Tag Archives: resource room

Teaching Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” (2013 version)

NOTE: This is a repost/upgrade from last fall.  In this updated post you will find some improvements and changes. My apologies to anyone who tried to access the missing video or the activities that were blocked in google drive. Everything should be accessible now. If not, PLEASE comment so I can fix the links. 

I also added a new Prezi for the short story.  

This coming week my Resource Room will be reading The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe. The Lexile is 1350L which is definitely challenging for my class. Luckily, the book I use, Bridges to Literature, has an abridged version which will better suit our needs (580L). We will also watch this short video, The Tell-Tale Heart, and compare and contrast it with the textbook.

Some of the reading skills we will cover with this classic story include:

  • plot
  • sequencing
  • character motive
  • point of view
  • setting and mood
  • visualizing
  • vocabulary (vulture, precisely, mortal, and cautious)

I created this Prezi as an upgrade for my 7th graders this year: The Tell-Tale Heart Prezi

This story, much like The Green Ribbon, just lends itself to a comic strip activity, so we will revisit that activity this week too. This time I am going to require them to use the four vocabulary words in their summary. (Shout out to Follower 100!)

In my search for other materials and ideas, I found some other resources that you may be able to use. I am going to take bits and pieces from several and add to my SMART Notebook file. (As always, if you’d like a copy of the SMART Notebook file, drop me an e-mail and I’ll send it to you.)

Audio of “The Tell-Tale Heart” (Full version)

SCOPE Magazine Classroom Play

Vocabulary and Discussion Questions

Pre-Reading Activities

Comprehension and Style Activities

Anticipation

We are finally wrapping up When Zachary Beaver Came to Town by the end of the day Tuesday.

Oh my goodness, does anyone else feel like novels can drag on forever?

This was actually the fastest I’ve gotten through a novel (5 weeks), but I am glad to be done and moving on.

I am also really excited for the activities I have planned for the next two weeks. Yesterday things just sort of fell in place as I was planning and I came up with not one, but TWO, weeks’ worth of plans with a variety of new activities. I love the idea of NEW ideas.

Things I have on tap that I am really anticipating:

In an effort to be current and real, we will be brainstorming, Instagram-style, on Schoology in an activity I am simply calling #zacharybeaver.  Ian and Dee loved practicing this activity the other day. (#guineapigs)

To differentiate and get kids engaged with the informational text unit, we will be trying out the .99¢ app called ReadNRespond.

To get everyone involved in discussion and control the conversation dominators, I am going to try a strategy called “Two Chips”. (I think it was originally  called “Three Chips,” but I only have 8 students in my class so I needed to adjust.)

To get a feel for my students’ use of Quizlet for studying, we will be using the quiz feature to assess vocabulary.

To push the writing (because, honestly, we don’t do enough) , I am going to try a book that I bought two weekends ago called “Writing Frames for the Interactive Whiteboard” by Scholastic. Based on the concept of modeling, I think this will help my students organize their thoughts and write structured, organized paragraphs for a variety of purposes.

To move away from Language worksheets (blech!), students will be using the Explain Everything app in groups to work on combining simple sentences.

To teach Theme and Author’s Purpose, I am going to use the lessons from my favorite Interactive Notebook collection.

To fulfill my SLO duties,  we will also be completing our pre-assessment for writing/language this week…not looking forward to that quite as much!

I know this is just a teaser post, so stop back soon to hear more about the things that interest you!

Starting out Big ~ World Record Unit

You know how you get coupons online or via text and they burn a hole in your pocket?  A few weeks ago I had a 50% off for Joann‘s.  Our local Joann’s is small and lacking in everything. However, there is a larger store up north and my friend and I often make a stop there when we get together.

How excited I was to find this bulletin board display in the teacher aisle! Cool motivational posters based on Guinness World Records. Each poster has a brief blurb at the bottom about the record.  Having just finished up my iPad training, it all hit me super fast!

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I wish I could show you these actually hanging up in my room, but we don’t get our keys for a few more weeks.

