Teach Shouting At the Rain

Teach Shouting At the Rain

What its about? Get the full Lesson below HERE

Teach Shouting at the Rain is a step by step guide for teachers who want to teach the novel. Shouting at the Rain is an inspiring book about perspective and learning to love the family that you have. Delsie loves tracking weather-lately though, it seems the squalls are in her own life. Shouting at the Rain is an important book that should be taught in public or private schools.

Teach Shouting At the Rain. How to Teach It! Vocabulary

I start by passing out a vocabulary sheet in which students have the page number and the vocabulary word. Students are to write a simple synonym for the definition. I like to keep definitions as simple as possible because when you use long definitions there is a low chance of student retention.

Teach Shouting At the Rain. How to Teach It! Journal Responses

Second, I have multiple journal responses that I use throughout the unit that are engaging and assess student comprehension.

  1. Some of the examples are to write a letter to Delsie. Tell her how you are similar or different. Tell her something you admire about her and why. This puts the students through the thought process of what empathy is like.
  2. Another journal response can be to Create a mock interview between yourself Delsie. Create interview questions, practice and be prepared to present in front of the class.
  3. Students can Predict what will happen in the next chapter and craft a chapter from Delsie’s perspective in first person point of view. Be prepared to share the chapter with your classmates.
  4. Or, choose a significant incident in the book and write a journal entry from a character’s point-of-view
  5. You can ask them If you were given the opportunity to ask the author 5 questions what would they be? Write the questions below and explain why you want the answers to these questions.
  6. To assess setting students can create the setting in a drawing below. Be specific with details. It can be the trailer, school, the restaurant, etc.
  7. Lastly possibly draw Delsie and at least one secondary character in the box below. Be accurate in your drawing.

Teach Shouting At the Rain: Reading Comprehension

  1. Visualize-I ask students to draw a symbol that best represents the book.
  2. Summarize-Students will summarize the book, a chapter, or a section of the book.
  3. Clarify-Students are to analyze where they lack an understanding of the book. They are to ask themselves, what do I need to re-read in order to fully comprehend the material?
  4. Connect-students ask themselves how the material connects to other material in the book and to other texts they have read.
  5. Respond-Students analyze how the author uses literary devices in the work and why.
  6. Question-Students are to make a list of questions they have for the author for further understanding.

Teach Shouting At the Rain: Costa’s Question Cues

Next I have students create a list of high order thinking questions using Costa’s question cues. Some of Costa’s question stems begin with the following:

  1. Clarify
  2. Analyze
  3. Compare/contrast
  4. Evaluate
  5. Decide
  6. Interpret

You can collect these questions and answers and use them for a Socratic Seminar or a Four Corner Discussion. Pass out a list of the questions for students to work on at home. Have students return with their questions and answers. Elect two leaders to lead the discussion. Remain as an observer and allow for a meaningful discussion about the book.

Teach Shouting At the Rain: Connections

I like to take connections with the book a step deeper because of the importance of engaging the students by connecting them with the material. I have students look up quotes of things that happen in the book that remind them of something from their own lives. They write the quote and begin a connection with something like, “This reminds me of a time that….” Students catalogue the quotes and connections as they read through the book.

Teach Shouting At the Rain: Purpose of Reading

It is important to note the purpose of reading a text. Students are always asking “what is the point of this?” and there is only a positive outcome if a teacher takes the time to answer this question. Some purpose of reading questions can be:

  1. What are the characters’ motives or goals?
  2. What is the conflict?
  3. What am I visualizing?
  4. What is the message the author is trying to convey?
  5. What mood is the author creating?
  6. What problem is the character facing?
  7. How is the plot developing the story?
  8. Why did the author write this story?
  9. What themes are addressed in this text?
  10. What is your emotional response to the text?

Through analyzing and discussing the answers to these questions, you can come to a consensus as to what the purpose is of reading a text-even if it’s just for fun! In the case of “Shouting at the Rain” it brings awareness of perspective and learning to love the family you have.

Teach Shouting At the Rain: Sentence Starters

The next assignment I have students complete throughout the reading are sentence starters. Sentence starters help students to analyze their own thinking and wonderment. Some examples of sentence starters are:

  1. I wonder…
  2. I was surprised that…
  3. I don’t really understand…
  4. I was reminded that…

Exposition Writing

Some practice with writing an exposition can be done by simply using a statement and backing it up with evidence. For example, if we are to look at the statement, “we should learn to appreciate what we have rather than long for what we don’t have”.

Compare/Contrast Characters

Another assignment worthy of a teacher’s attention is to compare contrast characters physical and emotional descriptions. You can utilize a graphic organizer to effectively list information.

Close Reading Questions

It is highly effective to take a close reading passage from the book and have students analyze it by answering a list of carefully crafted sentences. A list of close reading sentences can look like this:

  1. What does this passage mean to you?
  2. Why do you think it is important to the text as a whole?
  3. What confuses you about the passage?
  4. Why is understanding this passage important to your response to the book as a whole?
  5. How does the passage connect to other ideas in the book?
  6. How does the author feeling about the ideas, characters or events they are presenting?
  7. Do the characters remind you of anyone else in fiction, history, or anyone else in your life?
  8. What is revealed about the characters you have read in this passage?

Have Fun With Learning! Roll the Dice Activity

It is crucial that students have some fun while learning. A simple way to create some fun is by creating a “roll the dice” activity sheet. On a sheet of paper create the following activities:

  1. Paraphrase learned information in one sentence.
  2. Create a bookmark for today’s learning.
  3. Write original lyrics to a song that relates to today’s topic.
  4. Write four what if questions about the topic
  5. Create vocabulary cards for the five most essential terms
  6. Write an acrostic poem about the topic
  7. Write a letter to a family member or friend about the topic
  8. Create an analogy for today’s topic and an image
  9. Create a Venn diagram to compare and contrast information
  10. Summarize what you learned today to three classmates

Have students role dye and whichever number they land on they will complete as a group. If you only have once set of dye, you can roll for the whole class.

A One-Pager Assignment Project

The purpose of the one-pager assignment is to take a close look at the novel and analyze its themes, characters, quotes, etc.

The top half should focus on symbolism and themes using words and images. The bottom half should focus on key characters from the text and how they develop.

You may also use other symbols, drawings and words as you wish.

The border is themes. Students can get creative and maximize their efforts with a one-pager assessment.

Create a Plot Structure Diagram

Create a plot structure diagram using the mountain analogy with the following:

  1. Exposition
  2. Conflict
  3. Rising action
  4. Climax
  5. Falling action
  6. Resolution

6-Panel StoryBoard

Students can get a little creative and create a six-panel storyboard where they illustrate and write about a scene. They can also do an extension of a paragraph or the book.

Philosophical Chairs Discussion

Philosophical chair discussions are important in that they not only teach students to take a critical look at a topic but they learn how to express their opinions and evidence about the topic effectively. A great philosophical chairs discussion topic for this book is accepting the family that you have rather than looking at what you don’t have.

The Essay

A thorough final assessment can be the essay. For this particular book I would do a literary analysis or if you want to extend the philosophical chairs discussion, you can use the topic of perspective and family to write a literary analysis essay.

However you teach “Shouting At the Rain” you are doing your students a service as it is a book worthy of attention and analysis. Get this full lesson in my TpT shop HERE

Teach The Benefits of Being An Octopus by Ann Braden

Teach The Benefits of Being an Octopus

What its about? Get the full Lesson below HERE

Teach The benefits of being an octopus is an inspiring book about personal empowerment and stereotypes as it relates to poverty, class, and those who own guns. It is about the kids who do not do well in school and the reasons why they do not do well in school such as having to care for multiple brothers and sisters, not have an adequate food supply, traumatic experiences, and more. The Benefits of Being an Octopus is an important book that should be taught in public or private schools.

Teach The Benefits of Being an Octopus. How to Teach It! Vocabulary

I start by passing out a vocabulary sheet in which students have the page number and the vocabulary word. Students are to write a simple synonym for the definition. I like to keep definitions as simple as possible because when you use long definitions there is a low chance of student retention.

Teach The Benefits of Being an Octopus. How to Teach It! Journal Responses

Second, I have multiple journal responses that I use throughout the unit that are engaging and assess student comprehension.

  1. Some of the examples are to write a letter to Zoey. Tell her how you are similar or different. Tell her something you admire about her and why. This puts the students through the thought process of what empathy is like.
  2. Another journal response can be to Create a mock interview between yourself Zoey. Create interview questions, practice and be prepared to present in front of the class.
  3. Students can Predict what will happen in the next chapter and craft a chapter from Zoey’s perspective in first person point of view. Be prepared to share the chapter with your classmates.
  4. Or, choose a significant incident in the book and write a journal entry from a character’s point-of-view; example: Zoey, Silas, Fuchsia, Aurora Bryce, Connor, Zoey’s mom, Lenny etc.
  5. You can ask them If you were given the opportunity to ask the author 5 questions what would they be? Write the questions below and explain why you want the answers to these questions.
  6. To assess setting students can create the setting in a drawing below. Be specific with details. It can be the trailer, school, the restaurant, etc.
  7. Lastly possibly draw Zoey and at least one secondary character in the box below. Be accurate in your drawing.

Teach The Benefits of Being an Octopus: Reading Comprehension

  1. Visualize-I ask students to draw a symbol that best represents the book.
  2. Summarize-Students will summarize the book, a chapter, or a section of the book.
  3. Clarify-Students are to analyze where they lack an understanding of the book. They are to ask themselves, what do I need to re-read in order to fully comprehend the material?
  4. Connect-students ask themselves how the material connects to other material in the book and to other texts they have read.
  5. Respond-Students analyze how the author uses literary devices in the work and why.
  6. Question-Students are to make a list of questions they have for the author for further understanding.

