goal of education is to create men who are capable of doing new things,
not simply of repeating what other generations have done." ~~ Jean
Piaget (1896 - 1980) Swiss cognitive psychologist
2012 Children's Book Awards
Every year, children across the United States vote for their favorite books, authors and illustrators.
Author of the Year: Jeff Kinney for Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever, Book Six. Greg is stuck inside with his family during a blizzard. HI is the main suspect for damaging school property but he is innocent - sort of. The Wimpy Kid Web site is: http://www.wimpykid.com/
Illustrator of the Year: Brian Selznick for Wonderstruck. Brian is best known for The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Find out more about Brain Selznick at: http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/contributor/brian-selznick
Kindergarten to Second Grade Book of the Year: Three Hens and a Peacock by Lester L. Laminack. The peacock gets all the attention, which makes the hens mad, so the hens and the peacock trade jobs.
Third to Fourth Grade Book of the Year: Bad
Kitty Meets the Baby by Nick Bruel. A cat is horrified when its owners bring home a surprise.
Fifth to Sixth Grade Book of the Year: Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt. A boy in a troubled family finds his own way. He is helped by new friends and a love for artist John James Audubon's Birds of America.
Teen Choice Book of the Year: Clockwork Prince: The Infernal Devices, Book Two by Cassandra Clare. A band of heroes battle supernatural enemies such as vampires and demons in 1800s England.
Find out more about the Chidren's Book Awards at: http://reading.org/Resources/Booklists/ChildrensChoices.aspx
Aaron Shepard's RT Page: http://www.aaronshep.com/rt/index.html
Reader's theater is a simple form of theater that is easy to produce.
It is not a requirement to perform in front of an audience, but when it
is done, little or no props or costumes are required. In stage productions,
readers generally dress in black and sit on stools in the center of the
stage. A narrator describes the activities of the characters creating
all the action. Scripts for reader's theater cover a variety of topics
from both literature and history. Creating a new script is an excellent
exercise or history research project. Review this site for more information
about reader's theater and a set of scripts available for use.
ABC's of the Writing Process: http://www.angelfire.com/wi/writingprocess/index.html
A solid reference for middle-school writers, this site gives advice on
all the steps of writing: prewriting, writing, revising, editing, and
even publishing. Students can begin with the charts outlining different
ways to begin prewriting. The site also clearly distinguishes between
revising and editing, even providing an editing checklist.
Absolutely Whootie: Stories to Grow By: http://www.storiestogrowby.com/
As the world becomes smaller, educators have learned to include lessons
from other nations and cultures. This site offers a wide selection of
stories and folk tales derived from cultures around the globe. Not only
can students and teachers investigate stories from locations as far away
as East Africa and Afghanistan, but classrooms can also view the student
gallery, contribute their own
interpretations, and download story scripts for theatrical performances.
Academy Curricular Exchange Language Arts
Lessons Intermediate (6-8): http://ofcn.org/cyber.serv/academy/ace/lang/inter.html
This is the Columbia Education Center's Curriculum Exchange where teachers
can find a variety of lesson plans.
"AddALL searches all the data bases of all the major on-line bookstores.
This makes us the biggest book database on the Internet." You can
also click on Used & Out of Print Books to search this separate database.
A Dramatic Education: http://www.angelfire.com/nm/marston6/
The best feature of this personal site by theatre arts teacher Peter Marston
Sullivan is the listing of lesson plans. Suggested lessons include the
expected ones -- on blocking, staging, and costuming -- and also more
pointed ones, including activities that teach how to audition and how
to speak in dialect. The site also covers more obscure topics, like the
history of Greek drama and the method
Alphabet Action: http://www.learningplanet.com/act/fl/aact/index.asp
Alphabet Tools from Alphabet Soup: http://www.alphabet-soup.net/ttools/abcpictures.html
These printable alphabet pages teach children to
reinforce knowledge of upper and lower case letters by coloring each with
a different color until a hidden picture emerges.
American Folklore: http://www.americanfolklore.net/
Created as part of a master's project, this site
makes folktales from different U.S. states easy to find. Users can also
find stories about famous characters, tales from different times in U.S.
History, and some ethnic tales. This website is a great introduction to
Grade Level: Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle
School, High School
Content Area: Arts (Performing Arts), History & Social Studies (General),
Animal Alphabet Flash Cards: http://www.billybear4kids.com/animal/animal-abc/a.html
Preschool students can practice beginning sounds
by associating letters and sounds with one of their favorite things--animals.
Each letter offers a few different animals to click on, with a photo to
accompany each one. The cards can also be downloaded for printing and
collating an animal alphabet mini-book; let your students choose one representative
animal for each letter, rather than printing them all. In this way, each
student will have his or her own individualized alphabet book to share
Anne Frank the Writer: an unfinished story: http://www.ushmm.org/museum/exhibit/online/af/htmlsite/
Anne's diary, published in 1947 and eventually translated
into almost 70 languages, is for many young readers the first encounter
with the history of Nazi Germany. Between the ages of 13 and 15, Anne
wrote short stories, fairy tales, essays, and the beginnings of a novel.
Five notebooks and more than 300 loose pages handwritten during her two
years in hiding survived the war. This website presents an indepth look at her writings through the use of a narrated exhibition, interviews,
an opportunity for site users to respond, artifacts from the museum, and
links to other recommended sites. Produced by The United States Holocaust
Grade Level: Early Childhood (K-2), Elementary,
Middle School, High School, College, Adult/Professional
Content Area: History & Social Studies (World History)
Anne Frank's, " Diary of a Young Girl" Part 1: http://www.vocabulary.com/VUctannefrank.html
If your class is reading Anne Frank's famous book, you'll enjoy this vocabulary
site, created specifically using words from the autobiography.
Aphorisms Galore: http://www.aphorismsgalore.com/
Are your students running for school elections? Or do they want to spruce
up a paper -- or their own debate speech? This site offers a huge number
of pithy, wise statements for any occasion. Organized by topic, the site
includes proverbs about altruism and cynicism; science and religion; success
and failure; and law and politics, as well as many others
Applegate, K. A.
K.A (Katherine Alice) Applegate has written more that 100 books, most of them for kids and young adults.
Since it began 1996, her Animorph series has morphed, or changed,
her into a famous and very popular author. Her best-selling series
is published in more than 12 countries. In this series, five teen-agers
gain the power to morph into any animal they touch. They must use
these powers to battle an evil species that takes over human brains.
K. A. Applegate said this series has allowed her to use her love of animals
in her writing. "I grew up with a menagerie - dogs, cats, gerbils
- not to mention three younger siblings. I was sure I wanted to
grow up to be either a veterinarian or a writer." K. A. Applegate
tries to show readers how it would feel to be one of the animals the kids
become. "I don't want to talk about animals in sentimental terms
in these books," she said. "when Tobias becomes a hawk,
I want the reader to see the world as a hawk might see it - to soar on
the warm breezes and hurtle toward the ground to make a kill. When
Marco becomes an ant, I want to convey the ant's lack of individuality,
his blind world of scent and touch." K. A. Applegate has a
son, Jake. She also has two cats. She enjoys traveling, reading,
gardening, and playing the cello. Her favorite children's book is Charlotte's Web by E. B. White. Her favorite foods are
popcorn and cereal.
"Artbomb's mission is to promote diverse and sophisticated graphic novels."
The books are classified by genre.
Carol Hurst's Children's Literature Site: http://www.booksintheclassroom.com/allreviewed.php
Children's Authors and Illustrators on the Web: http://www.ucalgary.ca/~dkbrown/authors.html
Jack Pilkey's Extra-Cruncy Website o' Fun: http://www.pilkey.com/
Patricia Polacco: http://www.patriciapolacco.com/
Poetry Writing with Jack Prelutsky: http://teacher.scholastic.com/writewit/poetry/jack_home.htm
Welcome to the World of Roald Dahl: http://www.roalddahl.com/
Robert Munsch: http://www.robertmunsch.com/
Toni dePaola: http://www.tomiedepaola.com/
Welcome to the World of Jan Brett: http://www.janbrett.com/
The winner for Randolph Caldecott Medal for 1999 was Mary Azarian for Snowflake Bentley. Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline
Briggs Martin is the true story of the man who showed the world that no
two snowflakes are alike. He worked for 50 years to invent a way
to photograph snowflakes. His photos never made him rich, but they
made the world a richer place. Mary Azarian creates her art with
woodcuts. Before the movable press was invented, woodcuts allowed
people to make many copies of one picture. She started making woodcuts
when she was a kid. In college she studied more about this printing
process. She also paints. About 30 years ago, she began her
own business because she wanted to stay home with her three young sons.
She sold her woodcut prints to craft shops and art galleries. In
the mid 1960's, she made a series of alphabet posters for a poor rural
school where she was teaching. Later she made alphabet sets for
the entire Vermont school system. These alphabet posters became
her first book, A Farmer's Alphabet. To make woodcuts,
Mary Azarian: draws a picture on a block of wood with a pencil, draws
over the picture with a waterproof felt-tipped pen, cuts away the part
of the image she doesn't want to print, rolls ink over the design, lays
the inked block on the bottom of her hand-operated press, puts paper on
top of the block,. rolls a weighted cylinder over the block. After
the print is made she hand-colors each one. Mary Azarian lives in
Calais, Vt. she has three grown sons. She also has a beagle,
Hilda, and three cats, Phoebe, Trey and Big Kitty. Big Kitty was
the model for the cat in her book Barn Cat. Barn Cat by Carol P. Saul is a book of playful counting rhymes. The cat watches
the world about her, looking for what she thinks is special. Some
of her favorite thins are: "I love to cook. My favorite foods
are what I make from scratch.", the color blue, playing bridge, gardening,
medieval and Renaissance choral music, any kind of world music such as
African or Middle Eastern. Her favorite time to read is the hour
between her morning walk and before beginning her art work. Her
favorite author is Chris Van Allsburg and her favorite sport is cross-country
skiing. She has this advice for kids, "It's hard for kids to
know what they really want to do. But if there's something they
really, really want to do, they should try it even if it doesn't seem
practical. Snowflake Bentley is a perfect example of this.
Nobody placed any value at all on his photographing snowflakes.
But he just kept doing it. All too often we get pushed into ways
of making a living that are practical but don't satisfy the needs of the
heart." A Symphony for the Sheep by C.M. Millen is
a poem about raising sheep in Ireland, and how clothes are made from their
Bembo's Zoo: http://www.bemboszoo.com/
"A is for antelope, B is for Bison, C is for crab." An amazing
typographic adventure awaits you at Bembo's Zoo, as you watch each letter
of the alphabet transform into a wild animal right before your eyes and
ears. This Flash animation for all ages is based on the book of the same
name, by graphic artist Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich.
Betsy Byars: http://www.carolhurst.com/authors/byars.html
Between the Lions: http://pbskids.org/lions/
Leona's Coloring Pages: http://pbskids.org/lions/games/coloring.html
Birth of a Nation Study Guide for the Classroom: http://www.webster.edu/fatc/birth.html
Book Adventure: http://www.bookadventure.org/
The Birth of a Nation in Today in History: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/today/feb08.html
This website houses a free motivational reading
program for children in grades K-8. Reviews help children pick a book
to read, either from a library or bookstore. After the book is read, children
can take a quiz online, with the incentive of prizes after a number of
quizzes are completed. Parents can monitor their child's activities and
find resources for reading challenges in their families. Teachers can
access the articles that may help them increase parental involvement.
This website was developed by Sylvan Learning Centers.
Grade Level: Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle
Content Area: English (Reading), Community Interest (Parenting and Families)
Book Report Alternatives
Ad Campaign- Your job is to design an ad campaign to promote your book.
Think of ideas for a cover, inside jacket, poster, window banner and display
cartoon. Sketch your ideas or put them together to form a window display.
Some of you may want to present your ideas in the form of a
60-second TV or radio commercial.
Adding- Add a chapter or incident to the story. You may include new characters,
new incidents or new settings.
Advertising- You work in the advertising department of a publisher. Your
job is to create an advertising display for the book. This display will
be set up in bookstores across the country. For your display, consider
using author photos, posters, dioramas, or cardboard display cases. Aging
Character- Pretend you are the major character at age sixty, tell about
your life as a young person and as an adult.
Alien Encounter- Pretend you have landed on another planet and you are
going to convince them the book you just read is a good one to read. How
would you do it? Remember they cannot speak the English language.
Author- Write a letter to the author about certain aspects of the book
you did not like. Site the book to back up what you say. Offer suggestions
Author Comparison- Compare this book to another written by the same author.
Author Research- Find out about the author; present a brief biography
of him and tell about his book. What else has he written?
Balloon- Blow up a balloon and decorate the sides of it so it tells about
the book you read.
Book Designer- You are a book designer, and the publisher wants to come
out with a new edition of the book. Design a new cover or book jacket,
and illustrate the first page of each chapter.
Box Design- Design a box (it can be square or 3-D). Put something about
the book on all sides of it. Cartoon Strip- Draw a cartoon strip of the
most important events in the story.
Character Construction- Use a 2-liter plastic bottle for the body (partially
filled with sand or pebbles to stay upright), a plastic foam ball for
the head and poster board for the feet and clothes. Explain why
you choose this character to design. Use lines from the book to back up
Character Conversation- Choose two characters from the story and write
about a conversation they might have.
Characters Meet- create a scene in which the main characters from TWO
Chinese Restaurant- You are out with the main characters from your book
at a Chinese restaurant. On this particular night, the fortune cookies
are amazingly appropriate. Describe each character and tell what his/her
fortune cookie said and why it is fitting. Do not forget to include yourself!
