Monday, June 23, 2014

Language Arts Activity - Characters Just Keep on Dancin'

Language Arts Activity - Characters Just Keep on Dancin'
No matter their age, students love music and dancing. In this FREE handout, Language Arts Activity - Characters Just Keep on Dancin, Middle and High School students will select characters from the literature that they have studied throughout the year for a dance competition.

They are to reveal their comprehension of these characters’ personalities, emotions, and moral fiber in their writing and speaking.

This language arts activity should be introduced when the characters have shown enough depth to analyze. Students will flesh them out by showing their understanding of the element of character as well as their analytic and critical-thinking skills. 

Here are the Students' Directions:

Language Arts Activity - Characters Just Keep on Dancin' Students' Directions
Students- for this activity, you are to
1. Choose three pairs of characters (6 characters, total) to team up for a dance competition (Based on the Dancing With the Stars Television show). 
2. These characters may be from any stories that you have read in class this year. Do not be concerned that the dancers in each pair are from the same setting or historical period. Also, the characters in each pair do NOT have to be from the same story. 
3. Each pair will compete against the other two pairs, so your choices for each duo must have similar dancing skills and abilities.
4. Once you have chosen your pairs, you must explain the reasons for your selections, and defend your explanations with details from the stories that support your thinking. Be sure to analyze each duo’s competitive dancing strengths and weaknesses.
5. Next, choose the type of dance (Ballet, jazz, hiphop, disco, fifties-or any decade, etc.), and the music for each pair’s competition dance. The music must fit the dance genre as well as each dancer’s skills and abilities.
6. Choose three criteria that the dancers must meet-examples: Technical Merit, Difficulty of Routine, and Showmanship. Ten points should be allotted to each of the criteria, and the pair that wins must earn the highest score out of 30 points. NOTE: You will have to go back and score each pair’s dance routine after you select the three criteria.
7. Select the winning team. Here you will have to justify your choice by determining how each pair met the set criteria. Write each analysis in sentence form.
8. When you are finished, the teacher will divide you into teams of three. Here, you will read the analysis and decision of your two team members. Finally, you will show whether you agree or disagree with that peer’s choice by writing an explanation on that student’s paper.
9. Finally, write a brief news item for the Entertainment Section of an online or print newspaper revealing the Who, What, Where, When, Why and How of this dance competition.
10. Teachers will collect the papers and grade them according to their pre-set criteria, i.e details, supporting material, analytic depth, grammar, spelling etc.
11. Teachers should have you orally share your choices and justifications.
12. At the end of this part of the activity, the teacher will collect the papers.

This product supports Common Core Standards and Bloom's Taxonomy. Use the given standards as guidelines, adapting them to the benchmarks that your state follows.

Students' brains will boogie to the learning beat with this FREE activity. When the music flows and the characters dance, students will be engaged and motivated. Download Language Arts Activity - Characters Just Keep on Dancin' from

Language Arts Activity - Characters Just Keep on Dancin' DAncer and Music Selection
Language Arts Activity - Characters Just Keep on Dancin' Team Member Analysis

Happy Teaching,

Monday, June 16, 2014

Language Arts Activity - Oh My WORDs!

Language Arts Activity - Oh My WORDs!
Vocabulary study will become meaningful to Middle and High School students when they make the words an integral part of their writing and speaking. We teachers must offer them a variety of ways to think about the word’s definition, as well as its connotative meaning so that they can make logical inferences about its usage.

The key to word ownership is to offer students a variety of opportunities to use the words repeatedly in order to remove any aura of isolation that remains when they just memorize the meanings for a test. This multiple exposure will help the students become more comfortable and confident with how to use the words.

Like my Vocabulary: 31 Ideas for Teaching Vocabulary
(,  this FREEBIE, Oh My WORDs!,  also has 30 exercises for students to show that they understand how the vocabulary words should be used in context. 

In their writing, students will have to actively think about four elements in order to use them correctly: the word’s definition, its contextual and or connotative meaning, its part of speech, and which, if any, inflectional endings (i.e. –er, -ed, -ing-, s) are necessary when they include them in this piece. 

Language Arts Activity - Oh My WORDs!
Through this reinforcement, each student will add some of the words to his or her oral and written language repertoire.  Reading comprehension will also improve, not just due to the inclusion of teacher-generated words into their personal vocabularies, but also because they are learning to think about how writers choose words to express their thoughts.

I have grouped the exercises as: Warm-ups Writing, Short Writing, and Shared Writing. For the most part, the topics are general enough to be used in conjunction with any word list. Students should complete the Warm-up Writing in 15-20 minutes and the other two categories in twenty-five to thirty minutes. My intention is not to turn these into major writing assignments, but to offer enough depth for the students to develop their thoughts and to include as many words as they could without turning the writing into a contextual word list.

