Archive for the ‘Lesson Plans’ category

Learning Stations and Cranberries

November 10, 2016

cranberriesLearning stations engage students in active learning. “Learning stations can be used for myriad purposes—to teach concepts, integrate subject matter, build interest, and allow for inquiry—the possibilities are limited only by the imagination of the teacher and the supplies available” (Jarrett, 2010, p. 56).

Learning stations are designated areas in a classroom, hallway, cafeteria, or community room where students complete tasks. Everything the student needs is available at each station, which could include handouts, activity sheets, experiments, photographs, videos, music, artwork, food, cranberries, etc. There are step-by-step directions at each station. Students move from station to station individually, in pairs, or small groups. The number of stations can vary as well as the time estimated at each station for students to complete the station task. And, students can work at their own pace.

Learning stations work for all grade levels. Consider inviting parents, older students, or preservice teachers to help with setting up stations, guiding students through stations, or even be part of a station, giving interviews, clarifying instructions, doing demonstrations. For example, a parent helper might serve samples of cranberry juice at a tasting station.

Check out Crazy for Cranberries Cross-Curricular Learning Center Activities to use as a template for developing and setting up learning stations in your own classroom. It’s a great example of the types of stations you might set up as well as what you need for each station. It’s a delicious example of using learning stations!

Crazy for Cranberries Cross-Curricular Learning Center Activities includes

  • 19 page-teacher guide
  • Materials and picture guides for each center
  • Answer key for student journal
  • Optional QR codes or print resources
  • 14-page student journal
  • 11 center signs for each learning station

Jarrett, O. (January 2010). Inventive learning stations. Science and Children 47.5: 56-69.

Visit our Teachers Pay Store and look at the products we have available–you just might find something perfect for you and your students.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Son by Lois Lowry

The One and Only Ivan

The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla

Surviving to Thriving TPT

Unique Approach to Teaching Esperanza Rising

June 14, 2016

Esperanza Rising

As many teachers know, novelty catches students’ attention. Once you have students’ attention, readiness for learning increases. This was our thinking in creating enrichment activities for Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan.

Food plays an important role in this novel, literally and figuratively. Enrichment Activities for Chapter Foods are designed to increase students’ connection to the novel through food. There are two or more activities for each chapter. Activities are connected to the food in the chapter title and/or foods mentioned in the chapter. Each lesson plan also includes Chapter Connections, which help students think about the significance of the foods in each chapter and find connections of those foods to their own lives. There are suggestions for preparing food for student sampling and additional resources connected to the various foods. The food activities are fun and may introduce students to new foods or honor the foods of their families.

Product Contents:

  • 14 Individual Lesson Plans (1 per chapter)
  • 1 Culminating Activity: Chat Stations Activity
  • 1 Chat Sheet
  • 7 Chat Stations Questions Mini-Posters
  • 12 Food Cards for Forming Student Pairs, Trios, and Quads
  • Permission Letter to Parents/Guardians
  • Common Core Standards and Best Practice Connected to this Novel Study
  • 1 PowerPoint with 58 Slides

For more resources and ideas, check out our Pinterest Board.

Surviving to Thriving LjL: Pinterest Board on Esperanza Rising

Here’s a list of some of our collaborative work:

  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  • Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • Wonder by R. J. Palacio
  • Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • Son by Lois Lowry
  • The One and Only Ivan
  • The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla

Visit our Teachers Pay Teachers Store!

 

Avoid Teacher Burnout: Help a Colleague

March 30, 2015

Eight_o_clockTime is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.   Carl Sandburg

The response to help a colleague may very well be connected to time: There’s barely enough time for the things I have to do—there’s just no time to be collegial. The scarcity of time is often a systemic problem, however, some teachers seem to find that time because they know that the return is energizing. Ben Johnson’s fourth step in avoiding teacher burnout in his article, 10 Ways to Avoid Teacher Burnout, is to help another teacher. He shares some excellent ways to do just that by responding to a blog or starting your own blog; mentoring another teacher; or taking an active role in your professional organization. Here’s 7 more ways to help a colleague:

  1. Share a lesson, unit, or resources for a topic with teachers who teach the same grade level or content area.
  2. Organize a grade level meeting or content area meeting to plan an end of the semester/year activity and ask everyone to bring an activity or resource to the meeting to share.
  3. Share a journal article with a summary of the article and some practical applications attached to the article.
  4. Designate a bulletin board or bookshelf in the teachers’ lounge for teachers to share resources, activities, books, lessons, etc.
  5. Follow a blog (see suggestions under Resources).
  6. Join your professional organization and share the resources from your membership.
  7. Check in with a first-year teacher in your building.  The conversation will benefit both of you.

