Coraline by Neil Gaiman Activities

Coraline

The Story

Neil Gaiman created an incredible book when he wrote Coraline. It contains just enough unusual and creepy events taking place to keep students begging for more. Coraline’s family moves into a large house in the country. The house is divided into four apartments. Upstairs lives the crazy old man who talks of training mice. Downstairs two old ladies live who once were actresses. The fourth apartment is empty. Coraline is bored with little to do in her new home.  

One rainy day, Coraline discovers the 14th door in her apartment that is locked. Her mother uses an old key to show Coraline that the door was used when the building was one large house. The opening behind the door has now been bricked up because there is an apartment next door.

Coraline’s curiosity gets the best of her, so one day while her parents are away, she fetches the key and opens the door again. Instead of a brick wall, Coraline finds a dark passageway. She goes through the passageway and finds a home very similar to her own. She also finds two parents that look like her own parents except they have button eyes. These two people call each other the other parents. They are attentive to Coraline. For a while, she likes them.

The other house has some interesting features like magical toys, a theater where the two old actresses are young and perform, and the old man from upstairs really does have a rat circus. After a while, Coraline finds the other world and her other parents to be scary. Her other parents want to sew buttons over her eyes so she can stay with them forever.

FREE Teaching Ideas to use with
the Book

Activity #1

Watch the movie trailer.

 Activity #2

This short two minute video highlights the play presented by the San Francisco Playhouse. Use it as a hook for the book. Ask students questions after they have watched the clip to pique interest in the book.

  • The music sets the mood. What does it tell the listener about the story? How does the music make you feel? 
  • What is going on with the buttons over the characters’ eyes?
  • What does the lady mean when she says she is Coraline’s other mother?
  • The actresses say Coraline is in terrible danger. What could this danger be?

Activity #3 

Paper Toy offers this free printable in both color and blacklined versions. The website also has a video clip from the movie showing the circus mice in action. 

Free printable to make this cute circus mouse from Coraline.

Activity #4

Have students use this Coraline coloring page for a book cover for printables for the unit.

Teaching ideas to use with the book Coraline.

Activity #5 

This book review has some great artwork to use for class discussions.

Activity #6 

If you would like to try out the Coraline Book Unit before you buy it, this download contains free samples for Chapter 1.

Coraline Book Unit contains graphic organizers for an interactive notebook. Vocabulary, comprehension, writing, and skill practice are all included. In addition to the printables, many paperless options are provided. Activities for Google Slides include writing and skill practice. Boom Learning Decks make this an interactive unit.

Check out these fun activities to use with the book Coraline by Neil Gaiman.

Check out these fun activities to use with the book Coraline by Neil Gaiman.

Check out these fun activities to use with the book Coraline by Neil Gaiman.

Check out these fun activities to use with the book Coraline by Neil Gaiman.

 Check out these fun activities to use with the book Coraline by Neil Gaiman.

Check out these fun activities to use with the book Coraline by Neil Gaiman.

Gay Miller

 

Permanent link to this article: http://bookunitsteacher.com/wp/?p=6113

Using Animated Shorts to Teach Cause and Effect

Using Animated Shorts to Teach
Cause and Effect

Free Printables to Use with Animated Shorts (Cause and Effect)

If you are looking to add some high interest activities to your lessons, try using animated shorts to teach reading skills. 

This post contains the animated short film “Feast” found on Vimeo and inserted in this post. Download the handout, leveled for upper elementary students. Students create a cause and effect chain to summarize the film.

Animated Short

 Feast [6:49]

A stray Boston Terrier finds a new home with James and Kirby. This film was published in 2014 by Walt Disney. It was the winner of the 87th Academy Awards.

Handout

This post is a sample of my new product Using Animated Short Films to Teach Reading Skills Part 2. Each month one additional post from this series will go live. You can find the links and post dates listed below.

Each post will contain one animated short with a printable handout. You can collect all ten by coming back each month. The full products, divided into two parts, contain over 50 student printables each for a total of 100+. 

The printables contain organizers with guiding questions to help students evaluate the short film and learn valuable reading skills. All short films will be added to a webpage on Book Units Teacher for easy access. The link to this webpage will be included in the purchased product.

