concept webs is an important learning strategy for students.

What is a Concept Web?

Concept webs are visual diagrams that connect abstract ideas. Students use these to connect prior knowledge and experiences to new information. Continue Reading

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The Secret Garden – Chapter 9 The Strangest House Any One Ever Lived In

Free Teaching Materials to use with The Secret Garden Chapter 9

Chapter 9 The Strangest House Any One Ever Lived In

The audio file for Chapter 9 “The Strangest House Any One Ever Lived In” is 16 minutes 37 seconds in length.


It was the sweetest, most mysterious-looking place any one could imagine. The high walls which shut it in were covered with the leafless stems of climbing roses which were so thick that they were matted together. Mary Lennox knew they were roses because she had seen a great many roses in India. All the ground was covered with grass of a wintry brown and out of it grew clumps of bushes which were surely rosebushes if they were alive. There were numbers of standard roses which had so spread their branches that they were like little trees. There were other trees in the garden, and one of the things which made the place look strangest and loveliest was that climbing roses had run all over them and swung down long tendrils which made light swaying curtains, and here and there they had caught at each other or at a far-reaching branch and had crept from one tree to another and made lovely bridges of themselves. There were neither leaves nor roses on them now and Mary did not know whether they were dead or alive, but their thin gray or brown branches and sprays looked like a sort of hazy mantle spreading over everything, walls, and trees, and even brown grass, where they had fallen from their fastenings and run along the ground. It was this hazy tangle from tree to tree which made it all look so mysterious. Mary had thought it must be different from other gardens which had not been left all by themselves so long; and indeed it was different from any other place she had ever seen in her life. Continue Reading

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Using Animated Shorts to Teach Summarizing

Teaching Reading and Writing Skills with Animated Short Films

If you are looking to add some high interest activities to your summarizing lessons, try using animated shorts to teach reading skills. This post contains the animated short “Peck Pocketed” found on Youtube and inserted in this post. You can also download a handout containing a graphic organizer to help students write a “Somebody Wanted But So” statement.

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The Secret Garden – Chapter 8 The Robin Who Showed the Way

Free Teaching Materials to use with The Secret Garden Chapter 8

Chapter 8 The Robin Who Showed the Way

The audio file for Chapter 8 “The Robin Who Showed the Way” is 14 minutes 44 seconds in length.


She looked at the key quite a long time. She turned it over and over, and thought about it. As I have said before, she was not a child who had been trained to ask permission or consult her elders about things. All she thought about the key was that if it was the key to the closed garden, and she could find out where the door was, she could perhaps open it and see what was inside the walls, and what had happened to the old rose-trees. It was because it had been shut up so long that she wanted to see it. It seemed as if it must be different from other places and that something strange must have happened to it during ten years. Besides that, if she liked it she could go into it every day and shut the door behind her, and she could make up some play of her own and play it quite alone, because nobody would ever know where she was, but would think the door was still locked and the key buried in the earth. The thought of that pleased her very much. Continue Reading

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Comparing Parallel Stories using Number the Stars

Terrific free activity to use with Number the Stars

The Reading Crew is a group of primary through middle school reading specialists. About three to four times a year, we share materials and ideas through a link up. This time we are sharing mentor texts. Enjoy collecting a lot of great teaching ideas and free printables. Before you leave, be sure to enter the rafflecopter at the end of this post. We are giving away copies of each mentor book from the posts. Have a great time exploring our blog posts, and I hope you have the best school year ever!

Number the Stars Activity #1

Number the Stars is a phenomenal story of courage. This makes it a great book for students to use as a writing prompt. Continue Reading

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