Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Add Spring to Students' Learning with this Quartet of Activities

My goodness I have been away for awhile!  Maybe Punxutawney Phil saw his shadow, but my Writing Muse didn't. She has been hibernating sense the beginning of February.

While she snoozed, I spent the time revising product covers which led to updating some of my activities. Why the cover makeovers? A former teaching colleague and still a good friend started a store on TpT, and I love, love, love his frames and graphics.  DO check out Keith Naquin's store  Here is a collage of a few of his awesome products.
Keith Naquin

Now that Spring has Sprung and the enticements of sunshine and warm breezes are creating havoc with students' attention spans, some fresh activities will bring pull them back to the classroom and the love for learning you all create.

Here are a quartet of ideas to wash away winter's cobwebs, dust  and musty atmosphere from  their brains. 

Geoffrey Chaucer knew that people liked to make pilgrimages in April.  Students will enjoy a trip to Chaucer's Middle Ages, too where they will meet some fascinating people. This 51-page unit plan for The Canterbury Tales includes all of the material from my various products for Geoffrey Chaucer’s masterfully satirical piece depicting the people and society of the Middle Ages, plus added activities, projects and material offering teachers and students multiple ways to study this text. A five-page satire section offers information on satire, as well as vocabulary that is prevalent in satiric works, both written and visual. A fun closure activity invites the class to view The Knight’s Tale movie and then, to compare and contrast it to Chaucer’s work.Check out the Product description and Preview on ($)

April is National Poetry Month.  It is the perfect month for teachers and students to take an excursion on the Lesson-Up Express. This posting offers two tickets:
Option 1. A Literary Connections Tour:
This ticket offers students the chance to find poems, poets and lyrics that fit the themes of any novel or narrative non-fiction book that they are studying. To complete this trip, students will work individually or in teacher-chosen groups to analyze a poem.
Option 2. A Poetry Camp Trip
If students choose this ticket, they will create five original poems from the types written on the cover of this offering and/or types they choose with the teacher’s approval. After they have composed the poems, they will put them in a literary magazine that they created, and will illustrate each one with original or found images.
3.(Required) Poetry Performance Buffet:
All students will present either the results of their Literary Connections Tour or two poems from their Poetry Camp Trip at the Poetry Performance Buffet at the end of the month. See the download for complete details on how to manage this aspect of the project.
Find more information in the Product Description and see the ticket for the Poetry Performance Buffet in the Preview on ($). April will be the coolest, not the cruelest month with this packet.

With this activity, "Write Right! Time for Spring Cleaning," students will spring clean their writing homes. This posting focuses on three aspects of writing:
1. Writing Hang-Ups
2. Making Sense out of Scents, and

3. Musty Memories 
Although each seems like a separate entity from the others, it is not. Students need to expel the roadblocks that stymie their chances for writing success before they can mine their hearts and minds for ideas where they can incorporate sensory imagery. 

And finally, who couldn't use a road trip- even if it is a mental one?  Send your students on one with, "Character Analysis Activity - Road Trip Time".  This language arts lesson for Middle and High School students, allows students to live vicariously through the character that they select. These characters may be from:
1. The teacher's pre-made list using stories they have studied in class
2. The student's choice from stories they have studied in class, or
3. Students' choices from their independent reading.

The teacher chooses when this activity will enhance lesson content and will develop reading comprehension as well as writing and higher level thinking skills. Students are to complete all three of the Teacher Required Components - 
1. Travel Agent Survey - See handout
2. Road Trip Itinerary- See handout
3. Character’s Road Trip Journal- See requirements
as well as one Student Component Choice- See explanations
1. Facebook Road Trip Fan Page
2. Road Trip Tweets
3. Road Trip Scrapbook
4. Road Trip Slide Show
5. Student’s Idea
Note: helpful links for free templates, etc. are given for both the Character's Road Trip Journal and for the Student Component Choices. Check it out on

I bet on spring Friday's or rainy Mondays you could use an, "AHHH, I needed that moment," while students take a road trip with a literary character. This quartet will entice students to learn and keep them on task, giving you a fresh spring in your step.

Enjoy a Teach It Now Day Every Day,