Check out the products on Teachers Pay Teachers:

Part 1 – 52 Organizers

Teaching Reading and Writing Skills with Animated Shorts Pt 1 [Digital + Printable]

Teaching Reading and Writing Skills with Animated Shorts Pt 1 [Printable]

Part 2 – An Additional 52 Organizers

Teaching Reading and Writing Skills with Animated Shorts Pt 2 [Digital + Printable]

Teaching Reading and Writing Skills with Animated Shorts Pt 2  [Printable]

Blog Post Links and Publication Dates

 

Gay Miller

Permanent link to this article: http://bookunitsteacher.com/wp/?p=5619

Activities for the Book Restart by Gordon Korman

Restart by Gordon Korman

Late in the summer before Chase’s eighth grade year, he wakes up in the hospital surrounded by people who say they are his family. Chase has no memory of them or the fall from the roof of his home that caused him to be unconscious for several days. He has a severe concussion and acute-retrograde amnesia. Dr. Cooperman tells Chase he cannot participate in contact sports for a full year. This is a huge disappointment to the football team as Chase is their star quarterback.

Chase soon discovers many students in the school dislike him. Some avoid him, and others seem afraid of him. He hears tales of how he terrorized students in the school. Chase doesn’t remember any of it. Is it possible for him to change from the bully he was before the accident? Can he restart his life? 

The story teaches a valuable lesson that all students should read.

FREE Teaching Ideas for Restart

Activity #1 

Watch the trailer.

Activity #2 

Enjoy these free teaching materials for the book Restart by Gordon Korman.This link takes you to Google Slides for a couple of free printable and online constructive response questions.

 Activity #3 

Chase gets amnesia after he hits his head. Read about the different types of amnesia and their causes here.  

Activity #4

Compare Restart to other books in which the main character is a bully or is bullied.

Crash by Jerry Spinelli is an excellent book to compare and contrast with Restart. Both stories center around main characters who are great football players. The characters change over the course of the book when something major takes place in their lives.

Other books that contain bullies include:

  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio
  • Schooled by Gordon Korman
  • Middle School: How I Survived Bullies, Broccoli, and Snake Hill by James Patterson
  • Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick

Activity #5

If you would like to try out the Restart 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 for Chapters 1-2 
  • Photos to Show What the Rest of the Unit Looks Like

 

Restart by Gordon Korman Novel StudyRestart Book Unit contains graphic organizers for an interactive notebook. Vocabulary, comprehension, constructive response writing, and skill practice are all included. Printable and digital versions are available.

Gay Miller

 

Permanent link to this article: http://bookunitsteacher.com/wp/?p=6088

D Reading and Thinking Strategy

D Reading and Thinking Strategy

D Reading and Thinking Strategy Anchor Chart

Literally hundreds of teaching strategies have been devised. Here is a great hook activity for a topic you plan to study.

1. Devise

Ask students to brainstorm a general topic that you plan to study in the near future. Students will devise a list of everything they know about the general subject. For example, you might say:

  • The Civil War
  • Bullying
  • The Arctic
  • Ancient Egypt

This is a great small group or partner activity. Time the activity for approximately 10 minutes. Here is a great place to find fun classroom timers.

Fun Classroom Timers

2. Declare

After students have devised a list, narrow down the topic. You will declare a specific category from the general topic.

For example,

  • The Civil War – How did the Civil War start?
  • Bullying – Reasons Why People Bully
  • The Arctic – Penguins
  • Ancient Egypt – King Tut’s Tomb

3. Details

Once you have narrowed down the general subject to a specific topic, allow 5 to 10 additional minutes for students to list additional details to their list.

D Thinking and Reading Strategy Brainstormed List

4. Delve

Provide research materials including resource books and/or the internet. Have students delve into the topic. Depending on class time this can be as little as 10 minutes.

5. Discussion

Students will need to organize what they have learned to share in a class discussion. If students are working in small groups, they can highlight two to three interesting facts to share with the class. Explain that the group will share only one detail. It cannot be a fact that other groups have shared. This is why they must have more than one fact ready.

 

Gay Miller

Permanent link to this article: http://bookunitsteacher.com/wp/?p=5756

Fish in a Tree Teaching Activities

Fish in a Tree 

The Story

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.  

 

FREE Teaching Ideas to use with
Fish in a Tree

Activity #1

These two Youtube videos will help build interest. Show one or both as a hook activity to get students excited about reading the book.

 Activity #2

Watch this three minute excerpt from The Island of Misfit Toys. Students can visualize the characters mentioned in Chapter 17.

  • the train with square wheels
  • Charlie-in-the-Box
  • The Cowboy who rides an ostrich
  • several others 

Activity #3 

In Chapter 47, Mr. Daniels places a jumble of letters on the board and asks the students to read it. He tells the students they will receive extra credit for deciphering the coded message. Check out these four coded messages, each using a different type of code.

Deciphering coded messages is a great activity to use with Fish in a Tree .

Activity #4

Penguin’s Classroom Classic provides a free guide. This guide covers Fish in a Tree as well as One for the Murphys, another hit book by Hunt. Great discussion topics will enhance your class conversations.

Activity #5 

Have students compare and contrast book characters with these free printables. Selected characters have either health problems or learning differences. An answer key with links to Youtube book/movie trailers is included.

