This activity ties in perfectly with the first lesson, Imagining Stories from Ordinary Moments, in Lucy Calkins' and M. Colleen Cruz's Grade 4 The Arc of Story. As a teacher, when you can hook the lesson to a real life author and a book, the kids are much more likely to connect with the lesson's objective.
Activity Name: Writing With Your Imagination
Activity Description: Think of something you experienced this week at home or at school. Now imagine the same experience only put it into a story instead of real life. Imagine you are a butterfly or a lion or a superhero. See yourself in a watercolor forest or on an island made of ice cream. If you can imagine it, you can write it. Draw a picture to go with your idea. Don’t forget to have fun!
Teacher's Guide Link: http://www.deborahlytton.com/docs/RUBY-STARR-Discussion-Questions.pdf
You'll want to have this book on hand when International Talk Like a Pirate Day rolls ashore in September. Students will enjoy Kristen Foote's fun voice, and they'll be sure to learn a lot, too.
Activity Name: How to Survive Animal Reports
Activity Description: Looking for a fun way to jazz up the animal reports your students write every year? After reading How to Survive as a Shark, challenge students to "talk" like a pirate in their animal reports. Give them a list of pirate phrases to get them going: ahoy mateys, buck up, no lyin', aye, lass, mate, blimey, har-har-har, shiver me timbers, argh, blow me down, and scurvy dogs. Fun!
Be sure to check out the the teacher's guide link below. It has life cycle activities, reflection journals, companion activities, crafts, and more! More than 16 free classroom resources to go along with How to Survive as a Shark.
Teacher's Guide Link: https://howtosurvivebooks.com/printables/
All students need to see themselves and their families mirrored in books; however, often times families with children with intellectual disabilities are left out of the picture. This is not the case in My Sister, Alicia May.
Activity Name: Classroom Bullying Prevention
Activity Description: Learn the song "Stand Up," set to the tune of The Farmer in the Dell "to teach students to stand up when they see or hear bullying." The lyrics are available in the teacher's guide link below.
Teacher’s Guide Link: http://www.nancytupperling.com/educational-programs/
Health teachers take note! You definitely want to add this book to your collection. Classroom teachers, do you cover sound in science? Be sure to check out the bonus question below. It's always fun to start off a lesson with a good laugh.
Activity Name: Riddle-Anatomy (from Peachtree Publisher's Teacher's Guide for Random Body Parts http://peachtree-online.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/RandomBodyPartsTG.pdf )
What is a riddle?
Activity Description: Challenge students to describe a riddle and provide examples. (For example, “A riddle is a type of poem that describes something without actually naming what it is, leaving the reader to guess.”) Point out that all twenty poems in this book are presented as riddles and readers can figure out what body part is being described in each poem by hiding the accompanying science notes.
Draw the outline of a child lying down on a big piece of craft paper and post on a wall or door. As you share each poem and students guess the body part being described, write the title of the poem and the body part and place that information within the body outline drawing in the location of the body part being depicted. (For example, write “Lunchtime” and “Stomach” in the spot on the body where the stomach is located.) CCSS.ELALITERACY.RL.4.2; 5.2
Here are some extra riddles for readers to solve!
Random Body Parts Funny Bones: Riddles about the Bones in Your Skeleton by Leslie Bulion
1. Which set of bones in your body is found in every book? 2. Which bone in your arm helps you calculate the area of a circle? 3. Which bone in your hand is a little fishy? 4. Which bone in your leg has a little lie hidden in it? 5. Which bone in your knee might you wear on your head? 6. Which bone in your chest is extremely serious? 7. Which bone in your arm might make you laugh? (There are 2 different answers.)
BONUS QUESTION: Which bone helps you pound a nail (or will help you hear the pounding at least)?
Together, the fun text and bright illustrations remind kids that you can do anything if you put your mind to it.
Activity Name: Five Steps to Achieve Your Goal
Activity Description: Andrew Root and Jessica Olien show five skills Hugo uses to become a successful firefighter on one spread: 1) Make a four-alarm firehouse chili; 2) Teach about fire safety; 3) Know navigation shortcuts; 4) Climb tall ladders; and, 5) Fix broken barbecues. Have students draw five skills they have that will help them reach one of their goals.
Activity Name: Crossword & Wordsearch
It's totally obvious Brooks Benjamin is a teacher. Why? He's done your work for you. Do you need to include the Common Core State Standards in your lesson plans? No worries. Brooks Benjamin has them all below. If you want more Common Core activities to go along with his novel, be sure to check out his website www.brooksbenjamin.com/
Activity Name: PRE-READING ACTIVITIES
Discuss different types of dance students are familiar with and whether they associate those styles with boys or girls and why they make those connections. Have them write down any myths or misconceptions they have experienced or know about regarding gender stereotypes (“what boys do” and “what girls do”). Then have them research important figures who have defied traditional gender stereotypes and discuss how these figures have demonstrated that gender roles are limiting.
