Global Read Aloud
This week I kicked off our classroom participation in the Global Read Aloud. I chose the book Fish by L.S. Matthews for my middle school classes. I am so happy to finally be doing some literature-based activities. Our focus up to this point has been strictly informational text.
We’ve been reading and writing a lot about refugees in the first few weeks of school, so my students have a pretty solid background on refugee camps and current refugee situations.
The GRA is designed to connect classrooms around the world. While we haven’t made any contacts with other classrooms yet, I created a Twitter account so we could participate in some of the “slow chats”. However, our school doesn’t allow students to access Twitter, so I am going to need to come up with some creative ways for us to use Twitter as a class.
My 8th graders are already asking if they can tweet questions and comments. I quickly made this simple exit ticket where students can record their thoughts each day and submit them to me for review before I tweet them. I know there are several versions of Twitter Exit Tickets on Pinterest and TPT, but I figured something simple was fine.
Click here for a free PDF of my Twitter Exit Ticket
Literary Element Graphic Organizers – Simplified
Speaking of simple, I decided to revamp some of my graphic organizers and teaching tools. Considering I have some of the same students for a few years in a row, I needed some variety.
I will admit, I used to spend a lot of time making graphic organizers and making them “pretty” and “perfect.”
I realized recently, simple works too. I spend far too much time worrying about the alignment and formatting of my handouts.
It’s time to simplify my life and my classroom a bit and put the creativity into my students’ hands.
As we started our novel, I had students glue each of the organizers below into their reading journals. They glue one on the left hand side and skip the right hand side, because that is where they create their own rendition.
This past week, I gave them three separate pages to glue in. We will be adding to each of them as we work our way through the exposition of the novel.
Clicker here to download the free PDF of my POV, Plot Diagram and Conflict Graphic Organizers
I’ll be sure to share some student samples in the next post. If these aren’t quite what you are looking for, try my Easy Access page with an entire bank of free graphic organizers and teaching tools.
**If you are reading Fish now too, leave a comment! Maybe our classes can meet up online and talk about the book!
When we discuss the characters in our novels, we always distinguish between the round and flat characters and the static and dynamic characters.
To help my students learn these types of characters, I use media from their world.
I always start with a video clip to introduce Round vs. Flat Character.
After viewing this video, I give students the definition of Round and Flat characters.
I ask the students to decide which character is round and which is flat and we discuss how they fit the definition. It may be no coincidence that Dory is actually flat and Marlin is round.
We then turn to this video to introduce Dynamic and Static characters.
From this video they can determine that Shrek is the dynamic character and Lord Farquaad is the static character. (FYI: They will argue that Lord Farquaad changes when he is eaten by the dragon.)
Throughout the year, we will always make references to Dory, Marlin, Shrek, and Lord Farquaad when discussing character types. With each novel or short story, we will identify characters as such. For novels, they always complete a chart or keep a list in their journals. For short stories, it’s more of a discussion. It always amazes me how they can remember characters from stories early on in the year.
Other ideas for teaching character:
- Take in movies from your DVD collection and pass the boxes around. Students will work in groups to identify the protagonist and antagonist in each movie.
- If BYOT is an option, students could watch videos that have been linked to Edmodo and identify character types.
- Students chose 5 of their favorite movies and list the protagonist and antagonist for each.
- Students could write an extended response to the following question: How would the movie change if the antagonist was not part of the story?
- Create a labeled dice (using the keyword dice tool) on the SMART Board that lists the characters from a particular novel. On a second dice, list the types of characters. Students roll both dice and then determine if they have a match.