Teach The Benefits of Being an Octopus: Costa’s Question Cues

Next I have students create a list of high order thinking questions using Costa’s question cues. Some of Costa’s question stems begin with the following:

  1. Clarify
  2. Analyze
  3. Compare/contrast
  4. Evaluate
  5. Decide
  6. Interpret

You can collect these questions and answers and use them for a Socratic Seminar or a Four Corner Discussion. Pass out a list of the questions for students to work on at home. Have students return with their questions and answers. Elect two leaders to lead the discussion. Remain as an observer and allow for a meaningful discussion about the book.

Teach The Benefits of Being an Octopus: Connections

I like to take connections with the book a step deeper because of the importance of engaging the students by connecting them with the material. I have students look up quotes of things that happen in the book that remind them of something from their own lives. They write the quote and begin a connection with something like, “This reminds me of a time that….” Students catalogue the quotes and connections as they read through the book.

Teach The Benefits of Being an Octopus: Purpose of Reading

It is important to note the purpose of reading a text. Students are always asking “what is the point of this?” and there is only a positive outcome if a teacher takes the time to answer this question. Some purpose of reading questions can be:

  1. What are the characters’ motives or goals?
  2. What is the conflict?
  3. What am I visualizing?
  4. What is the message the author is trying to convey?
  5. What mood is the author creating?
  6. What problem is the character facing?
  7. How is the plot developing the story?
  8. Why did the author write this story?
  9. What themes are addressed in this text?
  10. What is your emotional response to the text?

Through analyzing and discussing the answers to these questions, you can come to a consensus as to what the purpose is of reading a text-even if it’s just for fun! In the case of the Benefits of Being an Octopus it brings awareness of the adversities of poverty and hopefully changes our views on how one judges another who is poor- In the simplest of terms. The bigger picture can be arguments of having easier collect acceptance rates for those who suffer from poverty etc.

The Benefits of Being an Octopus: Sentence Starters

The next assignment I have students complete throughout the reading are sentence starters. Sentence starters help students to analyze their own thinking and wonderment. Some examples of sentence starters are:

  1. I wonder…
  2. I was surprised that…
  3. I don’t really understand…
  4. I was reminded that…

Exposition Writing

Some practice with writing an exposition can be done by simply using a statement and backing it up with evidence. For example, if we are to look at the statement, “There should be stricter gun laws in America” then the evidence to back it up can be examples of how guns are misused in the novel, or how guns in the wrong hands can be dangerous or even tragic.

Compare/Contrast Characters

Another assignment worthy of a teacher’s attention is to compare contrast characters physical and emotional descriptions. You can utilize a graphic organizer to effectively list information.

Close Reading Questions

It is highly effective to take a close reading passage from the book and have students analyze it by answering a list of carefully crafted sentences. A list of close reading sentences can look like this:

  1. What does this passage mean to you?
  2. Why do you think it is important to the text as a whole?
  3. What confuses you about the passage?
  4. Why is understanding this passage important to your response to the book as a whole?
  5. How does the passage connect to other ideas in the book?
  6. How does the author feeling about the ideas, characters or events they are presenting?
  7. Do the characters remind you of anyone else in fiction, history, or anyone else in your life?
  8. What is revealed about the characters you have read in this passage?

Have Fun With Learning! Roll the Dice Activity

It is crucial that students have some fun while learning. A simple way to create some fun is by creating a “roll the dice” activity sheet. On a sheet of paper create the following activities:

  1. Paraphrase learned information in one sentence.
  2. Create a bookmark for today’s learning.
  3. Write original lyrics to a song that relates to today’s topic.
  4. Write four what if questions about the topic
  5. Create vocabulary cards for the five most essential terms
  6. Write an acrostic poem about the topic
  7. Write a letter to a family member or friend about the topic
  8. Create an analogy for today’s topic and an image
  9. Create a Venn diagram to compare and contrast information
  10. Summarize what you learned today to three classmates

Have students role dye and whichever number they land on they will complete as a group. If you only have once set of dye, you can roll for the whole class.

A One-Pager Assignment Project

The purpose of the one-pager assignment is to take a close look at the novel and analyze its themes, characters, quotes, etc.

The top half should focus on symbolism and themes using words and images. The bottom half should focus on key characters from the text and how they develop.

You may also use other symbols, drawings and words as you wish.

The border is themes. Students can get creative and maximize their efforts with a one-pager assessment.

Create a Plot Structure Diagram

Create a plot structure diagram using the mountain analogy with the following:

  1. Exposition
  2. Conflict
  3. Rising action
  4. Climax
  5. Falling action
  6. Resolution

6-Panel StoryBoard

Students can get a little creative and create a six-panel storyboard where they illustrate and write about a scene. They can also do an extension of a paragraph or the book.

Philosophical Chairs Discussion

Philosophical chair discussions are important in that they not only teach students to take a critical look at a topic but they learn how to express their opinions and evidence about the topic effectively. A great philosophical chairs discussion topic for this book is gun control. You can state it as, there should be more laws to control guns, have students choose a side, write about their opinions using evidence from the text and share their work in an articulate manner.

The Essay

A thorough final assessment can be the essay. For this particular book I would do a literary analysis or if you want to extend the philosophical chairs discussion, you can do the same topic such as gun control and write an expository essay.

However you teach “The Benefits of Being an Octopus” you are doing your students a service as it is a book worthy of attention and analysis. Get this full lesson in my TpT shop HERE

How to Read Graphic Novel

How to read graphic novel isn’t as tricky as it sounds. In fact there is no right or wrong way to read a graphic novel. There is however; things that graphic novel author’s do that are similar that can make it easier to read a graphic novel. There are some layers that can make it more involved like symbols, graphic weight, focus, etc.

How to Read Graphic Novel: Basic Shapes

Basic Shapes

Horizontal means-calm and stable

Vertical means-strength 

Circle means- unity, whole 

Diagonal means- action, movement 

Triangle means- stability, unity like a pyramid

How to Read Graphic Novel: Perspectives of Frame

How to Read a Graphic Novel Angle New Kid Jerry Craft

Close up-establishes emotional relationship between viewer and represented subjects

Medium Shot-establishes objective relationship between viewer and represented subjects

Long shot-establishes relationship between represented figures and surrounding environment

How to Read Graphic Novel: Vertical Angle

High angle– situates reader in position of power, omniscient view-point

Low angle– situates represented subjects in position of power.

How to Read Graphic Novel: Left to Right Structure

Given-information that is known to be reader, taken for granted 

New-information that is previously unknown to the reader

How to Read Graphic Novel: Panels

How to Read a Graphic Novel: Graphic Weight American Born Chinese Gene Luen Yang

Layout Panel: A distinct segment of the comic, containing a combination of image and text in endless variety. Panels offer a different experience than simply reading text: The spatial arrangement allows an immediate juxtaposition of the present and the past. Unlike other visual media, transitions are instantaneous and direct, but the exact timing of the reader’s experience is determined by focus and reading speed

Frame: The lines and borders that contain the panels

Gutter: The space between framed panels

Bleed: An image that extends to and/or beyond the edge of the page

Foreground: The panel closest to the viewer

Layout

How to Read a Graphic Novel Layout Persepolis Marjane Satrapi

Midground: Allows centering of image by using natural resting place for vision. The artist deliberately decides to place the image where a viewer would be most likely to look first. Placing an image off-center or near the top or bottom can be used to create visual tension but using the midground permits the artist to create a more readily accepted image

Background: Provides additional, subtextual information for the reader

Graphic weight: A term that describes the way some images draw the eye more than others, creating a definite focus using color and shading in various ways including: The use of light and dark shades; dark-toned images or high-contrast images draw the eye more than light or low-contrast images do.  A pattern or repeated series of marks. Colors that are more brilliant or deeper than others on the page

Objects

How to Read a Graphic Novel: Hands and Faces New Kid Jerry Craft

Figures Faces:

Faces can be portrayed in different ways. Some depict an actual person, like a portrait; others are iconic, which means they are representative of an idea or a group of people. Other points to observe about faces include:  They can be dramatic when placed against a detailed backdrop; a bright white face stands out. They can be drawn without much expression or detail; this is called an “open blank” and it invites the audience to imagine what the character is feeling without telling them.

Hands/Feet:

The positioning of hands and feet can be used to express what is happening in the story. For example, hands that are raised with palms out suggest surprise. The wringing of hands suggests obsequiousness or discomfort. Hands over the mouth depict fear, shame, or shyness. Turned in feet may denote embarrassment, while feet with motion strokes can create the sense of panic, urgency, or speed.

Text

How to Read a Graphic Novel: Text American Born Chinese Gene Luen Yang

Text Captions: These are boxes containing a variety of text elements, including scene setting, description, etc.

Speech balloons: These enclose dialogue and come from a specific speaker’s mouth; they vary in size, shape, and layout and can alternate to depict a conversation.

Types of speech balloons include those holding: External dialogue, which is speech between characters Internal dialogue, which is a thought enclosed by a balloon that has a series of dots or bubbles going up to it

Special-effects lettering: This is a method of drawing attention to text; it often highlights onomatopoeia and reinforces the impact of words such as bang or wow

Ask Students the Following Questions Prior to Reading a Graphic Novel

1. Can you find all the elements that make up a graphic novel: panels, word balloons, sound effects, motion lines, narration, and background colors? If you take out any one of these, what do you lose? Can you still understand the story?

