Archive for August 2013

Why Read Son?

August 21, 2013

Fear dims when you learn things.     Lois Lowry, Son


Why read Son by Lois Lowry, the long awaited fourth book in the series:  The Giver, Gathering Blue, and Messenger?  Mostly because it is a good read and because it brings up critical issues that deserve further attention and discussion. Middle and high school students need critical issues to discuss if they are going to develop critical thinking skills.  And, while it is the fourth book in a series, Son stands alone.  It will definitely entice readers who haven’t read the first three books in the series to read them.

Son is an excellent candidate for a read aloud and/or a unit.  As a unit, there are many opportunities for cross curriculum activities.  Check out our Read Aloud for Son and our Son by Lois Lowry Unit Plan.  Both the read aloud guide and unit employ multiple delivery modalities, facilitate students’ cognitive thinking skills, and use a constructivist approach to teaching and learning.  Both are student centered and ready to implement. son1


Read Aloud Guide for Son by Lois Lowry

Son by Lois Lowry Unit Plan

Lois Lowry Website

Book Trailer for Son

 Conversation with Lois Lowry–Son


Grouping to Build Relationships

August 10, 2013

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another:  “What!  You  too? I thought I was the only one.”

                                                                                            C. S. Lewis

August is the month of anticipation—new school year coming, football season beginning, fall and holidays around the corner—and we are still enjoying summer.  The creative energy emitting from teachers planning for the upcoming school year is electrifying.  Students are eager to reconnect with school pals and anxious about meeting their new teachers and class mates.  Good teachers know students learn best in a positive, nurturing learning environment where relationships between teachers and students and students and students are carefully constructed, day by day.

Build those relationships directly with getting to know you activities and indirectly by grouping students creatively.  One way to build relationships among students and form small collaborative learning groups is to use getting-to-know-you prompts on grouping cards.  Create a table with two columns and four rows on one page, forming eight “cards.”  In each space, write a different prompt and make four copies of the page.  Cut and distribute to students, directing them to find three other students to form a group.  As they form their group, they should respond to the prompt and share their responses with each other.  Time permitting, you can direct students to reform with three other students who have different prompts, and repeat.  Here’s a list of prompts you might consider using:

“Best”   Prompts

You, too!   Prompts

Best Sandwich

Best Superhero

Do you have   sisters or brothers?

Do you have   pets?

Best Sport

Best Holiday

Do you play a   sport?

Do you play a   musical instrument?

Best Book

Best Movie

Do you play   video games?

Do you like   the Muppets?

Best Video Game

Best Dessert

Do you know   how to dance?

Do you speak another   language?

For more ideas about grouping techniques, check out Grouping Techniques for the Classroom.  If you have a novel way to form groups, let us know!

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