Clay Characters- make clay figures that go along with your book. Collage-
Use old magazines as a source for pictures which represent some event
of part of your book. Make a collage to show and explain your choices
to the group.
Compare/Contrast- Compare and contrast yourself with the main character
of the book.
Crossword Puzzle- Select 20 difficult words from the book and look up
their synonyms in a dictionary or thesaurus. Using these synonyms as well
as facts about the plot and characters, design a crossword puzzle.
Draw- Draw a mural depicting the major scenes from the book.
Descriptive Words- Find as many descriptive words as you can in one chapter
that are used for people or a place. Be sure to specify which.
Desert Island- Imagine you are stranded on a deserted island with an important
character from your book. Which one would you choose and why?
Detective Game- Make a detective game about the book you read. Give clues.
You may use page numbers, etc.
Diary- Pretend you are the main character and write several diary pages
describing an important event in the book.
Diorama- Make a diorama of an important happening in the book.
Ending- Make up a new ending for the book.
Epilogue- Write an epilogue to the story.
Felt Board Characters- Make a set of felt board characters and tell part
of the book with them. Highlight- For each chapter, pick a highlight or
point that you felt made that chapter exciting. Illustrate each highlight.
Historical Background- Present the historical background for this novel.
Hundred Year Test- Explain why you think this book will or will not be
read a hundred years from now. Support your opinion by stating specific
events from the story.
Greeting Card- Design an original greeting card(s) that your character
could send to a friend/foe/relative or someone else in the book.
Illustrations- Draw your own set of illustrations for the book.
Interior Decorator- Design a new home for the main characters in your
Limerick- Write a limerick about your book.
Lost and Found- Make up a lost and found as for a person or object in
Main Character- Describe the main character in 150 words.
Main Character Design- Use butcher paper and make a life-size picture
of the main character of your book.
Map- Make an illustrated map showing a character's travels or the area
encompassed by your book. Mobile- Design and build a mobile that conveys
scenes, characters, or events from the book. Monologue- Prepare a monologue
from the story. Memorize it and present it to the class.
Movie Script- Write a movie script for one of the scenes in your book.
Act it out in front of the class with the help of other students.
Photos- Take photos which reflect your understanding of the novel.
Pictures- Bring in pictures, drawings, posters or objects that represent
some aspect of the novel. Poem- Make up a poem about your book.
Problem- Describe the problem or conflict existing for the main character
in the book. Tell how the conflict was or was not resolved.
Pulitzer Prize- Pretend you are one of the judges for the Pulitzer Prize
for Literature, an annual award honoring excellence in writing. Decide
whether you would nominate the book you have just read for such an award.
Then write a letter to the author explaining why you have accepted or
rejected his book to compete for such high honors.
Puppet- Create a puppet to represent your favorite character in the story.
Puzzle- Make a put-together puzzle. Make it in the shape of a main object
or character of the book. When put together it has on it the name of the
book and the author.
Questions- Write 10 question which could be used to test other students
understanding of the story. Make sure to include a list of answers.
Roll Story- Make a roll (like those you see on a cash register) and use
words and pictures to tell about your book. It will be told as they unroll
Scrapbook- Make a scrapbook about the book.
Seed Mosaic- Make a seed mosaic to illustrate part of the book.
Setting- Research the geography of the setting of the novel.
Shoebox Picture Scene- Make a shoebox picture scene.
Song- Write a ballad or song about the characters and events in your story.
Set the words to the music of a popular song and sing it in class.
Stamp- Design a stamp that could be the crest or symbol to represent either
the book or the main character.
Television commercial- Make a television commercial about your book. Act
out the commercial for the class.
TV Talk Show- Interview a character for a TV talk show, creating questions
and answers consistent with the novel.
Timeline- Make a timeline of what happens during the book.
Title- Using the title of the book, write a phrase about the book for
Travel Poster- Make a travel poster inviting tourists to visit the setting
of the book.
Turning Point- Pick out what you felt was the "turning
point" in the book. Write about the incidents that led the reader
to that point.
Word Power- Make a list of new, unusual or interesting
words or phrases found in your book.
A Book Report Recipe: http://www.teachersdesk.org/readreport.html
Try this alternative book report, in recipe formula,
for a fresh change of pace. All the usual ingredients
for reviewing books are still included. These cards would make a nice
introductory back-to-school exercise and bulletin board display--students
can illustrate their cards and report a recipe on a special
book they read over the summer.
"Compare book prices to find the best price for new, used nad rental books and college texbooks a the the major Online Stores."
Books that have been set
A You're Adorable byMartha Alexander
Baby Beluga by Raffi
The Cat Came Back by Bill Slavin
Chicken Soup with Rice by Maurice Sendak
Clifford We Love You by Norman Bridwell
Down By the Bay by Raffi
Down By the Station by Hillerbrand
Everything Grows by Raffi
Five Little Ducks by Raffi
Frog Went a Courtin' by John Langstaff
Give the Dog a Bone by Steven Kellogg
The Hokey Pokey by Laprise, Macak, and Baker
How Much is That Doggy by Trapan
I Know an Old Lady by Nadine Westcott
I'm a Little Teapot by Iza Tripani
I've Been Working on the Railroad by Nadine Westcott
The Itsy Bitsy Spider by Iza Tripani
The Lady With the Alligator Purse by Nadine Westcott
The Little Drummer Boy by Ezra Jack Keats
Little Rabbit Foo Foo by Michael Rosen, Michael
Mary Had a Little Lamb by Iza Tripani
Mary Wore Her Red Dress by Merle Peek
My Favorite Things by Renee Graef
Oh Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone? by Iza Tripani
Oh, a Hunting We Will Go by John Langstaff
On Top of Spaghetti by Katherine Tillotson
One By One: Garth Pig's Rain Song by Mary Rayner
One Light, One Sun by Raffi
Over in the Meadow by Paul Galdone
Over the River and through the Wood by Lydia Child
Peanut Butter and Jelly by Nadine Westcott
Pizza Pokey by Jeffrey Stoodt
Shake My Sillies Out by Raffi
Shoo Fly by Trapan
Skip to My Lou by Nadine Westcott
Take Me Out to the Ballgame by Jack Norworth
The Thirteen Days of Halloween by Carol Greene
The Twelve Days of Christmas: A Song Rebus Emily Bolam, illustrator
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly by Slimms Taback
Tingalayo by Raffi
Today is Monday by Eric Carle
Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star by Iza Tripani
Wheels on the Bus by Raffi
What a Wonderful World by Bob Thiele
This Land is Your Land by Woody Guthrie
Lift Every Voice and Sing by James Weldon Johnson
Booktalks -- Quick and Simple: http://nancykeane.com/booktalks/default.htm
The Call of the Wild by Jack London
Center for the Book in the Library of Congress: http://www.loc.gov/loc/cfbook/
Charlotte's Web: http://www2.lhric.org/pocantico/charlotte/
Each year, Mrs. Taverna's second-grade class reads Charlotte's Web, and
each year (since 1998) the students then add a little something to their
Pocantico Hills School Charlotte's Web site, including the ABCs of Charlotte's
Web (A is for Avery, B is for Barn), Chapter Summaries, The Mystery Quotes
Quiz, Charlotte's Web Trivia Crossword Puzzles, and a big section on Spiders.
Children's Book Council Online Publishers Page: http://www.cbcbooks.org/
This site carries author interviews and gives subject bibliography links
to many author/illustrator sites. It also lists books by topic.
Children's Creative Theater Guide: http://tqjunior.thinkquest.org/5291/
Need ideas on how to prepare your students for school plays? This site
covers all aspects of theatrics, including a quick reader on theater's
evolution through time, a glossary, and sure-fire exercises to eliminate
stage fright and build up strong acting skills.
The Children's Literature Web Guide: http://www.acs.ucalgary.ca/~dkbrown/index.html
Links to many other websites, including commentaries on children's books,
book award winners from around the world, and ideas for parents, teachers,
Children's Storybooks Online: http://www.magickeys.com/books/
Although parts of this site feel like they were built for very young kids,
they actually include content that is appropriate for middle schoolers.
Students can read illustrated stories or religious parables on the site,
as well as take quizzes or solve riddles.
Chocolate by Hershey: a story about Milton S. Hershey by Betty Burford
Chocolate: Riches from the Rain Forest by Robert Burleigh
The Hershey's Kisses Addition Book by Jerry Pallotta
The Hershey's Kisses Subtraction Book by Jerry Pallotta
The Hershey's Milk Chocolate Multiplication Book by Jerry Pallotta
Beans to Chocolate by Inez Snyder
Choco-Louie by Jeffrey Kindley
The Chocolate Lovers: A Children's Story and Cookbook by Joan van Loon
The Chocolate-Covered Contest by Carolyn Keene
From Cocoa Bean to Chocolate (Start To Finish) by Robin Nelson
A Guide for Using Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in the Classroom by Concetta Doti Ryan - Teacher Created Materials, Westminster, CA:
Lucky Pennies and Hot Chocolate by Carol Diggory Shields
The Magic School Bus in the Rain Forest
Oh, Ducky!: A Chocolate Calamity by David Slonim
Painted Eggs and Chocolate Bunnies by Toni Trent Parker
The Secret Ingredient by George Edward Stanley
Simply Delicious! by Margaret Mahy
Wellington's Chocolatey Day by Mick Inkpen
Citation Machine: http://landmark-project.com/citation_machine/
This has been a popular web tool that enables teachers (and students)
to select a resource type (book, journal article, newspaper or magazine
article, web site, e-mail message, online forum, interview) and then fill
in a form asking for the appropriate attribution information. The tool
then produces a standard citation for the resource, which can be highlighted,
copied, and then pasted into an information product. Today, as a result
of constant requests, Citation Machine now generates APA citations as
well as MLA, Turabian, and Chicago.
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs: http://www.sdcoe.k12.ca.us/score/Cloudy/cloudytg.htm
Common Errors in English Usage: http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/errors.html
This is one site that can benefit both teachers and students. Though not
particularly flashy, this site is simply an index that covers some of
the most commonly made grammatical and spelling errors in the English
Common-Place: A Common Place, an Uncommon Voice: http://www.common-place.org/
Compact For Reading and School-Home Links: http://www.ed.gov/pubs/CompactforReading/index.html#links
Printable pages for Kindergarten through grade three.
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare: http://shakespeare.mit.edu/works.html
Corey Green: http://www.coreygreen.com/index.html
Fun Stuff and Book Stuff at this Web site of a children's book author and National Board Certified Teacher
Crossword Puzzle Help: http://www.oneacross.com/
"Having trouble getting the last word in that puzzle? Having
trouble getting the first? See if our search engine can help! Unlike pure
pattern dictionary searches, we actually analyze the clue as well."
To use this tool, enter the exact clue and an answer pattern. For unknown
letters, use a question mark. For example, for clue "Cut" and
pattern "h???" you get the answer "hewn" along with
other lower rated answers such as "snip" and "sawn."
The Culminating Project: Students Put Together a Book of Their Best Writing: http://www.education-world.com/a_curr/curr014.shtml/
Daily Grammar: http://www.dailygrammar.com/
Dialectical Journal: http://www.sdcoe.k12.ca.us/score/actbank/sdia.htm
Use this template to print out pages for a dialectical
reading journal for your students.
Dialog Jacket: http://www.sdcoe.k12.ca.us/SCORE/actbank/sdiajack.htm
Here is another version of book jackets; this time
the design will be based on the characters of the novel. Students will
create dialog as well as illustrations to present a complete book jacket.
The Digital Library: a Biography: http://www.clir.org/pubs/reports/pub109/pub109.pdf
Case studies of six major digital libraries illustrate opportunities and
pitfalls provided by the electronic medium.
Dr. Seuss's birthday activitiy: In celebration of Dr. Seuss's birthday this year, have students read
their way across the country from your school to Los Angeles, CA.
They can use the Internet to chart their course, determine their mileage,
and consider places to visit at each interim destination. They were able
to travel one mile for each page read. The classes might plot their trips
on a large wall map in the classroom. Once they had "arrived"
at their final destination, they then plan and read the return trip.
Record-keeping consists of a spreadsheet form giving the date of each
reading, amount of time involved, number of pages read, title and author
of the book, and a mandatory verifying signature of a parent or guardian.
The students submit their sheets each Monday with their personal totals,
and then the class total is used to identify that week's interim location.
This idea could also be modified to visit other countries and explore other
continents, as well as allowing students to plan and read personal trips
using individual maps.
Dr. Seuss's Seussville: http://www.seussville.com/
Dramatic Play Centre Ideas: http://www.canteach.ca/elementary/drama8.html
What kind of items and activities can you place
in centers to encourage dramatic play? This site offers
a whole list of possible suggestions.
This collection of writings on writing will provide high-school aged beginning
writers with insights into the techniques and thinking of some of the
world's greatest authors.
The Encyclopedia Mythica: http://www.pantheon.org/mythica/
Supplement your mythology unit with this great resource. Encyclopedia
Mythica offers hundreds of articles, illustrations, maps, and genealogy
tables for the folklore of dozens of cultures. Select a culture, and an
index of definitions and encyclopedia entries appears. Many entries
come with pronunciation guides and can be printed for easy reference.
There's information on the Arthurian legend, too.
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art: http://www.picturebookart.org/home/index.asp
Works of Carle, Maurice Sendak, Nancy Eklholm and more than a
dozen other artists slated for display at the Amherst, Mass. museum.
Educators and children around the nation also have access to the museum
through its Website. The site features examples of new and well-known
works, along with recommended reading, tips for sharing books with young
children and descriptions of upcoming events. Links to other online resources
featuring children's books also are provided.
