Tag Archives: readwritethink

Beware the Ides of March!

0315-ides-of-march_full_600In Julius Caesar, a soothsayer warns Caesar to “Beware the Ides of March.” Caesar ignores the warning and is, in fact, murdered on March 15, called “the Ides” on the Roman calendar. Over time, the date has become associated with doom and momentous events – particularly ones with disastrous effects. The following resources from NCTE and ReadWriteThink.org offer solutions for bringing Julius Caesar to life for all students.

Shakespeare in the elementary school? The Primary Voices article “”Creative Drama through Scaffolded Plays in the Language Arts Classroom“” chronicles how the author first used creative drama in a summer reading program with first graders, and then over the years, developed a much broader understanding of drama as an important teaching tool. She also describes writing “scaffolded” plays with sixth-grade students and illustrates their annual thematic dinner theater.

The ReadWriteThink.org lesson plan “”Book Report Alternative: Characters for Hire! Studying Character in Drama“” asks students to create a resume for one of the characters in a drama. Students select a character from the play to focus on and jot down notes about that character. Next, they search for historical background information and then explore the play again, looking for both direct and implied information about their characters and noting the location of supporting details. Finally, students draft resumes for their characters and search a job listing site for a job for which their character is qualified.

Julius Caesar, with its themes of loyalty, ambition, and deception, still resonates with high school students and remains a favorite text in classrooms everywhere. Through differentiated instruction, the NCTE text Teaching Julius Caesar: A Differentiated Approach offers solutions for bringing the play to life for all students – those with various interests, readiness levels, and learning styles. Discover more by reading the sample chapter.

An Introduction to Julius Caesar Using Multiple-Perspective Universal Theme Analysis” from ReadWriteThink.org is an introduction to William Shakespeare’s tragic play, The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, through the study of universal themes using multiple-perspective investigations of betrayal scenarios.

How can students build new connections with the poetic details of Shakespeare’s plays? In this digital movie project, “Connecting Students with Shakespeare’s Poetry: Digital Creations of Close Reading” students explore close reading and thoughtful selection of imagery to create deeper understanding.

What ideas do you have for Julius Caesar in the classroom?

Teen Tech Week 2017

ttw17The Young Adult Library Services Association sponsors Teen Tech Week to draw attention to the importance and availability of various technologies in libraries. Besides offering technologies such as audiobooks, DVDs, electronic games, computers with Internet access, and more, libraries also have librarians with expertise in using many of these resources effectively. This year, Teen Tech Week (March 5-11) celebrates the teen-selected theme: “Be the Source of Change.” The 2017 theme encourages teens to take advantage of all the great digital resources offered through the library to make a positive change in their life and community. Here are resources to support that change:

Teens as Change Agents
Books featuring teens as change agents call attention to young people who are lobbying for change in their schools, communities, and the larger world. Tune in to this podcast episode to hear about teens who work for change by participating in political campaigns, defying social hierarchies, and even going to war.

Making Memories: An End-of-Year Digital Scrapbook
Students reflect on their school year, creating a digital scrapbook consisting of images and text to present to their school community.

Exploring Plagiarism, Copyright, and Paraphrasing
Students investigate issues of plagiarism, fair use, and paraphrasing using KWL charts, discussion, and practice.

Copyright Law: From Digital Reprints to Downloads
Students investigate how and why copyright law has changed over time, and apply this information to recent copyright issues, creating persuasive arguments based on the perspective of a particular group.

Copyright Infringement or Not? The Debate over Downloading Music
This lesson takes advantage of students’ interest in music and audio sharing. Students investigate multiple perspectives in the music downloading debate and develop a persuasive argument for a classroom debate.

Digital Reflections: Expressing Understanding of Content Through Photography
Striking images can leave lasting impressions on viewers. In this lesson, students make text–self–world connections to a nature- or science-related topic as they collaboratively design a multimedia presentation.

How will you recognize Teen Tech Week?

Read Across America and Dr. Seuss Texts

raa-2017-web-ad_180x150Take part in the largest reading event in the United States on Thursday, March 2! Gather books and readers for NEA’s Read Across America Day, celebrated on or around the birthday of Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. The books of Dr. Seuss are easy to integrate into the classroom:

Hop on Pop provides simple rhymes to help beginner reading, such as a character named Pat who sits on a hat, a cat, a bat and must not sit on that (which is a cactus). Through the contrast of short-vowel patterns and use of Dr. Seuss rhymes, students apply their knowledge of vowel sounds in reading and spelling new words in the lesson plan, “Teaching Short-Vowel Discrimination Using Dr. Seuss Rhymes“.

Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?: Dr. Seuss’s Book of Wonderful Noises! was written so children would be able to learn about onomatopoeia and the sounds that they hear every day. Boom! Br-r-ring! Cluck! Moo! In the lesson plan, “Dr. Seuss’s Sound Words: Playing with Phonics and Spelling” students use these sounds to write their own poems based on this book.

In Green Eggs and Ham, a character known as “Sam-I-Am” pesters an unnamed character to eat a dish of green eggs and ham. In the lesson plan, “Reading Everywhere with Dr. Seuss” young readers celebrate all the places they can read by creating a classroom book modeled after Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham.