★ Correlates with: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3-5.7 Conduct short research projects that build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.
Have students read the NewsELA article located at
https://newsela.com/articles/girls-brilliance/id/26309/ and discuss the gender stereotypes outlined in the article. Have them consider this article as they write a short narrative about a kid choosing to pursue a hobby or interest not considered “typical” for their gender.
★ Correlates with CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3-5.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
VOCABULARY/USE OF LANGUAGE
Students may find unfamiliar reading or dance-related vocabulary in the novel. Using either context clues or traditional dictionaries, have students define new words. Some examples are roundoff (p.6), hermit (p. 24), choreography (p.46), développé (p. 62), plié (p.62), jeté (p. 177).
★ Correlates with CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.3-5.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning word and phrases based on grade 3 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
This website defines traditional ballet vocabulary in descriptive, easy-to-understand terms.
This is a British website covering the activities of a project dedicated to encouraging interested boys to dance. It is a fabulous resource for videos, pictures, and articles about boys in dance.
To watch the trailer for The Eye of the Whale, click below:
Love the author's tip to bring in a grapefruit the day you do this activity. I had no idea a humpback's eye is the size of a grapefruit.
Activity Name: A Math Activity - How Big is a Humpback Whale?
Activity Description: Using rope or masking tape and yardsticks and rulers, the children measure and outline a humpbackʼs 16-foot long and 4-foot wide flipper, its 18-foot wide tail and its entire 50-foot long body. Students can compare the size of the whale or its flippers and tail to familiar objects that they know such as a bicycle, car, school bus or their own body! This will help them appreciate the enormous size of the humpback whale featured in the book. If possible, bring in a large grapefruit on the day the class is doing this. This is the approximate size of a humpbackʼs eye!
Teachers, you probably already know Fish In A Tree rocks, but have you checked out the teacher's guide? It's full of activities that tie into the standards. Check out the awesome activity below about how characters grow and change and be sure to visit Lynda Mullaly Hunt's website, too. She has this fantastic page where teachers can share ways that they've used the book in the classroom which provides us a wonderful opportunity to learn from one another.
Activity Name: Characters Grow and Change
Activity Description: Ally grows and changes through her relationships with others. Have students use the fishbowl technique to explore her interactions with others.
• Give each small group a different character in Ally’s life: Mr. Daniels, Travis, Ally’s mother, Ally’s father, Albert, Shay, and Keisha.
• Before beginning the fishbowl technique, have small groups locate quotations from the text about the messages their character teaches to Ally. (For example, students might find messages from Travis on pages 34, 84, 110; messages from mother on pages 27, 66; messages from father on pages 52, 171; and messages from Mr. Daniels on pages 81, 125, 130, 135, 146, 156, 158, 163, 205.)
• Ask a small group to gather as a circle to discuss the character’s relationship with Ally while the other students gather in an outer circle to listen, take notes, and write down questions and comments.
• Discuss expectations for how the fishbowl members will interact (come to discussion prepared, make comments that contribute to the discussion, elaborate on the comments of others in the fishbowl).
• To begin, pose one of the following questions: What moments in the text show the way Ally and (chosen character) interact? What messages does (chosen character) communicate to Ally?
• Have students in the fishbowl discuss the open-ended question.
• Ask the outer circle to provide their thoughts.
This book works in the lower and upper elementary classrooms. Lower elementary teachers, be sure to click on the activity guide below. Upper elementary teachers, this book is a fun way to introduce personification.
Activity Name: Classroom Personification
Activity Description: Talk about how Josh Funk personified food items in the refrigerator. Tell students that they will be personifying the various items in the classroom: pencil sharpener, flag, pencil, eraser, book, notebook, SMARTboard, dry erase marker and so on. Ask students to write a narrative from their classroom object's point of view.
Teachers, before you let kids play this game. Have them write the answer to this question, "What kind of work do you think goes into taking care of a garden?" At the end of the game, students can type in their prepared answer and submit it. Fun!
Activity Name: Interactive POV Game
Activity Description: Help Fenway figure out what's happened in the Dog Park URL: victoriajcoe.com/play
Be sure to check out the Fenway and Hattie Classroom Guide for the first book in the series. There's a great spreadsheet that students can use to track the various characters in the book and their character traits.
Chalk and Ink
Chalk and Ink is a biweekly podcast that publishes on Fridays throughout the school year. Learn how teachers who write and writers who teach combine craft moves to create outstanding products for their students and readers. Download Chalk and Ink wherever you get your favorite podcasts.