Sunday, January 31, 2016

Melt February lethargy with mesmerizing activities

Are your students sinking into hibernation mode like the groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, does when he sees his shadow?

Is their attention and motivation yawning them into the recesses of their minds for another six weeks of sleep?

Has your Planning Muse become a victim of the February Fickle Flu, that insidious malady where your creativity mirrors the frigid one day, balmy the next weather?

Fret no further. These lessons will have you covered, no matter the weather- meteorological or personal. With each activity in this post, I suggest how you might use the individual lessons throughout the month.

Comprehension Activity - Score With the Literature Super Bowl

Writing Activities - FABULOUS FIVE PACKET $

Here are the Fabulous Five activities and ideas for incorporating them into your plans.
Teaching Ideas for the activities
1. Then and Now Prewriting Activity
Use this as a Warm-up at the beginning of the month.Have each student use this information for writing a personal narrative about him/herself later in the month. or,
Follow the suggestion above, but ask students to complete the activity, and later in the month-a personal narrative as one of the characters in the story you are currently studying would do. 
2. Playing With Color Worksheet

On twelve days of February, have students complete one of the activities on this sheet for a Closure activity. Give them about 5 minutes to do this.  After they complete the last activity on the 12th day, explain that they now must write a poem that shows as many aspects of their color as they can.  In the poem, they must use as much information from this worksheet that they need to in order to paint a vivid word picture about this color.3. Brain Bumps: Twenty Writing Suggestions to End Idea Vacuums
February has 20 class days, if  president's Day is a school holiday in your district.  Brain Bumps offers 20 activities, but many, many more writing possibilities as many of the numbered suggestions offers multiple writing ideas. Ask students to choose any one of the ideas as a Twenty-Minute Writing Warm-up topic each day.  Do have students  date each entry and include the topic number, and letter, if necessary, such as 12F.  A good length requirement is 250 words.  For MArch, APril, May and June Warm-ups, ask students to re-visit these entries and then expand on them.  They may choose to stick with one for a few days to fully develop the topic.
4. This is What I’m Hungry For!: Thirty Discussion/Writing Topics for Literature

Choose one of these ideas each day as  the focus for part/all of the discussion for the story that the students is studying.  Some of these ideas are better for individual work, while others work well if the students are in pairs or groups up to four students. 
5. Friend or Foe?

This is a  great topic to hook students attention for a review of the story and to evolve into a lively discussion. Students need to include details from the story that they must analyze to complete the work. It hits on four main core areas-reading, writing, critical thinking and speaking/listening.

SUPER BOWL - February 7th
Comprehension Activity: Score With the Literature Super Bowl  FREE
Use this prior to the Super Bowl on February 7th to tap into the Football Fever that tamper with students' on-task behavior, or use it after the finale by offering it as a review activity for a literature study and as closure to six months of pro-football.
Comprehension Activity - Score With the Literature Super Bowl

VALENTINE'S DAY - February 14th
All three of these activities offer students a chance to use Valentine's Day as the theme  for an in-depth  study of  a character or characters from the story they are currently studying or those that they have read as a class assignment previously.   Choose one for each student to complete individually or in pairs, or divide students into pairs and give each pair one of the activities, repeating the activities as needed. Note: the activity, LOVE NOTES includes 6 activities, so you have a total of 8 ideas to incorporate into your lessons.  Be sure to set aside time for students to share their completed projects. To really get into the Valentine's Day spirit, and to make sure that all of your students are remembered on this day, if your districts allows, have a Presentation Party. Have students sign up to bring in decorations like red and white lights, red paper placemats, other paper products, food, drinks, etc. This should be voluntary as some students might not have any money to spare on extras.  A few days before the event, set up a table with red and white construction paper, as well as any glitter, glue etc. for students who would like to make decorations.

Valentine's Day Comprehension Activity: You Sent What??? Cards $


Valentine's Day Comprehension Activity: You Sent What??? Cards

Valentine's Day Comprehension Activity: Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Me a Match $

LOVE NOTES - 6 ELA Activities to show, “I love you,” or “I love you not”


President's Day Comprehension & Writing Activity: Hail to the Chief $
This is another project that ties the characters from books students are studying to the real world. Here, students choose a character from the piece that they are reading together, or from one that they have read independent does this project fit into today's headlines-but it is cross-cultural, especially with Government or Civics classes. Maybe students could earn Extra Credit if they share their projects in their Government or Civics classes.  How do you fit this project in with all of the others in this now filled with lessons month? Introduce it on February 1st, and have it due on February 29th- Leap Year Day. Students would work on it as a Home Assignment or in  class, only if all other class work is completed.
President's Day ELA and Government Activity: Hail to the Chief

As a final tactic to rouse your Planning Muse from its  desire to burrow under a pile of quilts, here is a February calendar that shows how to coordinate these ideas with those you already devised. Other than hooking in these activities, the agenda items are general so you can adapt this calendar to meet your plans and your students' needs.
February 2016 ELA Activities Calendar

You will see that not including the quick Closure Activity, I follow the Rule of Three teaching concept to coordinate lessons and activities with students' attention spans...but more on that in another blog.

All too often, February is a forgotten month, or one to just get through.  I hope that these activities will make it a Fun and Fabulous month in your classroom.

Enjoy a Teach It Now Day Every Day.

Teach It Write - Build Powerful Academic Homes

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