Planning for Focused Units

Get Off to a Good Start  Consider thematic units that may be drawn from Essential Questions. Once you decide on themes or essential questions for the first unit or marking period, you could ask the students to choose the themes/questions for the subsequent ones.  Almost any piece of fiction/non-fiction can be adapted…

GETTING TO KNOW THEM

Opening Week Activities to Learn More about Students   Here are five ideas that may be adapted for various content areas.  See adaptations at the links.  The assignments can be as simple or complex as time and resources permit.  I've used them all as first week assignment and students do…

Sensitivity to Holidays

Writing About the Holidays The holiday season, for many, extends from November through February.  Families will be celebrating Diwali, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and the New Year at various times during these months. Writing about holidays is a wonderful way to share cultures in words, pictures, and music.  Yes, holidays also…

Ignite Writing by Patterning

“There’s nothing new under the sun!” True, but students can be inspired by the old to do something new for themselves. Sounds weird, but that’s exactly what can occur when we invite students to pattern the writing they read.  Students soon learn that close reading, analysis and imitation unleash bursts…

Shakespeare’s Birthday

Happy 455th   Birthday, Will! April 23rd is the day many celebrate the birth of William Shakespeare, one of the more widely read dramatists of all times.This year is his 455th! Prepare your students to understand Elizabethan society a little better. Have a go with your students and have them take…

COLORS, ARRANGEMENT AND STORIES

Critical Thinking in Colors and Shapes Colors and arrangements can be used evoke different moods, different personalities, and different feelings.  Spend at least five minutes looking closely at this painting, Nine Colors by Ellsworth Kelly.  1.  What do you notice about the colors and arrangement of these circles on a…