2. How do you read a graphic novel? Do you look at the images and words together, panel by panel? Do you read all the text on the page and then go back and look at the pictures? Do you look at the pictures first and then go back and read the words? There’s no right way to read a graphic novel, and many readers go through them differently. Compare how you read an assigned graphic novel with how your neighbor does, and see if how you read it is different or the same.

3. Graphic novels use both words and images. Pick a page or a sequence from a graphic novel and think through what you learn from just the words. Then think about what you learn from just the images. Are they telling you the same information, or are they giving you different information? How do they work together?

4. Expressions and gestures are important to how we understand characters. Can you find an example of a particular expression or movement that you think shows a significant character trait?

5. Literary devices frequently featured in graphic novels include point of view, flashbacks, foreshadowing, and metaphor. Choose a graphic novel and see if you can find examples of a traditional literary device within its pages.

6. Many elements of graphic novels are similar to what you see in movies. A graphic novel creator can be the director in deciding what each panel and page shows. Think about the frame of each panel. What are you seeing? What are you not seeing? What about the camera angle? The distance from the subject of the panel? Are there any sound effects? Why did the creator make those choices?

7. On top of being a director, graphic novel creators are also editors. The action in comics happens “in the gutters,” or in the spaces between each panel. Sometimes big things happen in the time it takes to turn the page. Looking through a graphic novel, can you find a specific sequence of panels or a page turn that you think is dramatic or exciting? Why do you think the creator chose that sequence of images or that page turn to emphasize that moment?

8. The pace at which panels change, and how much time seems to pass, is carefully presented. Time, in how fast or slowly it seems to pass, is important in how panels change. Can you find a sequence where the pacing is slow, observing a character or scene? How about a sequence when everything speeds up?

9. In prose works, details are given to the reader in the descriptions. In graphic novels, details are in the images in the background, character design, clothing, and objects. Take a look at this graphic novel and see if you can find five details in the way a person or object is drawn. What does each detail tell you about the characters? The place? The world?

Graphic Novel Study Units in “WE ARE GRAPHIC NOVELS” Teachers Pay Teachers Store

They Called US Enemy by George Takei

Anne Frank’s Diary Ari Pullman

Persepolis Marjane Satrapi

Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury

When Stars are Scattered Victoria Jamieson

Long Way Down Jason Reynolds

New Kid Jerry Craft

Awkward by Svtlana Chmakova

American Born Chinese Gene Luen Yang

To read a blog post on the most popular graphic novel reads, click HERE

7 Ways to Use Minecraft In the Classroom

7 Ways to Use Minecraft in the Classroom: What is Minecraft Education Addition? It is a game-based learning platform that is fun and coincidentally builds STEM and project based learning skills, by unleashing creativity and engaging students in collaboration and problem-solving skills. Minecraft inspires deep, meaningful learning across all subjects. Now, educators around the world use Minecraft to build skills. There are free educational tools that can be added to computers in the classroom (see bottom). You do not have to purchase software in order to implement Minecraft into your classroom. Minecraft is everywhere! Students love using Minecraft and the best part is that it is educational. For building block classroom decor click HERE

7 Ways to Use Minecraft in the Classroom Lego Classroom Decor

1. 7 Ways to Use Minecraft in the Classroom: Engage Students in Collaborative Conversation

Ask them what they like about Minecraft. Answers will likely revolve around the collective themes of creativity, collaboration, critical-thinking and communication. I began asking questions out of my own simple curiosity. I had heard so much about Minecraft but didn’t understand how it worked. Students were passionate and talking over each other to be heard. I had students explain it to me and others who had never used the software. After this discussion, I had students write down questions for further inquiry. We used these questions as an organized way to learn more about Minecraft. I then found an article about the history of Minecraft, how it began, how it was sold, who it was sold to and for how much, who invented Minecraft etc. This nonfiction unit on Minecraft helped to formulate the foundation of Minecraft before we got started on a project and met a nonfiction common core standard in the process. I have also used this lesson as a standalone for a nonfiction lesson built around the passion and interest in Minecraft.

7 Ways to Use Minecraft in the Classroom Nonfiction Unit

2. 7 Ways to Use Minecraft in the Classroom: Educate Yourself

After learning from student-led collaborative discussion, I watched videos on YouTube. There are over 145 million “how to” videos alone on Minecraft. Students are already familiar with using YouTube videos to have previously self-taught themselves in order to fine-tune their own skills in Minecraft. Based on your collaborative class discussion you should be able to identify who your student experts are. Strategically place a Minecraft expert in every group for group projects or assignments. Start small and be sure to walk yourself through the lesson first from a student perspective. Try the following site that is free and available for all teachers and students: Lessons | Minecraft Education Edition

7 Ways to Use Minecraft in the Classroom: Lego Alphabet Letters

3. 7 Ways to Use Minecraft in the Classroom: Increase Student Choice in Assessment

Add an assessment option for Minecraft. When I taught “Lord of the Flies” one of the “tribal challenges” I assigned was to create a panorama of the island. The winning group of students created the island using Minecraft. They spent hours of their own time. Through this choice they used many skills including, planning, drafting, creating and collaboration. Those who didn’t know how to use the program took the initiative to teach themselves by watching videos on YouTube. These are all important skills that students need for not only school but also the workplace. What inspired them to take on such a project and use their own time to learn-Minecraft! Minecraft can be used for students to demonstrate knowledge in subjects such as math, English, history, computer science, technical theatre, and more. Minecraft is a tool that creates high levels of engagement in the assessment process.

Be sure to set norms and expectations as you do with any assignment or project. If you are requiring students to use Minecraft set up expectations for students to teach and support one another. Make sure they have access to the software at home or through sharing with a classmate. Student access is crucial to the success with a product such as Minecraft. How did I learn about Minecraft? My students taught me. If parents are weary send an email with an attached video about a project used for Minecraft or an educational video for how Minecraft is used for learning. You can write a letter home or even create your own video for parents explaining how it’s used in the classroom.

7 Ways to Use Minecraft in the Classroom: Lego Puzzle Border

4. 7 Ways to Use Minecraft in the Classroom: Reading Comprehension and Visualization

A great way to have students showcase their learning is to have them recreate a setting for various books they have completed throughout the year. A fun project that I have assigned at the end of the year is to have students create the setting for one of the books we have read during the year. In addition to recreating the scene they had to create a specific scene from the book that ties to a theme we learned from reading the book. Other students are to guess which scene students have recreated and what theme is represented. For example, when the boys from “Lord of the Flies” kill their first pig, it is significant to the theme for loss of innocence. This idea can be turned into a fun game where students compete, or for a more formal idea students can create a formal presentation where they discuss their theme in detail.

In addition you can have students recreate the time period in which the author wrote the book. For example, if you are reading Romeo and Juliet, have students recreate the Elizabethan time period. Students are required to do an abundance of research prior to scene creation. There needs to be accuracy in the architecture, clothing, materials, food, entertainment, body language, even music etc. Upon completion students include their research as well as a reflection about what they learned through the process. Looking at process is an important part of the Common Core standards. We no longer only look at the end result of a project but we examine the process in which the project took.

7 Ways to Use Minecraft in the Classroom: Nonfiction Unit

5. 7 Ways to Use Minecraft in the Classroom: Digital Citizenship

Assign Minecraft to be used in groups so that it is a collaborative game. It ensures that students work together at times in competitive ways and must work collaboratively to plan and solve problems and challenges. Students learn how to problem solve with others, and resolve conflict that arises by using complex communication skills. Take the opportunity to teach students how to communicate in polite, respectful, effective manners. I provide sentence cues that we use to practice with as a class during a class discussion. A question cue could be “although I see Sam’s point, I respectfully disagree”. Or, “that is one strategy we could use to solve a problem, however, another more efficient strategy could be”….Now, students don’t typically speak to one another in this manner but you would be surprised how fast using these sentence cues can deflate a nasty disagreement. I cut up sentence cues and put strips of paper on desks where students are working. As soon as students begin to argue, hand them a sentence cue. They find them humorous and as mentioned it deflates the tension, and redirects students to use effective, respectful language with one another. It’s important to include a citizenship grade for a project and include a rubric prior to the start of the project. Teachers can also facilitate discussions and reflections to support each student in effectively communicating and collaborating.

7 Ways to Use Minecraft in the Classroom: Lego Class Decor Bundle

6. 7 Ways to Use Minecraft in the Classroom: Add it As a Writing Tool

Minecraft can be used to tell stories that include characters, settings, themes, motivations, conflicts and plots. Teachers can use Minecraft as a tool for students to write and create stories based on their character. One of the major standards that runs through elementary through high school is the narrative story. Students can use Minecraft as a visual to teach narrative. They can write a story on paper, and through Minecraft as their visual represent the setting, protagonist, secondary characters, conflicts, parts of the plot structure diagram: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution.*Time saving tip have students work together to create a frame for their narrative. Then have students split up the writing portion of the assignment by plot structure. Once they put the story together, they can work together on their visual.

7 Ways to Use Minecraft in the Classroom: Lego Alphabet Letters

7. Address Problem Solving and Math Principles

Math standards require complex problem solving and critical thinking skills. Teachers can use Minecraft to build skills needed for math competency. An example of a problem solving skill is pushing through solving problems. Minecraft requires this, and you or the students can create different challenges for each other. Another skill we seek to develop in students is using appropriate tools in a strategic way, which is exactly what students must do when playing Minecraft. Teachers can examine their math standards for other related skills and use Minecraft to facilitate growth.

Minecraft Resources

Learn more about Minecraft Education Edition, join our community, and find technical support at education.minecraft.net.