The Lorax chronicles the plight of the environment and the Lorax (a mossy, bossy man-like creature resembling an emperor tamarin), who speaks for the trees against the greedy Once-ler. In “Using Picture Books to Teach Plot Development and Conflict Resolution” students explore the concepts of plot development and conflict resolution through focused experiences with picture books. A great example conflict passage comes from Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax where the Lorax describes the plight of the Brown Bar-ba-loots.

In The Butter Battle Book, the conflict between the Yooks and the Zooks over which side of bread to spread butter on leads to an arms race, each competing to make bigger and nastier weapons to outdo the other, which results in the threat of mutual assured destruction. This lesson plan uses the Dr. Seuss’s The Butter Battle Book as an accessible introduction to satire. Reading, discussing, and researching this picture book paves the way for a deeper understanding of Gulliver’s Travels.

The Cat in the Hat brings his companions, Thing One and Thing Two, to a household of two young children one rainy day. Chaos ensues while the children wonder how they are going to explain what happens to their mother. This book is is used as a primer to teach students how to analyze a literary work using plot, theme, characterization, and psychoanalytical criticism in the lesson plan, “Id, Ego, and Superego in Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat“.

The Zax” is part of The Sneetches and Other Stories in which a North-going Zax and a South-going Zax meet face to face in the Prairie of Prax. They refuse to move out of the way for one another and end up staying there. This story teaches the value of compromise. In this ReadWriteThink.org lesson plan, older students will read “The Zax” and analyze the way social issues are addressed. Students can then discuss how these issues relate to the conflicts and social issues in their own lives.

How do you plan to celebrate Dr. Seuss and Read Across America?

The 2017 African American Read-In!

“The African American Read-In (AARI) . . . is built on an ambitious yet confident premise: that a school and community reading event can be an effective way to promote diversity in children’s literature, encourage young people to read, and shine a spotlight on African American authors.”

Join over a million readers as part of the Twenty-Eighth National African American Read-In in February 2017! Learn more about what happens at a Read-In in the English Journal article “The African American Read-In: Celebrating Black Writers and Supporting Youth“. This month, look for posts marked with #AARI17.

The ReadWriteThink.org Text Messages podcast “Celebrating the African American Read-In” provides recommendations of both old and new titles by distinguished African American authors who write for teens. Featured books range from historical novels to contemporary explorations of African American life in both urban and suburban settings.

In the ReadWriteThink.org lesson “Analyzing First-Person Narration in Sharon Draper’s Out of My Mind” students explore the different facets of complexity in the compelling first-person narrator in Sharon Draper’s Out of My Mind.

The lesson plan “I Have a Dream: Exploring Nonviolence in Young Adult Texts” has students identify how Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of nonviolent conflict-resolution is reinterpreted in modern texts, including a text by Walter Dean Myers and rapper Common.

Childhood Remembrances: Life and Art Intersect in Nikki Giovanni’s ‘Nikki-Rosa’“, invites students to read Nikki Giovanni’s poem, “Nikki-Rosa,” and then writing about childhood memories of their own.

This lesson from ReadWriteThink.org this lesson gives students an introduction to Jacqueline Woodson’s verse memoir, Brown Girl Dreaming.

Christopher Paul Curtis’s The Watsons Go to Birmingham — 1963 is the focus of the lesson plan “Graphing Plot and Character in a Novel“, which invites students to graph the journey of the family while exploring the plot and character development in the novel.

Nikki Giovanni’s poem “The Funeral of Martin Luther King Jr.” is paired with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech, taking students on a quest through time to the civil rights movement in the lesson “Entering History: Nikki Giovanni and Martin Luther King Jr.

Listen as Myers shared how his own experiences as a reader shaped his approach to storytelling.

Tune in to a podcast interview with Nikki Grimes where her writing process and what inspires the characters in her books is shared. Also shared is her philosophy about writing for children and how her life has influenced her writing.

For more ideas, see the ReadWriteThink.org Calendar entry for the African American Read-In which includes more lesson plans, classroom activities, and online resources.

The 100th Day of School

100The 100th day of school is celebrated in schools around the country, usually near the month of February. The 100th Day of School is usually filled with activities, crafts, and math exercises based on the number 100. Here’s an idea for combining the school celebration with history.

Invite students to investigate what life was like 100 years ago. Using multiple sources, have students read and talk about the clothing that was worn during that time, who was President (or Prime Minister, King, or Queen), what inventions weren’t around then (computers and television, mobile devices, hoverboards, video games, etc), how many states were in the United States at that time (and what the US flag looked like then). Ask the students to find and share other surprising differences between now and 100 years ago. They can record their discoveries using a Venn Diagram.

To take this idea a step further, engage students in researching various aspects of a setting’s decade.  Then using the information they have gathered, students communicate their findings via a presentation tool. Through the sharing of their findings, all students gain an understanding of the historical decades. This understanding can be transferred to historical novels or other studies of history. After all students have presented, students will write a paragraph explaining which decade they would have like to have experienced firsthand.

How do you celebrate the 100th Day of School?