Have students compare and contrast book characters with these free printables. Selected characters have either health problems or learning differences. An answer key with links to Youtube book/movie trailers is included.Activity #6 

If you would like to try out the Fish in a Tree Book Unit before you buy it, this download contains free samples for Chapters 1-4.

Enjoy these free book unit samples from Fish in a Tree.

Fish in a Tree Book Unit contains graphic organizers for an interactive notebook. Vocabulary, comprehension, writing, and skill practice are all included. In addition to the printables, many paperless options are provided. Activities for Google Slides include writing and skill practice. Boom Learning Decks make this an interactive unit.

Gay Miller

 

Permanent link to this article: http://bookunitsteacher.com/wp/?p=5972

I Survived Series Growing Bundle

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.

Questions

What is a growing bundle?

A growing bundle is a way to receive educational materials at seriously discounted prices. When you purchase the bundle, you will receive Book #15 – I Survived the American Revolution, 1776. Each month over the next five months, you will receive an additional book unit from Books #11-16. Following this you will receive #17-20 no more than a month after their publication dates.
If you purchase the units individually, they would cost $6.00 each or a total of $60.00. If you jump in at the beginning, you can get all 10 book units for $15.00. Each time I add a new unit, the price of the bundle will go up, so you will receive the best deal if you get started early. Remember, once you buy a growing bundle, you get all the remaining units at no additional costs. You only pay one price.

How do I get the additional units?

You simply login to Teachers Pay Teachers, go to your “Purchases” tab, and you will find that this product has a “Revised Version” notification. Download the product from there and the new unit will be in the download.

What if I have already purchased your unit for I Survived the American Revolution, 1776?

No problem, you have two options.

#1 Teachers pay Teachers currently has a return policy that states that if you buy a bundle that includes an individual item you have already purchased (being less than a year old), TPT will provide a refund for the individual item. Just click the “Contact Us” link at the bottom of their webpage and fill out the form to explain.

#2 I have an additional unit I Survived the Battle of Gettysburg, 1863 that will not be included in this growing bundle. I can e-mail this unit to you as a replacement for the duplicate. 

When will the book units be released?

This timeline provides release dates for book unit in the series.

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

Which skills are covered in the series?

The entire series has been charted. You can download a copy here.

The I Survived Book Unit Series covers many Common Core Skills.

How can I get a sample of the book units?

Click here to download a sample from I Survived the American Revolution, 1776.
Try out I Survived the American Revolution with this free sample.Check out this Growing Bundle of Book Units for the I Survived Series by Lauren Tarshis

Gay Miller

Permanent link to this article: http://bookunitsteacher.com/wp/?p=6119

I Survived the Battle of Gettysburg, 1863

I Survived the Battle of Gettysburg, 1863 

The Story

Lauren Tarshis’s seventh book in her popular I Survived Series tackles the Civil War. 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. 

Teachable Moments

Chapters 7 and 8 contain a lot of historical information including:

  • What strengths did the North and South have?
  • Which states seceded?
  • Why was Richmond important?
  • How did Abraham Lincoln feel about slavery?
  • What happened at the Battle of Frederickburg?
  • What types of weapons were used?
  • Which type of formations did the soldiers use?
  • Who was Robert E. Lee?

The author includes ‘The Gettysburg Address’ in the “Author’s Notes.” 

FREE Teaching Ideas to use with
I Survived the the Battle of Gettysburg, 1863

Activity #1

Watch the book trailer. This makes a great hook activity for the novel. 

Activity #2 

Check out the American Civil War Webpages on Book Units Teacher. Students can read information in fourteen mini-lessons. Online quizzes test student understanding of the lessons.    

Activity #3

Read Ten Interesting Facts … the Civil War. Then download this timeline organizer. Students write events next to the dates that are included. This print-and-go activity includes an answer key.

Free Staggered Flip Organizer - The American Civil WarActivity #4

Scholastic provides a free guide. This guide covers the first eight novels in the series. Common Core standards are listed besides the activities. At the website, you will also find seven printables covering skills such as a character study and root word Bingo.

Activity #5 

Lauren Tarshis’s website contains additional teaching resources. For I Survived the Battle of Gettysburg, 1863, the author offers a comprehension check. This check asks one knowledge level question for each chapter. A novel guide covers inference and cause/effect. You can also print a two page quiz.

Activity #6

Watch an interview with the author. Lauren Tarshis answers a number of interesting questions.

Activity #7

See what Lauren Tarshis is planning next. I Survived the Children’s Blizzard, 1888 comes out February 27, 2018. In this book, John Hale must survive a Dakota winter. It sounds exciting!