Ezra Jack Keats New Writer and New Illustrator Book Award: http://www.ezra-jack-keats.org/ezra-jack-keats-award-winners/
These books will appeal to the diverse students in your classroom. The awards are named for Ezra Jack Keats whose landmark book, The Snowy Day, broke the race barrier in mainstream children's literature with Peter, a character of color.
Explore English Words Derived from Latin-Greek Origins: http://www.wordexplorations.com/
Fairy Tales and Fables
AesopFables.com has the entire text of 655 of Aesop's fables and 127
fairy tales from Hans Christian Andersen. And creator John Long isn't
done yet: 209 Grimm brothers' fairy tales are coming soon. Selected Fables
includes eighty-six Aesop fables "selected for their ease of reading
and concise moral understanding." Look for the Real Audio logo in
the lower right-hand corner of some of the story pages to hear Long's
ten year old daughter read the fable.
Aesop's Fables: http://www.umass.edu/aesop/
Each year, University of Massachusetts professor
Copper Giloth asks his Computers in Fine Arts students to illustrate or
animate an Aesop fable, along with their own modern retelling of the story.
This collection of nearly forty fables is the best of that student work
dating back to 1994. This fun site is a great place to start before creating
your own fables.
Childhood Reading: http://childhoodreading.com/
Childhood Reading is a mix of fairy tales, fables
and poetry accompanied by original early-twentieth century illustrations.
The illustrated tales are indexed by both author (such as Hans Christian
Andersen, Robert Louis Stevenson and Aesop) and illustrator (including
Maxfield Parrish and Edmund Dulac.) It's the simple design and yummy artwork
that make this site special.
Grimm's Fairy Tales: From Folklore to Forever: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/grimm/
Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were German patriots
of the early nineteenth century who set out to preserve their country's
folk tales. The stories were often cruel, but once the brothers saw how
popular the tales were with young readers, they started making them softer
and sweeter. National Geographic serves up a graphically-rich adventure
into twelve "unvarnished" Grimm fairy tales, some of which include
audio. Click on the treasure box for a biography, resource links, and
a kid's activity page.
Myths, Folktales, Fairy Tales: http://teacher.scholastic.com/writewit/mff/
As part of their Writing with Writers series, this
Scholastic project is a multi-grade resource for learning about and writing
myths, folktales and fairytales. Grades one to three explore fairy tales
and meet two authors who have re-written classic fairy tales: Jon Scieska
(author of "The True Story of the Three Little Pigs") and Diane
Good (author and illustrator of "Cinderella: The Dog and her Little
Glass Slipper.") Similarly, grades three to six dive into folk tales
while grades five through eight learn about myths. There even is an opportunity
to submit your own tales for possible publication on the Scholastic site.
The students decorate a paper bag in the form of a vest on the outside,
on the inside they write a summary of the book, and they write a notecard
to read when someone else models their vest. They tell what the objects
on the front represent and the their review of the book.
The Fantastic in Art and Fiction: http://fantastic.library.cornell.edu/
For such topics as "The Dance of Death, "Angels and Demons,"
"Weird Science," "Fantastic Space," this presents
a brief backgrounder, a variety of images, and a list of sources for the
images. Created by the Cornell Institute for Digital Collections, drawing
on the rare and manuscript collections of the Cornell University Library.
Fishy Color Words: http://www.bry-backmanor.org/actpag52.html
Reinforce color words for kindergarten and first
grade students with this appealing printable. Students must color each
fish according to the color word printed below it.
Focusing on Famous People:
On a piece
of art paper, draw the perfect birthday gift for your person. Below
your drawing, add a caption that explains why this gift is so perfect
for your famous person.
2) What was your person's "recipe for success?" Draw a large
recipe card on a piece of white art paper. Write your person's recipe
for success on the card. Cut the card out and decorate it.
3) You've just been asked by your principal to plan a special day for students
at your school to honor your famous person. What kinds of
activities or special events will you plan for this day? Write a
plan giving the details of this special day.
4) You've just been introduced to the world's top expert on your famous person.
This expert knows everything that there is to know about your person.
List ten questions about your famous person that you would ask this expert.
5) How would life be different for people today if your person had never
been born? List your predictions.
6) List three ways that you and your famous person are alike. List
three ways in which you are different. Do you think you are more
alike than different, or more different than alike? Explain your
7) You have been asked to write and direct a short film about your famous
person. But you will only have time to tell about one of your famous
person's accomplishments. Which accomplishment will you choose,
and why? Write your answer in a letter to the president of the television
network that will broadcast your film.
8) A top-notch writer has just decided to write a new book about a famous
person. You want to convince this writer to write the book about your famous person. Tape-record or write a message to
this writer. Explain why your famous person is the perfect topic
for a new book. Suggest a title for the book as well.
Folklore and Mythology ElectronicTexts: http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/folktexts.html
Edited and translated by Prof. D. L. Ashman. It has a combined index of
authors, titles, and themes (baldheaded men, "abducted by aliens,"
end of the world," etc.).
Russell Freedman won
the 1998 Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal by the Association for Library Service
to Children. It is given to an author or illustrator whose books
have made a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children.
Unlike most children's authors, Russell Freedman does not write fiction.
His books are all true stories about people in history or animals.
In 1988 he won the Newbery Medal for his book Lincoln, A Photobiography,
a book that reveals the real, very human man at the heart of the legend.
He won Newbery Honor Book awards in 1991 for The Wright Brothers:
How They Invented the Airplane, and in 1993 for Eleanor Roosevelt,
A Life of Discovery, which tells of an "ugly duckling"
who became one of the most powerful and best-loved women of her time.
Russell Freedman served in the Army during the Korean War, then
worked as a reporter. He did publicity for TV shows such as Father
Knows Best. In 1961, he wrote his first book, Teenagers
Who Made History. Thirty-six years after writing this book,
he took one chapter from it and expanded it into a new book, Out of
Darkness, The Story of Louis Braille. He said, One thing about
writing for kids is it allows me to explore just about any subject I'm
really interested in . A writer for kids has the most responsive
and appreciative audience." Writing a book takes him about
a year, depending on the particular book. He has written books in
two months, and has spent two years on other books. He said, "I
work seven days a week because I'm very much involved in what I'm doing.
It's not work; it's a game. It's a pleasurable activity. It's
like a sport. You can't wait to get back to it in the morning."
His favorite food is corn on the cob. His hobbies are travel, photography,
and hiking. His favorite children's author is E.B. White. "Charlotte's Web is one of my favorite books. I read
it once a year. I want to be E.B. White when I grow up. I
don't watch TV. I don't think there's anything more boring than
standard television fare," he said. His favorite place to
read is on a plane. His advice to kids is, "Read, read, read;
and write, write, write. Keep a diary, keep a journal, write letters.
Read what you enjoy."
Gnooks - welcome to the world of literature: http://gnooks.com/
"Gnooks i s a self-adapting community system based on the gnod engine. Discover new writiers you will like, travel the map of literature and discuss your favorite books and authors." You can type the name of an author
to find discussions, or to see a clickable literature map of comparable
authors -- the closest names in the visual display are considered most
akin to your target author.
Graphic Organizers: http://www.sdcoe.k12.ca.us/score/actbank/torganiz.htm
Here is a whole selection of various graphic organizers
you can use throughout your school year. Find an Interaction Outline,
and Anticipation/Reaction Guide, Chain of Events, Compare and Contrast,
and the usual Venn diagrams, amongst other choices.
Giff, Partricia Reilly
Patricia Reilly Giff won a Newbery Honor
Book Award for Lily's Crossing. Lily Mollahan can't wait
to get to Rockaway, the coastal town where she and her father and grandmother
spend each summer. Little does she know that the summer of 1944
will be marked by change. Her father goes to war; her best friend,
Margaret, moves to Detroit; and she meets Albert, a Hungarian refugee.
As Lily and Albert become friends, they begin sharing their fears, their
secrets, and their wishes. More than anything, Lily wants her father
home safely and Albert wishes to be reunited with his sister, Ruth. Through
her friendship with Albert, Lily starts to see life differently and pledges
to stop her worst habit - lying. Patricia Reilly Giff has said,
"Lily's Crossing is about my childhood. I was inspired
to write the book because, for years, I thought about my childhood during
World War II, in Rockaway, New York, which I loved. We went there
every day in the summer and I loved the water. So I thought one
day that I would write Lily, and it took me about four years
to finally do it. The book is fiction, but it's based on so much
that I did do. I am Lily; I am the grandmother. Albert is
a composite of many boys I knew growing up. And the bakery really
existed, but it was in St Albans, where I grew up. We often went
to the bakery - and during the war, when the baker couldn't get eggs or
sugar, the offerings were pretty slim. There were signs up, like
"Loose Lips Sink Ships." When I went to bed at night,
I'd look out the window and see the search lights and always worry that
the German planes were coming. I was afraid a lot, and so the time
period is real. The story is fiction, but the setting, the background,
is true. When my sister was born, my mother put stars up on her
bedroom ceiling and they were beautiful. Eventually, the dried a
little and sometimes a star would float down from my sister's ceiling
onto the bed or floor and we called them falling stars. We thought
they were magic. So, putting the stars on the ceiling reminded me
of my childhood, of that time during World War II." Patricia
Reilly Giff has always been surrounded by books, and reading and writing
have always been important in her life. Patricia Reilly Giff taught
reading for 20 years and worked for a book publisher. She has written
more than 60 books for kids. She and her husband, Jim, live in Weston,
Conn. They have three children and five grandchildren.
A teachers guide for Lily's Crossing:
Before reading discuss that Lily's Crossing is set after
D-Day. In 1994, the United States celebrated the 50th anniversary
of D-Day. Go to the library to find articles in news magazines about
this celebration. Share with the class any unusual facts or moving
stories that you uncover.
As you read describe Lily and Margaret's friendship. How is Lily's
friendship with Albert different? Why does Lily say that he is the
best friend she ever had? Write a letter Lily might write to Poppy
describing her new friend, Albert. At the end of the novel, Albert
and Ruth are reunited, and Lily gets to meet Ruth. What do you
think Albert has told Ruth about Lily?
Throughout the book, Lily makes a list of her problems and solutions to
the problems. One of her worst problems is lying. She also
has a vivid imagination. Discuss the difference between lying and
imagining. Why does Lily continue to lie when she knows she's being
dishonest? List all the lies that Lily tells. How does one
lie lead to another? In what other ways is Lily dishonest?
At what point in the novel does she finally overcome her habit of lying?
Both Lily and Albert have lost parents, but they still have the love of
a family. Describe Lily's family. What is her relationship
with Poppy? What is Gram's role in the family? How does Lily's
relationship with Gram change at the end of the novel? How
does Albert gain a sense of family from Mr. and Mrs. Orban?
Lily feels guilty because she didn't tell her father good-bye. Albert
feels guilty because he didn't tell Ruth good-bye. How does each
of them deal with the guilt? Lily writes an "I'm sorry"
letter to her father, but we don't know what she says in it. Write
the letter that Lily sends.
Lily, Margaret, and Albert must face the loss and separation of family
members. Compare and contrast the way each character deals with
these feelings. How do Lily and Albert help Margaret deal with her
loss? How do they help each other?
Lily is a good writer. Write a journal entry that she might write
on the day her father leaves for the war. Lily has a vivid imagination,
she tells Margaret that her Aunt Celia is a U.S. spy in Germany; and imagines
that Mr. Egan is a Nazi spy. Write a story that Lily might write
about Aunt Celia or Mr. Egan.
Discuss the meaning of the title, Lily's Crossing.
During World War II, the U.S. government began rationing supplies.
Find out what items were rationed. What was the purpose of a "Victory
Garden"? Margaret's father goes to Detroit to make B-24 Liberator
Bombers. What other jobs on the home front helped the war effort?
Use reference sources and a map of Europe to trace the invasion of France
by the Allies. Begin with the military's landing on Omaha Beach
and follow their maneuvers through the small towns and cities that they
liberated in France.
Albert comes to Rockaway from Hungary via Austria, Switzerland, France,
and Canada. Ask students to calculate the approximate mileage over
land and water of his trip. Check the Internet or call a travel
agency and find out the flight time, including layovers, that Albert could
expect if he were traveling today from Kennedy Airport in New York to
Budapest, the capital of Hungary. How much would his flight cost?
Lily feels close to her mother through the stars pasted on her bedroom
ceiling. Each summer she brings one star with her to Rockaway.
Why are the stars so important to her? Lily makes reference to the
Big Dipper, Orion's Belt, and Cassiopeia. Research these constellations
and draw a diagram of each. Extend your research by locating other
constellations that Lily might find in the summer skies at Rockaway.
Gram and Lily listen to "Portia Faces Life" on the radio.
Write a radio script for an episode of a show entitled "Lily Faces
Life." Perform your script for the entire class.
Mrs. Sherman has two war posters hanging in her shop. One says,
"Loose Lips Sink ships," and the other says, "Someone Talked."
Design a poster using one of these slogans.
Search for words in the novel such as convoy(page 76) that specifically
pertain to the war. Then, locate words such as swell (page
116) and jetty (page 86) that refer to the coastal setting of
the book. Discuss the meaning of each word located.
Guide to Grammar & Writing: http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/
includes PowerPoint presentations and interactive activities
Guide to Writing a Basic Essay: http://members.tripod.com/~lklivingston/essay/
The title says it all! This is a great introduction to basic essay writing.
It's in a format that is easy to follow. Good for middle school and above.
Guided Reading: http://www.wfu.edu/~cunningh/fourblocks/block1.html
Guided Reading in the Primary Classroom: http://teacher.scholastic.com/professional/teachstrat/guidedreading.htm
Scholastic/Instructor Article on Guided Reading
Hamlet on the Ramparts: http://shea.mit.edu/ramparts/welcome.htm
Interesting. This site, hosted by MIT's Shakespeare Project, is an attempt
to compile all known resources devoted to Hamlet, Act 1, Scenes 4 and
5, in which Hamlet meets the ghost of his father.
