Tag Archives: ReadWriteThink.org

Ways to Celebrate the Eclipse!

On August 21, the Moon will block the Sun, as seen from North America and down through mid-South America. The Sun will be entirely blocked on a path that is about 60 miles wide. This path will go through parts of 14 states. 

When I was in grade school, I remember working with a few other students to build a pinhole camera out of  of cardboard. We stood with the sun at our back, while trying to look at the projected image on a second piece of cardboard. Here are some more modern ways to get students engaged with the eclipse.

Invite students to look at historical and primary sources about eclipses throughout history. Then compare that coverage with the news we see today. What is the same? What has changed? Student can record the similarities and differences as a Venn Diagram or in a Compare & Contrast Map.

All Summer in a Day” is a science fiction short story by Ray Bradbury that was first published in March 1954. The story is about a class of school children on Venus, which in this story, constantly has rainstorms and the Sun is only visible for one hour every seven years. Invite students to make connections from the short story to this current eclipse. If you would like to engage more with the text, check out this lesson plan from ReadWriteThink.org.

In this lesson plan from ReadWriteThink.org, students listen to and discuss poetry that pertains to the study of astronomy and write their own poems to enhance their learning of the subject. As a final project, students use the ReadWriteThink Printing Press to compose original poetry books about astronomy.

What makes a shadow? Do shadows change? These and many other questions provide the framework for students to explore their prior knowledge about shadows as fiction, informational texts, and poetry. In this lesson, language arts skills are linked to the learning of science in a literacy-based approach to the study of shadows.

Will you be able to watch the eclipse? What are you planning to do with your students?

Summer Learning

summerlearningonlineSince we are past Memorial Day, now seems like a good time to plan for summer learning for students. Summertime is a great time for growing minds! Here are a few ideas that can be passed on to families so the learning can continue even when school isn’t in session:

  • Ask for help with shopping.

Work together to make a shopping list. Younger children can help brainstorm items to add to the list. Older children can create the list for you. A step further? Have children and teens work within a budget, use problem-solving skills to create lists, and buy their favorite treats at the store. See more in this lesson plan.

  • Use a map.

It used to be that when people wanted to know where someplace was or how to get there, they’d buy a paper map. And even though many people now use GPS systems or websites that provide directions, basic map-reading skills are still important for times when these resources are not available. This activity will help kids develop these skills by having them analyze the features found on a state map; locate—and estimate distances between—familiar landmarks on a local map; and research statistical information using an online atlas.

  • Go for a ride!

In the car or while on a bike, notice surrounding things: weather, people or traffic signs. These activities for younger children will have children reading signs, logos, brand names, and other words all over their home and community. While driving around town or surfing the Internet, teens are sure to see “Pass It On” billboards brought to them by The Foundation for a Better Life that are meant to inspire and motivate people to do good.  In this activity, teens will study examples of these billboards and create their own original billboard and inspirational phrase for a person of their choosing.

While it’s important that children see you choosing, checking out and enjoying books, also let children see you using the library as part of an inquiry. Work with a media specialist to find answers. Visit an online library to see what resources are available there. Have the child or teens select some books to check out. Then, ask the child to tell you about one of the texts, why it was picked, and predict what it might be about.

  • Find time to read together every day.

Book clubs have come back as a popular way to allow readers to discuss books in an informal setting. Children can enjoy the same kind of community-building experience by meeting with friends to choose, read, and discuss books together. Their meetings can come to life with discussions, arts and crafts, and activities.  Different book clubs will need different amounts of adult supervision, so provide guidance but don’t be afraid to step back and let them run the show!

  • Play games!

Playing board games or card games can be a fun activity, so why not make your own? Working together, the players will decide what the game will look like, how it will be played, and what kinds of materials are needed. When the game and directions are complete, have fun playing it!

Research tells us that children and teens who don’t read and write outside of school, especially during long breaks such as summer vacation, face a big loss in their literacy growth compared to those who do continue learning all year long. This means the summer months and other breaks from school offer wonderful opportunities for families, caregivers, and out-of-school educators to help improve reading and writing.

Students’ Use of Social Media for Advocacy

stock-photo-69481675-social-media-iconsSince a majority of our students are engaging with social media outside the classroom, it makes good sense to integrate it into the classroom. Not only can we help students learn digital citizenship with social media and offer a fresh approach to lesson plans, but we can also encourage students to use social media for advocacy. The following resources are examples from ReadWriteThink.org on the use of social media to get the word out or spread a message.

