Category: Teaching Idea

Collaborative Discussions

Teaching Students to Use Ground Rules During Classroom Discussions

Classroom discussions are an important part of learning. The Common Core State Standards, address discussions with under the Speaking & Listening strands. This list shows the main standards:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.4.1
Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly. Continue Reading

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Malaprops – Humor in Mistakes (A Mini Lesson)

Malapropism - Mini-Lesson including Activities

In 1874, Knowles Shaw wrote the famous hymn “Bringing in the Sheaves.” It was inspired by a verse in Psalm 126. “Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.” Most adults know that sheaves are bundles of cereal plants such as wheat or rye. A youngster, however, has never heard the word sheaves. SO, just imagine the youngster singing this hymn in church bellowing out “Bringing in the sheets.” Smiles, chuckles, and out and out laughs can be heard in the church. This is an example of a malaprop.

A malaprop is a mistaken use of a word in place of a similar-sounding one, often with an amusing effect. The term came from the eighteenth-century play The Rivals by Richard Sheridan. Throughout the play, Mrs. Malaprop purposely made blunders by mixing up similar sounding words for humor. From this came the new words: malaprop and malproposims. Continue Reading

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Famous People Interviews

Famous People Intertervies

‘Famous People Interviews’ is a hugely successful activity to use in the classroom. During this activity, each student ‘becomes’ a famous person and is interviewed by another student in the class.

This activity not only teaches students to recognize many famous people, but also covers a large number of Common Core State Standards. Students must research, prepare a presentation, speak publicly, and so on. Continue Reading

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Ideas to Teach Appositives

 This blog post also includes a free printable organizer to help teach students appositive rules.

What is an appositive? An appositive is a word or group of words that explain or define a noun. Appositives follow the nouns they explain.

When to Use Commas

Appositives can be either restrictive or nonrestrictive. I teach students to first locate the appositive by finding the phrase that describes the noun. Next, I ask students to read the sentence skipping the appositive. If the meaning of the sentence is clear without the appositive, then it is nonrestrictive [CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.6.2.A]. Use commas to separate nonrestrictive elements from the rest of the sentence.  Continue Reading

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Memorization Techniques

10 Memorization Techniques

Are your students having difficulty memorizing information for tests? Learning steps in a process, lists, or simple facts can be a challenge for most students. Try some of these memorization techniques. They will make a difference.

Some facts must be memorized in a specific order. Name mnemonics and acrostics as well as using the Method of Loci help students recall details in a specific sequence. Continue Reading

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Writing Prompts for Upper Elementary

Ideas to Help Motivate Students to Write

Are you looking for some writing prompts for upper elementary students? Motivating students to write daily can be a real challenge. Changing up prompts may be one solution to keep students excited about putting a pencil to paper. Check out these ideas. 

#1 – Inspirational Quotes

Quotes are great for not only inspiring students to work harder but to also think at a deeper level. Quotes make great discussion starters for students to think critically. Remind students that quotes may have different meanings for different people depending on life experiences. There are no wrong or right answers to what a quote means. Writing a paragraph about what a quote means is a great journal activity. If you need inspiration about where to begin, check out 50 of Our All-Time Favorite Classroom Quotes from We are Teachers.

#2 – Writing a Letter to My Future Self

Have students write letters to their future selves. At futureme.org students type letters. They select when they will be delivered: 1 year, 3 years, 5 years, or a specific date. Students can select for their letters to be private or public. Be aware. Some of the public letters contain inappropriate material for students.  Continue Reading

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Activity 1 for Basic Plot Patterns in Literature

Basic Plot Patterns in Literature

If you are reaching this post without seeing the previous basic plot patterns posts, you might wish to start at the beginning. Be sure to download the handout in the Introduction post as it contains links to all the posts in this series.

Christopher Booker outlined seven basic plots. You will find a post for each plot. Each post contains a handout. This handout includes a foldable graphic organizer going over the basic plot pattern. Examples  and outlines help students better understand the plot. Students ‘dig deeper’ with discussion questions. After students explore each plot individually, this activity contains a fun way to practice. Students use television advertisements to help identify plot types. Continue Reading

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