Handmade Books: http://www.dickblick.com/lessonplans/handmadebooks/
Students will use a variety of paper products as
well as surfaces for textures, cords, ribbons, etc. to create their own
handmade book. Let them fill the book with the best of their student writings
throughout the year for a great class or grade souvenir.
Handwriting for Kids: http://www.handwritingforkids.com/handwrite/
Kevin Henkes writes
and illustrates books for children of many ages. In 1994 he won
a Caldecott Honor Book award for his picture book Owen.
He also writes novels for older children. He sold his first book
when he was 19. He has now written 24, and has also illustrated
many of them. Different artists, including his wife, Laura Dronzek,
have done the art for some of his other books. He and his wife,
a painter, have a 3-year-old son and a 1-year-old daughter. They
live in Madison, Wis. Kevin Henkes said, "For as long as I
can remember, I loved drawing. When I was in high school and trying
to think about what to do with my life, I rediscovered children's picture
books. I was starting to like writing. I had an English teacher
who really encouraged my writing, so I wanted a job where I could do both
(drawing and writing), and be my own boss." His hobbies are
reading and gardening. He likes running and bicycling. His
best time and place to read is in bed. He likes classical music.
He listens to music when he is drawing, but not when writing. He
says, "When I'm writing, I'm reading aloud." When he works
on picture books, he writes the story first. He sends it to his
editor, then makes sketches. He makes a model, or dummy, of what
the whole book will look like. He reads the book aloud to see how
it sounds. Then he draws the pictures with India ink. The
last step is painting the pictures. He said, "I used to do
two a year, but now I am doing child car, too." He now does
about one book a year. In Sun & Spoon, 10-year-old
Spoon seeks a special keepsake of his grandmother's, who just died.
But his 6-year-old sister keeps getting in the way of his search.
His advice to kids is, "Practice a lot. Before that, read a
lot. Enjoy reading. Draw what you like, and don't worry about
making a masterpiece every time. When I was a young artist, I got
hung up on that for a time. I thought everything I did had to be
Hanover Historical Texts Project: http://history.hanover.edu/project.html
There's a little of everything here: pre-Socratic dialogues, letters of
the Crusaders, decrees of the Council of Trent, documents of the slave
trade, documents of the French and American Revolutions, etc. Lots more
is promised for texts from Asia, Africa and Latin America.
HarperAudio! is a sound file database of poetry and literature selections
read by the authors or actors.Choose from a wide variety of authors and
poets -- including Poe, Vonnegut, Hemingway, Shakespeare, and Frost --
to see the available works. Then click on your selection to hear the work
read out loud. This is a great way to get your students excited about
what they're reading.
Fun with Harry Potter: http://www.angelfire.com/co3/teachhpotter/index.html
Many activities for teaching with Harry Potter, including printable sheets.
Harry Potter Word Search: http://www.funorama.com/wfharrypotter.html
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Literature Guide Discussion Questions and Activities: http://www.nancypolette.com/LitGuidesText/harrypotterchamberofsecrets.htm
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Literature Guide Discussion Questions and Activities: http://www.nancypolette.com/LitGuidesText/harrypotterprisoner.htm
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Literature Guide Discussion Questions and Activities: http://www.nancypolette.com/LitGuidesText/harrypottersorcerersstone.htm
J.K. Rowling: http://www.januarymagazine.com/profiles/jkrowling.html
National Public Radio J.K. Rowling Interviews: http://www.npr.org/ramfiles/me/20001027.me.15.ram
In this four-minute audio clip from October, 2000,
NPR's Margot Adler asks Rowling about her fifth book ("Harry Potter
and The Order of the Phoenix") and the demands of fame. They also
discuss the pros and cons of seeing Harry Potter on the big screen in
the upcoming Warner Bros. movie. What do you think? Will the director's
vision of the characters conflict with those in your imagination? In an
earlier 1998 interview Adler probes Rowling about the source of her inspiration.
To listen to either segment, you'll need the free RealPlayer plug-in.
Sheet #16: Harry Potter: http://www.mathstories.com/bookstories/Book_16_Harry_Potter.htm
The Sorcerer's Stone
Prior to the writing assignment, every student
selects a "sorcerer's
stone", perhaps during a walk along a beach area or around the school grounds...
Pretend that your stone is the Sorcerer's Stone
searched for by Harry Potter. What magic does it contain? What powers
will it bestow upon you? How will you use it? This week you need to write
three paragraphs for your writing assignment.
The first paragraph will be a description of your stone. Describe its
color, size and shape. (You might also want to make up a place that you
found it.) Use describing words that are exactly what you mean; for instance,
you might want to use the thesaurus for the exact colors in your stone
(there are many kinds of browns for example).
The second paragraph will be on the powers the stone will give you and
how you discovered the powers. For instance, did you have to rub the stone
as Aladdin did his lamp? Did you all of a sudden find yourself doing something
unusual and not know how it was possible, then gradually discover that
it was the stone that had given you the power? The third paragraph will
be on what you do with your stone when you find out about its powers--what
feats will you perform, what things will you change, whose life will you
make better or worse?
Remember that each paragraph will have an opening and closing sentence!
1. You have your date and name in the corners of
the paper and a title on the top line. Skip a line after the title.
2. Have margins on the left and right side of your paper.
3. Indent the first word of the paragraph.
4. The first sentence of each paragraph must be a topic sentence. These
sentences must express the central thought of each paragraph that follows.
5. You have at least 3 supporting sentences in each paragraph. Use at
least 2 "sense" words in each paragraph! Underline them in your
6. You have a concluding sentence for each paragraph.
7. Begin and end each sentence correctly. Make sure each word is correctly
8. Each sentence in each paragraph must stick to the topic and relate
to the topic of that paragraph.
9. Proof-read your writing, then have someone else--someone who knows
their spelling and punctuation--make corrections on your paper. Have them
sign this paper.
10. You have this sheet of paper turned in with your rough draft and the
final copy which is done in cursive.
11. Signature of person who checked your paper
Have Computers Forced Handwriting Out of the Picture?: http://www.education-world.com/a_curr/curr241.shtml
Although it is clear that childrens' handwriting skills are on the decline,
educators and experts seem unable to agree on the cause. While some blame
the new emphasis on keyboarding skills, others place the blame on teachers,
school budgets, or book publishers.
Hawthorne in Salem: http://hawthorneinsalem.org/
explores Nathaniel Hawthorne's connection to Salem, Massachusetts, with a primary focus on "the Custom House sketch,"
the first chapter of "The Scarlet Letter." The site also presents
materials from museums in Salem, as well as lectures & excerpts from
books & articles by leading Hawthorne scholars.
The Newbery Medal in 1998 went to Karen Hesse for Out of the Dust. It tells of a brave 14-year-old girl,
Billie Jo, living during the terrible dust storms sweeping through Oklahoma
in the 1930s. Karen Hesse sent out manuscripts of children's
books for almost nine years before one was accepted. Her first book, Wish Upon a Unicorn, was published in 1991. In the 1980's
Hess took special classes in order to care for a grandmother dying
of cancer and has worked as a hospice volunteer since. "Hospice
training forced me to look at myself, at my own mortality," Hesse
says. "It was that kind of reckoning that enabled me to be
so honest in my work." All fiction, all historically
accurate and all books like hers, Hesse says, that will help today's children
appreciate their ancestors' hardships yet remain shielded, while young,
from life's work and worry.
Holiday Writing: A writing activity
for the week before any holiday is for students to listen to and read
stories from the popular Chicken Soup series. Explain to them that they
are going to make their own books designed to be a holiday gift for a
family member. The book is titled "Chicken Soup for the Holiday Soul,"
and the students make a cover just like the Chicken Soup books, a table
of contents, and a dedication page. Stories that they might include are:
Best Holiday Gift I Received, Best Holiday Gift I Ever Gave, Favorite
Holiday Family Tradition, What the Holidays Mean to Me, and so on. Have
the students include some fun poetry, like acrostics, and silly lists
like Top 10 Best Things to Get in Your Holiday Stocking.
How to Start a Writer's Workshop: http://www.teachers.net/lessons/posts/681.html
If you need help setting up an elementary writer's
workshop in your classroom, this site provides an outline, guided steps
for the process, and notes for the teacher's role.
Johanna Hurwitz takes
about six months to actually write a book. "Long before I do
any writing, I think and talk to myself a lot," she said. She
started making up stories as a child. Her first book, Busybody
Nora, took her three years of sending out the book and getting it
rejected, then sending it out again, before a publisher finally bought
it. It was so popular it became part of a series. Ever-Clever
Elisa is one of a series of books about kids living in a New York
apartment building. Other series characters are Nora, Teddy and
Russell. In Faraway Summer, a charity group sends a poor
New York girl to a Vermont farm for the summer. She learns to appreciate
the differences in the people and the land. She writes children's
books because, she said, "I wanted to be a writer when I was a child.
The books I was reading then made me want to write books like that.
I really enjoy children as human beings. They are much more interested
in things. They haven't been spoiled by life. They are more
spontaneous. Another wonderful thing is that if children like a
book, they'll read it a second or third time. The most important
thing is that you read. This will give you a better vocabulary,
better spelling and use of the English language. And of course writing
is important. It's like learning to swim or ride a bike. If
you do it only once, you won't have learned how to swim or ride a bike."
Her husband, UI, s a college professor and writer and her daughter, Nomi,
and son, Ben are both grown. She has an 18 year old cat. She
lives in Wilmington, Vt. and Long Island, NY. Her favorite children's
author is E.B. White. She says about her hobbies, "Of course
I'm a reader. I love to travel, cook and spend time with my family."
Her favorite sport to watch is baseball. Her favorite sport t do
is walking. "When I'm walking I do a lot of thinking."
She said about her favorite time and place to read, "I can read anytime
or anyplace. I can get so absorbed in a book that the world could
come to an end around me and I wouldn't notice."from The
Mini Page by Betty Debnam found in The Times Herald Record, May 30, 1998
I Am an Author: http://www.teachers.net/lessons/posts/795.html
Involve families in the art of writing and your
students' efforts. Each student becomes a guest author of the week during
the school year, during which time they take a book bag of assorted items
and options home to respond to with their families.
Info Search: Students often remember the bizarre or little known information
that we present in our lessons so in the days prior to beginning a unit on an author,
ask each student to bring to class unique, interesting, classroom-appropriate
trivia about the author. They must cite the sources used. Post several reliable Internet
sources on the board to get them started. Students take turns sharing
the information that they found. Next, compile an Author
Trivia File for students to peruse when they have time. This information gives learners a much clearer
picture of the author that one presented by the teacher or textbook. It also generates excitement about reading the author's works.
Intro to English Grammar: http://www.onlineenglishdegree.com/resources/intro-to-english-grammar/
ipl2: Information You Can Trust: http://www.ipl.org/
Includes Resources by Subject, Newspapers & Magazines, Special Collections Created by ipl2, For Kids, and For Teens
The 1999 Coretta Scott King Author Award went to Angela
Johnson for Heaven, In this
book a 14-year-old girl learns her parents are not her birth parents.
This discovery changes what and who she trusts.
Just-Pooh.com: Discover the Magical World of Pooh: http://www.just-pooh.com/
Justin's Theatre Links: http://www.theatrelinks.com/
Justin Cash of Australia has created a mammoth directory of theatre links
including: history, practitioners, genres, styles, online plays, playwrights,
classroom resources, education institutions, arts organizations, set/lighting/costume
designs and more. As with any hotlist, teachers of younger students should
always check links for suitability before having students access them.
Grade Level: Middle School, High School, College,
Content Area: Arts (Performing Arts), Community Interest (Leisure)
Kathryn Lasky's Study: http://kathrynlasky.com/KK/Home.html
As the name implies, KidBibs is dedicated to encouraging children to read.
Consult the KidBibs Learning Tips section for weekly advice and activities
to cultivate readers. For more fun reading-related projects, spend time
combing through the collection of theme resources on the main page.
Kid Pub: http://kidpub.org/kidpub/
This summer's explosion in children's literature reached its peak with
the release of the latest Harry Potter story. Kids have made it clear
that they are itching more than ever to pick up books. This site is dedicated
to the printed word by giving parents, teachers, and students a chance to not only explore the field of children's literature, but to
find a great deal of educational resources devoted to creativity.
Kids Corner: http://wiredforbooks.org/kids.htm
Dick King-Smith wrote the book Babe: the Galleant Pig on which the hit movie
was based. Dick King-Smith has written numerous award-winning books
about all kinds of charming characters besides Babe. He has said
that on a typical day he sits down "in my very small study my very
old (1635) cottage; scribble in longhand in the morning; in the afternoon,
type out the morning's work (on old portable, with one finger); evening,
read day's work to my wife, seeking her approval. I get the germ
of an idea, sit down, and knock something out, hoping it will evolve into
a story. I don't do all the preparatory things writers are meant
to do (so sometimes I fall flat on my face). I certainly don't ask
anyone else for advice or for ideas. I don't try the story out on
anyone (except wife). I seldom review, knowing that my various
- very good - editors will leave it alone if it's OK and will tell me
in no uncertain terms if it's not. I write (mainly) about animals
because I've always kept them, am interested in them, know a bit about
them and know that children like them. Anyway, it's such fun putting
words into their mouths. Fond as I am of pigs and admiring their
beauty and great intelligence, I have to say that the best pet is a dog,
especially if it's beautiful, affectionate, intelligent, and biddable.