Additional resources: Microsoft has a free introductory course at Minecraft: Education Edition: Teacher Academy – Microsoft Educator Center, To learn the lingo for Minecraft try The Minecraft Glossary for Parents | Common Sense Media. If you really want to become an expert check this resource out, Official Minecraft Wiki – The Ultimate Resource for Minecraft (fandom.com)

How do you use Minecraft in your classroom? I would love to hear in the comments below!

To read my blog post on how to decorate your classroom for back to school, click HERE

Teachers Pay Teachers Conference Review

Teachers Pay Teachers conference 2021 took place virtually this year which had its pluses and minuses. A huge bonus was that teacher sellers had the option to watch all presenters if they chose to do so. The minus was the lack of connection and camaraderie that typically takes place when the bunch gets together. The two activities or connections that you could make live was a cheesy live trivia game and one pajama happy hour which primarily took place in a breakout room with 6 other people. The presenters and keynote speakers were nothing short of amazing with some great tips and tricks I’ll be sharing below.

Some data that proves how big and effective Teacher’s Pay Teachers is as a website is that 85% of teachers purchased from Teachers Pay Teachers at least once this past year and more than two million students tried a paid digital resource.

A sentiment expressed from most presenters was that in the beginning they kept comparing themselves to other TpT seller authors and it was highly discouraging. Some even almost gave up because they couldn’t imagine holding themselves to such high standards. Thankfully none of them did, and they are top sellers today. The second sentiment that was expressed was that they would enthusiastically attend TpT conferences, but then found themselves overwhelmed with all the new information provided. They said they found one thing they were really good at and stuck with that. For example an email list, Pinterest, Instagram, Youtube, blogging, copywriting, etc. One keynote speaker Jon Avery gave the following advice: Be realistic on how much time you can spend on resource creation, evaluate your strengths and play off of those, It’s ok not to be finished with a product, Don’t measure yourself with someone else’s ruler, and slow down.

Conference Overview

Teachers Pay Teachers Conference: Pricing Faux Pas

Chynell Moore

  1. Waiting until the last minute to set a price
  2. Raising prices just cuz
  3. Feeling like your taking advantage of your customers
  4. Low price=Sale. Not so
  5. Pricing based on how much time it took to make the product
  6. Having a one size fits all pricing strategy
  7. Setting a price and leaving it or “setting and forgetting”
Teachers Pay Teachers Conference Review: Video Marketing Kerry Tracy

Teachers Pay Teachers Conference: Video Marketing

Kerry Tracy

  1. Short form content is content that lasts two minutes or less. Examples: teaching tips, class tour, favorite book, funny stories, ads, preview, highlighting product, canva, keynote, and PowerPoint
  2. Long form content examples: courses, webinars, lives
  3. Lives, example- facebook live

*Fun Fact-She uses wall paper samples to decorate her background or peg board. You can put pegs in and build shelves-very aesthetically pleasing!

Teachers Pay Teachers Conference Review: TpT Digital Product link All Summer in a Day

Teachers Pay Teachers Conference: Social Justice

Sonam Shahani

  1. Social justice teaches kids how to think not what to think. Students shouldn’t know what political party you run with.
  2. Teachingfortolerancorg is now the LearningforJustice.org

*Tip-when teaching a subject have students see things through a “villain’s” or other character’s perspective. So if you look at Goldilocks and the three bears, look at it through the three bear’s perspective. Another great character that comes to mind is Elphaba from “Wicked”

Teachers Pay Teachers Conference: Stay Current Cindy Martin

Teachers Pay Teachers Conference: Stay Current

Cindy Martin

  1. Go to Trends.google.com
  2. Look up education
  3. Put what you find in the google search engine
  4. Hit news
  5. Stay current! It helps with your sales and your reputation!

*Fun fact-Worksheets are trending over google docs, and third runner up is Booms cards

Teachers Pay Teachers Conference: Research Based Products

Jan Smith

  1. Research based products are built around research based practices
  2. Example: collaborative discussions have been proven to engage students in learning. Therefore, a product would be a philosophical chairs discussion or a Socratic Seminar.

*Tip on how to find research based practices: NCTE-English, NSTA-Science, NCTM-math

Growing an Email list

Rachel Noak

  1. Choose the right provider-she uses ConvertKit
  2. Brainstorm your goals
  3. Think long-term
  4. Be consistent
  5. Know and understand your purpose for emails
  6. Find the right approach
  7. Know your audience, have the right audience, delete cold subscribers
  8. Help your audience get to know you
  9. Continually build your relationship

Tips-Use a template: she includes three things-free resource, helpful blogs, teacher self-care. Love this template!

Teachers Pay Teachers Conference Review: Stay current Cindy Martin

Instagram

Michele Grifo

  1. Show your personality through your brand in everything that you do
  2. Know how the algorithm works
  3. Reels-once you use it you will love it! Repurpose content, use trendy songs, show your face, keep it simple, use product photos and videos.
  4. All these above will grow your followers

Not so fun fact-Instagram only shows 10/100 of your audience members your posts. If there is engagement they will send them to more people and so on. Not everyone sees what you post like they do on Facebook.

Blogging Excuses

Tanya Marshall

  1. I would rather be creating products
  2. I don’t see how it’s helping me make money
  3. I would rather be on Instagram or Tik Tok
  4. I can’t think of anything to write about
  5. It takes sooooooooooooooooo long

*Tips-Use your products as the topic of your blog posts. Search your topic on google and use the “topics related” section for your subheadings. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and use the words at the bottom as your long tail keywords. Try batching 4 blog posts in one day-if you hate blogging this will save your life!

Podcasting Myths

Trina Deboree

  1. You can’t earn money podcasting-see tips below
  2. It takes a lot of time-only at first
  3. You need to be a natural storyteller or speaker-it’s a skill that is developed
  4. You need an audience-you may start without one

Tips-You can earn money by linking your store, using it as a lead magnet, or getting sponsors

Teachers Pay Teachers Conference Review: Photos Stephanie Sutherland

Photos

Stephanie Sutherland

  1. Use the northern most room in the house for natural lighting between 9-12
  2. Use the southern most room in the house for natural lighting between 12 and sundown
  3. Do not take pictures at night

Tip-Use a foam board covered in laminate to look like a desk background. The two most important things for photography are a foam board and natural sunlight

Accessible Resources

Daniel Mault

  1. Choose the right tool-use a tool that teachers are using such as google docs
  2. Make it engaging and interactive
  3. Use awesome clipart
  4. Place text on top of your slides
  5. Record audio
  6. Be careful with color-no green or red (people who are color blind cannot distinguish between the two)

Tip-Include printable and digital. Check out Erintegration who sells digital, moveable pieces! Cool!

Pinterest

Alexandra Baxter

  1. Pinterest is a search engine not a social media site
  2. There are 450 million users
  3. Teachers love it for ideas
  4. People come to try or buy
  5. You can be salesy
  6. It’s free and user friendly

Tip-Like Dori, Just keep pinning! 2-3 ratio, use pins that are light, and don’t forget to use a title

Teachers Pay Teachers Conference Review: The Benefits of Being an Octopus

How do you Get Noticed on Teachers Pay Teachers: Redesigning Your Store for Maximum Impact

Kristin Hammond

Three types of brand styles

  1. Minimalist-no fuss, no frills, and likes to keep it classic
  2. Scroll stopper-bright, bold, clip art
  3. Trendsetters-Trendy patterns, designs. Photographs with Boho trends, colors, fonts

Why it’s important to incorporate your brand style on TpT

  1. It helps you stand out
  2. It makes your overall storefront
  3. It makes your product listings
  4. It saves you time and money

What you need for your covers and thumbnails

  1. Large simple text
  2. Bold fonts that appeal to your audience
  3. 1-3 photos of your resource

9 Benefits of being a Part-time TpT’er

Susan Schwartz

  1. Work on TpT when you want
  2. Less pressure to sell resources
  3. You can make resources you want to make
  4. Don’t need to try every new thing
  5. Can spend less time on social media
  6. Less time on marketing
  7. Have less possibility for burnout
  8. Don’t have to watch every video or webinar
  9. Don’t have to buy a lot of courses

Fun fact-TpT can just be done as a creative hobby

What VA’s Do

Heather Fergen

  1. Video creation and editing
  2. SEO for TpT product titles and descriptions
  3. SEO for blog posts
  4. Blog Design
  5. Tech help on the blog
  6. Newsletters
  7. Product editing
  8. Image creation
  9. Product cover creation
  10. Pinterest live pinning
  11. Facebook
  12. Twitter
  13. Media Kit
  14. Email management
  15. Blogger for WordPress
  16. Taking action photos
  17. Schedule out guest bloggers
  18. Updating WordPress plugins
  19. Research
  20. And much more…

Tip-shop around and try to get a referral. Or hire for one project prior to hiring long-term

Teachers Pay Teachers Conference Review: New Kid

What Administrators Look For in a Product

Maria Montroni-Currais

  1. Standards
  2. Preview
  3. Inclusivity
  4. Rigor
  5. Relevance

Is Selling on Teachers Pay Teachers Worth It? These People Say it Is

Kristen Rivera was the keynote speaker for Tuesday and she really brought it home with a heart wrenching-authentic story. Jon Avery was Wednesday’s keynote and he brought a fresh perspective and new wisdom with some straight-forward advice. Maribel Sheehan also shared some adverse life experiences and her treacherous journey through TpT, sometimes not sleeping for two nights in a row to save her family’s home. Kristen Rivera seemed to capture a common theme throughout the conference when she expressed, “Do not let the noise drown out your inner voice. You do not need to do everything to be successful. You have the answers. All you have to do is listen.”