It is important for young people to understand their individual rights and what they, as citizens, can do to protect these rights. In addition, young people need to understand the way in which bias and stereotyping are used by the media to influence popular opinion. In this lesson, students examine propaganda and media bias and explore a variety of banned and challenged books, researching the reasons these books have been censored. Following this research, students choose a side of the censorship issue and support their position through the development of an advertising campaign.

Chances are that most students are all watching and enjoying videos found on the popular website YouTube.com. Take advantage of their interest—and practice important critical thinking and literacy skills—by having them make and edit their own videos that deal with important social, economic, and political topics in this lesson plan from ReadWriteThink.org.

In today’s world, displaying information in the form of infographics is a common practice. In this lesson students have the opportunity to create their own infographics to illustrate their own technical writing. After writing step-by-step instructions using topics about which they feel they are experts, students will learn how to create infographics that complement their writing.

Students need to practice all types of writing, and oftentimes argumentative writing is ignored in favor of persuasive writing. In fact, students may not even understand there is a difference between these two types of writing. In this lesson, students examine the differences between argumentative writing and persuasive writing. After choosing topics that interest them, students conduct research which becomes the foundation for their argumentative essays. After completing their essays, students create infographics to represent their research.

In “The Blog of Anne Frank?: Taking on Social Roles through Online Writing” after reading or viewing The Diary of Anne Frank, students will consider how political news spread in the time of World War 2. Then, they investigate how online digital media contributes to the distribution of news in recent events. This background will contribute to their design and development of a blog on the school or local political topic of their choice.

How else can students use social media?

Top Ten Strategy Guides from ReadWriteThink.org in 2015

tenStrategy Guides are some of the newest content we offer on ReadWriteThink.org. These guides define and provide examples of effective literacy teaching and learning and offer a wealth of related resources to help sharpen your instruction. There are strategy guides on themes such as Developing Academic Vocabulary, Differentiating Instruction, Reading in the Content Areas, and many more. The following ten were the most-accessed Strategy Guides in 2015.

  1. Persuasive Writing (Grades K – 5)
  2. Implementing the Writing Process (Grades K – 5)
  3. Making Connections (Grades 3 – 8)
  4. Using the RAFT Writing Strategy (Grades 5 – 12)
  5. Socratic Seminars (Grades 6 – 12)
  6. Close Reading of Literary Texts (Grades 6 – 12)
  7. Developing Persuasive Writing Strategies (Grades 6 – 12)
  8. Using the Think-Pair-Share Technique (Grades K – 12)
  9. Peer Review (Grades K – 5)
  10. Teacher Read-Aloud That Models Reading for Deep Understanding (Grades K – 12)

Visit the Strategy Guide section of the ReadWriteThink site for many more options.

As always, if you have feedback or questions about ReadWriteThink, all you have to do is contact us.

Top Ten Lesson Plans Visited on ReadWriteThink.org in 2015

?????????????????????????2015 is quickly coming to an end – and so is this semester. It’s time to rest, relax and recharge. It’s also a great time to get ahead on planning.  If you happen to be thinking about what to do in your classroom in the weeks ahead, you may want to look through the Top 10 lessons plans teachers used from ReadWriteThink.org this year:

  1. Can You Convince Me? Developing Persuasive Writing (Grades   3 – 5)
  2. Artistic Elements: Exploring Art Through Descriptive Writing (Grades   3 – 5) 
  3. Book Report Alternative: Writing Resumes for Characters in Historical Fiction (Grades   3 – 5)
  4. Figurative Language: Teaching Idioms (Grades   3 – 5)
  5. Teaching Plot Structure through Short Stories (Grades   9 – 10)
  6. Teaching Point of View With Two Bad Ants (Grades   3 – 5)
  7. Reading Informational Texts Using the 3-2-1 Strategy (Grades   K – 2)
  8. Inferring How and Why Characters Change (Grades   3 – 5)
  9. Questioning: A Comprehension Strategy for Small-Group Guided Reading (Grades   3 – 5)
  10. Exploring the Power of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Words through Diamante Poetry (Grades   9 – 12)

Don’t see something that fits your classroom or grade level? These are just ten of the hundreds of lessons on the ReadWriteThink site. Visit the lesson plan section for many more options.

As always, if you have feedback or questions about ReadWriteThink, all you have to do is contact us.

What lesson plan would you like to see in the Top 10?