Saturday, November 26, 2011

The 12 Teacher Days of Christmas Lessons and Activiites

   The 12 Teacher Days of Christmas!


In case you have been so busy with your own holiday preparations, the 12 Teacher Days of Christmas is coming soon! You must sign up for the FREE newsletter by going to this website. Look on the right hand side and sign up for the newsletter.




Who:  Everyone that has access to our blog right here!
What:  The 12 Teacher Days of Christmas FREE files will be posted on The Organized Classroom Blog as a thank you for being the amazing teachers you are!
When:  December 1st-12th
Why:  Some friends at Teachers Pay Teachers wanted to pull together a fun event to celebrate the holiday season, and no holiday event is complete unless you have gifts!
How:  You must sign up for the FREE newsletter by going to this website. Look on the right hand side and sign up for the newsletter.


The following gracious teacher-materials creators from Teachers Pay Teachers will be donating a free file, of their choice, to The 12 Teacher Days of Christmas Event!  These aren't just any old freebie file that anyone can grab, but instead they are premium files that they have for sale!  The only thing that each author asks is to please limit use to your own personal classroom and not share out with others (Have your friends sign up for The OC Blog newsletter so they can get their own copy).  :)




There will be items from teacher sellers at all grade levels, so make sure to stop by their TpT stores to see what they have!




I won't tell you WHICH file will be first - that would be like telling what your present is before opening it!  So, sit back, relax, and wait for your gifts to arrive!  It is our way of saying thanks for all you do!  I can't wait for Dec 1st-12th! Special thanks to The Organized Classroom Blog for everything!


Monday, November 21, 2011

Wise Guys Reading Review and Activity: Loser by Jerry Spinelli



Loser by Jerry Spinelli

Summary

The book Loser details the growth of Donald Zinkoff, an autistic boy. He is branded a 'loser' by his classmates, due to his autism, his laughter going out of control at times, and being awful at sports such as soccer.

Zinkoff graduates elementary school and goes on to middle school. His 'loser' name fades into 'nobody'. He meets Andrew Orwell, a kid who moved away in 3rd grade. Andrew has grown dramatically during the time he was gone, and now goes by the name, 'Drew'.

Zinkoff is horrified to learn that Claudia has gone missing. Zinkoff, desperate to find her, searches for her for seven hours in the snow, eventually passing out from the cold. He wakes up in his parent’s bed. A snow plow had found him at around two in the morning. Claudia was found shortly after she went missing, pretending to drive in someone's car…

Activity Related to the Story
 With each story that we read, we create a word study that includes words that may be difficult for students to understand. We have created a word study of over 50 words and their definitions (with page numbers) from the book. You can find it by clicking here.

Extensive Reading Activity Guide
We also have a 35 page activity guide and answer key that goes along with the story. Our student love to do these guides because it provides them with fun activities related to the book. They are also challenged to search for answers in the book and to use reading strategies such as: summarizing, predicting, connecting, visualizing and so much more. The guide is easy to use and includes an answer key that is a tremendous help for the teacher.
For more great reading comprehension guides on other great books click here.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Wise Guys Reading Review and Activity: The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg

The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg
 Summary


Rodman Philbrick takes readers on a colorful journey as young Homer P. Figg, an orphan, sets off to follow his only brother into the thick of the Civil War.  Through a series of fascinating events, Homer's older brother has been illegally sold to the Union army. 

 It is up to Homer to find him and save him.  Along the way, he encounters many strange but real people of that era who will engage and educate young readers about our nation’s past — in one of the most decisive moments of American history. This is a great story for upper elementary, middle, and even high school.

Activity Related to the Story
After reading the book, we created a short comprehension quiz to assess our students understanding of the book. You can find the FREE quiz, rubric and answer key by clicking here.



Extensive Reading Activity Guide
We also have a reading comprehension activity guide that goes along with the story. Our student love to do these guides because it provides them with fun activities related to the book. They are also challenged to search for answers in the book and to use reading strategies such as: summarizing, predicting, connecting, visualizing and so much more. The guide is easy to use and includes an answer key that is a tremendous help for the teacher.
We hope you take the time to read this book and hopefully use it in your classroom too!

For more great reading comprehension guides on other great books click here.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Teaching Activities, Lessons, and Ideas for Thanksgiving



Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for what we have. It is also a time to find creative ideas to use in your classroom. We hope the below ideas will be fun and educational for your students!

Thanksgiving Turkey Writing
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a turkey around Thanksgiving? Okay, probably not-but you will now! So, get ready for the annual turkey contest. This is an opportunity for you to imagine that you are a turkey and need to avoid being Thanksgiving dinner. Students love this activity! For the complete lesson which includes: the contest description, an editing checklist, a rubric to assess, some pictures of student examples, and some ribbons for awards click here. Below are some examples!