They also said not to be afraid to market your products for sale! So below are some of mine:)

Wicked-a drama unit

All Summer in a Day by Ray Bradbury-a short story digital assignment

The Benefits of Being an Octopus-a novel study

Titanic-a nonfiction read and respond

Social Emotional Learning-a new curriculum

Teaching Tolerance-learning for justice

New Kid by Jerry Craft-a graphic novel unit

To read my blog post on an anti-biased framework for teaching for tolerance, click Here

If you attended the TpT conference this year or previous years, please respond in the comments what your favorite tip, trick or fun fact is! The Teachers Pay Teachers sitewide sale is this August and you don’t want to miss it!

Back to School Classroom Organization

Back to School Classroom Organization sounds like a daunting task, but you can make it fun with these creative ideas. It’s time for back to school shopping! Cheer up and add creativity and organization to your classroom starting yourself off on the right foot! There are many places you can get low-priced items to make your classroom a hit. We are going to talk classroom decor and organization tips that will make your life easier. None of my suggestions are affiliate links; nor am I trying to sell you anything. These are ideas you can either buy or DIY. No kick backs for my recommendations.

Back To School Classroom Organization: Lego Decor

Kids love Legos! Below is a Lego classroom Decoration Kit sold on Teachers Pay Teachers. This is Lego decor that includes: hall passes bin labels, name tags, large alphabet letters, a welcome banner, numbers, and a puzzle piece border. You can find this at my store at Teachers Pay Teachers at Lego Classroom Decor Bundle by Teacher for Inclusion | TpT (teacherspayteachers.com) There are many teacher seller authors on Teachers Pay Teachers that sell the same items, labels etc., in different themes.

Decor and Organization

Lego Decor from Teachers Pay Teachers Shop

Match your lego classroom decor to the Dollar Tree’s giant wall art for only $1. It can be found at The Dollar Tree.

Giant Lego Wall Art at the Dollar Tree

Back to School Classroom Organization: Editable Objectives Idea

Save time and energy all year by using these editable objectives! They are $6.25 at Teachers Pay Teachers in the Learning in Wonderland Shop. The shop owner is a keynote speaker at the Teachers Pay Teachers conference so you know her work is legit. Put the subject on the wall and change the objective beneath it each day. The best part is they are editable, so if you need to change the wording-no problem!

Editable Objectives

Back to School Classroom Organization: Calendar Kit

Do you ever lose track of the date? Below is an easy calendar kit I found at Learning in Wonderland for $6.75 at Classroom Calendar Set | Digital Calendar Kit | Decor | Distance Learning (teacherspayteachers.com). Each day in a well-organized classroom, teachers go over the date and have a student call it out for practicing organization skills. With this easy kit, you can have a student put the date on the calendar each day.

Editable calendar kit

Back to School Classroom Organization: Classroom Rules

A great way to keep classroom management under control is to ensure that students know the rules for your classroom. An easy way to do this is to post each rule up so you can point when a student is not following the rules. I found these classroom rules posters at First Grade Fun for $4.00 on Teachers Pay Teachers at Classroom Decor Classroom Rules with Writing Activities | TpT (teacherspayteachers.com) I like the teacher’s statement that “We Are a Classroom Family”. It seems very inclusive.

Classroom rules for classroom management

Back to School Classroom Organization: Classroom Jobs

Jobs are soooo important to students. They give them a sense of confidence and responsibility. Most students take them very seriously. Here is a way to stay organized by displaying student jobs for the week or month in the classroom. I like this items because it is clean and simple. This product can be found at Teachers Pay Teachers for $4.00 by Samantha Henry at Class Jobs (editable) – School Pop Decor by Samantha Henry | TpT (teacherspayteachers.com)

Classroom jobs

Numbers Posted in Your Classroom

Just as you need alphabet letters for student practice, you also need numbers for multiple things like numbering tables, students, groups, days of the week, classwork, etc. I found these great numbers at Teachers Pay Teachers for $4.00 by the teacher seller author, Teaching Superkids at Number Posters Classroom Decor by Teaching Superkids | TpT (teacherspayteachers.com)

Classroom numbers

Teacher Supplies

Most teachers have to buy their own supplies to fulfill their needs in the classroom due to major budget cuts. If you are one of these teachers check out the supplies you can find at The Dollar Tree for only $1 prior to shopping at pricier places. You can find all supplies needed at the dollar tree at the following link: Glass Vases, Party Supplies, Cleaning & More (dollartree.com) I always forget to look here first and the next thing I know I’m a $1,000 deep in classroom supplies.

$1 Supplies from the dollar tree

Bins for Organization

To stay organized, here are matching classroom supply bins you can find for only $1 dollar at the dollar tree. Keep your supplies or student work organized all year. You can organize by student names, tables, supply list, and more. Bin labels can be found at Teachers Pay Teachers in different style themes.

Matching class bins at the Dollar Tree

Creative Ways to Post Important Information

Use a bag of clothes pins and a hot glue gun to post student work, announcements, and other important information around the classroom. These are $1 at the Dollar Tree at Glass Vases, Party Supplies, Cleaning & More (dollartree.com) I use a large bulletin board I purchase from Staples or Office Depot, and hot glue gun these small clothes pins on it. I use them for important announcements, missed assignments each day, and to display student work. They are great and if secured with a glue gun they stick.

Clothes pins for showing student work

Student Birthdays

Keeping student birthdays organized can be a bear of a task. Especially with everything a teacher has on the daily calendar. Every year I try to acknowledge student birthdays, and every year I fail. Here is a way I found to keep student birthdays easily organized and myself accountable. In addition, students can help to keep birthday recognitions in check. To make it even easier, you can assign this task to a student helper. The tags, labels, nails, and chalk can be found at the Dollar Tree.

Organize birthdays using tags from the Dollar Tree

Creative Decor DIY

Looking for creative, cheap ways to decorate your classroom? Use crayons to create wall letters for the alphabet, or as a letter for your last name. Use a poster paper, hot glue gun, old crayons. Split the crayons in half to use for parts of the letter. Write your name in marker in the bottom right-hand corner. The frames and crayons can be found for $1 at The Dollar Tree.

Crayon Art for Teacher Name or Alphabet Letters

Back to School Project Assignment

If you are looking for a great assignment to welcome students back to the classroom, try this Cultural Goggles Poster. Students write about the things that are most important to them, and learn that everyone enters the room looking through their own cultural goggles. All students are different and they share their experiences with the class. This helps to set up a class environment that is inclusive and safe. This assignment can be found at Teachers pay Teachers link: Cultural Goggles Assignment: Eliminate Our Cultural Bias Poster | TpT (teacherspayteachers.com)

Cultural Goggles Poster Assignment

For Activities to do at the beginning of the year click Here for my blog post

I would love to hear about your teacher favorites or deals you have found for your classroom! Leave your teacher favorites in the comments below!

13 Best Graphic Novels To Teach

Out of the past 70 or so, graphic novels I have read there are some that really stand out that I love! The following are your 13 best graphic novels you must read or teach in the classroom. They are as follows: Anne Frank’s Diary by Ari Folman, White Bird by R.J. Palacio, Anne of Green Gables by Mariah Marsden, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Hey Kiddo by Jarrett Krosoczka, New Kid by Jerry Craft, Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang, Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds, They Called US Enemy by George Takai, When Stars are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson, The Odyssey by Gareth Hinds, Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson, and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi.

Top Graphic Reads

13 Best Graphic Novels

13 Best Graphic Novels: Persepolis

  1. Persepolis” by Marjane Satrapi is one of the Graphic Novels You Must Read . It is a non-fiction graphic novel where the setting takes place in the Middle East. The Middle East has been quite villainized since 9/11 and this book gives students a realistic picture of what it’s like to grow up in the Middle East. The main character has the same fears, passions, personality characteristics, and what everyone wants-a sense of belonging. It provides a positive, accurate depiction of what it is like to grow up as a teen in the middle east vs. worse case scenario in the middle east. Marjane and her family are constantly participating in protests. The graphics are comical, realistic, and disturbing at times.
13 Best Graphic Novels

13 Best Graphic Novels: They Called US Enemy

2. They Called US Enemy” by George Takei is one of the Graphic Novels You Must Read . It is a memoir written graphic novel style by George Takei (you know the guy from Star Wars?) As a young boy George Takei is awoken in the middle of the night with minutes to pack up what the family can carry to be whisked off to an internment camp. The setting takes place during the time of WWII after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The family is singled out solely based on the fact that they were Japanese. The family lost all of their possessions and when they were finally released from these camps ended up homeless living on skid row. It wasn’t until after George Takei’s father died that some restitution was paid to the families for the “inconvenience”. Like most of the novels on this list there is no justice, it is a great read with realistic graphics.

13 Best Graphic Novels

13 Best Graphic Novels: New Kid

3. New Kid by Jerry Craft is one of the Graphic Novels You Must Read: A graphic novel about the struggles of everyday life in middle school. Jordan, an African-American student at a privileged-primarily-white-private school finds himself not only one of the few African-American students in attendance but the subject of intended and unintended prejudice from staff and students. For example, when Jordan enlists on the soccer team, the coach states, “I bet you can run…not because, well…you know. I truly believe that all people are equal Jordan.” Jordan deals with an additional layer of adversity that other middle school students do not, and let’s face it-middle school is hard enough as it is! Despite these additional adversities, Jordan manages to find his way, make friends (black and white), and begins to find his place in this world. There are so many nuances in this book, it’s great for learning inference.