While demands on time don’t always allow for teachers to collaborate with colleagues, when you do collaborate, the effort and end result is always worth it. My partners in Surviving to Thriving LjL have collaborated together on many projects—books, curricular materials, presentations, and workshops. For example, we are currently working on a unit and discussion/activity guide for Animal Farm. Jennifer just finished the unit. Next, I go through the unit, editing, deleting, adding, and then sending it back to Jennifer. She makes her adjustments, then it goes to Linda, who formats it expertly and uploads it to Teachers Pay Teachers. When we wrote two books on classroom management (Thriving in the High School Classroom and From Surviving to Thriving: Mastering the Art of the Elementary Classroom), we sat at Linda’s dining room table and wrote as a team—that was an amazing process. Collaboration benefits all those involved in the collaboration process and often benefits students the most.

References

Johnson, Ben. (April 22, 2014).  10 Steps for Avoiding Teacher Burnout. Edutopia.

Blogs to Check Out

Teach Thought

Middle Web

Hack Learning

Grant Wiggins

From Surviving to Thriving

Thriving LjL

Surviving to Thriving TPT

Here’s a list of some of our collaborative work:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Son by Lois Lowry

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla by Katherine Applegate

Avoid Teacher Burnout: Learn Something New

March 23, 2015

You can learn new things at any time in your life if you’re willing to be a beginner. If you actually learn to like being a beginner, the whole world opens up to you.  Barbara Sher

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There is something about doing or learning something new that is invigorating. Sharing that experience with your students is another way to avoid teacher burnout according to Ben Johnson, in his article: 10 Steps for Avoiding Teacher Burnout. Johnson suggests sharing a new book you are reading with your students or learning about how the brain learns and sharing that. Here are five things to consider connected to doing and/or learning something new.

  1. Go to a large bookstore and browse through their magazines. Choose a magazine you probably would never even look at, let alone buy. Buy it and page through it; look for connections to your own life and/or work.
  2. Read A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink—lots of ideas and suggestions about looking at life differently.
  3. Choose a genre of music with which you have little or no experience. Share some of this music with your students and get their opinions about it.
  4. Try a new recipe every weekend and report back to your students what you tried and whether or not you liked it.
  5. Learn to do magic tricks. Share your magical ability with your students—but no disappearance acts for you or them.

One of the things I did when I was working on a master’s degree in literacy is to share new things I learned about literacy and new learning strategies with my high school students. I would tell my students that I am trying out this new learning strategy with them and after we use it, I want their opinions about how well it worked for them. This was stumbling into magic—students took the new strategy very seriously and then shared their critiques. It was awesome!

I also discovered that students love to learn about their brains and how they learn. There are so many reliable resources online connected to the brain and learning. Recently I pinned an infographic on Movement and Learning that summarizes the benefits of movement in the classroom. As for adding more movement to your classroom, again there are many resources available including brain breaks that are fun and still serve the purpose.

As my colleagues and I create teacher materials for Teachers Pay Teachers, we always include activities that get students up and moving. Check out our store, Surviving to Thriving LjL on Teachers Pay Teachers. Here’s a list of the novels for which we have developed curriculum materials.

Movement and Learning Infographic

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Son by Lois Lowry

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

References

Johnson, Ben. (April 22, 2014).  10 Steps for Avoiding Teacher Burnout. Edutopia.

Teacher Appreciation Week

April 30, 2013

teacherappreciation

Quote:  If the heavens were all parchment, and the trees of the forests all pens, and every human being were a scribe, it would be impossible to record all that I have learned from my teachers.          Johann Ben Zakkai

Teaching is a demanding, challenging, and time-consuming job, and those of us who love to teach still think it’s the best job around.  It’s hard to explain to those who don’t teach that one moment where you become aware that you have made a difference in one student’s life.  That moment washes out all the frustrations and exhaustion that teaching can create.  Those moments don’t always happen in your presence and sometimes a teacher never knows the difference he or she has made in a student’s life.

Teacher Appreciate Week, May 7-11, is just around the corner.  Take time to tell a teacher the difference she or he made in your life.  If that’s not possible, tell your family, friends, and colleagues about that teacher.  Let’s make Teacher Appreciation Week buzz with stories about teachers and all that we have learned from them.