This will be a great kick-off to the year.  I have a huge bulletin board in the back of the room and these posters are definitely conversation starters.  I can introduce the iPads with some QR codes and simple writing prompts with Show Me or Explain Everything.

And….the best part?  It naturally leads right into our first novel, When Zachary Beaver Came to Town. The whole story revolves around the “fattest boy in the world”, Zachary Beaver, and the effect he has on two young boys one summer.

While I am just starting to put a plan in place, I thought I would share some of the ideas I have come across.  As we know all too well, the first few weeks of school never go exactly like you think they will.

Writing and Language

  • Use these images for great journal prompts or story starters.
  • Adapt these lesson ideas created for ESL learners to meet the needs of your students. (Reading, grammar, speaking, and writing activities – I plan to use them all!)

Reading

For use with the iPads

  • Check out the Augmented Reality feature in the 2013 edition (I know my students will love this.)
  • This web quest isn’t quite updated to the current Guinness site but the activities are still good.

Teamwork and Cooperative Learning

  • This Goal-Makers, Record-Breakers lesson plan has students plan for their own sports related record-breaking ideas.  (I feel like there needs to be a disclaimer like “Don’t try this at home!”)
  • Maybe geared a little more towards STEM courses, this Strong Structures lesson plan would be another good cooperative activity.

Lastly, a short promo for the book:

My Top Ten Bookmarks for Language Arts

As the year ended, I was cleaning up my bookmarks and folders on my computer.  I decided to compile my favorite websites and share/store them here.  These are resources I use all the time in my Resource Language Arts class.

I know many of them are worksheet based but I simply use the content to make SMART Notebook files and group activities.  Rarely do I just print a worksheet and pass it out for students to complete.

Here they are in no particular order:

  1. Achievement Strategies On a recent professional development day on curriculum mapping, I discovered a great website.  This is an amazing list of templates, tools, and resources for everything Common Core! This is how I mapped out 2 years worth of units for my Resource Room.
  2. ReadingResource Recommended by our speech-language pathologist for teaching struggling readers (specifically labeled as a “Dyslexia Resource.”)
  3. WorksheetWorks Customizable, printable, and free worksheets for math, English, geography, puzzles and other random resources.
  4. Free Language Stuff  Very unique worksheets that I talked more about here.
  5. ReadTheory More details here on these comprehension selections
  6. English for Everyone – Related to ReadTheory but expanded to cover grammar, writing, and vocabulary as well.
  7. Readworks I still stand by this favorite for non-fiction reading.  The fact that you can search by grade, skill, and keyword is the best!
  8. eReading – Printable, but also on-line interactive quizzes I found late this year and only used a few times, but definitely worth going back to.
  9. ReadWriteThink – My favorite activity is the flip book generator.
  10. Daily Teaching Tools: 180 Journal Writing Prompts  180 random and unique writing prompts at your fingertips.

Are any of these your favorites too?

What is bookmarked on your computer?

Share links to your favorites in the comments!

Figurative Language in Pop Songs (Prezi)

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

Identifying Themes in Music (Prezi)

We have been working a lot on theme lately.  And one of the best ways I’ve found to do that is through music. This is my second Prezi and one that the kids really enjoyed.

Identifying Themes in Music

We reviewed the intro each day and did one video a day.   I did this activity throughout  Stargirl.  Since YouTube is not blocked for teachers, it was very easy for me to just pull up the video that morning during homeroom (I always look for videos with lyrics to help with reading, plus some videos aren’t always school appropriate.)

More on novel playlists (including my Stargirl playlist) and using music in class can be viewed here. 

Giant Plot Diagram Challenge

As we finished up Stargirl,I knew I wanted to do a final plot diagram activity.  I found a pretty good Prezi of a story map for the novel.  I had to change some of the vocabulary to make it appropriate for my class.  (The fact that Prezis are editable and reusable is one of the things I love about the whole Prezi concept.)