Teaching Idea:

To insure that the students are studying how the words are used and are not just memorizing the meanings, assign a Short Writing the night before the quiz.  The day of the assessment, collect the writings, put them in a stack on your desk, and, while the students are completing the quiz, check off that they are complete.  You can review these pieces quite quickly if you choose to only circle any words that are used incorrectly or are unclear. 

When the students have turned in the quiz, they should choose a peer’s Short Writing and write their reactions to the content of the piece.  Have them underline any vocabulary words that they use in their 100-150 word responses for extra credit. When the time is up, stroll through the room, check that the assignment is completed and note any extra credit that you may add to their quiz grade.

Happy Teaching,

Monday, June 9, 2014

Language Arts Activity - Fiction's Physique

Readers enjoy rating the books that they read whether this analysis occurs in their heads, on line, with a friend or in book group discussions.

Language Arts Activity - Fiction's Physique
This English Language Arts activity- Fiction's Physique- enables Middle and High School students to develop their comprehension and reasoning skills as they show- in writing and orally- a story's buff or flabby qualities.

Teachers should offer this lesson after students have finished reading the story. When they have completed this activity, students will reveal the buffness of their thinking skills from knowledge through evaluation.

This activity allows them to show their understanding of all aspects of the Elements of Strong Fiction as well as their comprehension of the various aspects of the story.
Here is the How the lesson should be taught from the Teacher Notes:

·         Introduce the activity by reviewing each Element of Strong Fiction (Vivid Details, Depth of Character, Descriptive Settings, Captivating Plots, Realistic Dialogue, Unpredictability, Originality, Emotions, Believable Endings and Purpose).
1.       Before class, write each of the ten elements on the board, leaving space for student responses.
2.       Give each student a card with one of the ten elements written on it.
3.       Allot them five minutes to find an example of their element and to write it on the board under the corresponding topic.
4.       Discuss the answers
·         Review the activity’s directions by reading them orally and then checking for understanding.
·         Give students time in class to work on this activity.  Suggestion- 30 to 45 minutes, depending on their skills and abilities.
·          Students may either finish this activity in class the next day or as a homework assignment. Teachers choose their desired option, depending on their students’ skills and abilities and their objective(s) for the activity.
·         The day that the activity is due, write the elements of strong fiction on the board again, randomly assign each student two topics, and then ask them to write one of their examples under each of their assigned elements.
·         Alternate Lesson: divide students into pairs or trios. Give them class time to complete this activity, instructing them to divide up the elements as they choose. Follow the previous bullet for sharing.
·          Each student must complete the Fitness Analysis segment.
Language Arts Activity - Fiction's Physique
 Language Arts Activity - Fiction's Physique

Happy Teaching,

Monday, June 2, 2014

Language Arts Activity - You & Me: Mirror Images or Polar Opposites?

Language Arts Activity - You & Me: Mirror Images or Polar Opposites?
Sometimes students meet characters that seem like their alter-egos; other times they feel that these people are their polar opposites. 

In this FREE Language Arts activity, You & Me: Mirror Images or Polar Opposites?, Middle and High School students choose the character from the story that they are currently studying or from any book that they studied in class this year with which they most identify.

Here are the directions for each aspect of this multi-layered lesson:

Directions Part 1: Choose the character from the story that we are studying or from any book that we
studied in class this year with which you most identify. Fill out the following by comparing and contrasting your similarities and differences with this person.

Language Arts Activity - You & Me: Mirror Images or Polar Opposites?
 Language Arts Activity - You & Me: Mirror Images or Polar Opposites?

In this part of this packet, each student is to relate the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and moral similarities and differences between the character that he/she chose and him/herself.

After they complete this, they evaluate their information for the qualities that they are glad that they share with the character, those that they never want to share, and those that they wish they shared.

Directions Part 2: Use your information from Part 1 of this activity as notes for the following essay outline. 
After you complete this page, use your Hook, Overview Statement and Thesis Statement to begin a full-length essay showing 
• how you are similar to and different from the character that you chose, and
• how you feel about these similarities and differences.
Detail your main ideas, backing them up with specific facts and opinions from the book and from your own thoughts to develop this essay. 

Language Arts Activity - You & Me: Mirror Images or Polar Opposites?
Essay Criteria:
1. Minimum 500 words; no maximum- write until you have fully developed your points.
2. Type your essay – double-spaced- in the font style and size set by your teacher.
3. Essay Packet: Behind the final typed draft of the essay, attach all of the Part 1 and Part 2 pages of this activity.

Teachers, use this comprehension-developing lesson with the study of any story, or as a culminating end-of-the-year assessment. By the time that they have completed the notes, outline and essay, students will have exhibited their range of thinking skills from knowledge through evaluation. 

Also, this activity allows them to exhibit their understanding of all aspects of the character element of literature as well as their analytic and critical-thinking skills.

Best of all, they will figure out if this character is their mirror image or their polar opposite.

As always, specific standards and Bloom's Taxonomy choices are included in the detailed Teacher Notes. Download this FREE activity from

Happy Teaching,