The One and Only Ivan Setting Activity

The One and Only Ivan Activities

If you haven’t read The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, you are in for a real treat. The story is told from the perspective of Ivan, a silver back gorilla in a journal-like format.  The reader learns about Ivan’s past through flashbacks, his struggles in the present living in the small confined cage at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, and his dreams for the future. This post contains several teaching ideas to use with the book. 

Anchor Chart

Throughout his life, Ivan lives in four different places. This anchor chart lists those places. For this chart, the class brainstormed details about each place Ivan lived. Students wrote details on sticky notes. The students then placed the sticky notes on the anchor chart in the correct locations.  Continue Reading

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Text Structures ~ Teaching Problems and Solutions

Story Elements Match Up

My newest book unit Matilda contains a series of six lessons on writing a problem and solution essay. After I finished the book unit, I realized  that I haven’t seen many activities on the web for teaching problems and solutions, so I thought I would do a bit of scrounging and pass along what I found.

Here are the results: Continue Reading

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From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler Teaching Ideas

Teaching Ideas to use with From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Activities to use with From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Activity #1 ~ Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has devoted an entire issue of their newsletter Museum Kids to try to answer some of the many questions they receive about the connection between the book From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and the museum. You can download it by clicking on the cover below. Continue Reading

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Organizing Your Book Units

Organizing your Book Units

After creating a large number of book units, I have discovered a few organizational “tricks.” I hope this post will help you organize your units for quick and easy access.

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Paintbrushes & Arrows + A Free Point of View Activity

Paintbrushes and Arrows: A Story of St. Augustine

I am extremely excited to have M.C. Finotti, author of Paintbrushes & Arrows: A Story of Two Girls in St. Augustine in 1875, guest blogging today. Her book is a rare gift. Teachers will love how it weaves real people and events in a heartwarming story. 

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Spinning Wheels – A Fun Learning Activity

Spinning Wheels ~ A Fun Learning Activity

Spinning Wheels is a fun classroom learning activity that gets students out of their seats and moving around while they master skills.

The activity requires students to wear or hold up a card with a word or phrase. Since I use the inexpensive lanyards for grouping students, (You can read about how I group students into cooperative learning groups here.) I have students place the cards with phrases inside their lanyards on top of their names. Continue Reading

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Teaching Out of My Mind Book by Sharon M. Draper

Have student experience how difficult it is for Melanie to communicate with this

Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper is an amazing story about an eleven year old girl with cerebral palsy. When Melody is quite young, she goes over to her next door neighbor’s house, Mrs. V. Mrs. V doesn’t pamper Melody as her parents do. She teaches her how to roll over and scoot. She realizes that Melody is extremely bright, but her physical limitations prevent her from communicating. Because of this Mrs. V decides to use a communication board to teach Melody a number of words. While this is a major breakthrough, the communication is very limited. 

Communication Board Activity

With this activity, students can experience some of the frustration Melody has when she tries to let others know what she needs.  Continue Reading

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