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Projects to Engage Middle School Readers

Projects to Engage Middle School Readers
It's my fault. I'll admit it. During my eight years in the classroom, I ruined at least two amazing literary works by assigning horrifically dull reading projects. My only hope is that those middle school students, whose enthusiasm I quashed, found another way to become passionate about literature. Peanuts raises some interesting questions about the value of reading projects. In middle school, we ask students to dissect texts and perform literary analysis. Demonstrate understanding of the plot elementsExplore the role of tone and themeIdentify significant scenes or events and their impact on the storyAnalyze a character and show an understanding of that character's motivationsExplain the relationship between the author's life and the story . . . does it have to be an essay or book report? Book Trailers In the spirit of movie trailers, book trailers allow students to create video advertisements to entice new readers. Students could use iMovie or Animoto to create and publish their videos. Related:  Literacy

Friday Fun Archive Students worked hard all week? Do they deserve a special reward for a job well done? The lesson and project ideas below are meant to fill the bill for Friday afternoon fun and learning. Some are simple games or activities that will reinforce skills as they offer a nice break from structured learning. Others are project ideas to be completed over multiple Friday afternoons. Click a link below to explore any idea in more detail. Profile Posters Learn about students' interests from the "profile posters" they create. Charting a Year of Growth Older students and younger buddies team up for yearlong fun. A Week in the Life of A yearlong project creates a great end-of-year memento. Getting-to-Know-You Venn Diagram Students discover common interests and unique abilities. Chain Gang A colorful chain promotes teamwork all year long. The Alphabet Game Use this lively, team-based game to reinforce spelling skills. Pop Up a Card This art activity offers monstrous Halloween fun. Who Works at Our School?

Six Scaffolding Strategies to Use with Your Students What’s the opposite of scaffolding a lesson? Saying to students, “Read this nine-page science article, write a detailed essay on the topic it explores, and turn it in by Wednesday.” Yikes! No safety net, no parachute—they’re just left to their own devices. Let’s start by agreeing that scaffolding a lesson and differentiating instruction are two different things. Scaffolding is breaking up the learning into chunks and providing a tool, or structure, with each chunk. Simply put, scaffolding is what you do first with kids. Scaffolding and differentiation do have something in common, though. So let’s get to some scaffolding strategies you may or may not have tried yet. 1. How many of us say that we learn best by seeing something rather than hearing about it? 2. Ask students to share their own experiences, hunches, and ideas about the content or concept of study and have them relate and connect it to their own lives. 3. All learners need time to process new ideas and information. 4. 5. 6.

46 Tools To Make Infographics In The Classroom Infographics are interesting–a mash of (hopefully) easily-consumed visuals (so, symbols, shapes, and images) and added relevant character-based data (so, numbers, words, and brief sentences). The learning application for them is clear, with many academic standards–including the Common Core standards–requiring teachers to use a variety of media forms, charts, and other data for both information reading as well as general fluency. It’s curious they haven’t really “caught on” in schools considering how well they bridge both the old-form textbook habit of cramming tons of information into a small space, while also neatly overlapping with the dynamic and digital world. So if you want to try to make infographics–or better yet have students make them–where do you start? The 46 tools below, curated by Faisal Khan, are a good place to start.

SMART Teaching Strategies Sentences are key units for expressing ideas. Students in Stage 1 are using sentence structure in their writing to compose longer texts that achieve the intended purpose. Students at this stage need to use compound and some complex sentences for expressing connected and elaborated ideas in writing. Strategy Explicit Teaching There are different types of sentences: simple, compound and complex: Simple sentences are structured by a single main clause. Students in Stage 1 need to write accurate simple and compound sentences and learn to recognise and compose some complex sentences. Introduce students to complex sentence structure. General Strategies Engage students with frequent experiences of hearing, reading and viewing texts with a variety of sentence structures. Teach students how to join sentences using different conjunctions for different purposes (for example and, but, because). Activities to support the strategy Activity 1 Sentences can grow! Activity 2 Conjunctions Bank Online resources

