So today is June 1st and I am writing lesson plans! This just doesn't feel right, but I've been told it will feel great in August when I'm not having to write plans. I think this is a harder adjustment, because come the end of May we are ready to be done, and let's face it...so are the kids. But come August, at least for me, I'm ready to start. All the school supplies that come out, the pretty new book bags, and everything!
I think one of the greatest challenges in teaching is those last few days, maybe even weeks of school. Especially when your state testing has been completed! Those kiddos think "we are done" (and maybe the teachers do too).
This year I turned to one of my FAVORITE websites of FREE lessons...yep FREE. If you have not already discovered ReadWorks.org then you better head over and check it out! I've been using it for about two years now, and can't get enough of it!
I usually use it for their question and answer passages ( LOVE LOVE LOVE the Science and SS ones), and for small group instruction (able to get passages on my student's levels), but I decided to try and use it for one of the novel studies.
I have read Watson's Go to Birmingham 1963 to my class before, but I wanted to keep them a little more engaged. So I decided to use the novel study from Read Works that goes along with the book. I LOVE it! The students do too! I have used all parts of it, and it was a great platform to get my creative juiced flowing as well. Just search Watson's Go to Birmingham 1963 when you go to the Read Works site.
The opening lesson was about identifying historical terms in text, and how they effect the story. I have a few pictures of the charts we made with this lesson. The second lesson had to do with how a character's past effects the present and their actions in the text.
In the lesson: Identifying historical terms in text, I gave the students different historical terms that they had to put into categories: Past, Present, Future. After discussing their choices and where they placed the terms, I then gave them the same terms and had them put them into new categories: Recent, Old, Very Old. It was very very interesting to see where they put some of the recent historical terms...and how they determined what Recent, Old, Very Old meant...according to their standards, I would have fit under the category of Very Old.
We have also been using our Google Maps App to learn about Flint, Michigan (one of the settings in the book), how long it would take to drive or even walk to Birmingham, Alabama. Then I went "old school" and bought them a few interstate road maps (you know the ones you have to fold back up when you are done), they really enjoyed looking at the different interstates and highlighting the trip the Watson's took!
So if you haven't checked it out head on over to Read Works!
Finally in a previous post I mentioned a book that I had read to my class: Rebels of the Kasbah. It is an amazing book! We were lucky enough to have the author come and visit our 5th grade classes, thanks to our awesome media specialist. He was such a great person to have come talk with the students. Check out the Red Hand Adventures website and our pictures from his visit!