13 Best Graphic Novels

13 Best Graphic Novels: White Bird

4. “White Bird” by R.J. Palacio is one of the Graphic Novels You Must Read. It is a graphic novel about the Holocaust and a young Jewish girl who is separated from her family and has to live in a barn to survive. The young man she falls in love with is the person who saved her life and he dies in the end as a result of it. It’s a beautiful-love story with a tragic ending. The graphics are beautiful and truly amazing!

13 Best Graphic Novels

13 Best Graphic Novels: Anne Frank’s Diary

5. The Diary of Anne Frank Anne Frank is beautifully written and illustrated. Like the Diary of Anne Frank novel, it tells the story of the Holocaust from the perspective of Anne Frank. The graphics are fun and imaginative as if pictured by Anne Frank herself. It captures the imagination of a child in front of the backdrop of the horrors of the Holocaust.

13 Best Graphic Novels

13 Best Graphic Novels: To Kill a Mockingbird

6. “To Kill a Mockingbird” This is a classic that needs to withstand the test of time. Harper Lee captures a realistic portrayal of an innocent black man being falsely accused of rape by a white woman. Despite the immaculate defense given by Atticus Finch, Tom Robinson is found guilty and is sentenced to death. The graphics in this novel are exquisite!

13 Best Graphic Novels

Long Way Down

7. Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds is a summarized version of what happens in the novel. There is a boy whose family has a long history of gang violence and he has lost multiple family members for this reason. Once the boy’s brother is killed, he feels he has to follow the rules which is to now kill the teen who killed his brother. That would then mean that he would be the next victim in line for death or prison. He wrestles with his conscience as he visits the multiple victims from his past in an elevator. There is a great impact in the graphics including when the main character’s brother is shot and killed, ghosts, and other victims that are not illustrated in the novel.

13 Best Graphic Novels

Hey Kiddo

8. Hey Kiddo by Jarrett Krosoczka: If you have readers who struggle this is a great graphic novel pick! It is also a very healing book for students who have parents that suffer from addiction. The story is a coming-of-age novel about a young boy named Ja who is forced to live with his grandparents after his mom is checked into a rehabilitation center. We quite often see the journey of the primary character as the addict, but this novel’s protagonist is about the addict’s son. The secondary characters are the grandparents and the family that suffer as a result of Ja’s mother’s addiction. It is also a journey about adversity, resiliency, how history doesn’t have to repeat itself, and healing. The main character of the book is in fact the author himself who turns out to become a famous-successful author.

Dragon Hoops

9. Dragon Hoops is a fun read! It is a book about Gene Luen (the author) who is trying to decide what to write a graphic novel about. He decides to write a story about the basketball team at Bishop O’ Dawd-Catholic Private School. Throughout the book we learn about different characters and how one “first step” led many to a successful career in basketball. It goes over the long history of basketball at the school and includes exciting games. Somehow Luen is able to make the game exciting on paper by including step-by-step plays. There is also a serious element in the book in that at some point a coach was accused of molesting a student at the school and lost his job. It never answers the question of his innocence or guilt. This could be a real opportunity to talk to students about a serious topic.

13 Best Graphic Novels

When Stars Are Scattered

10. When Stars Are Scattered is a heartfelt nonfiction book about a young boy who has lost his parents and lives as a Somali refugee with only his younger brother who cannot speak due to horrific things he has seen in his lifetime. They wait patiently for years to go to America to become citizens. While waiting to go to America the reader sees how hope or a lack of hope can affect different people who are going to live out their existence in this refugee camp. It is a story of heartbreak and hope. When the main character finally moves to America with his brother he eventually finds that his mother is alive and is reunited with her at the end.

13 Best Graphic Novels

Anne of Green Gables

11. Anne of Green Gables is a light-hearted graphic novel that highlights the hopes and dreams of a young girl who goes to live with a rather uptight adult duo of brother and sister. Anne is an orphan and needs a home. There are many adventures that Anne partakes in and the majority of her charm comes from her naivety leading her to say exactly what she is thinking. By the end Anne has lost one of her guardians to heart disease, has grown into a woman who attends, and completes school is ready to become a teacher. It is a light-hearted coming-of-age story.

13 Best Graphic Novels

The Odyssey

12. “The Odyssey Odysseus the Great King sets out to fight in the Trojan War and ends up taking years to arrive back at home. Odysseus is supposed to be this great war hero, but it is difficult for me to see him as anything but an egotistical-selfish being. He looks at the sirens when he is not supposed to, he cheats on his wife Penelope multiple times, he gets all of his men killed because he cannot control his ego and yells out taunting his enemy Grendel who in turn has his father Poseidon kill all Odysseus’s men. What kind of leader gets all of his men killed? and is still considered a great war hero? Although I have my thoughts about Odysseus, students do learn a lot about the Greek Gods which is more of the point of reading the novel. There are many other ways to learn about the Greek Gods such as short stories or even modern reads like Percy Jackson. We may just have to stick with the Odyssey and the way to do this is with the graphic novel. Warning there is one seminude scene on one page so be aware of this.

13 Best Graphic Novels

Roller Girl

13. A great coming-of-age graphic novel about a young girl going through adolescence in middle school. She and her best friend have become estranged because they no longer have the same interests. The main character is only able to think of herself at the beginning and what she wants. She has difficulty keeping friends for this reason. By the end of the book she has learned what it’s like to work hard, to think about other’s needs and wants, and what it’s like to be a true friend.

I would love to hear about your favorite graphic novels, and which you have had success with in the classroom! Please leave a response in the comments below!

Products from Teachers Pay Teachers “We Are Graphic Novels” Shop

Roller Girl

The Odyssey

When Stars are Scattered

Anne of Green Gables

Dragon Hoops

Hey Kiddo

Long Way Down

To Kill a Mockingbird

White Bird

New Kid

Anne Frank’s Diary

They Called US Enemy

Persepolis

To read my blog post on the top list of books for teens, click HERE

Summer Reading Middle and High School

Summer Reading Middle and High School can work as a great substitute during times that summer can become stale and students have a lack of cerebral activities to participate in. Although I feel summer is very important for downtime and fun, I see nothing wrong with reading the occasional book. The following is a list of some easy-engaging-fun-reads your students can participate in with little mental effort. These books for summer reading have been carefully selected. Enjoy this summer reading list!

summer-reading

Summer Reads

Summer Reading Middle and High School: Ghost Boys

1. Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes: is a perfect read for today’s political climate. The book is about a young African American boy named Jerome who is shot and killed by a white police officer who gravely mistakes a toy gun for a real gun. There is a trial and the police officer is released with a slap on the wrist. “Ghost Boys”, visits the unfortunate, criminal issues that have been highlighted in our news. The Ghost Boys Gang includes Emmett Till as the ghost boys’ leader and Jerome goes on a journey of self-discovery, the awakening to American history, and healing.

Summer Reading Middle and High School: Hey Kiddo-Graphic Novel

-reading

2. Hey Kiddo by Jarrett Krosoczka: If you have readers who struggle this is a great graphic novel pick! It is also a very healing book for students who have parents that suffer from addiction. The story is a coming-of-age novel about a young boy named Ja who is forced to live with his grandparents after his mom is checked into a rehabilitation center. We quite often see the journey of the primary character as the addict, but this novel’s protagonist is about the addict’s son. The secondary characters are the grandparents and the family that suffer as a result of Ja’s mother’s addiction. It is also a journey about adversity, resiliency, how history doesn’t have to repeat itself, and healing. The main character of the book is in fact the author himself who turns out to become a famous-successful author.

Summer Reading Middle and High School: The 57 Bus

Summer-Reading

3. The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater: A must-read as one of the books to read for teens. This is a non-fiction novel about an agender high-school student named Sasha and his journey through adversity, hatred, homophobia, and pain. Sasha is lit on fire by a student named Richard who attends a low-income, high-crime high school where students either end up as gang members or die by violence before graduation. Sasha and Richard are on the 57 Bus one afternoon when a friend of Richard’s provides and nudges Richard with a lighter to ignite the skirt that Sasha is wearing on the bus. What was intended to be a crude joke quickly turned into a near-death-nightmare experience. Richard ignited a tweed skirt that burst into flames engulfing Sasha in it. Fortunately Sasha lived but not without excrutiating pain from third degree burns. Richard is tried for a hate-crime as an adult despite the fact that he is only 16 years old causing much controversy.

Summer Reading List Middle School: New Kid-Graphic Novel

summer-reading

4. New Kid by Jerry Craft: A graphic novel about the struggles of everyday life in middle school. Jordan, an African-American student at a privileged-primarily-white-private school finds himself not only one of the few African-American students in attendance but the subject of intended and unintended prejudice from staff and students. For example, when Jordan enlists on the soccer team, the coach states, “I bet you can run…not because, well…you know. I truly believe that all people are equal Jordan.” Jordan deals with an additional layer of adversity that other middle school students do not, and let’s face it-middle school is hard enough as it is! Despite these additional adversities, Jordan manages to find his way, make friends (black and white), and begins to find his place in this world.

Summer Reading List Middle School: Class Act-Graphic Novel

summer-reading

5. Class Act by Jerry Craft: A graphic novel in the “New Kid” graphic novel series. This is one of the books to read for teens. Once again Jordan returns to middle school finding himself in 8th grade where he faces new challenges. This is a sequel to “New Kid” focuses slightly less on Jordan and includes more secondary characters and their struggles. The class clown and bully has become isolated, and bullied in this version. I would not be surprised if the next book has a focus on him, and the effects of bullying.

