I’ve tried several ways to assign IXL so that the assignments are appropriate and differentiated.
(If I were using IXL for math, I could have students use the Recommended Lessons on the Math Diagnostic, but that isn’t an option for Language Arts.)
I’ve found a good way to assign a series of lessons on a given topic that will meet the needs of my students who range from Beginning Reader to Lexiles in the 1100s.
These tiny IXL tickets get stapled into the student’s agenda books so they have the sequence of lessons with them at all times. Students mark off each lesson they complete, and then I meet with them near the due date (typically two weeks) to check their progress and award stickers for their iPhones.
Below are the PDF versions of the IXL Tickets I’ve used in class most recently. I plan on going back and tweaking some from earlier in the year.
When you take a look at these files, you will see they cover different grade levels and sequences depending on the skills.
Students have the option of working horizontally or vertically on some tickets, finding just the right place for them. As always, I encourage them to “Level Up!” when they can.
I finally found a way to organize all of the video clips I like to use on a regular basis in class. I come back to these videos often, and I also wanted something I could post on Schoology for my students to use as a resource.
Now I can easily add to this Padlet anytime I find a new video, and I can share it with other teachers (and you) as well!
Click HERE for the link. (This is just a screen shot.)
As the year begins, one of my co-workers has been assigned a “Plus” class, where she will provide reading instruction to a small group of students who will benefit from an additional period of language arts.
She came to ask me for some ideas, and together we figured out a good starting point.
I figured as we developed the lessons, I could share them here as Mini-Units.
The resource I gave her was from Achieve the Core. (Click here to go to the Fluency Packet for the 6th-8th Grade Band.) The passages are going to be used to work on fluency, but also as a springboard/mentor text for the week’s plans.
We are starting with the first text selection which is a speech by Muhammad Ali called I am Still the Greatest. For an audio, click here.
This is a good starting point for the year because it sends a great message about not giving up.
We liked the Achieve the Core resources because each of the passages comes with a few extended response questions and some vocabulary to teach, as well.
I then showed her this video, which I was already planning to use on the 2nd day of school.
I just love Mr. Humphrey’s energy, delivery, and message.
At the end of the video he says, “That is what defines who.. .you… are.”
…A perfect lead-in to some positive self-affirmations (an idea I stole from my blogger friend, Miss AuburnChick) and our bulletin board entitled “I Am…” where students will post their affirmations.
Finally, we talked about adding some current music, and I immediately thought of “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten and all of the figurative language. Plus it’s just a great song.
- Speaking and Listening: Performance Fridays
- Possible Research Topics: Muhammad Ali, Olympics, Parkinson’s Disease
- Language skills are hidden throughout the passage for use with mentor sentences
- Text-to-Media connections
As we come up with more ideas, I’ll add them here. As always, if you have a great idea to add, share it in the comments!!
A few weeks ago I learned about ThingLink, which is destined to become my new favorite thing.
With our Spring Break trip and adjusting to Ian’s new life on an insulin pump, I haven’t had much time to work with it.
But finally, the last few days I’ve been creating a review ThingLink for our 7th grade Language Arts students. I’ve connected it to many of my own Prezis and found some other resources as well. Every little icon you see will take you somewhere new!
I was kind of dragging after lunch time considering my early start to the day.
See this post here….Dreaming on a Saturday Morning
So I decided to go to my classroom and do a little cleaning. I ended up making this 6 x 6 ft. poster with figurative language examples from our current novel.
It’s amazing how a little creating can make you feel.
I don’t know about you, but I think it’s time for some updated figurative language song lyrics. Katy Perry’s “Firework” has run its course.
Here are 13 popular (school appropriate) song lyrics from the past few months full of figurative language examples. Figurative Language-2014 Songs (PDF)
There are thousands of ways to use these lyrics (Ok…that may be a hyperbole.)
Some possible ideas:
1) Blow up and hang around the room as stations for students to visit.
2) Use one song a day for a bell-ringer activity.
3) Post one song on Schoology each night as a discussion. Only after students reply with their findings, they can view other students’ posts.