Our present dog, a German shepherd female, named Fly after the collie
in Babe, is beautiful, affectionate, intelligent, and as mad as a March
hare. Dick King-Smith was born in 1922 in Bitton, Gloucestershire,
England. He was a farmer for 20 years and a primary school teacher.
He is happily married to a girl he met at age 13. He has two daughters
and one son. Dick enjoys writing for children because he can retreat
into the world of fantasy and put words into the mouths of animals he
knows so well. "Lots of ideas come wizzing into my mind too,
but most of them are so batty tat I chuck them out again," he says.
His favorite Dick King-Smith book is The Sheep Pig (also known
as Babe: The Gallant Pig). He likes the English countryside
and home. He dislikes nuts, turnips, pineapples, and flying.
The following is a list of books he has written and awards they have won: Ace: The Very Important Pig; School Library Journal Best
Book of the Year, Horn Book Fanfare Honor book, IRA-CBC Children's
Choice: Babe: the Gallant Pig; ALA Notable Children's Book, Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book, Horn Book Fanfare
Honor Book, IRA-CBC Children's Choice, NCTE Teachers' Choice:
Charlie Muffin's Miracle Mouse: Godhanger: Harriet's
Hare; Parenting Reading Magic Award; Harry's Mad;
California Young Reader Medal, ALA Notabel Children's Book, School
Library Journal Best Book of the Year, Parent's Choice Award
for Literature: The Invisible Dog: Martin's Mice; ALA
Notable Children's Book, School Library Journal Best Book of
the Year, American Bookseller Pick of the Lists, Library of Congress
Best Book of the Year, Parents Magazine Best Book of the Year: A Mouse Called Wolf; Children's Book Committee at Bank Street
College Best Book of the Year, New York Public Library 100 Titles for
Reading and Sharing: Mr. Ape: The Robber Boy: Smasher: The Stray; Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College Best
Book of the Year: Three Terrible Trins; ALA Notable Children's Booklist Children's Editors' Choice, IRA-CBC Children's Choice: The Waterhorse. (Visit www.randomhouse.com/kids/dickkingsmith/ for more on Dick King-Smith
Knowing Poe: http://knowingpoe.thinkport.org/
The Literature, Life, and Times of Edgar Allan Poe...
In Baltimore and Beyond.
Know Play? Reference Lookup: http://www.kplay.cc/reference.html
This site has links to an
online dictionaries, thesauruses, rhyming dictionary, acronym, and artist
lookup. The goal of this site is to simplify your life.
Grade Level: Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle
School, High School,
Content Area: English (Reading/Writing), Arts (Visual Arts), Technology
Lai, Thanhha: http://harpercollins.com/authors/36544/Thanhha_Lai/index.aspx
Thanhha Lai (TANG-ha lie) wond a 2012 Newbery Honor Book award and the National Book Award for Young People's Literature for Inside Out & Back Again. This book is based on her own life, although she changed some things in the story.
Thanhha grew up in Vietnam. As in hte book, her father was missing in action during the Vietnam War. Her mother had to support the family by herself during those scary times. In real life, Thanhha as six brothers and two sisters. The character in hte book has three brothers and not sisters. Thanhaa's family fled to America at the end of th Vietnam War. She had to learn English and a new culture.
from The Mini Page for September 3, 2012.
Language Toolbox: http://itools.com/language
At this site there are over one dozen reference tools on one page, including
dictionaries, thesauri, encyclopedias, crossword and word scramble solvers,
along with text language translators.
Latin Dictionary and Grammar Aid: http://archives.nd.edu/latgramm.htm
Launching Young Readers: http://www.pbs.org/launchingreaders/
"...exploer this website to find out how you cna launch a child into a brithg future with reading strategies that work."
Learning Page.com: http://www.learningpage.com
Monthly resources to incorporate into lesson plans
Lemony Snicket sites
Kidsreads.com: A Series of Unfortunate Events:
Start your Lemony Snicket adventure with four short video clips narrated
by Daniel Handler (an "associate" of Mr. Snicket) urging you
not to read "A Series of Unfortunate Events" and to keep the
books out of the hands of children. You'll also enjoy the character sketches
of Violet, Klaus, Sonny and Count Olaf written by Snicket himself, and
his answers to Frequently Asked Questions.
Lemony Snicket: http://www.lemonysnicket.com/
"Attention: please run for your life. You have undoubtedly reached
this Web site by mistake." Yet with an introduction such as this,
we are quite positive we have reached the absolutely right place: the
official Lemony Snicket site. If you persevere past all the warnings,
you'll find excerpts from each of the books, a free screensaver, an author
bio, a bio of illustrator Brett Helquist, and a handful of games. Week
after week I recommend word search puzzles, but the Count Olaf Word Search
is the one word search puzzle you should never see. Do not click there.
Ever. I mean it.
Quidditch.com's Incomplete Guide to Lemony Snicket Allusions: Lemony Snicket: http://www.quidditch.com/lemony%20snicket.htm
What is Lemony Snicket's real name? Who is Beatrice? The answer to the
first question is Daniel Handler. The answer to the second question may
be found here, where the folks at Quidditch.com explore the many literary
and cultural references found in "A Series of Unfortunate Events."
Great fun for those wanting to learn more about Dante, Edgar Allen Poe,
George Orwell, F. Scott Fitzgerald and other famous folks.
Unfortunate Events: http://www.unfortunateevents.com
Join the hunt for Lemony Snicket by registering with your email address
and choosing a user name. The hunt (created by Egmont Books, the British
publisher of the Snicket series) is a collection of Flash arcade games,
with high scores saved and posted. In addition to the games, you'll find
book synopsis for the first five books listed under The Terrible Story
and postcards to share with friends at Lemony Widgets.
Leona's Coloring Pages: http://pbskids.org/lions/games/coloring.html
Simple activities can be downloaded and printed
here to cut and use for phonics lessons in your emergent reader classes.
Levine, Gail Carson
Gail Carson Levine won a Newbery Honor Book
Award for Ella Enchanted. In this book, Cinderella must
win against a fairy's curse of obedience. Under the curse, Ella
must obey everyone's orders, even those of her wicked stepsisters.
Gail Carson Levine had some of her writings published when she was still
in high school. She and her husband live in Brewster, N.Y.
Literacy Center: http://www.literacycenter.net/lessonview_en.htm
Basic colors/shapes/etc. with sound
The Literacy Center uses a modified Montessori approach to teaching reading,
with a selection of four alphabet exercises, and five more for numbers,
colors, and shapes. After choosing between upper and lower-case, you can
click through the alphabet to see and hear each letter. Clicking on the
yellow and green triangles will toggle you in and out of two different
Literature for Children: http://susdl.fcla.edu/juv/
"...a collection of the treasures of children's literature published
largely in the United States and Great Britain from before 1850 to beyond
1950. At the core of this Collection are books from the Baldwin Library
of Historical Children's Literature, housed in the Department of Special
Collections and Area Studies at the University of Florida."
Help build strong readers by using these online literacy lessons with
your pre-K through second-grade students. This simply designed site
offers an area where young children can learn early reading skills in
a safe, structured format.
Literacy Centers - Kindergarten: http://www.teachers.net/lessons/posts/469.html
Kindergarten students can partner up or work independently
to work in literacy centers. Here are several good suggestions for activities.
Literature Logs: http://www.teachers.net/lessons/posts/49.html
Literature logs or journals can help students focus
and refine the concepts and vocabulary they are covering in a class novel.
The journals also help to prepare students for book report writing. This
activity provides suggestions to follow through with student responses
on class reading for each day of the week.
Lord of the Rings sites: J.R.R.
Tolkien in Oxford: http://www.jrrtolkien.org.uk/
British author and Oxford professor J. R. R. Tolkien wrote "The
Hobbit" in 1937. The three-volume sequel "The Lord of the Rings",
which weaves a tale of good against evil in imaginary Middle Earth, was
written between 1954 and 1955. This fan site is a Tolkien resource, with
a special focus on his tenure at Oxford University as both a student and
a professor. Highlights are the Tolkien biography, timeline, Hobbit maps,
Tolkien Alphabet, five quizzes and a printable crossword.
Lord of the Rings: Official Movie Site: http://www.lordoftherings.net/
The official movie site from New Line Productions is a multimedia
extravaganza. Visit for cast interviews, soundtrack clips, movie trailers,
screensavers, e-cards and a fan message board. There is also aninteractive
Middle Earth map. As you mouse around the map, you can explore Hobbit
culture and characters, as well as view video snippets from the film.
National Geographic Beyond the Movie: Lord of the Rings: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/ngbeyond
This edition of National Geographic's Beyond the Movie is a site for
for middle school students and older and includes the author, the book,
and the film in its scope. Although the topics (such as the historical,
cultural and mythological influences on Tolkien) sound very academic,
National Geographic excels at making it very approachable. So is the evil
ring a reference to the atomic bomb of World War II? "'An author
cannot of course remain wholly unaffected by his experience,' Tolkien
acknowledged, but he strongly denied that his story was an allegory for
World War I or II."
The New York Times: The Tolkien Archives: http://www.nytimes.com/specials/advertising/movies/tolkien/
At this site there is a collection of original
New York Times news articles starting with a 1938 book review of "The
Hobbit." There are also audio snippets of Tolkien reading, the complete
first chapters of "The Hobbit" and "The Fellowship of the
Rings," nine interactive Tolkien quizzes, and interdisciplinary lesson
plans for grades six through twelve.
The Tolkien Trail: http://www.tolkientrail.com/
This site is a fan-created journey through Middle Earth
led by the wizard Gandalf. Along the way you can stop to play a few games
(including a word search, paddle ball, and hangman), read the Tolkien-inspired
fan fiction, view the fan art gallery, and join the very lively discussion
board. There is even a One Ring musical in development, which is being
posted one scene at a time.
Magnetic Art: http://www.canteach.ca/elementary/visart18.html
Experimentation with magnets and metal filings or
shavings lies at the heart of this design lesson. Extend it to include
language arts by having students create a magnetic swirl (or some other
design concept) and, using word magnets, compose a poem inside the swirl,
running from center to the outside. (You can create your own magnet words
by purchasing a magnet strip from a craft store; attach paper to the sticky
side, cut strips, and write on words for your students to get creative
Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare: http://www2.hn.psu.edu/faculty/jmanis/shakesp/midsum.pdf
Study Guide for Midsummer Night's Dream: http://www.glencoe.com/sec/literature/litlibrary/pdf/midsummer_nights_dream.pdf
This is a non-profit educational Web site, emphasizing reading and literacy
skills for children in grades K-8. It offers advice for teachers and parents,
as well as original children's picture books, video song books, sing-along
songs and word games. It publishes books and poetry written by kids.
Millennium Mystery Madness: It's Up to You, Gumshoe!: http://library.thinkquest.org/J002344/index.html
This award-winning ThinkQuest Jr. site takes an in-depth look at mysteries
and how they're written. Teach your students about some of the world's
most famous mystery writers. Then walk through the step-by-step guide
to the various elements good mysteries need. Finally, get some reading
assignment ideas from the list of favorite mystery books and stories.
Mr. William Shakespeare and the Internet: http://shakespeare.palomar.edu/
Mrs. Alphabet: http://www.mrsalphabet.com/
Mrs. Alphabet is all about teaching phonics, reading, and other related
language skills for primary-age students. While its focus is on
providing ideas for useful classroom activities centered on language-arts
themes, there are some great learning games that are just for kids.
The Multicultural Book Review Homepage: http://www.isomedia.com/homes/jmele/homepage.html
At this site you can read reviews and submit your own reviews of multicultural
Christopher Myers was a Caldecott Honor Book winner for Harlem, a poem by Walter
Dean Myers. It tells the bright, hopeful story of today's Harlem,
a neighborhood in New York City. Christopher Myers is now making
paintings with fabric, to be hung or shown on a web site. He is
the son of author Walter Dean Myers.
The Mystery Spot - Access Excellence Mysteries: http://www.accessexcellence.org/AE/mspot/
Nothing hits the spot like a good mystery, and the Mystery Spot is the
spot for mysteries. Each mystery provides background information, an engaging
storyline, and pertinent scientific data to
help would-be detectives solve the problem. Grades: 9 - 12
National Institutes of Health: Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development: http://www.nichd.nih.gov/publications/pubskey.cfm?from=nrp
Free Publications to Order
The National Reading Panel: http://www.nationalreadingpanel.org/
National Spelling Bee: http://www.spellingbee.com/
New York Times Learning Network: http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/
Official Website of the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation: http://www.ezra-jack-keats.org/
The Page at Pooh Corner: http://www.pooh-corner.org/
James Milne's Page at Pooh Corner contains biographies of author A.A.
Milne, illustrator E.H.
Shepard, and the real-life Christopher Robin (the author's son). It also
has photos of the original stuffed animals that served as inspiration
for the world famous stories. Is webmaster Milne related to the author? "As far as my family can tell, we're not related
... Still, it's fun having the same last name!"
Paradigm Online Writing Assistant: http://www.powa.org/
A comprehensive guide to writing nonfiction essays that includes activities
and exercises appropriate for high school students and above.
Parts of Speech: http://www.uottawa.ca/academic/arts/writcent/hypergrammar/partsp.html
Peck, Robert Newton: Soup
Living in rural 1930's, soup and Robdidn't have Nintendo, television,
or Rollerblades to entertain them. Instead the boys made games out
of the common objects around them, such as sticks, apples, and a barrel.
Investigate the games of the past with a fun cooperative learning activity.