Summer Reading: Track Series

summer-reading

6-9. Track Series by Jason Reynolds: A 4-part-series referenced as the “Track Series” by Jason Reynolds. Patina is one of the four characters among Ghost, Lu, and Sunny. Each book is written from the perspective of each character as their lives intertwine with one another. They all suffer through different hardships and the one thing they have in-common, and is their grounding force-is track, and their track coach. Patina and her sister Maddy live with their adopted parents because their mom lost her legs due to diabetes; Sunny lives with his father and without his mother because she passed away. Ghost lives with his mother and no father because his father tried to shoot Ghost and his wife with a rifle and is in jail. Lu lives with both mom and dad but struggles greatly with his identity because he is an African-American albino and he doesn’t feel like he fits in either world. 

Summer Reading Middle School: Sheets-Graphic Novel

summer-reading

10. Sheets by Brenna Tummler: A graphic novel about a young girl named Marjorie who runs a dry cleaning business on her own. She lost her mom in a drowning accident and claims that her father “died” (metaphorically) at the same time. Dad spends most of his time in bed depressed. A deviant man is trying to pull the business out in order to put in a hotel and Marjorie spends her time alone, trying to save the place. A young ghost named Wendell appears to help Marjorie save the business, which together-they do. It is a great story about friendship, pain, and healing.

Summer Reading: This Was Our Pact-Graphic Novel

summer-reading

11. This Was Our Pact by Ryan Andrews : a graphic novel adventure that takes two unlikely friends on multiple fantastical journeys. They begin on bikes with a large group of boys as one-by-one, the boys tire out and head home until there are only two boys left. The last two left end up in the beautiful wilderness chasing lanterns for the Autumn festival and become friends as they come across a talking bear, a mad scientist woman, and multiple other creative characters that talk and share their traditions of the Autumn Festival, and what the lanterns, stars, mean to them and to their ancestors. The end takes a bit of a dark twist in that it states that the two boys on their adventure “never to return home, never to look back”, suggesting that they died in the wilderness. However, the author somehow still manages to end the story as a fantastic adventure rather than as a tragedy.

Summer Reading Middle School: Booked

summer-reading

12. Booked by Kwame Alexander: is a crafty novel that makes the topic of books interesting. Kwame uses poetry, and a lot of imagination to draw the reader into the topic about a young boy whose father forces him to read. This boy is influenced by some amazing mentors: a teacher, librarian, and a new girlfriend and he is led to reading books and even joins a book club by the end of the novel.

Summer Reading: Rebound

summer-reading

13. Rebound by Kwame Alexander: a book about a young teen who has lost his father and is trying to find his way in a world he doesn’t feel he belongs in. After Josh gets into trouble his mom decides to drop him off at his grandparents for the summer where Josh is able to find his smile and his confidence. Basketball is his sport and the author uses several allusions as well as graphics to show the sport of basketball and all its historical glory, including the Globe Trotters and Michael Jordan. It’s a great book for teens who love basketball and aren’t crazy about reading.

Summer Reading: Hatchet

summer-reading

14. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen: a book about a young man named Brian Robeson who is stranded in the middle of the wilderness in Canada when the pilot of his helicopter is struck with a heart attack. He slowly tackles nature one weather or animal crisis at a time, and makes it through to the end. It is also a book about healing in that his parents have made the decision to divorce because his mom is having an affair. By the end of the novel, Brian has reconciled that.

Summer Reading List High School: Monster-Graphic Novel or Novel

summer-reading

15. Monster by Walter Dean Myers: a book about a young man who is on trial for his life for a crime he did not commit-or did he? Either way, if he had committed the crime of staking out a mini-mart to allow a robbery to take place, he should hardly be tried for capital murder. He unequivocally claims throughout the book that he was never in the store that day, however at the end there is a hint that he did in fact stake out the store that led to the death of a grocery clerk owner.

If your students is entering high school, the following is a list of blog posts that lays out the reading curriculum for high school by grade:

9th Grade Literature https://wordpress.com/post/teacher-for-inclusion.com/1592

10th Grade: World English Literature https://wordpress.com/post/teacher-for-inclusion.com/1335

11th Grade: American Literature https://wordpress.com/post/teacher-for-inclusion.com/1280

Additional Books for Reading Middle or High School:

A Wish in the Dark by Christina Soontornvat Middle or High School

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty Middle or High School

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera High School

Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Summer Reading 6th grade

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate Summer Reading for 6th Graders

Wonder by R.J. Palacio Middle School

The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider High School

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green High School

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed Middle or High School

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer High School

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon Late Middle or High School

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill Middle School

The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Middle School or High School

Furia by Yameel Saied Mendez High School

Blended by Sharon Draper Middle School

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds Summer Reading 8th Grade

Dear Evan Hansen by Stephen Levenson High School

The Benefits of Being an Octopus by Ann Braden Middle or High School

Hello Universe by Erin Estrada Middle School

Look Both Ways by Jason Reynolds Middle School

White Bird by R.J. Palacio Middle or High School Graphic Novel

When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson MIddle School Graphic Novel

I would love to hear about your favorite middle or high school summer reading books. Please share in the comments below!

Activities for the Beginning of the School Year

Activities for the beginning of the school year are very important because it can set the tone for the rest of the year. Students and the teacher are nervous and looking to one another for clues as to what kind of year it is going to be. Below are activities, teambuilders, and lesson plans that are sure to start your year off on the right foot.

Beginning of Year Activities

Activities for Beginning of Year

Activities for the Beginning of the School Year: Nonfiction Article Lessons

Use nonfiction articles to create short, engaging assignments for students. I have students complete a close reading on a nonfiction article followed up with collaborative discussions and activities. I typically use articles that students find mysteries or that are relatable to them such as: “Minecraft”, “Murder He Wrote”, “Dead Mountain”, “Fright White”, “Barbie’s New Body”, and others. Once they complete an independent close reading on the article, they work in pairs or threes to discuss a controversial question about the article, and complete a collaborative activity. We then finish by sharing out our ideas and opinions at the end. This provides students the support necessary to get to know each other in a controlled environment.

Activities for the Beginning of the School Year: Fictional Short Stories

Use entertaining short stories in your classroom at the end of the school year. I use ghost stories or murder mysteries because students love them and they are a great way to engage students while managing your classroom. Some examples of great short stories to use are: “The Elevator” by Roald Dahl, “Lamb to the Slaughter” by Roald Dahl, “The Landlady” by Roald Dahl, “The Monsters are Due on Maple Street” by Rod Serling, “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Gilman Perkins, “The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs, and more. Have students complete a close reading on one of the short stories, and complete an interactive digital lesson. I focus on a review of the plot structure diagram which includes graphic organizers, videos, close reading, audio, short film, and follow-up activities. Students stay busy while you circle the room and answer questions.

Letters from Prior Students

Have students from the previous year write Letters-students can write letters to the incoming students. I have students introduce themselves, write about their best experience in the class and their worst. They include their favorite types of assignments/projects/authors etc. and their least favorite assignments/projects/authors etc. Students provide specific advice on how to “survive” or succeed in the course. Students include their own fears and expectations for the following year. Lastly they include one item they believe will help the incoming student. Have new students read their letters and share their objects their student left for them.

Short Films and Themes

Short films and theme-Use animated short films to review themes that will be discussed throughout the school year. Some of examples of themes you can write on the board are: the need to belong, social outcasts, grief, loss, the affects of war, the affects of racism, etc. Students are to watch the short film, and as a group try to guess which theme matches the short film and how it connects to the reading. I would have students watch a film, stop and match a theme, discuss as a class, and move on to the next film. Students absolutely LOVE this activity and it is a great team builder!

Activities for the Beginning of the School Year: Station Activities

Station activities-use station activities to introduce a concept they will learn during the year such as theme, genre, symbol, plot, etc. I like to use theme by having something different at each station such as a poetry slam, self-test , like Harvard’s How Bias Are You?, controversial short film with questions, creative activity such as drawing blindly, controversial statement for students to discuss, social emotional learning activity, etc. Students are engaged while they are able to move about the room in an organized fashion. Teacher circulates throughout the room to monitor progress.

Activities for the Beginning of the School Year: Team Builders

Imaginary Places-Turn the lights down and play some instrumental music. Invite students to move about the room in time to the music. Ask them to listen closely and imagine what kind of place the music reminds them of. They can “pretend” to be in that place as all of the other students arrive. When every student is present, gather students in a circle and tell the rest of the class which place he/she was imagining. Let the kids know that essence of creativity is using their imaginations to create different places and people wherever they are!

Camp Fire-Designate an area of the room where the group routinely meets in a circle. Create an imaginary fire in the middle of the circle. Dim the lights and invite the kids to sit around the “campfire” with their snacks. You may choose to tell a story, or ask for each student to contribute something such as telling the class about a time when they felt really scared, or something that no one else knows about them. A “talking stick” is a really great item to have on hand for campfire time.

Two Truths and a Lie-Each student is told to write down two truths and one lie about themselves. Take turns going around the room and have students share out. Other students will guess which one is a lie. Example: I have swam with sharks, I saw Adam Sandler when I was 16, and I work part-time for a celebrity. The answer I work part-time for a celebrity. Every student shares. It’s a fun way to get to know each other. By the way, all of those examples are true for me.