Nurturing Literacy: Tips and Resources For Developing Lifelong Readers The importance of early literacy cannot be understated. Countless studies have shown that students who start reading earlier are better prepared for the academic road ahead. Not to mention, early readers are much more likely to become lifelong readers. Parents and teachers play an important role in lifelong literacy, but how exactly can they best help their kids cultivate a love for reading? Early Literacy Teaching Guides: MAKE WAY FOR BOOKS, an early literacy advocacy nonprofit, offers a wealth of resources for educators. Really, there are many different useful tech resources. Edutopia's bloggers wrote some pretty inspiring posts about literacy and lifelong reading last year. see more see less

NAPLAN 2010 Teaching Strategies NAPLAN 2010 Teaching Strategies Linking NAPLAN 2010 to the Curriculum The teaching strategies in this site provide support to teachers and enable explicit links from the assessment to the curriculum. The website is divided into Numeracy and Literacy. The strategies in Numeracy are categorised by strand and substrand. Browser compatibilities This site is compatible with Internet Explorer 6 and above, Firefox 3 and above, and Safari 4 and above. Reporting problems To report broken links or any other functional problem in the site, please send an email to Site content as pdf Each teaching strategy has the option of "print as pdf" by clicking this icon on the teaching strategy pages: For each strategy, this button accesses a pdf of all the teaching strategies for the particular strand. To download the numeracy or literacy sections of this site in their entirety in pdf form, refer here

12 Ways to Motivate Reluctant Readers I think I must have been born with a book in my hand! My parents told me that from the moment I learned to read, I would read everything in sight, from cereal boxes to billboards. When I began reading books, there was no stopping me! I even begged them to name my baby brother after a book character. So when I became a teacher, I was amazed to discover that most kids don’t enjoy reading. Here are a dozen strategies that are often included in Reading Workshop, and none of them involve stickers, certificates, or pizza. You can motivate reluctant readers when you …. Read aloud to them. Read what they’re reading.I used to get a secret thrill when the Scholastic Book Clubs flyer arrived! Let them read other stuff.

Why some kids can’t spell and why spelling tests won’t help A couple of years ago, early one morning, I received an SMS advising “resadents to stay indoors because of a nearby insadent”. I was shocked by the spelling, as much as the message. Surely, I thought, if it was a real message then the spelling would be correct. Spelling matters. In a text message from a friend teeing up a night out “c u at 8” is fine - but in an emergency warning text from a government agency, I expect the spelling to be standard. But why is it that some people struggle with standard spelling? Spelling remains the most relentlessly tested of all the literacy skills, but it is the least taught. Sending a list of words home on Monday to be tested on Friday is not teaching. Looking, covering, writing and checking does not teach spelling. And yet, this is a good summary of most of the current spelling programs in schools today. So, what should spelling teaching look like? Finding meaning That is not only very very hard, it’s pointless. More than sounds Where words come from

The Importance of Phonics Instruction for Beginning and Struggling Readers For Beginning and Struggling Readers According to researchers, if three areas of reading were appropriately addressed, reading difficulties would be prevented. These three areas include: knowledge of the alphabetic principle, fluency, and comprehension (Burns,, 1998). The alphabetic principle, through further review by the National Reading Panel, has been elaborated to include phonemic awareness (the ability to manipulate sounds) and phonics (the knowledge of letter and sound correspondence). Phonemic awareness and phonics provide the necessary foundation for achieving fluency and comprehension; therefore, these foundational skills must be addressed. The ultimate goal of reading is comprehension. The Role of Phonemic Awareness and Phonics in Reading Success Five Pillars of Effective Reading Instruction Myths About Phonics Instruction There are myriads of scientific research studies to support phonics instruction for beginning and struggling readers. Strategies for Teaching Phonics