Archive for the ‘Son Lois Lowry’ category

N is for Novel Studies

May 27, 2017

Teaching a novel effectively is challenging, especially if you want your students to engage deeply with the themes the authors are presenting and discover how novels can connect to their lives and perhaps show them how to cope with life’s challenges. And, above that, we want students to experience the pleasures of reading. The units and discussion and activity guides were intentionally designed to do all of the above while allowing for choice for students and teachers.  Another goal was to design the discussion and activity guides for independent study or for small groups, to help differentiate and to meet the needs of students. Here are the five novels that are popular with students and teachers.

Hunger Games: Unit Plan and PowerPoint Fact Game

Catching Fire: Discussion and Activity Guide

The Giver: Discussion and Activity Guide

Son: Unit Plan and Discussion and Activity Guide

The Fault in Our Stars: Discussion and Activity Guide

SALE 20% off May 28-29: Hunger Games: Unit, PowerPoint Fact Game. Catching Fire: Discussion & Activity Guide. The Giver: Discussion & Activity Guide. Son: Unit & Discussion & Activity Guide. The Fault in Our Stars: Discussion & Activity Guide.

 

 

 

 

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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.

Avoid Teacher Burnout: 6 Ways to Take Care of Your Health

March 15, 2015

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To keep the body in good health is a duty…otherwise

we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear. Buddha

 

How many of you made New Year’s resolutions connected to taking better care of your health? Eat healthier, exercise often, and sleep more! And, yet somehow those resolutions haven’t morphed into new habits. It may be that that we need to strengthen our willpower and it may not be as hard as we think. According to Dr. Kelly McGonigal, “Being mindful of the present moment improves a wide range of skills, including attention, stress management, impulse control, and yes, being self-aware of feelings and urges. Not only does it change how the brain functions, it physically impacts the structure of the brain to support self-control” (Migliore, 2015, p. 33). Being mindful is often associated with meditation and deep breathing exercises, which seem an easy way to increase our resolve, our willpower, to do those things that keep us healthy.

Teacher burnout is caused by many internal and external forces, one of those forces is physical health, which we have some control over. Taking care of your health is Step 2 in avoiding teacher burnout, as suggested in Ben Johnson’s article: 10 Steps for Avoiding Teacher Burnout.

Here are 6 suggestions to consider regarding taking care of your health:

  1. Meditate and practice deep breathing for 15 minutes a day.
  2. Do one thing to improve your diet: eat breakfast, drink more water, eliminate one unhealthy food, etc.
  3. Take a 20-minute walk daily.
  4. Take a 15 minute power nap (preferably not during class).
  5. Improve your bedtime ritual and commit to sleeping a healthy number of hours.
  6. Add a physical activity to your weekly schedule that you really enjoy: hiking, biking, dancing, aerobics, karate, yoga, bowling, tennis, golf, walking the dog…(power reading doesn’t count).

One way to find the time to take care of your health is to have on hand some units you love teaching and students love learning. I always think you should save one of your best units for the end of the spring semester. If you are newer to teaching, you might not have that unit developed yet or if you have been teaching for a while, you might have already taught that unit. Give yourself a break and look at some of the wonderful curriculum materials available online. My colleagues and I work hard to create teacher materials that are easy for teachers to implement and engage students. 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. Now go take a nap or a walk!

The Fault in Our Stars by John GreenSurviving to Thriving TPT

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

References

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

Migliore, L. (Spring 2015). The science of strengthening willpower and summoning self-control. Brain World. Issue 3, Volume 6, pp. 30-32.

Resources

Set Up For Sleep

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/linden-schaffer/set-up-for-sleep_b_5605957.html

Sleeping Tips: 7 Ways To Get To Bed Earlier Tonight

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/02/sleeping-tips-earlier-bedtime_n_3359469.html

Start Reading Aloud to Your Students Today!

March 3, 2015

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You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.  Dr. Seuss

March 4, 2015, is World Read Aloud Day and it’s a great day to start the habit of reading aloud to your students. Read a news article, the first chapter of a book, fiction or non-fiction, a poem, magazine article, whatever is at hand. Think about starting a lesson by reading a picture book related to your topic or the first paragraph of last night’s reading assignment. Reading aloud to students of all ages is powerful.