 
 November Reading, Writing and Math Activities
During the month of November, we have put together many activities that you can immediately use in your classroom: a creative reading log with a giving theme with certificates for the students, a turkey writing/coloring contest with rubric (mentioned above), an adding and subtracting puzzle, a November making words activity, a stranded on an island decimal math activity, and a 13-page reading activity packet that can be used for any novel. You can find it by clicking here



Here is a great site for more information about Thanksgiving.

We hope you find time to celebrate Thanksgiving with the ones you love and find time to do some of our fun activities with your students as well!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Teaching the Truth about Thanksgiving to Students


When I was a student in elementary school, and the Thanksgiving holiday approached, my teachers would lecture how the brave Pilgrims came to America and had a feast with the Indians.  I was also sure to hear that the Indians were less intelligent, and how the Pilgrims helped them out.

As I became an educated adult, and pursued a degree in elementary education, I was astounded at the inaccuracies of what I was taught. I had to re-evaluate my belief system about Thanksgiving when I learned that if it weren’t for the Wampanoag Indian tribe, the Pilgrims probably wouldn’t have survived. I was also extremely upset when I learned that the same Pilgrims that had received help from the Indians, turned on various tribes in later years, and actually brutally murdered many of the neighboring Pequot tribe, and sent others into slavery in the West Indies. This was not the harmony that I thought existed between the two groups.

So where does this leave me as an educator of young children today? I am constantly striving to provide my students with accurate information as to what occurred in our nations’ history. By conducting my own research through books and the internet over the past 15 years, I have strived to present information that is factual to my students. It is a difficult barrier to breach, especially with many parents that refuse to believe the truth. That is how strong a teacher’s influence is on the students even to this day. We must begin to educate everyone about the truths that were never shared in schools before.

I usually start off any unit on Thanksgiving or Native Americans with the simple question, “What do you know about Native Americans?” Students’ hands shoot up, and I record their responses on the whiteboard. I tell the students that I am going to write down everything they see, and do not want comments from the class about anyone’s response. It is amazing to see the beliefs that students have. Click here to see common myths that students and adults have about Native Americans.

After the myths are dispelled, we are ready to talk about the actual Thanksgiving feast and the events that unfolded after the feast. I have used the book Lies My Teacher Told Me  by James W. Loewen and various websites (see below) to aid in my teaching of Native Americans and Thanksgiving. Since I am a 5th grade teacher, I can go into some of the details as to what happened to the Pequot and Wampanoag tribes, but I would be cautious when teaching younger grades.

I think it is still important to teach the students about the Pilgrims and their journey to America. I discuss what it was like to travel on the Mayflower, how they had to sign the Mayflower Compact, and how that document was important to self-government in the new land. It is also important to discuss how they received help from the Native Americans their first few years that allowed them to survive.  When discussing the overall feast of Thanksgiving it is appropriate to teach that there was a three-day celebration between the Pilgrims and Wampanoag to celebrate the harvest together.  It is also good to note that this was a time of thanks for the survival of the Pilgrims and their gratitude toward the Wampanoag tribe.

I hope that this information helps you become more informed about the truth behind Thanksgiving, and that you will share it with your students, family, and friends.

Resources:


Monday, November 7, 2011

Wise Guys Reading Review and Activity: The Red Pyramid

 The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

Summary
Rick Riordan, the author of The Lightning Thief and The Lost Hero series, takes it to an all new level with his new series beginning with The Red Pyramid. As with his previous books, Riordan incorporates gods and other supernatural beings into his novels. But this time the focus is on Egypt! The story's central characters are once again adolescent age children, Carter and Sadie Kane, who were separated from each other at a young age. Their paths cross once again when their parents are kidnapped. The story is told from their perspectives and takes you on an amazing adventure through the realm of Egyptian gods and creatures. There isn't a moment of boredom in the book. It will leave you craving the sequel: The Throne of Fire.


Activity Related to the Story
After reading the book, we began to create comprehension questions that we could use with our students in the classroom. This is perfect to use for guided reading groups or to check student understanding. Reading strategies such as: summarizing, visualizing, and predicting are included as well. There is also an answer key attached which makes it easy for a teacher to use right away in the classroom. You can find the FREE 16 pages of comprehension questions and answer keys for Chapters 1-10 by clicking here.


Extensive Reading Activity Guide
We also have a 114 page reading comprehension activity guide and key that goes along with the story. Our student love to do these guides because it provides them with fun activities related to the book. They are also challenged to search for answers in the book and to use reading strategies such as: summarizing, predicting, connecting, visualizing and so much more. The guide is easy to use and includes an answer key that is a tremendous help for the teacher.

We hope you take the time to read this book and hopefully use it in your classroom too!

For more great reading comprehension guides on other great books click here.

If you are a huge Red Pyramid fan, you will not want to miss our CD that we created with over 15 activities that can be shipped to you for use in your classroom as well. You can find it by clicking here.