Monday, August 12, 2013

The Graveyard Book- Novel Unit

Hello again!  I've been busy catching up on reading and thought I'd put together a novel unit for Neil Gaiman's "The Graveyard Book."  The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman is an award winning (Caudill, Newbery, and Carnegie Awards, among others) about a boy named Nobody Owens, who is raised by spirits and monsters in a graveyard.  Follow along with Bod’s life as he grows amongst tombstones, mausoleums, and learns to navigate through the living world and see what happens when the man who killed his family (and landed him in the graveyard in the first place) comes looking for him!



Sunday, August 11, 2013

Affect vs. Effect

Hello, all!  I managed to disappear again, but I suppose that's what happens over the summer!  Since I last posted, I moved to Germany (!!!) and spent the last 2 weeks touring the French and Italian Rivieras!    I left my position in Chicago as a middle school special education assistant and am looking for a similar position on the military base here in Germany.  Until then, I figured I'd keep cooking up new curriculum!

Since I still find myself pondering the differences between "affect" and "effect," I thought I'd put together a quick guide for teachers and students alike to help differentiate between the two words.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wonder- R.J. Palacio Novel Unit

Hello, loves!  I've been uber busy with tutoring and working as an aide for the 7th grade special education program at a school near my home.  I have been co-teaching with the special education teacher and was lucky enough (heh, heh) to have the opportunity to create an entire unit plan for the novel she selected to read for this trimester.

The novel is called Wonder and was written by R.J. Palacio.  It is the story of August, a boy with facial deformities, as he leaves the world of homeschooling and enters school with "normal" kids.  The story is told from multiple points of view, creating a big picture of what life is like for these characters.

In my unit, I have included vocabulary, guided reading questions, and an additional activity (vocab practice, writing prompts, drawing, etc.).  The sections are broken down as the narrator in the story changes and an answer key is also included.

Like I said, I've been using this with my 7th grade remedial reading class, but it is appropriate for a 5th-8th grade setting, depending on the class reading level.

This is a wonderful (haha, see what I did there?) story of transformation and acceptance.  My students are truly enjoying it!  Even if you don't end up teaching it, pick it up as a beach read! 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Snap Cards for Sight Words

Things have been so crazy!  I am still working as an aide for a 7th grade special education program (and I've begun writing curriculum!), but now I am also tutoring a variety of elementary school students in reading and time management and test taking and things of that nature.

In working with a first grader on decoding skills, I invented what we have come to call "snap cards."  These are basically flash cards with commonly used sight words.  The point is that once the student gets good enough with them, she should be able to snap her fingers (diva style) and know exactly what the word says.  I have 14 words in this set, but will be everso happy to make them with words that you specify, or I can open up the template for your personal use!

Here is a quick snap (see what I did there?  Snapshot... snap words...).  My little reading diva loves the font and they are big enough that as she flips through them, we have space to write on them or highlight/underline blended sounds, etc.

Thanks for popping in! 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Dodecahedron Alternative Book Report

Well, friends, as has happened many times in my life before, my wonderful dream job in Korea fell through at the last second due to issues with immigration and so, I am still in my position as a 7th grade special education paraprofessional.  I hope to complete the school year in this position and will be putting my creativity hat back on to devise more epic projects.

Here is one we did in our remedial reading class.  We read the book, Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine and because it is a class of reluctant readers AND reluctant writers, instead of asking students to write a paper or give a presentation, we got snazzy and had them put together a dodecahedron.  They ended up looking like this: 

Pretty fun, right?  Especially hanging from the ceiling in our tiny windowless room!  

This project was great because it gave the students a lot of flexibility but also helped to see who comprehended the material and who didn't.  This project is also amazing, because it can be used across subjects.  Each side of the dodecahedron depicts a different concept.  In this case, as a final novel project, we asked students to use vocabulary, characters, and important events, but it can be easily adapted as a social studies review, a math project, or as a science fair project.  The sides can be divided amongst a group, or you can cut down to just 6 sides for younger learners or students who have a hard time staying organized. 

 This packet includes: the pattern (you need 12 pages for each student), directions (for a book project), and a checklist so that students can review what they have completed and check each page off as they go!