When I taught an American literature class to high school juniors, I realized that reading aloud poems, short stories, essays, and novels caught the attention of the students and kept their attention. It allowed me to stop and explain words, reread beautiful or intriguing passages, ask and answer questions, and check for understanding. And, I and the students were always on the same page.

Listed below are some resources to check that support reading aloud as well as tips for reading aloud. At first, it may be a little daunting to start reading aloud to older students, but once you start, your confidence builds, you don’t worry about stumbling over or mispronouncing a word, you start to use your voice differently for characters and/or for emphasis, and you begin to really enjoy reading aloud as much as your students enjoy hearing you read aloud.

So, in honor of Read-Aloud Day, read aloud to someone!

For those of you who are already reading aloud to your students, you may want to look at our Discussion and Activity Guides, designed for reading aloud, for Catching Fire, Son, The Fault in Our Stars, The Giver, and Wonder.

Teachers Pay Teachers:  Surviving to Thriving LjL

Resources–Reading Aloud

http://www.trelease-on-reading.com/

http://www.readwritethink.org/professional-development/strategy-guides/teacher-read-aloud-that-30799.html

https://www.teachervision.com/skill-builder/read-aloud/48715.html

Resources–Picture Books

http://theeducatorsroom.com/2013/08/picture-books-for-high-school-theyre-not-in-kindergarten-any-more/

https://nerdybookclub.wordpress.com/2012/08/18/top-10-picture-books-for-the-secondary-classroom/

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Written by L. V. Neiman

 

Characters, Authors, Friends

September 11, 2013

Reading isn’t passive–I enter the story with the characters, breathe their air, feel their frustrations,
scream at them to stop when they’re
about to do something stupid, cry with
them, laugh with them.
Reading for me, is spending time with a friend.
A book is a friend.
You can never have too many.
Gary Paulsen

As I was reading yet another book by Victoria Huston, it struck me how much I enjoy her characters, her plots, and her writing.  And, how comfortable it is to read a book where you already know the characters and you can depend on a good story written in a style that resonates with your sense of good writing.  It’s like being friends with someone you don’t see on a regular basis, but when you do reconnect, you simply pick up where you left off.

I love when I discover a new author and take off on a path to locate every book he or she has written.  What’s better than finishing one book and picking up the same characters in the next book!  I just downloaded John Sanford’s latest book with Lucas Davenport, a character I have known for a long time.  Who is waiting for “W” (Sue Grafton) and finding out what Kinsey Millhone is doing?  Jack Reacher is still one of my favorite characters, so reading Lee Child is just a good time.

Then there are those books that are part of a series:  Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Lois Lowry’s series, culminating with Son, Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, Lord of the Rings, etc.  While I have never been one to reread books (I always feel like there are too many new books to read), I have two sons, now grown men, who would read and reread and reread their favorite series.  Now I have an eleven year old granddaughter who loves to reread her favorite books.

My theory is that we read books by the same authors, and sometimes reread those books because there is a feeling of comfort that emerges when we are among those characters, plots, and authors who become part of our reading life.  Simply, they are best friends and always available.  Who are your favorite authors and characters?

Many of the book we have featured in our Teachers Pay Teachers store are books that have become part of our reading world–whether it is the inspiration found in Wonder and Mockingbird or the adventure in The Hunger Games and Son, these are the type of books that leave an impression on both students and adults.

Hunger Games Unit medium-645401-1           Son Book cover      Mockingbird medium-776321-1     images

Why Read Son?

August 21, 2013

Fear dims when you learn things.     Lois Lowry, Son

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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

Resources

Read Aloud Guide for Son by Lois Lowry

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Son-by-Lois-Lowry-Read-Aloud-Guide-798379

Son by Lois Lowry Unit Plan

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Son-by-Lois-Lowry-Unit-Plan-821288

Lois Lowry Website

http://www.loislowry.com/index.php?option=com_djcatalog2&view=items&cid=4:the-quartet&cid=4:the-quartet&Itemid=185

Book Trailer for Son

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfOchuB4hwM&feature=youtu.be

 Conversation with Lois Lowry–Son

http://www.youtube.com/watch/?v=aNf_pwgBeOQ

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