Tag: writing activity

Comparing Parallel Stories using Number the Stars

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.

In Number the Stars, Annemarie is going alone on a dangerous mission through the woods to take an important package to her uncle. The mission reminds Annemarie of the fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood. Annemarie tells herself Riding Hood’s story as she travels through the woods where German soldiers lurk as a way to remain calm. Author Lois Lowry does a beautiful job interweaving Annemarie’s and Riding Hood’s stories together.

In the first activity, students complete a chart to compare the parallel events taking place to Annemarie and Little Red Riding Hood.

Free Teaching Activity to use with Number the StarsThe Wizard of Oz Activity #2

After completing a chart of comparisons, students will try writing in this style using an excerpt from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and the story of “The Engine that Could.”

A Free Google Digital Activity to use with Number the Stars

This link will take you to both activities.

Hurricane Harvey

I can’t imagine beginning the new school year in the situation the teachers in Houston are in. Your students must have a million questions especially with Irma on her way. Here are a few links to check out:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Gay Miller


Permanent link to this article: http://bookunitsteacher.com/wp/?p=5864

Hot Cocoa Mix Filled Ornaments


These hot cocoa mix filled ornaments are a great way to teach writing instructional paragraphs this holiday season. Students can write instructions for how to make the ornaments and/or how to make a cup of hot chocolate using the mix from an ornament. Be sure to look down the post for the link with free printables. The download includes the recipe as well as cute cards for the student writing activities.

Hot Chocolate Mix Filled Ornaments


What you will need —

  • Round Plastic Ball Ornaments 

    (Important ~ These must be plastic. The glass ornaments are extremely fragile. The link above will take you to one source for purchasing these.)Hot Chocolate Mix Filled Ornaments

    Each ornament holds enough mix to make one cup of hot chocolate. For each ornament, you will need:

    • 1/4 cup Hot Cocoa Mix with Marshmallows

    • 1 Tablespoon Chocolate Chips

    • 1 teaspoon Sprinkles

    • Ribbon (optional)Hot Chocolate Mix Filled Ornaments

To make the hot cocoa mix filled ornaments, remove the ornament tops. You will need a funnel to pour the ingredients into the ornament. Pour in the cocoa mix first, then the chips and sprinkles. By using a shish kabob stick, you can poke the marshmallows that get stuck in the funnel into the ornament.

Decorate the ornament by tying ribbons from the hanger. Hot Chocolate Mix Filled OrnamentsYou can use push pins to hang these from a bulletin board, hang the ornaments on a tree, or display them in a basket. [See last week’s post to see how to make a simple Christmas tree bulletin board.]

Hot Chocolate Mix Filled OrnamentsDownload instructions and printables. 

Teach instructional paragraph writing with these hot cocoa mix filled ornaments.

Happy Holidays


Gay Miller


Permanent link to this article: http://bookunitsteacher.com/wp/?p=3932

RAFT Writing Strategy

RAFT Writing Strategy

RAFT is a writing strategy to help students focus on four areas of communication. RAFT is an acronym for the following:

Role of the Writer





A RAFT assignment might look like this:


Role of the Writer Audience Format Topic

character from a book





President of the United States

school principal

group of parents


television audience

bill board






saving the environment

changing a rule or law

promoting a product

informing the public

asking the public to help support a cause


Students are required to select one item from each column. One student may be a teacher writing song for a group of parents asking them to change a rule in the school. Another person may be an artist addressing peers on a bill board that will inform them of an event. Dozens of options may be selected from just this one RAFT assignment.

This writing strategy not only helps students understand the varied formats of writing, but to know the audience they will address, their role as writers, and writing topics.


Teaching Standards

A RAFT lesson covers many teaching standards. In addition to the four areas of communication, assignments may also practice with specific skills. For example, in the printables below the RAFT activity requires students to use onomatopoeia and/or alliteration.

Differentiating Instruction

The best part of the RAFT experience is the ease to differentiate instruction. For example, I placed students into three groups. Each group was given two choices of activities. The activities varied in difficulty from the easiest level which was mostly drawing to the most difficult which was to create a slogan for advertising or a comic strip.


When I used this activity in the classroom, students had to think creatively to complete these activities. The projects were challenging yet fun for the students. All in all it was a great experience. I will defiantly use this project in future years.

#1 Printable – Get this printable.

RAFT Activity #1#2 Printable – Get this printable.RAFT Activity #2
#3 Printable – Get this printable.

RAFT Activity #3

#4 Printable – Get this printable.

Get free printables for RAFT. This great writing strategy will help your students better understand the role of the writer and audience.

Gay Miller


Permanent link to this article: http://bookunitsteacher.com/wp/?p=91