Hot Seat-This fun game is a lot like the game show Password. Split your class into two teams and have them sit together in teams facing the whiteboard or chalkboard. Then take an empty chair—one for each team—and put it at the front of the class, facing the team members. These chairs are the “hot seats.” Choose one volunteer from each team to come up and sit in the “hot seat,” facing their teammates with their back to the board. •Prepare a list of vocabulary words to use for the game. Choose one and write it clearly on the board. Each team will take turns trying to get their teammate in the hot seat to guess the word, using synonyms, antonyms, definitions, etc. Make sure team members work together so that each member has a chance to provide clues.  •The student in the hot seat listens to their teammates and tries to guess the word. The first hot seat student to say the word wins a point for their team. Once the word is successfully guessed, a new student from each team sits in the hot seat, and a new round begins with a different word.

The Tree-Provide enough paper and colored markers for everyone. Invite the students to enter the room and join the circle and start drawing a tree. It can be any kind of tree. Any color, any shape, any design. When all students have arrived, and have finished their trees, have the students place them on the floor either in a big wide circle, or in random places around the space. This is our tree “gallery”. In silence invite the students to walk around the gallery looking at the trees. Eventually have them stop at a tree that is not their own, but one they feel is like them. Then invite the student to join you in the sitting circle. Ask them what they noticed. Explain that just like us, every tree is different, and that in this class, there are all kinds of people with all kinds of viewpoints and that all of us are unique. Explain that no one is ever right or wrong…and in this class, we appreciate each other’s differences.

The Sheet •Divide students into two teams. •Place a tarp, or sheet on the ground •Have the first team stand on the sheet •Tell them to flip the sheet around so they are standing on the other side of the sheet without stepping on the ground Switch teams

The Marshmellow Game-•Divide students into groups of equal numbers. Pass out an equal number of marshmallows and wooden toothpicks to each group. Challenge the groups to create the tallest, largest, or most creative structure in a set amount of time, each member taking turns doing the actual building. Afterward, have each group describe what they made.

I would love to hear about your activities for the beginning of the school year! Please leave a response in the comments below!

Products from above sold in Teachers Pay Teachers Shop

“The Elevator” by Roald Dahl

“Lamb to the Slaughter” by Roald Dahl

“The Landlady” by Roald Dahl

“The Monsters are Due on Maple Street” Rod Serling

“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Gilman Perkins

“The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs

“Dead Mountain”

“Fright White”

“Murder He Wrote”

“Barbie’s New Body”

“Minecraft”

Teambuilders

Teaching Tolerance-Station Activities

To visit my blog post on short story lessons, click HERE

End of the Year Classroom Activities

End of the year classroom activities can be tricky to plan because students and teachers are burned out with one foot out the door for summer. I have created a list of tried and true end of the year classroom ideas that are engaging and easy to use for students. Fun end of the year classroom activities can be found below or in highlights.

End of Year Activities

End of the Year Classroom Activities: Fictional Short Stories

Use entertaining short stories in your classroom at the end of the school year. I use ghost stories or murder mysteries because students love them and they are a great way to engage students while managing your classroom. Some examples of great short stories to use are: “The Elevator” by Roald Dahl, “Lamb to the Slaughter” by Roald Dahl, “The Landlady” by Roald Dahl, “The Monsters are Due on Maple Street” by Rod Serling, “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Gilman Perkins, “The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs, and more. Have students complete a close reading on one of the short stories, and complete an interactive digital lesson. I focus on a review of the plot structure diagram which includes graphic organizers, videos, close reading, audio, short film, and follow-up activities. Students stay busy while you circle the room and answer questions.

End of the Year Classroom Activities: Write Letters

Write Letters-students can write letters to the incoming students for the following year. I have students introduce themselves, write about their best experience in the class and their worst. They include their favorite types of assignments/projects/authors etc. and their least favorite assignments/projects/authors etc. Students provide specific advice on how to “survive” or succeed in the course. Students include their own fears and expectations for the following year. Lastly they include one item they believe will help the incoming student. The following year you can use this as a teambuilder. Have students read the letter and share the object their student left for them.

End of the Year Classroom Activities: Organize Class Library

Organize a book library-I have a library of books that gets jumbled up every year and it is time consuming to put everything back. At the end of the year I have each student take a book from the bookshelf. They are to read critiques about the book on the internet, write a summary about the book, re-label it with the assigned book number, and place it back on the shelf where it belongs. I then print out all the book summaries with numbers, place them in a binder with page protectors and leave it on the shelf for the students the following year. This way when a student needs an independent reading book they can thumb through the binder to find one that interests them, and easily locate it on the book shelf.

End of the Year Classroom Activities: Digital Portfolio

Create a digital portfolio-Students are to save their work in their binders for the entirety of the year with important assignments. At the end of the year they create a digital portfolio using software like OneNote to organize and showcase their work. They are to use samples for reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Students will then take time to review their classmates portfolios and make positive comments. You can also have parents review the portfolio at home filling out a sheet of paper.

End of the Year Classroom Activities: Awards

Have an awards ceremony for the class-Use citizenship, grades, and have students vote and create a separate criteria and set of standards for awards. Some can be serious and some can be fun, like “most likely to…”

End of the Year Activities for the Classroom: Nonfiction Articles

Use nonfiction articles to create short, engaging assignments for students. I have students complete a close reading on a nonfiction article followed up with collaborative discussions and activities. I typically use articles that students find mysteries or that are relatable to them such as: “Minecraft”, “Murder He Wrote”, “Dead Mountain”, “Fright White”, “Barbie’s New Body”, and others. Once they complete an independent close reading on the article, they work in pairs or threes to discuss a controversial question about the article, and complete a collaborative activity. We then finish by sharing out our ideas and opinions at the end.

Short Films and Theme

Short films and theme-Use animated short films to review themes that were discussed throughout the year. Some of examples of themes you can write on the board are: the need to belong, social outcasts, grief, loss, the affects of war, the affects of racism, etc. Students are to watch the short film, and as a group try to guess which theme matches the short film and how it connects to the reading. I would have students watch a film, stop and match a theme, discuss as a class, and move on to the next film. Students absolutely LOVE this activity!

Station Activities Review of Year

Station activities-use station activities to review a concept they learned during the year such as theme, genre, symbol, plot, etc. I like to use theme by having something different at each station such as a poetry slam, self-test , like Harvard’s How Bias Are You?, controversial short film with questions, creative activity such as drawing blindly, controversial statement for students to discuss, social emotional learning activity, etc. Students are engaged while they are able to move about the room in an organized fashion. Teacher circulates throughout the room to monitor progress.

End of the Year Classroom Party Ideas

Have a party! It’s difficult to have parties now because teachers have so many students and a party is just too expensive! Have students sign up to bring in an item to eat or drink to match a theme from the year. For example, when I finished up a unit on “Lord of the Flies”, we had a Hawaiian theme for our end of the year party. Students created the decorations themselves, signed up to bring in food, and we had an absolute blast! Depending on your district you may want to get a written permission slip from each students parents to participate in the party.

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Classroom Activities for the End of the School Year: Movie Review

Have a movie week-Use movies from books that were read throughout the year and have a movie week! This can be done by having students answer questions about elements from the books/movies and can even serve as a review for their final. If you have a principal who is laid back, you could also just throw in the latest Disney movie to keep them busy that final week of school.

Games: Imaginary Places

Imaginary Places-Turn the lights down and play some instrumental music. Invite students to move about the room in time to the music. Ask them to listen closely and imagine what kind of place the music reminds them of. They can “pretend” to be in that place as all of the other students arrive. When every student is present, gather students in a circle and tell the rest of the class which place he/she was imagining. Let the kids know that essence of creativity is using their imaginations to create different places and people wherever they are!

Games: Camp Fire

Camp Fire-Designate an area of the room where the group routinely meets in a circle. Create an imaginary fire in the middle of the circle. Dim the lights and invite the kids to sit around the “campfire” with their snacks. You may choose to tell a story, or ask for each student to contribute something such as telling the class about a time when they felt really scared, or something that no one else knows about them. A “talking stick” is a really great item to have on hand for campfire time.

Games: Two Truths and a Lie

Two Truths and a Lie-Each student is told to write down two truths and one lie about themselves. Take turns going around the room and have students share out. Other students will guess which one is a lie. Example: I have swam with sharks, I saw Adam Sandler when I was 16, and I work part-time for a celebrity. The answer I work part-time for a celebrity. Every student shares. It’s a fun way to get to know each other. By the way, all of those examples are true for me.

Games: Hot Seat

Hot Seat-This fun game is a lot like the game show Password. Split your class into two teams and have them sit together in teams facing the whiteboard or chalkboard. Then take an empty chair—one for each team—and put it at the front of the class, facing the team members. These chairs are the “hot seats.” Choose one volunteer from each team to come up and sit in the “hot seat,” facing their teammates with their back to the board. •Prepare a list of vocabulary words to use for the game. Choose one and write it clearly on the board. Each team will take turns trying to get their teammate in the hot seat to guess the word, using synonyms, antonyms, definitions, etc. Make sure team members work together so that each member has a chance to provide clues.  •The student in the hot seat listens to their teammates and tries to guess the word. The first hot seat student to say the word wins a point for their team. Once the word is successfully guessed, a new student from each team sits in the hot seat, and a new round begins with a different word.

I would love to hear about your favorite end of the year classroom activities! Please leave in the comments below!

Products from above sold in Teachers Pay Teachers Shop

“The Elevator” by Roald Dahl

“Lamb to the Slaughter” by Roald Dahl

“The Landlady” by Roald Dahl

“The Monsters are Due on Maple Street” Rod Serling

“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Gilman Perkins

“The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs

“Dead Mountain”

“Fright White”

“Murder He Wrote”

“Barbie’s New Body”

“Minecraft”

Teambuilders

Teaching Tolerance-Station Activities

To visit my blog post on short story lessons, click HERE