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Apr 26, 2017

Fun Ideas and Activities for Novel Studies + a GIVEAWAY!

Hi teacher friends,  
    Some of my favorite memories in elementary school were centered around reading novels in the classroom! I'll always remember making a glittery web with glue and black paper while reading Charlotte's Web in third grade. (I also remember our teacher scolding us for the giant glittery mess on the carpet.)
    Creative projects and activities have the ability to bring novels to life. While choosing a novel unit, it is obviously important to keep your students' reading levels and comprehension skills in mind. That is why interactive notebooks and similar resources are a great way to differentiate their learning and allow them to work at their own pace.
     Here are some of my favorite activities, resources, and ideas to utilize in the classroom while studying novel units!

Host a Book Themed Party!
     After the whole class finishes a novel, host a themed party where students can create props, costumes, classroom decorations, or even bring in yummy snacks that are related to the book.
Some of my favorite book themed party ideas include:
   Butter Beer for Harry Potter   (2 liter cream soda, 2 tablespoons butter extract - for cream top- 1 7oz container of marshmallow creme, 1 cup whipping cream - add all items together in an electric mixer and combine until smooth.) 
   Dirt & Worms for Holes (chocolate mousse cups with oreo crumbs and gummy worms)
   Onion Dip for Holes
   Creating Egyptian Masks for The Egypt Game
   A Day of Random Acts of Kindness - Wonder
   Making Yarn Dolls - Esperanza Rising
   Making Jamaica Flower Punch - Esperanza Rising

Book Tasting Event + Menu / Brochure Freebie! 
    Host a book tasting in the classroom so students can experience a variety of genres and writing styles! Learning how to select a book that you know you'd enjoy is such a great skill to acquire. Utilize group tables by having each group table represent a different genre. Time students for about 10 minutes at each table and then rotate. You can also have your students create table menus before setting up the book tasting. Download this Google Classroom FREEBIE where students can use this template to create a menu in Google Drive!    

This resource allows students to create a pamphlet that can be edited for ANY novel! The file contains a Google Drive link that can be used for Google Classroom. Download here

Interactive Notebook Novel Studies
      I love having interactive notebooks for every subject. Each of my interactive notebooks contain Character Cards that fit inside a card pocket, Writing Warm-ups for Each Chapter, Vocabulary Cutouts, Themes Foldables, Chapter Quizzes, a Final Exam, a Fun Board Game (to help study for exam!) Novel Quote Posters, Reading Logs, Notebook Cover, Interactive Reading Notebook Templates, and SO much more! Here are some more photos of the interactive notebooks (board game included)...

 Find Novel Study Interactive Notebook Resources here! 

Books + Novel Study GIVEAWAY!

Last but not least, I'm hosting a GIVEAWAY of my favorite classroom novels! The winner of the giveaway will receive hard copies of five books AND five matching interactive notebooks! (The 5th-6th Grade Novel Studies Bundle!) During the giveaway I will also have this resource set to 20% OFF! Find it here!

The novels and interactive notebooks include:
 Enter here to win!
  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Apr 18, 2017

When Kids Want to be ANYWHERE but in School!

When Kids Want to Be Anywhere But in School   It’s that time of year – it is beautiful outdoors and kids are ready to let out all of that pent-up energy from the winter months. It’s that time for teachers, too – time for teachers to dig deep into the old bag of tricks and come up with any little thing that will hold the kids attention!   For times like this, when it’s still way too early for end-of-year activities, but definitely time for a little variety to grab the kids’ attention, what do you do? What classroom activities can you come up with that will take the kids attention off of baseball and swimming pools for a little while but still stay in line with the skills they need to learn?  

 Here are some ideas that don’t take lots of planning, but just might provide that little something different the kids need:  

  Reuse and Recycle Resources!
 Task Card Jeopardy - Dig out five sets of task cards that you have already used earlier in the year. Choose several cards from each set to use as the questions in a Jeopardy-style game.  
 Blackout Poetry from an Old Book – Choose a class novel that’s falling apart, or ask for a discard or two from the library. Give each student a page torn from the book to use in creating a blackout poem in which they use markers to “black out” all of the words except for those that will make up their poem.  
 Magazine Collage – Recycle a pile of discarded magazines by using them once more as material for a collage with a spring theme, a theme from a class novel, or a review topic.  

Read Something Unique!
  Find non-fiction articles about student interests. First, give each student a chance to tell the class about an interest or hobby that their classmates might not know they enjoy, and then follow up later with readings on some of the topics the kids brought up.
Read a story you’ve always liked but never had time to use earlier in the year. Maybe choose a suspenseful story from a children’s magazine and read it aloud to the class; kids of any age enjoy listening to a great story.  
 Read a play aloud. This was a favorite activity in my classes at this time of year. Sometimes there just isn’t time to fit plays in earlier in the year, but plays always seem to be a hit with the kids once you do have the time.  
 Read poems aloud as choral readings. Big Talk, by Paul Fleischman, a collection of poems for four voices, is one good choice.

 Repeat a Favorite Activity, But with a New Twist!
  Students love working in groups, but maybe you usually assign group members for behavior or academic purposes. For a change, let students choose their groups.  
 Repeat a favorite whole-class activity, such as solving puzzles on the whiteboard, but this time with one of your students as the teacher.  

Solve a Mystery!
  Kids love anything that’s like a puzzle, and mystery stories definitely fit the bill. Preview the story to find just the right spot to stop reading so that kids can work on solving the mystery themselves before reading the end of the story. You could even work in the use of “text based evidence” by requiring kids to show support from the text for their solutions. Solving mysteries is a great activity for group work, too!   And on the subject of mysteries, here’s a freebie from my store – Mysteries Task Cards – a set of twelve cards with a fun little mystery on each one.
  Task Card Mysteries FREE    

  Write Instead of Read!
  Kids do love to read plays aloud. But could they write one? Challenge groups of kids to take a scene from a class novel and rewrite it as a skit to be presented in class.  

Advertise It! Creating advertisements is fun because it’s hands-on and creative. Kids can make an advertisement for anything from a novel (think movie poster) to an editing or fact-checking service. They’ll enjoy the creative process as they design their ad and recall things they’ve studies during the year at the same time. Depending on their interests, and how much time you want to invest, kids could make a poster, a magazine ad, a recorded radio ad, or even a video or slide show to showcase their “product.”   Activities like these are just different enough to get students interested – fun, but not too off track. After all, you want to save the really entertaining ones as long as possible - until it really is the last days of school. At this time of year, just a little twist may be all that’s needed to spark some interest and get one more beautiful spring day in the classroom off to a fine start!

Anywhere But in School pin copy

   Classrooom in the Middle logo - rectangular
 Guest post by Sharon from the Classroom in the Middle blog. Sharon has spent over 20 years teaching English, reading, and other subjects to middle school students. She loves having more time now to create and write about resources for teachers – especially materials for teaching reading, vocabulary, and writing to students in grades 4 through 8. Here is the link to her store, also called Classroom in the Middle.   


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