Assign each student the task of interviewing an older friend - a parent,
grandparent, neighbor, etc. - to find out about the games that his friend
played in his or her youth. After the interviews are completed,
divide the class into groups. Have each group discuss its findings
and choose one game to teach to the rest of the class. Schedule
a Back-to-the-Past Day during which groups teach their games from "the
good old days." Encourage students to dress in old-fashioned
clothes. After the game session, cool off with homemade ice cream
or cold lemonade.
Wherever Soup went, trouble usually wasn't far behind - much to the dismay
of the often-innocent Rob. Ask students to pretend that Soup is
their best friend. How would their parents feel about Soup?
Would students defend Soup's antics because he was their friend.
In what ways was soup a good friend to Rob? After discussing these
questions, have each student fold a piece of paper in half lengthwise,
unfold it, and label the tops of the two resulting columns "Soup"
and "My Best Friend." In the soup column, have the student
list the qualities that made Soup a good friend, citing examples from
the book. In the other column, have him list his best friend's positive
qualities. Are there any similarities between the two? Follow
up by having students share their lists and use them to construct a class
or group bar graph about friendship.
For a fun writing activity, have each student cut out a large medicine
bottle from colorful construction paper. Next have the student glue
a white piece of paper in the middle of the bottle to serve as the label.
On the label, have the student suggest a section of the book that is sure
to cure a bad case of the blues. Be sure that the student includes
the chapter of the book and why he thinks that particular section will
make the reader laugh out loud. Post completed bottles on bulletin
board entitled "Laughter Is the Best Medicine!"
"A flame in front and a fool in back" - that's how Rob's Aunt
Carrie described smoking, the very thing Rob and Soup try one day in a
cornfield. Use this episode to initiate a discussion about he hazards
of smoking. If your students want to investigate smoking further,
try any of these activities: Invite a guest speaker from the American
Cancer Society or a local physician to talk with your class about smoking;
Have students create antismoking posters, buttons, or bumper stickers
to display around your school; Have small groups of students discuss the
following question, Why so you think people choose to smoke? What's the
best way to encourage someone no to smoke? How would you answer a friend
who is encouraging you to smoke?; Provide a supply of magazines.
Have small groups of students cut out cigarette advertisements from magazines,
then have the groups analyze the ads to determine how advertisers try
to persuade people to smoke; For good literature about smoking, look for Know About Smoking by Margaret O. Hyde, Breath Of Air And
A Breath of Smoke by John S. Marar, Tobacco: What It Is, What
It Does by Judith S. Seizas, Smoking by Sherry Sonnett, Smoking And Health by Brian R. Ward.
Rope -- a simple object, but one that soup and rob found full of fun.
They made lassos, but the most fun was tying someone up. Even when
soup tied rob up and subjected him to "straw mouth" and other"tortures,"
the boys' friendship remained as strong as the rope that held Rob.
After reading chapter 3, give each child a three-foot length of yarn.
Challenge students to fill there ropes with "friendship knots."
Each time a student shares a kind word or deed with another classmate,
have him tie a knot in his rope. After tow or three day, have students
share their ropes and tell or write about some of their "knotty experiences.
Gather copies of Robert Newton Peck's other Soup books: Soup
and Me, Soup For President, Soup In The Saddle, Soup On fire, Soup On
Ice, Soup On Wheels, Soup's Drum, Soup's Goat. Assign a different
book to each cooperative group. After reading it, have each group
create a special display of important items from its book. For
example, a display on Soup might include a piece of a clothesline,
an apple, Miss Kelly's note, and some brown yarn from Rob's sweater.
Have each group present its display and explain each item; then set up
all of the displays around the room to create your own Soup Museum.
Personal Narrative Collection: http://home.earthlink.net/~jhholly/pnarrative.html
Narrative and Descriptive Writing Prompts
Plain Language Online Training: http://www.web.net/~plain/PlainTrain/
Teaching your students to write in plain language will help them learn
how to effectively and efficiently
communicate with others. Visit this short online training course with
your students to teach them how to organize their thoughts, choose the
right words, and produce a clear, complete document. You can also incorporate
the site's principles into your curriculum.
Pre-K Smarties: Online Tools to Teach Your Children: http://www.preksmarties.com/
Preposition Boogie: http://www.lessonplanspage.com/LAPrepositionalPhrases-PrepositionBoogie46.htm
The objective of the lesson plan is: "Students will follow commands using prepositional phrases and then write a paragraph using spatial order."
Preschool Alphabet Games: http://www.teachers.net/lessons/posts/122.html
Games like "Swat!", listed here, are particularly
effective for getting young children to learn their
alphabet or numbers. Also find suggestions for matching games, fill in
missing letters, and painting with water on the blackboard.
Preschool Coloring Pages: http://www.everythingpreschool.com/coloringpages/alphabet/index.htm
Public Speaking Website: http://www.abacon.com/pubspeak/
Punctuation Campground: http://www.harcourtschool.com/activity/punctuation/index.html
Purdue Online Writing Lab: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/index.html
Puzzability - Current Puzzles: http://www.puzzability.com/puzzles/index.shtml
Quentin Blake: http://www.quentinblake.com/
Quentin Blake's website has amusing illustrations and entertaining activities.
Here you can find out all about the man who brought characters to life,
from Mister Magnolia and Mrs Armitage to the BFG and Matilda. You can
find the latest news and information on new books and exhibitions, and
suggestions for teachers and parents.
Quotations: Why do we love quotations? Marlene Dietrich,
the German-born American actress and singer, summed it up nicely when
she said "I love quotations because it is a joy to find thoughts
one might have, beautifully expressed with much authority by someone recognized
wiser than oneself."
*Annabelle's Quotation Guide: http://www.annabelle.net/
From "Adventure" to "Writing,"
Annabelle's quotes are arranged into 120 topics, including some unique
ones such as "September 2001 Attacks" and "Censorship &
Free Speech." Click on any quote's author to see more, or visit "Topics"
to browse by author or topic.
*Bartleby.com: Familiar Quotations: http://www.bartleby.com/100/
John Bartlett, an American publisher born in 1820, published nine editions
of "Familiar Quotations" in his lifetime. This is the 1919 tenth
edition, the first to be produced after his death. Traverse it with the
search function, or the chronological and alphabetic author indexes.
*Brainy Quote: http://www.brainyquote.com/
*The Quotations Page: http://www.quotationspage.com/
Raisin in the Sun lesson plan: http://www.teachervision.fen.com/curriculum-planning/teaching-methods/3802.html
Reaching Out: The Evolution of Communication: http://library.thinkquest.org/26451/
Designed by students from the U.S. and Belgium, this unique and comprehensive
site tracks the development of communication from ancient times to the
present. It analyzes communication from the standpoint of language, signification,
and mass media, and even pays tribute to those inventors who revolutionized
the way people interact.
Read Alouds: http://childrensbooks.about.com/cs/readalouds/
"This article outlines the subject of readability, and its relevance
to school books.
The 4 main sections of the article are:
1. The effect of interest and motivation.
2. Legibility, including type, layout and reading conditions.
3. Sentence structure, including readability formulae.
4. Reading ages for school textbooks, especially in science."
Reading Aloud to Children
In the landmark 1986 review Becoming a Nation of
Readers, the Commission on Reading called reading aloud to children "the
single most important activity for building the knowledge required for
success in reading." The best time to begin reading books with children
is when they are infants-babies as young as six weeks old enjoy being
read to & looking at pictures. By age two or three,
children begin to develop an awareness of printed letters & words.
They see adults around them reading, writing, & using printed words
for many purposes. Toddlers & preschoolers are especially ready to
learn from adults reading to & with them.
Reading aloud to young children is important because
it helps them acquire the information & skills they need to succeed
in school & life, such as:
* Knowledge of printed letters & words &
the relationship between sound & print.
* The meaning of many words.
* How books work & a variety of writing styles.
* The world in which they live.
* The difference between written language & everyday conversation.
* The pleasure of reading.
Here are some suggestions for reading aloud to children.
* Make reading books an enjoyable experience. Choose
a comfortable place where the children can sit near you. Help them feel
safe & secure. Be enthusiastic about reading. Show the children that
reading is an interesting & rewarding activity. When children enjoy
being read to, they will grow to love books & be eager to learn to
* Read to children frequently. Read to the children
in your care several times a day. Establish regular times for reading
during the day, & find other opportunities to read:
- Start or end the day with a book.
- Read to children after a morning play period which also helps settle
- Read to them during snack time or before nap time.
* Help children to learn as you read. Offer explanations,
make observations, & help the children to notice new information.
Explain words that they may not know. Point out how the pictures in a
book relate to the story. If the story takes place in an historic era
or in an unfamiliar place, give children some background information so
that they will better understand & enjoy the story. Talk about the
characters' actions & feelings. Find ways to compare the book that
you are reading with what the children have been doing in the classroom.
* Ask children questions as you read. Ask questions
that help children connect the story with their own lives or that help
them to compare the book with other books that they have read. Ask questions
that help the children to notice what is in the book & ask them to
predict what happens next.
* Encourage children to talk about the book. Have
a conversation with the children about the book you are reading. Answer
their questions. Welcome their observations, & add to what they say.
Continue to talk about the book after you have read it. Invite the children
to comment on the story. Ask them to talk about their favorite parts &
encourage them to tell the story in their own words.
* Read many kinds of books. Children need to be
read different kinds of books. Storybooks can help children to learn about
times, cultures, & peoples other than their own; stories can help
them understand how others think, act, & feel. Informational books
can help children learn facts about the
world around them. These books also introduce children to important concepts
& vocabulary that they will need for success in school. Read books
that relate to the children's backgrounds: their experiences, cultures,
languages & interests. Read books with characters & situations
similar & dissimilar to those in the children's lives so they can
learn about the world.
* Choose books to help you teach. Use alphabet books
to help you teach the names of the letters & the sounds that each
letter represents & use counting books to teach children how to count
& to recognize numbers. Use poetry or rhyming books to support your
teaching of phonological awareness. Use big books (oversized books that
your children can easily see) to point out letters, words, & other
features of print & to teach book handling. Choose stories that help
children learn about social behavior, for example books about friendship
to help children learn to share & cooperate. Also choose stories that
show children how the world around them works for example, what is happening
with the eggs that are hatching in your science area.
* Reread favorite books. Children love to hear their
favorite books over & over again. Hearing books read several times
helps children understand & notice new things. For example, they may
figure out what an unfamiliar word means when they have heard the story
several times. They may notice repeated sound patterns. If you point out
some letters & words as you read the book repeatedly, children also
may pick up specific words that are easily recognized & specific letter-sound
Reading and Language Arts Ideas: www.superkidz.com/reading.html
Reading Picnic: http://www.teachers.net/lessons/posts/299.html
Encourage both reading and early book report skills
with this lesson activity. Your class will keep nightly reading records,
and then one day per month, plan a reading picnic, sharing books and snacks
in a structured manner.
Recommended Reading LIsts fro All Ages: http://school.familyeducation.com/literature/reading/34576.html
Record a Moment in Time: http://www.eduplace.com/ss/act/recmom.html
These accordion-style books can be used by any grade
level, for practically any learning application. For Language Arts classes,
try creating a timeline for a famous author or poet. Illustrate costumes
for a play, or use the accordion folds to sequence events in a story.
"Find rhymes, synonyms, definitions,
RIF Reading Planet: http://www.rif.org/readingplanet/
From Reading is Fundamental
The Riggs Institute: http://www.riggsinst.org/
Emphasizing a "multi-sensory" approach to reading, this site
teaches the use of sight, sound, voice, and writing to teach reading and
writing. For teachers who are skeptical about the success of phonics,
or just don't know that much about it, the site also includes numerous
links to research about the great debate behind phonics, as well as descriptions
of phonics and phonetics.
Roald Dahl Fans: http://www.roalddahlfans.com/
Written by Dahl fan Kristine Howard (a recent graduate of Notre Dame,
now living in London) this site is tops for homework help, ideas for teachers,
and just plain fun. Strengths are Howard's Dahl biography, time line and
photo gallery; the thirteen original Dahl trivia quizzes and crossword
puzzles; and the photo essays of Howard's tour of Dahl's Gipsy House in
Great Missenden, England (where she met the original Big Friendly Giant.)
As someone who writes in an open space between her
kitchen and family room, I was fascinated with the pictures of the writing
hut where Dahl worked.
Robert Lee Frost ( 1874 - 1963) is one of
America's most famous poets and a four-time Pulitzer Prize winner His
poetry is both traditional and experimental and often memorized by school
children. He once stated that his goal was to write "a few poems
it will be hard to get rid of."
"Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought
has found words." ~ Robert Frost ( 1874 - 1963) American poet
* Frost Out Loud: http://robertfrostoutloud.com/
Eric Copenhaver's "labor of love" (includes thirty or so Frost
poems, most of which include both the text and an audio reading. A handful
also include a reading by Frost himself, and an offsite link to related
analysis. "You may find that the combination of the text and sound
in this modern-day medium enhances the experience of the poem even more;
the text supplements the sound and the sound enhances the text to create
a sum greater than the parts."
* Modern American Poetry: Robert Frost: http://www.english.uiuc.edu/maps/poets/a_f/frost/frost.htm
Modern American Poetry is the online companion to "Anthology of Modern
American Poetry" from Oxford University Press. It contains literary
criticism on thousands of poems from hundreds of American poets, and is
a great place to peruse before writing your high-school or college English
paper. In fact, if you are particularly proud of your finished paper,
you can send it in (see instructions on About the Site, linked from the
home page) and perhaps get published.
Robin Hood - Bold Outlaw of Barnsdale and
Robin Hood Resources Online
The Robin Hood Project: http://www.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/rh/rhhome.htm
"The Robin Hood Project is designed to make available in electronic format
a database of texts, images, bibliographies, and basic information about
the Robin Hood stories and other outlaw tales."