4) Create QR-codes to link to videos with song lyrics. (I will post a few of these here. I started creating this QR-code activity and realized that our filter or wi-fi or some other technology demon prohibits us from accessing the videos. Maybe you will have better luck .)
If you have any other song suggestions or activities, I’d love to hear them! Share in the comments.
So here is something I accidentally stumbled upon with the iPads and iBooks.
As I was reading through our novel for class, looking for examples of figurative language, I used the search tool and typed in “like.”
And a list popped up…of every use of the word “like” in the novel. Wow. That was easy.
I was going to make a worksheet with these examples, but decided to go a different route.
I had the students work in pairs. They typed in the word “like” and did their own search, clicking on each example to read and determine if it was a simile.
When I realized that they were struggling with the various uses of “like” and this was too broad, I had to adjust my plans.
Instead, I had them search for a particular word. For example, I had them type in “spaghetti,” read the surrounding text, and explain the simile to me. Instead of identifying, we were observing, noticing, imagining, and connecting with great examples of figurative language.
We spent some time recording the best similes, acting them out, and talking about the images they created in our minds. For homework, they had 6 mentor sentences to imitate – all of which had similes.
The first example we did in class.
The students simply changed it to:
My arms and legs get all tight and lash out like tree limbs
in a hurricane.
Not a huge variation from the original, but they were headed in the right direction.
This activity opens the door to hundreds of fresh, new examples of figurative language. Let’s face it, every teacher uses this worksheet on similes and metaphors. You know the worksheet I’m talking about. The first example reads:
“The baby was like an octopus, grabbing at all the cans on the grocery
It pops up on the first page in a Google search. The copyright is 2002, with a revision in 2004. Kids have probably seen this worksheet more than a few times in their life.
And even if they haven’t, these sentences are pretty generic and certainly not authentic. They don’t really demonstrate, in context, how an author is trying to create a mental image. Using examples from the text we are reading shows how figurative language can make our writing more interesting.
As always, this activity lead me to think of other possibilities…..
- How about providing students with a list of vocabulary words and have them perform the search to see the words used in context?
- Students could go a step further and use the “look up” or “define” tool to write the definitions.
- Students could take turns finding interesting words or examples and share the key search term with the class and students could easily find the specific example. (If more than one hit comes up, it become a lesson in skimming and scanning.)
I am sure there are other ways to use this tool. My students will probably teach me a few of their own!
Have you tried this before?
Do you have any suggestions for activities?
Share your ideas in the comments!
When I am in my car I am always listening to music. And not only am I always singing rather badly, I am listening for examples of figurative language.
Yes, I am a nerd. My boyfriend is a nerd, too. We’ve actually had arguments over the use of figurative language in songs.
Anyway, one song that recently seemed to be screaming “USE ME FOR A LESSON ON FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE!!” is a newer song called “Gold” by Britt Nicole. So, I made another Prezi…. Figurative Language Prezi
I found a few video clips from YouTube that help advertise different types of figurative language and literary terms in class. To read more about my philosophy and approach to using media and visuals, read this post.
With SMARTBoards and Edmodo, it is easy to share these videos with students during class or at home.
Onomatopoeia is usually pretty easy for students by the middle school level. As part of my effort to reach all learners with visuals and a media tie-in, I love to introduce onomatopoeia with this seemingly unrelated, but ironically related, video.
Nothing says personification like talking teapots, dancing silverware, and frisky feather-dusters.
This YouTube video covers the following: symbolism, foreshadowing, flashback, atmosphere, and plot twists with Disney clips. There is a short “quiz” at the end.
You could also use BYOT to have students create their own videos on these concepts.
For example, this video featuring “Hyberbole Man” would work for older students 7th grade and up. It is full of hyperboles and is probably pretty funny to teenagers. Better yet, it might be a nice kick-off for a project where students create their own hyperbole movies.
Lastly, this video links figurative language to pop music lyrics. With examples of Katie Perry, Selena Gomez, Green Day, Uncle Kracker, and Taylor Swift…this should be pretty easy for students to relate to. I think students would enjoy listening to music and finding lyrics using figurative language, as well as making their own videos.
How do you teach figurative language in your classroom?
Do you have a favorite app for making videos?
Please share your ideas!