Activity #8

If you would like to try out the I Survived the Battle of Gettysburg, 1863 Book Unit before you buy it, this download contains free samples for Chapters 1-2.

Free Activities to Use with I Survived the Battle of Gettysburg, 1863

I Survived the Battle of Gettysburg, 1863 Book Unit contains graphic organizers for an interactive notebook. Vocabulary, comprehension, writing, and skill practice are all included. In addition to the printables, many paperless options are provided. Activities for Google Slides include writing and skill practice. Boom Learning Decks make this an interactive unit.

Gay Miller

 

Permanent link to this article: http://bookunitsteacher.com/wp/?p=5945

Inverted Pyramid Story

Inverted Pyramid Story

What is an Inverted Pyramid Story?

News reporters use Inverted Pyramid Stories 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.

Invention

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.

Benefits

Today this method of writing has several benefits.

  • Readers can quickly decide it they wish to read the entire article.

  • Editors who must cut down articles due to space can cut away the bottom leaving the most essential information intact.

  • Readers can stop at any point and come away with the main points.

  • Readers can skim through the article more quickly.

The Inverted Pyramid Story Structure

  • The writer begins the story by listing the most important details. Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?

  • The next part of the story gives important details.

 Practice using Pyramid Stories.

This download contains the beginnings of real articles from the New York Times. Students highlight ‘The 5 W’s + H’ using six different colors to determine if it is a pyramid story.

Free Pyramid Story Practice - Students highlight ‘The 5 W’s + H’ using six different colors to determine if actual New York Times articles are pyramid stories.

 

Gay Miller

Permanent link to this article: http://bookunitsteacher.com/wp/?p=5817

Wishtree by Katherine Applegate

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.

The story teaches a valuable lesson that all students should read.

FREE Teaching Ideas for Wishtree

Activity #1 

Watch the trailer.

Activity #2 

Read a sample of Wishtree.

 Activity #3 

Check out the Wishtree Teacher’s Guide from MacMillan. The guide contains discussion questions and activities that can be done with the book.  

Activity #4

Activities to use with the book Wishtree by Katherine Applegate

As a hook activity for the book have students learn about the history behind wish trees. Four corners is also a great opening activity for this book. Click here for a handout for these activities. 

Activity #5

Free Book Unit Samples for Wishtree by Katherine ApplegateIf you would like to try out the Wishtree Book Unit before you buy it, this download contains free samples including:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Vocabulary Practice for Chapters 1-5
  • Comprehension Questions for Chapters 1-5 
  • Constructive Response Question for Responding to Text
  • Photos to Show What the Rest of the Unit Looks Like

Wishtree by Katherine Applegate Book Unit

Wishtree Book Unit contains graphic organizers for an interactive notebook. Vocabulary, comprehension, constructive response writing, and skill practice are all included. Printable and Google Digital versions are available.

Gay Miller

 

Permanent link to this article: http://bookunitsteacher.com/wp/?p=5932

Using Animated Shorts to Teach Characters and Settings

Characters and Settings

Free Printables to Use with Animated Shorts (Characters and Setting)

If you are looking to add some high interest activities to your lessons, 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.

Great Animated Short for Characters and Setting

Geri’s Game [4:52]

Geri is an elderly man who plays a game of chess against himself. After each turn, he walks around the table to play the other side of the chessboard. Geri’s personality changes as he moves making this a great film for teaching character traits.

Film Information – Geri’s Game was released in 1997 by Pixar. The producers paired it with the movie A Bug’s Life. Geri’s Game won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 1998.

Geri’s Game from Elliott Peltzman on Vimeo.

 

Handout

This post is a sample of my new product Using Animated Short Films to Teach Reading Skills Part 2. Each month one additional post from this series will go live. You can find the links and post dates listed below.

Each post will contain one animated short with a printable handout. You can collect all ten by coming back each month. The full products, divided into two parts, contain over 50 student printables each for a total of 100+. 

The printables contain organizers with guiding questions to help students evaluate the short film and learn valuable reading skills. All short films will be added to a webpage on Book Units Teacher for easy access. The link to this webpage will be included in the purchased product.

Check out the products on Teachers Pay Teachers:

Part 1 – 52 Organizers

Teaching Reading and Writing Skills with Animated Shorts Pt 1 [Digital + Printable]

Teaching Reading and Writing Skills with Animated Shorts Pt 1 [Printable]

Part 2 – An Additional 52 Organizers

Teaching Reading and Writing Skills with Animated Shorts Pt 2 [Digital + Printable]

Teaching Reading and Writing Skills with Animated Shorts Pt 2  [Printable]

Blog Post Links and Publication Dates

 

Gay Miller

Permanent link to this article: http://bookunitsteacher.com/wp/?p=5618