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry:
Louis Sachar was the
winner in 1999 for his book Holes. This book also won the
National Book Award for Young People's Literature. Louis Sachar
says, "Most of my books start with a character. Holes started with a place." He got the idea when he moved to Austin,
Texas. It was so hot there he started a story about suffering in
the heat. He has had 17 books published, plus two that will be published
soon. In Holes, Stanley is sent to detention camp for
a crime he didn't commit. There he and the other boys must dig
a deep hole every day under the hot sun. Stanley digs up far more
than dirt in this funny, exciting book. The authors favorite thins
are fresh fruits and vegetables, bridge and playing video games with his
daughter, tennis, snow skiing, Bob Dylan, the Beatles and the color blue.
Lois Sachar, 45, and his wife, Carla, have a 12-year-old daughter, Sherre.
They have two dogs from the pound, Lucky and Tippy. Louis Sachar
majored in economics in college. While there he took a class about
how to become a teacher's aide. He says, "I had no interest
in education. I took it for an easy class. But I loved it.
It became my favorite thing to do every day. That led me to write
a children's book." He wrote his first book, Sideways Stories
From Wayside School," the year after he graduated. Sideways Arithmetic From Wayside School is a book of fun math
puzzles. "How many meals must Miss Mush cook before the food
tastes as bad as it smells?" He worked at a sweater warehouse
during the day and wrote at night. After being fired, he went to
law school. He worked part-time as a lawyer and kept writing.
After eight years, his books started selling so well he was able to quit
his job as a lawyer. Louis Sacher has this advice for kids, "It
is much more important to do what you like to do than to try to make money.
I went to law school and passed the bar, and had to decide whether
to become a lawyer or a writer. I was making very little money as
a writer, but I loved to write, and I never really liked practicing law."
He writes for about two hours every morning. Then he stops for the
day. "I want to be at my very best when I'm writing, and after
two hours I've lost the extra edge," he said. It takes him
about a year and a half to write a book. While he is writing it,
he said,"I never talk about it with anyone. No one is allowed
in my office except Lucky and Tippy (his dogs)." He writes
and rewrites the book five or six times. His ideas come from many
places. The counselor in "There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom"
was inspired by ;his wife. When he met her, she was working as a
counselor at an elementary school. He said, "I didn't realize
I would end up marrying her." In"There's a Boy in the
Girls' Bathroom," everyone thinks Bradley is a monster. But
a new counselor teaches him how to see things differently.
Scholastic Teachers page for Spelling: http://teacher.scholastic.com/lessonrepro/lessonplans/instructor/spellstat.htm
Four sections offer educators resources
for teaching spelling beyond the workbook approach. Find strategies for
exploring sounds, mastering high frequency words, teaching spelling rules,
and choosing writing words to complement your spelling lists.
S.C.O.R.E. Phonics Link: http://www.sdcoe.k12.ca.us/score/Phonics_Link/phonics.html
The Phonics Link provides resources to help you build your background
knowledge about linguistics, phoneme awareness, and the process by which
students learn to read.
Sentence game: Write or print sentences on the board or use a chart story. Hand out word cards to each child These words are all conained in hte story. The teacher or one of the children reads a sentence from the board. All childrn who have words which are in that particular sentence3 try to arrange themselves in sentence order in from of the class.
Seventy-One Other Take Home Rhymes: http://curry.edschool.virginia.edu/go/wil/rimes_and_rhymes.htm#Seventy_One
To encourage both the school-home connection, as well as the positive
influences of families reading together, this site offers more than seventy
illustrated nursery rhymes to print as cards and send home with students.
They can also be used in the classroom, collected, reviewed, and sent
home as a little book.
Shakespeare in PDF's: http://www.hn.psu.edu/faculty/jmanis/shake.htm
Shakespeare: Subject to Change: http://broadband.ciconline.org/shakespeare/
Simple Things You Can Do to Help to Help All Children Read Well and Independently by the End of Third Grade: http://www.ed.gov/PDFDocs/simple.pdf
The Six Types of Folk Stories
1. A fable is very short, with a moral at the end. Characters are usually
2. A folk tale is a story, also usually with talking animal characters,
which uses a pattern (numbers, repetition).
3. A fairy tale is similar to a folk tale, but the characters are people.
There are obvious "good guys" and "bad guys," and
magic is usually involved.
4. A myth is a magical story about how natural forces work (death, creation,
weather). Sometimes myths have gods, goddesses, or heroes.
5. A legend is similar to a myth, but it is based on actual historical
events or people.
6. A tall tale is a story about a heroic person who did completely outrageous,
David Small was
a Caldecott Honor Book winner for The Gardener by Sarah Stewart,
about a girl living during the Depression who brightens the lives of friends
and family by planting flowers everywhere. David Small illustrates
his own children's books and also those of his wife, Sarah Stewart.
They have three grown children. He also reviews children's books
for The New York Times. He draws for newspapers and magazines.
Spelling and Vocabulary: http://www.eduplace.com/rdg/hmsv/index.html
Here's a super site full of language arts activities. Developed
by Houghton Mifflin, this site lets you select a level and cycle appropriate
for your students, and then generates a list of resources -- such as word
searches, take-home activities, and missing word puzzles -- to entertain
and teach your kids.
Spelling and Vocabulary Plans: http://www.teachersdesk.org/spell_plans.html
Inject a whole lot of sparkle into your everyday
spelling and vocabulary lessons with the ideas and activities offered
at this site. Students will respond well to the game playing and creative
aspects of these active exercises as a break from the usual pencil and
1. Surround words - Write your words on graph paper and outline in colors.
2. 1234 Spelling - Count the vowels and consonants in each word. What
do you notice?
3. Ransom words - Write your words by cutting out letters in a newspaper
or magazine. Glue onto paper.
4. Pyramid words - Write your words adding or subtracting one letter at
a time to form a pyramid shape.
5. A Song & Dance - Pretend you are a cheerleader, a dancer, a comedian,
etc., and perform a 2 minute routine. It can be a ballet, a rap, knock-knock
jokes, full of music and movement. No clowns allowed.
6. Feed the Glundersnedd (from poetry4kids.com - fantastic poetry) - (or
an imaginary monster) - Decorate several spelling words as food. Draw
a picture of the monster and the words he will eat. Write the reasons
why the monster prefers the words. If the words are soap and little, you
"My monster prefers bubbly slippery letters like s,o,
and a, but he chokes on the p every time. He always eats little
last because the l's and t's are like toothpicks to clean
around his pointy teeth."
7. Spelling Families - Draw a spelling family of words. Draw their house
with the words playing in the yard, looking out the window, working on
the house. If one spelling word is batter, the spelling family could be
words that end in -er, words that have double consonants, words that have
words that have more than one meaning - batter up, cookie batter...
8. Dr. Seuss Was Here! - It's up to you how you imitate the dear doctor.
You can make up a silly story rhyme with your words, or illustrate a page
to go along with the rhyme. Surprise the class.
9. Highway Safety - Using dotted line paper, write the words into three
groups: safe, unsafe, and dangerous drivers - those that dip below the
line and above the dotted line. If your spelling words are our, are, tip
and lip, which falls into the ditch or into the other lane? Which is more
dangerous - lip or
10. Pay for your Words - If the consonants cost a nickel and the vowels
cost a dime, how much would you have to pay for your spelling words? Compare
the most expensive with the least, etc. Make up money problems to solve.
Tell your parent the strategy you could use to solve the problem.
11. Other Handed - If you are right-handed, write with your left, or vice
versa. Look up vice versa.
12. Choo-Choo Words - Write the entire list end-to-end as one long word,
using different colors of crayon or ink for different words. Be creative
choosing the engine and the caboose words.
13. Silly String - With a long length of string, "write" words,
using the string to shape the letters.
14. Backwriting - Using your finger, draw each letter on a partners' back,
having the partner say the word when completed.
15. Telephone Words - Translate your words into numbers from a telephone
16. Flashwriting - In a darkened room, use a flashlight to draw letters
in the air.
17. Newspaper Words - Search a newspaper page, circling each letter of
a word as you find it.
18. 30 Second Words - Write a TV commercial using all the words from your
19. Popsicles - Make words using popsicle sticks.
20. Secret Agent Words - Number the alphabet from 1 to 26, then convert
your words to code.
21. Etch-A-Word - Use an Etch-A-Sketch to write your words.
22. Morse Code - Convert your words to Morse Code.
23. Dictionary Duel - Write your spelling words sorting into three groups:
the beginning section of the alphabet, A-H, the middle, H-P, and the last,
Q-Z. Then ask someone to call out a word. Find the first letter of the
word as quickly as you can. If you look up the word moon, where in the
three sections would you open the dictionary? How close did you open the
book to the first letter?
24. Cartoon Words - Use some of your words in a cartoon.
25. ABC order- Write your words in alphabetical order in your best handwriting.
26. Rainbow Words - Write your words in three colors.
27. Backwards Words- Write your words forwards, then backwards.
28. Silly sentences - Use all your words in a few sentences.
29. Picture words - Draw a picture and write your words in the picture.
Make a dictionary out of it.
30. Words without Vowels - Write your words replacing all vowels with
31. Words without Consonants - Same as above but replace consonants with
32. Story words - Write a short story using all your words.
33. Scrambled words -Write your words, then write them again with the
letters mixed up.
34. Wordsearch -Make a word search with a friend or parent, then trade
35. Crossword - Complete a crossword puzzle made by a parent.
36. Puzzle words - Use a blank puzzle form. Write your words on the form,
making sure that the words cross over the pieces. Then cut them out (color)
and put them in a baggie with your name on it. 37. Words-in-words - Write
your word and then write at least 1 word made from each.
38. Delicious words - Write your words in whipped cream or anything you
39. Good Clean Words -Write your words in shaving cream on a surface that
can be cleaned safely.
40. Dirty Words - Write your words in mud or sand.
41. Pasta Words - Write your words by arranging alphabet pasta or Alphabits.
42. Reversed words - Write your words in ABC order -backwards - from Z
43. 3D words - Use modeling clay rolled thinly to make your words.
44. Magazine words - Use an old magazine or newspaper and find your word.
Cut and glue onto paper.
45. Sound Words - Use a tape recorder and record your words and their
spelling. Then listen to your tape, checking to see that you spelled all
the words correctly.
46. X Words - Write two words having one common letter so they criss-cross.
47. Bookmark - Create a colorful, artistic bookmark and carefully write
your spelling words on it.
A Spiderman Comic Book: http://www.ed.gov/inits/americareads/spidey/spidey.pdf
Jerry Spinelli won a Newbery Honor Book Award
for Wringer, in which Palmer LaRue dreads his 10th birthday.
Then he will have to join other boys at the annual pigeon hunt, where
they are expected to wring the necks of wounded birds. Jerry Spinelli
won the 1991 Newbery Medal for Maniac Magee. He and his
wife, Eileen, live in Phoenixville, Pa. The have six children.
A Springtime Alphabet: http://curry.edschool.virginia.edu/go/wil/Spring_Alphabet.pdf
Colors and high-interest graphics combine to create
a wonderful little springtime alphabet book. Print these pages out and
add each letter to your books as you study them.
Steps for Creating an Ode
1. Select a person, place, or thing that you want
to write about.
2. Write phrases describing how your item makes
you feel and why you feel this way.
3. Write many phrases telling unique qualities of
4. Now, explain why your subject is important to
you and why you adore it so much!
5. Join some of your phrases into lines for your
ode. Remember they don't have to rhyme!
Now revise your lines following these steps:
- take away any lines that are too similar
- add more feeling to any meaningless lines
- pick a good opening line or sentence
- order the remaining lines into their best sequence
- select a good closing line that clearly expresses your feelings about
Rewrite your ode in a final draft.
Javaka Steptoe won
the 1998 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award for In Daddy's Arms
I Am Tall: African Americans Celebrating Fathers. For this
book, he designed collages, or art made of different materials.
The objects he used included pennies, shells, buttons, pieces of a tin
ceiling and floorboards from an old building. Javaka Steptoe illustrated
several authors' poems in In Daddy's Arms I Am Tall. It
took him four years to finish. It is his first book. "It's
important for kids not to give up. I think it's important for them
to have some sort of idea of who they are, and who they want to be.
You can be offered a lot of different jobs doing stuff. And you
can just do any fob somebody gives you. Or you can think about whether
it's something you want to be a part of," he said. Javaka Steptoe
teaches art to kids at a children's museum in Brooklyn, N.Y. He
is now illustrating full time, but may soon teach art at a junior high
school. He lives in Brooklyn. Javaka Steptoe grew up with
artists. His father, John Steptoe, was Caldecott honor-winning
illustrator of children's books. He died in 1989. His mother,
Stephanie Douglas, is an art therapist working in hospitals. He
went to an art and design high school and to a college specializing in
the arts. Some of his favorite things are sweets, spicy foods, the
colors red and green, to do and to watch dance, The Story of Ferdinand
by Munro Leaf, and The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith.
Stories, Folklore, and Fairy Tales Theme
Storytelling isn't just for little kids. From Grimm's fairy tales to Zen
and Taoist ones, this site offers a large number of compelling stories
for older students. The site also links to sites offering tales
from the Basque region to Guam to Russia to Japan. The high points of
the site are the interdisciplinary lesson plans, including one in which
students discuss heroic actions
using the newspaper and another where they study Native American culture
through the reading of folktales.
Story Arts Online: http://www.storyarts.org/
Use the summer to improve your storytelling talents. Story Arts Online
not only tells you why storytelling is so important, but also gives you
tips and advice on how you and your students can become better storytellers.
Also included are lesson plans and activities, a curriculum ideas exchange,
related links, and more.