I printed out a PDF of the plot line and passed out the pages randomly. I challenged them to put the events in order correctly.  As we sat in front of the bulletin board,which I temporarily covered with a giant plot diagram, we took turns reading and placing the events in the appropriate place. We used push pins so that it was easy to rearrange when we needed to.

The final result was pretty impressive and showed me how they understood the story. They loved doing this activity.

Big impact. Little preparation. No worksheets. Win-win-win.

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Instant hands-on activity thanks to Prezi.

Stargirl Reader’s Theater

The past 7 weeks we have been reading Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli.  I love reading this book with the kids.  I do a lot of fun things with this novel and I had every intention of sharing the activities here. However, January and February were a complete blur with everything going on with Ian and his diabetes.

I did want to share a few things that went really well.  One of those was the “Reader’s Theater” type scripts for a few of the chapters.  It started with Ch. 13 (The Hot Seat episode) and the kids loved it so much.  I then adapted three of the other chapters that had a lot of dialogue and wrote short scripts with 2 or 3 parts. The students were put in groups and they had to read the scripts two or three times, trading parts.  This was a nice break from reading aloud to them, or having them read aloud.

I have no idea if you are even allowed to do such a thing. I hope it’s not some weird copyright issue. I would hope that the author would be so thrilled kids were reading and loving his book. (I bought 13 copies for my classroom.) If you don’t have time to read the novel as part of your curriculum, I highly recommend you read it out loud, or have a copy in your classroom library.

 Chapter 13 Script

Chapter 19 Script

Chapter 25 Script

Chapter 32 Script

March Madness

How appropriate that it is called March Madness!! I’m not referring to the NCAA tournament, but the final weeks before Spring Break.

My calendar is incredibly full this month with IEPs, PT conferences, the end of basketball season and the beginning of baseball season, Tweedle Dee’s 13th birthday, orthodontist and doctor’s appointments, and a few other random meetings. I am double booked on some evenings and am not really sure how I am going to work that out. One day at a time, I guess.

Just 9 days of school (plus one in-service day) until Spring Break.  I don’t have any big plans over break, except for a Cavs game against the Celtics. The weekend Ian was in the hospital, we had had tickets for the kids’ first ever Cavs game.  Sadly, Ian and I did not get to go.

This Friday, we will be kicking off our own March Madness unit in the Resource Room. Another Language Arts teacher and I are recycling/revamping this unit from past years when he did it in his 8th grade Social Studies class.   To get started, I found this great Prezi presentation and have created a March Madness Scavenger Hunt for my students to complete. This is a good simple introduction and very well done by the creators.

Another Graphic Organizer for Summarizing

Each week my Resource Room students have to complete a reading passage and comprehension questions at their specific ability level. This ranges anywhere from Beginning-Low to Intermediate-High. I like to use stories from ReadTheory.

Students are expected to complete these one page readings independently. The last few times we did this activity, I made them circle the text that supported their answer. This forced them to go back, locate the “evidence” and confirm their answer. I’m happy, and not suprised, to say their scores have drastically improved since I starting enforcing this rule.

To get the most out of this leveled reading I created an additional activity which students have been completing in groups. On the first page, students have to identify:

  • title
  • setting
  • character
  • conflict
  • resolution

Short Story Summary

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Identifying the conflict in this story was challenging. My students couldn’t understand why a woman would leave a baby on a bus.

On the second page I decided to throw in some grammar/language and vocabulary. Note the small boxes in the right hand corner of each. This is where I can modify the assignment for each student. I put a number in each box to tell them how many nouns, verbs, and adjectives they need to find. I do the same for the vocabulary words.

Short Story Language and Vocabulary

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This ended up being a great review of parts of speech.

This activity takes them quite awhile and is very challenging for this group of students. I direct them to their journal notes or the Part of Speech bulletin board to figure out what they are looking for. It takes about 20-25 minutes for most groups to complete it. This provides me with some time to circulate and talk to all the students and note what they are having trouble with. It also gives me time to point out things like capitalization of names and cities.

The way I designed this, it can work with any short story. If you think of any ways to improve or to add additional skills let me know.

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