Thursday, April 28, 2011

20 Literature Response Questions for Any Book

Here are 20 interesting literature response questions to use during for discussion during literature circles or as writing prompts.

You can get all 64 Lit Spark Question cards here

  1. What is the most interesting thing you know about the main character of your book?
  2. Think about a setting in your book. If you were in the setting what are some things you might see?
  3. Describe an important event from your book and tell why it is important.
  4. Who is your favorite character in your book? Why is this character your favorite?
  5. What do you think happened just before your story started?
  6. If you could give the main character in your book some advice, what would you tell him or her?
  7. Is your book more funny or more serious? Why do you think so?
  8. What point of view is your book written in? How do you know?
  9. Do you like the main character of your book? Why or why not?
  10. Think of an important event in your book. How would the story  have changed if this event had not happened?
  11. If you were in the story, what would your relationship be to the main character?
  12. List three facts about this book. Then list three opinions about it.
  13. If you could ask the main character of this book three questions, what would you ask?
  14. Think about your book. Then finish this sentence in 3 different ways: I wonder....
  15. Thinks of a new title for you your book. Why do you think this is a good title?
  16. Do you think this book was well written? Why or why  not?
  17. In what ways would this book be different if it were set 100 years in the past?
  18. What is the main conflict that the main character in your book must face?
  19. What are some important relationships in your book?
  20. Think about a supporting character in your book. How would the book be different if that character did not exist?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

50 Great FREE Teaching Resources!

TeacherspayTeachers seller Charity Preston of The Organized Classroom, has put together a list of 50 free teaching resources, from a variety of sellers (including me!). There are resources for every subject and grade level.

Check out the list of links hereYou are sure to find something you can use!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Nature Scavenger Hunt for Earth Day

Scavenger Hunts are a terrific way to get kids engaged in what they are learning. Children love the challenge of finding everything on the list and when you are done you can discuss what they have found and which items were particularly difficult or easy and why. Here is a fun scavenger hunt to use for Earth Day.


Nature Scavenger Hunt


The best place to complete this scavenger hunt is in a wooded area.  Find each of the things on the list.  You will need a bag or other container.                                                                                                             
1.    A flat rock
2.    A pinecone
3.    A leaf that is bigger than your palm
4.    A stick that has a “Y” shape
5.    A nut or seed
6.    A small part of a fern
7.    Some moss
8.    Something hard that is not a rock
9.    Something sharp
10. Something that a deer could eat
11. Something soft
12. A piece of grass longer than your finger
13. A feather
14. A thorn (be careful!)
15. A leaf that an animal has chewed on
16. A piece of trash
Do not put these items in your bag.  Instead, draw them.








21.  Sit quietly for a few minutes.  What do you hear (besides people)




Find more terrific Earth Day Activities at the Earth Day Link Up at Sunny Days in Second Grade



Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Eight Reasons to Teach Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

ShilohLooking for one more novel to read out loud or have your students read this year? Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor may be just what you are looking for. Here is why:

Point of View/Writing Style
Shiloh is written in first person in the voice of eleven-year old Marty Preston. Marty lives in rural West Virginia and his speech patterns make that very evident. This is a great opportunity to analyze how an author can use a local dialect to shape a character.

Ethical Issues
In the story, Marty rescues a dog that is being brutally mistreated by his owner. Since his parents won't let him have a dog (because they are too poor to afford one), Marty finds himself lying on several occasions. Because Marty is a good person, this does not sit well with him at all. There are so many great discussions here as students weigh Marty's good intentions with what he does to carry them out.

A Villain with Depth
The villain in this story is Shiloh's owner, Judd Travers. Judd is a really dreadful person, but Naylor helps both Marty and the reader find compassion for him by giving us a glimpse into his past and by giving him a small amount of humanity near the end of the story.

A Protagonist to Admire
At first, there doesn't seem to be all that much to Marty, but as he wrestles with himself over his own bad behavior and his love for Shiloh, he grows into a more complicated character. He struggles to understand Judd Travers and at the end of the story when he chooses the high road, at much personal expense, he defines himself even more. 

Newbery Award
It won the coveted medal in 1992. 

There's a Movie
The movie adaptation of the book is quite good. While it does follow the story line fairly closely, there are some changes and students will enjoy discussing how these changes affect the story and why they were made.

There are Sequels
Two of them in fact, Shiloh Season and Saving Shiloh (there are movies for both of these books as well). Reading a book with sequels is always a plus for those kids who want to keep reading.

Resources Galore
There are lots of literatures guides and other resources for teaching this book including this terrific set of comprehension questions.

So, consider Shiloh for your next reading assignment - after all you can't go wrong with a boy and his dog, and unlike so many other ones in this story the dog doesn't even die in the end.

And if you are looking for more great ideas for teaching reading, be sure to head over to the
Reading Workshop Linky Party at Effective Teaching Solutions!
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