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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Quick and Easy to Make Pocket Chart

Quick and Easy Pocket Chart - Read how to make this simple pocket chart from materials you have around the house.

Creating pocket charts from wrapping paper and cardboard is quick and easy. Make individual pocket charts for students, a series of matching charts for a bulletin board, or even a large one to hang on the wall. Be sure to check out the bottom of this post to see some ideas for using these pocket charts. 

Instructions for Making the Pocket Charts

Pocket charts can be made in many sizes depending on how you plan to use them. These instructions show how to create a small pocket chart that holds twelve index cards. I used a department store shirt box that has the lid connected to the bottom along one side. When the box is closed flat, it is double in thickness making it sturdy. The flattened box is 11 ½ by 15 inches. This is the perfect size to wrap in standard sized wrapping paper. Corrugated cardboard also works well. Cut it to whatever size you need. Continue Reading

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Wish by Barbara O’Connor Teaching Activities

Wish by Barbara O'Connor

After seeing a cardinal, close your eyes, spit three times, and make a wish. — You can make a wish if you clap three times before crossing a state line. — You can make a wish if you see a camel-shaped cloud.

The Story

These are just a few of the unusual things Charlie uses to make her daily wish; the same wish she has made every day since fourth grade.  Continue Reading

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Silhouette Characterization – A Teaching Strategy

This post will illustrate how to teach character traits using silhouettes. This simple no prep method is both engaging and fun for students. 

This post teaching Silhouette Characterization. This simple no prep method is both engaging and fun for students. 


Click here to download the printable. 

  1. Option 1 – Print the silhouettes found on page 8 on heavyweight paper. Cut out the patterns. Students trace the character onto a piece of ordinary paper.
  2. Option 2 – Show students the ‘Bean Character Clipart.’ found on pages 9 and 10. Students then draw their own silhouette people in a similar fashion.
  3. Option 3 – Print the sample organizers found on pages 3-7.

Activity #1 –

Students draw a silhouette figure in the center of their page. Out from the silhouette, students draw rays. In each shape formed by the rays, students write facts about the character. Continue Reading

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The Secret Garden – Chapter 27 In the Garden

Free Teaching Materials to use with The Secret Garden Chapter 27

Chapter 27 In the Garden

The audio file for Chapter 27 “In the Garden” is 30 minutes 56 seconds in length.


In each century since the beginning of the world wonderful things have been discovered. In the last century more amazing things were found out than in any century before. In this new century hundreds of things still more astounding will be brought to light. At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can be done, then they see it can be done—then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago. One of the new things people began to find out in the last century was that thoughts—just mere thoughts—are as powerful as electric batteries—as good for one as sunlight is, or as bad for one as poison. To let a sad thought or a bad one get into your mind is as dangerous as letting a scarlet fever germ get into your body. If you let it stay there after it has got in you may never get over it as long as you live. Continue Reading

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Choice Boards (Think-Tac-Toe, BINGO, Menus, RAFT, & 1-3-5)

Free Choice Board Templates

(Think-Tac-Toe, BINGO, Menus, RAFT, and 1-3-5)

Units of study that provide students with the option to choose tasks is a great way to differentiate instruction. Activities are placed on graphic organizers for students to select. Tasks may be organized based on Bloom’s Taxonomy, the complexity of the tasks, learning styles, or multiple intelligence.

Some advantages include — Continue Reading

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