February 2018 archive

Fish in a Tree Teaching Activities

Teaching Activities for Fish in a Tree

Lynda Mullaly Hunt tells a fantastic story in her book Fish in a Tree. Told in first person point of view, the book follows Ally through her sixth grade year as she overcomes many obstacles. Ally does a great job keeping the secret that she can’t read until Mr. Daniels steps in while Mrs. Hall is on maturity leave. Mr. Daniels’s teaching methods prove Ally is extremely bright. He realizes she has dyslexia and tutors Ally after school. 

Not only does Ally struggle with reading but also has to deal with a class bully. Not all is bad; Ally makes two great friends. This heartwarming story is sure to make you both laugh and cry.   Continue Reading

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I Survived Series Growing Bundle

Get book units for the I Survived Series for seriously low prices.

I am super excited to announce this Growing Bundle for the I Survived Series. When you purchase this bundle, you will receive a total of ten book units for the series. Each novel study will include vocabulary, comprehension questions, constructive response writing organizers, and four skill lessons.

This post answers many questions about this growing bundle. Please download the handouts to receive a free sample from the series. Continue Reading

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I Survived the Battle of Gettysburg, 1863

Teaching Ideas and Book Unit Samples for I Survived the Battle of Gettysburg, 1863

Lauren Tarshis’s seventh book in her popular I Survived Series tackles the Civil War. In I Survived the Battle of Gettsburg, readers are on the edge of their seats waiting to see how Thomas will survive. Thomas receives injuries from an explosion. Moments later he is shot in the chest.

After reading the tense battle scene, the author flashes back to three weeks earlier. Thomas learns that he is about to be sold  away to a plantation down in Mississippi. Without thinking, he grabs his five-year-old sister, Birdie, and runs away. With slave traders hunting him and war raging, Thomas and Birdie travel North. Soon they find themselves in middle of the deadliest battle in all of American history – Gettysburg.  Continue Reading

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Inverted Pyramid Story

Teach students how to writing inverted pyramid stories with these free printables.

News reporters use an Inverted Pyramid Story to relay information quickly to readers. Both newspapers and web writers use this approach. News is written in order of importance. The most essential information is placed in the lead paragraph. The purpose for writing using this method is to give the reader the most important information first. The reader will understand the story even if he stops reading after a few lines.

Many feel this method of writing was invented shortly after the telegraph. Reporters tried to condense their stories into as few words as possible to keep the cost of sending a story over telegraph wires low. Also if the connection was lost, the most important details would be received. Continue Reading

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Wishtree by Katherine Applegate

Teaching Activities for Wishtree  by  Katherine Applegate

Katherine Applegate writes a beautiful story with a unique main character. Wishtree is told from the first person perspective of a 216 year old oak tree named Red. Red is special in several ways. People write wishes on pieces of cloth and tie them to Red’s branches each May. Because of this, Red has witnessed a lot of sadness from humans.

Red tells stories to the animals that live in its hollows about the past. This time Red decides not to be an observer. Red jumps into action after seeing the sadness of a Muslim girl named Samar. Samar’s wish is simple. She wishes for a friend. Red enlists her crow friend Bongo to help make Samar’s wish come true. Continue Reading

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Using Animated Shorts to Teach Characters and Settings

Teaching Reading and Writing Skills with Animated Short Films

If you are looking to add some high interest activities for teaching characters and settings, try using animated shorts to teach reading skills. 

This post contains animated short film “Geri’s Game” found on Vimeo and inserted in this post. Download this handout, leveled for upper elementary students here. Continue Reading

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I Survived the American Revolution, 1776

Teaching Ideas and Book Unit Samples for I Survived the American Revolution, 1776

Lauren Tarshis writes the fifteenth book in her popular I Survived Series – I Survived the American Revolution. The series began with I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic, 1912 in 2010. Since then, two books each year have been published. Readers can experience both natural and man-made disasters through this series. Fire, war, storms, and even shark attacks will keep the reader engaged. 

The Story

I Survived the American Revolution, 1776 tells the story of Nate. When three-year old Theo accidentally hits Uncle Storch with a stick, Nate takes the blame. As his cruel uncle begins to choke him, Nate realizes me must run away from home in order to survive. Nate stows away on a ship. He winds up in New York City. The city is not the place Nate remembers. Boarded up buildings line the street. Soldiers build large earthen barricades. Not knowing what to do, Nate just walks. He observes all the preparations for war. Nate soon runs into an old friend who gets him a job as the camp helper for the Connecticut 15th. Through a series of events, Nate ends up on the battlefield. The thrilling story of courage is a must read. Continue Reading

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