Knowing how hard teachers work to engage their students in learning activities that are relevant, meaningful, and fun, we continue to create materials for teachers that are easy to implement.  Check out our Summer Reading and Writing Journal that sustains students’ reading and writing skills over the summer.  Great end-of-the-year gift for your students and their families.  Wonder by R. J. Palacio is a super book to read aloud to your students at the end of the year.  The Wonder Read-Aloud Guide will provide everything you need for the last project of the school year.

Resources

NEA Teacher Appreciation Day May 8, 2013

http://www.nea.org/grants/1359.htm

Save Our Schools:  Teacher Appreciation Week May 7-11, 2013

http://saveourschoolsmarch.org/event/educators-actions-teacher-appreciation-week-and-day/

Education Week:  65 Ways to Recognize Teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week

http://www.educationworld.com/a_admin/admin/admin308.shtml

Reading Rockets:  Ways to Celebrate Teachers

http://www.readingrockets.org/calendar/appreciation/

Huffington Post:  National Teacher Appreciate Day

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/national-teacher-appreciation-day

Summer Reading and Writing Journal

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Summer-Reading-and-Writing-Journal

Wonder Read-Aloud Guide

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Wonder-by-R-J-Palacio-Read-Aloud-Guide

imagesmedium-671730-1

Superbowl! Super Sale!!

February 1, 2013

Quote of the Week

I must have a prodigious quantity of mind; it takes me as much as a week sometimes to make it up.

Mark Twain

How do any of us make a decision, big or small, consequential or trivial?  Teachers make hundreds of decisions every day, many of those in split seconds, some of those agonizingly. Often we ask students to either make decisions or think about the decisions they did make and the consequences of those decisions.  And, often students have no clue or idea how to make a decision because they have not been taught a process for decision making in a safe environment where consequences are just on paper.  Our Decision Making Lesson for The Hunger Games provides students with a decision making process that they can practice first with the characters from The Hunger Games and then with their own decisions.  While one lesson may not turn adolescents into decision-making masterminds, it’s what all teachers know, you never know when one lesson profoundly impacts a student’s life. And, teaching a decision making process is good practice for critical thinking!

The key steps in decision making take place constantly in students’ lives, and once we acknowledge that good decision making is an important and learnable skill, many doors open. Students can become more actively engaged in the classroom and can learn to work successfully in groups to address complex problems. Moreover, students can extend their learning beyond the classroom as they apply their decision skills to real-world problems. Without a doubt, decision skills can be introduced successfully in a broad range of classroom settings, a fact which lies at the heart of our hope for students to become active and creative decision makers (Gregory & Clemen, p. 7).

It’s Superbowl weekend and Teachers Pay Teachers is running a sale and so are we on all of our lesson plans for The Hunger Games and Wonder as well as a couple of great Ideas for Managing Instruction.  Enjoy the Superbowl!

References

Gregory, R. S. & Clemen, R. T.) Improving students’ decision making skills.  Durham, SC: Duke University.  Obtained January 28, 2013:  https://faculty.fuqua.duke.edu/~clemen/bio/DMSkills.pdf

tpt                               hungergames decison

Protecting Children in a Complex Society

January 18, 2013

Quote of the Week:  All children could and should be inventors of their own theories, critics of other people’s ideas, analyzers of evidence, and makers of their own personal marks on this most complex world.         Deborah Meier

For those of you who are familiar with the Hunger Games, you will remember it certainly wasn’t a society that protected its children.  Thinking about our own society, how well do we protect our children—not just physically but their emotional and mental wellbeing?  Today, adults are debating gun control and the Second Amendment, which should be debated.  As those conversations are occurring, adults are not always cognizant that there are children listening and watching.  They’re watching television images of teachers learning how to use guns and how to defend themselves.  They’re watching movies and programs about terrorism, horrific crimes, and violence.  They overhear media, regardless of parental advisories that what follows may not be suitable for children, and it’s out there before it’s possible to click a program off.  There is little to no separation between what is appropriate for children and what is geared for adult listening and watching.  To what extent are we, as a society, willing to protect children from losing their innocence about life sooner than they should?

Perhaps reading and discussing books like The Hunger Games give adults opportunities to prepare children for the darker side of society.  If we’re not willing to redefine individual freedom—where does one’s freedom and rights begin and end, then we need to give children the critical thinking skills they need to navigate the very complex society in which we live.

As we continue to develop lesson plans for The Hunger Games, we are attempting to provide students with opportunities to develop and use critical thinking skills to have those meaningful discussions that just may help them understand the world in which we all live.

The Hunger Games Character Analysis Lesson Plan  is a free download on our Teachers Pay Teachers store.  Check it out!

hunger games character analysishttp://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Hunger-Games-Character-Analysis-Lesson-Plan


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