Stuart Little 3: http://www.sonypictures.com/cthe/stuartlittle3/site/
Summer of My German Soldier: http://www.teachervision.com/lesson-plans/lesson-8405.html
Lesson plan fora story about a Jewish girl who befriends an escaped
Nazi prisoner in Arkansas.
Super Kids Vocabulary Builder: http://superkids.com/aweb/tools/words/
SurLaLune Fairy Tales Site: http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/
"... features 49 annotated fairy tales, including their histories,
similar tales across cultures, and over 1,500 illustrations."
Simms Taback was
a Caldecott Honor Book winner for There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed
a Fly. It is a well-known and funny American folk poem.
Simms Taback has illustrated kids' books, calendars, and sells his own
greeting cards. He lives in upstate New York.
Tale of the Mandarin Ducks: http://www.teachervision.com/lesson-plans/lesson-8422.html
Lesson plan for a beautifully written and illustrated folktale
about sacrifice, love, and the true meaning of helping all creatures
in this case, a magnificent Mandarin duck
Teachers & Librarians: http://www.randomhouse.com/teachers/
Random House's great ideas on promoting reading. The site offers notes
on various books, reviews, and author biographies. You can also
download interesting book-related activities.
Teacher's Depot: http://www.lindecrawford.net
literature units, author information, and themes
A Teacher's Guide to Getting Students' Work Published: http://www.education-world.com/a_curr/curr015.shtml
Teachers Use of Technology in a Reading
Why should teachers use computers with struggling readers? What rewards
and challenges will they experience when they do so? This article describes
the evidence teachers report of achievement gains due to computer use.
Teaching Comprehension With a Difference: http://www.lessonplanspage.com/LATeachingComprehension-Method57.htm
Reading comprehension skills are refined in this
clever lesson plan, when the students actually become teachers--or more
to the point--the testers. Students practice silent reading techniques
on passages from several media, and then will create approximately 20
questions, based of format templates. As the passages are passed around,
students are responsible for answering each other's questions.
teAchnology - Dictionary Practice: http://worksheets.teach-nology.com/critical_thinking/dictionary/
Selected vocabulary lists for upper elementary students
will help focus and practice dictionary use
skills, and expand students' vocabulary usage as well.
teAchnololgy - Using Parts of a Book Worksheets: http://worksheets.teach-nology.com/research/book/
These worksheets introduce students to locating
parts of a book through the index and table of contents. Three relevant
student worksheets are included.
teAchnology - Eighth Grade Lanuage Worksheets:
Choices for eighth grade worksheets include cryptograms,
vocabulary quizzes, word scrambles, word
searches, and missing letters. Use these worksheets for ready-made homework
activities to reinforce
The Textmapping Project: http://www.textmapping.org/index.html
Textmapping is a graphic organizer technique that can be used to
teach reading comprehension and writing skills, study skills, and course
content.Title Ball: http://www.harcourtschool.com/activity/title_ball/index.html
Grammar Practice Park
Toastmasters International: 10 Tips for Successful
Public Speaking: http://www.toastmasters.org/tips.asp
"Feeling some nervousness before giving a speech is natural and healthy.
It shows you care about doing well. But, too much nervousness can be detrimental.
Here's how you can control your
nervousness and make effective, memorable presentations." Everyone
loves lists of ten, and these Toastmaster tips do not disappoint. The
site also includes a searchable directory of Toastmasters clubs worldwide,
with a guide to starting a new club at school, work or in your community.
Today in Literature: Great Books, Good Stories,
Every Day: http://www.todayinliterature.com/
Traci's List of 10 Creative Writing Experiences: http://www.tengrrl.com/tens/017.shtml
Discover 10 creative activities to inspire creative writing in children
of all ages.
The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by A. Wolf & the 3 Pigs: http://www.teachers.net/lessons/posts/708.html
Using two popular children's books, "The Three
Little Pigs" and "The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by
A. Wolf", your students will learn how to use Venn diagrams in comparing
the similarities and differences between the two stories.
Unfold a Story
Students create fold-out books by unfolding and
filling in one page at a time.
First, cover a bulletin board with
craft paper and add a heading such as "Watch the Stories Unfold."
Then cut white craft paper into long strips, 10" wide by 80"
Draw lines every 10 inches, to create seven 10"-wide
pages and a cover.
Starting at the right, fold one page over the
next. Do not fold the last page - it will be the cover. Write
the title of the book on the cover, then use pushpins to take the book
starting from the left side to the board.
To write in the book,
students remove the pushpins and unfold it to reveal one page at a time
(then tack the pages in place again). The cover of the book travels
to the right of the board, and the page numbers count down from left to
Facts Unfold - To write a nonfiction book, on each new page students write
down a subject and related facts. Set up several of these Unfold
a Story boards during science and social studies units to encourage children
to share information on different topics within the particular curriculum.
Unusual Events Unfold - Brainstorm uncommon events (real or make-believe)
and use them to start off stories. Children will be proud to see
their ideas up on the board and excited to see how their ideas evolve
Fairy Tales Unfold - To get their creative juices flowing, share some
unusual retellings of familiar tales, such as The True Story of the
Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka, in which the wolf tells his side.
Then have kids try their own.
Poems Unfold - Start the first line of a collaborative poem, then let
the children build on it from one page to the next. Remind students
that a poem can be like a tiny story and that lines don't have to rhyme.
A Unit for [Your State]
Students first chose a book by an author from their chosen state.
Then they read the book and kept a journal of the story by chapters, including
figurative language used by the author to make their story more interesting.
They make an author card in the shape of the state with the picture, dates
birth/death, and any books receiving awards.
A speaker might come in to talk to the students about book talks. The
students are then videotaped having a book talk with other students that
share the author.
Students research the author.
The project ends with a PowerPoint about the author.
Using Newspaper in the Clasroom: http://www.teachersdesk.org/news.html
Find classroom activities using your local newspapers
for parts of speech, outlining, sequencing, reporting, inference, locating
specific information, discerning fact and opinion, and more.
Video Interviews with Top Children's Book Author's and Illustrators: http://www.readingrockets.org/books/interviews/
The Virtual Reference Desk by Christopher C. Brown: http://www.virtualref.com/
This site is a reference librarian's subject list of links to useful websites.
Wacky Web Tales: http://www.eduplace.com/tales/
Web English Teacher: http://www.webenglishteacher.com/
This is a comprehensive Hotlist for English teachers,
with links to prose, drama, poetry, and vocabulary sites, as well as Shakespeare,
Olympics, Journalism, and Critical thinking.
Grade Level: Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle
School, High School, College
Content Area: English (General), Arts (Literature)
Welcome to the World of Jan Brett; http://www.janbrett.com/index.html
What's the Word: http://www7.funbrain.com/cgi-bin/vo.cgi?A1=s&A2=tool&INSTRUCTS=1
Increase student vocabulary with this online game. This
particular set develops words associated with tools. If your student does
not know the item, teach them the process of elimination to try to attain
the answer--a useful skill for test taking.
WIL's A-Book-A-Week Instruction: http://curry.edschool.virginia.edu/go/wil/classroom_instruction.htm#Weekly_Instruction
Here is an extensive supply of lesson plans to accompany
young children's literature. Each book listed
supplies activities for further exploration of the characters and themes
developed in the reading material. A reading guide for October through April recommends seasonally
appropriate books, with all the favorites included.
Wizard of Oz
Frank L. Baum (1856 - 1910) wrote fourteen children's books
and a handful of short stories about the mythical land of Oz, but it was
his first,"The Wonderful Wizard of Oz", that became an American
classic and one of the most popular movies in film history,
Library of Congress: The Wizard of Oz: An American
"Since its publication in September 1900, L. Frank Baum's ?The Wonderful
Wizard of Oz' has become America's greatest and best-loved homegrown fairytale."
This virtual exhibit from the Library of Congress is divided into three
sections: To Please a Child, To See the Wizard, To Own the Wizard. Original
covers for many of Baum's children's books, Wizard of Oz advertising posters,
and W. W. Denslow's original black-and-white book illustrations can be
Project Gutenberg: Wizard of Oz: http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/55
Because "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" was published more than
one-hundred years ago, it is no longer covered by copyright in the U.S.,
and you can read the entire text online at Project Gutenberg. Other available
formats include Palm, Pocket PC, and plain text. Click on Frank L. Baum
to find more of his works, including an MP3 audio version of another book
in the Oz series, "The Wonderful Land of Oz."
Word Count here: http://www.wordcount.org/main.php
WordCount is an artistic experiment in the
way we use language. It presents the 86,800 most frequently used English
words, ranked in order of commonality. Each word is scaled to reflect
its frequency relative to the words that precede and follow it, giving
a visual barometer of relevance. The larger the word, the more we use
it. The smaller the word, the more uncommon it is.
WordCount data currently comes from the British
National Corpus®, a 100 million word collection of samples of written
and spoken language from a wide range of sources, designed to represent
an accurate cross-section of current English usage. WordCount includes
all words that occur at least twice in the BNC®. In the future, WordCount
will be modified to track word usage within any desired text, website,
and eventually the entire Internet.
WordCount was designed with a minimalist aesthetic, to
let the information speak for itself. The interface is clean, basic and intuitive. The goal is for the user to feel embedded in the language.
Word Dance: http://www.worddance.com/
This literary magazine is obviously quite selective, as the level of writing
included in its issues is impressive. Students can express themselves
in a variety of ways, including different forms of writing (prose and
poetry) and artwork. If students don't want to read too much poetry at
once, they can always break to a word game.
Word Play: www.wordplay.com
"Word Play is a simple game that makes it really easy to learn and remember Spanish words and phrases."
Word Safari Vocabulary Expeditions: http://home.earthlink.net/~ruthpett/safari/index.htm
What's in a word? Your students will have a chance
to be word sleuths as they track down how writers use their chosen words.
The word choices are challenging but not above high school level, and
will certainly sharpen vocabulary skills.
Word Sort: http://www.sdcoe.k12.ca.us/SCORE/Phonics_Link/lessons/wordsort.html
Emergent readers will strengthen skills in sound
pattern recognition and reading by sorting patterns
into specific pockets while working with partners. This is a whole class
activity, and can be used in
tandem with any book the class is presently studying.
Words and Pictures: http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/wordsandpictures/index.shtml
Here are some great printable activity sheets for
literacy centers or, as suggested here, literacy hour. Scrapbooks, phonemes,
poems, consonant clusters, cluster buster games, and final sound pyramid
games are all showcased.
The World's First Crossword - The History: http://thinks.com/crosswords/first1.htm
World Wide Words: http://www.quinion.com/words/
Little do students know how language constantly changes and develops,
and this site, with its list of topical and weird words, lets students
think about language and its relationship with current events and media.
They can find out how words like "fuddy-duddy" and "simputer"
came about, read about different types of jargon, and explore language
in the context of current events. One good example includes a discussion
on the "Americanization" of the Harry Potter books.
Working with Words: http://www.wfu.edu/~cunningh/fourblocks/block4.html
Just in case you're running a bit
stale with your spelling lists or word walls, here are numerous suggestions
for word activities for elementary classrooms.
Write a Group Sentence: The kids get divided into groups of 4-5. The rules are: They cannot talk. Each person adds one word
to the sentence. They can use only one piece of paper and one pencil and
it must be passed from one student to the next. The sentence must make
sense and come to an end. They have one minute to write their sentence.
You set the goal that you want the sentences to consistently get longer
with consequent tries. Lead the activity several times with the rule about
no talking. Then try one time allowing the groups to talk as they compose.
After the "game" is over you can discuss quite a few things.
You can talk about teamwork. It is usually not easier to make a longer
sentence when everyone talks but most of the time the sentence content
is better. You can discuss goals. Usually the kids attempt to make a silly
You can talk about if there was anything that was said that suprised you.
Write a letter to the editor:
Have students study the editorial page of
the newspapers--looking at elements common to letters that get published.
Have them then choose an issue and write/type a letter to the editor.
Send the letter.
The Write Site: http://www.writesite.org/
This site was designed for middle school children and features some great
resources for student journalism.
When the time comes for students to select specific types of writing to
put into the portfolio, use colored dots. For instance, personal
narratives might have a red dot, transactive or persuasive pieces have a blue
dot, pieces written out of content have a green dot, etc. When it comes
time to organize the writings into stacks and select specific pieces,
direct students to make their selections by color.
Writing Skills: http://www.infoplease.com/homework/writingskills1.html
This page at the Infoplease Homework Help section provides resources to
help student with all forms of nonfiction writing from elementary level
book reports to advanced essay writing.
Writing Topics: http://www.thewritesource.com/topics.htm
organized by grade level for grades 2,3,4-5,6-8,
Paul O. Zelinsky was awarded the Caldecott Medal for Rapunzel in 1998. His
rewriting of the fairy tale tells of a beautiful girl with long, long
hair who is imprisoned by a witch. Paul O. Zelinsky has also won
three Caldecott Honor Book awards. Sometimes Paul Zelinsky both
writes and illustrates his books. Other times he illustrates for
other authors. Some of his favorite things are bicycling and the
TV show Frasier. His favorite time and place to read are"in
bed, starting when I get in." He and his wife Deborah, a teacher,
live in New York with their two daughters, Anna and Rachel.
They have a Siamese cat named Skimby. His advice to kids is,"My
general point of view is that you learn by doing, so don't stop writing
and don't stop drawing. Drawing teaches you to see."
For students who feel outside the norm because of their artistic tendencies,
this online arts magazine, established in September 1996, is a great refuge.
The site contains poetry, prose, and artwork, as well as Broadway show
reviews, all written by teenagers. ZuZu offers students many opportunities
to submit their work and to see their bylines up on the Net.