Showing posts with label elementary school lesson plans. Show all posts
Showing posts with label elementary school lesson plans. Show all posts

Monday, October 17, 2022

How to Catch Monsters - A Halloween Play Script

How to Catch Monsters is a free play script published by Playbooks Reader's Theater. The play was written to be performed by students in first through third grade. The play centers around two children who are trying to catch blue, green, and purple monsters. The children do get a little help from their work-from-home dad. In all there are six roles for students to play. There is also a narrator role for a teacher to play in How to Catch Monsters

The How to Catch Monsters script is color coded to make it a little easier for students to follow. The script also includes some cues and other notes to help students perform the play. 

Applications for Education
Performing How to Catch Monsters could be a fun Halloween-themed activity for elementary school students. You can read the entire script online and or print it for free from the Playbooks Reader's Theater website. One concern I do have about the script is that it might be a bit too advanced for some first and second grade students. The whole script is less than thirty pages so it won't take you long to decide if it's a good fit for your students.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Free PDF Containing 30 Pages of Illustrated Vocabulary Lessons

I get what feels like zillions of emails every day from companies that I have never heard of. 90% of them go straight to the trash bin after a three second glance. But then every once in a while I get one that is useful. Today's random, but useful email came from a company called Mrs. Wordsmith. The email that received contained a link to this free 30 page PDF of vocabulary building activities (clicking link will open or download PDF depending upon your browser settings).

All of the activities in the PDF follow the same format. That format is to display a familiar word with a familiar sound highlighted in it. Then below that word students will see illustrations that correspond to similar sounding words. Finally, the illustrations are followed by a worksheet on which students try to spell the words that are represented by illustrations.

Overall, Mrs. Wordsmith's worksheets look like a fun way to help students develop spelling and vocabulary skills.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

10 Good Templates for Science, Social Studies, and Language Arts Lessons

Earlier this week I published a post about Read Write Think's theme poem online activity. Obviously, that activity is a great fit for a language arts lesson. RWT is known for language arts interactive activities and templates. Dig a little deeper into RWT and you'll find interactive activities, apps, and templates that can be used in science and social studies lessons too.

Read Write Think offers a good interactive guide that can help students craft a good persuasive essay. The Persuasion Map asks students to start with a thesis statement before walking them through developing support for that thesis. Students can print their persuasion maps or email them to you. RWT offers a number of lesson plans that incorporate the Persuasion Map. You can find those lessons here.

Essay Map provides students with step by step guidance in the construction of an informational essay. Some of my students seem to struggle most with constructing an introduction and conclusion to their essays. Essay Map is particularly good for helping students visualize the steps needed to construct good introductory and conclusion paragraphs. After students complete all of the steps in their Essay Map they can print their essay outlines.

Read Write Think's Crossword Puzzle Generator makes it easy to create your own crossword puzzles. To create your puzzle simply enter a list of words, a set of clues for your words, and then let the generator make a puzzle for you. You can test the puzzle before printing it. You can print blank puzzles and answer sheets from the puzzle generator.

Alphabet Organizer is a great little tool from Read Write Think that students can use to create alphabet charts and books. The idea behind Alphabet Organizer is to help students make visual connections between letters of the alphabet and the first letter of common words. In the video below I demonstrate how to use this tool.



RWT Timeline is available as a web app (Flash required), as an Android app, and as an iPad app. All three versions make it easy for students to create a timeline for a series of events. In the video below I demonstrate how to use the web version of the RWT Timeline creation tool.




RWT's Animal Inquiry guide is a good fit for elementary school science lessons. Animal Inquiry provides students with four templates; animal facts, animal babies, animal interactions, and animal habitats. Each template is an interactive template in which students respond to three prompts to help them create short reports about animals they are studying. Read Write Think suggests using the questions in the Animal Inquiry template as prompts for research. The questions in the templates could also be good for helping students brainstorm additional questions to research.

RWT's Theme Poems interactive provides students with 32 pictures to use as the basis for writing short poems. To write a poem students launch the interactive then choose a theme. Within each of the five themes students will find related images. Once they choose an image students are prompted to write the words that come to mind as they look at the image. Students then create poems from those words. The finished product can be saved as a PDF and or emailed to a teacher from the RWT site.

Read Write Think offers a free program called the Profile PublisherProfile Publisher allows students to create and print mock-ups of social network profiles. Students can create profiles for themselves of for fictional characters. Profile Publisher includes fields for "about me," "blog posts," "interests," and all of the other profile fields typically found on a social network. Completed profiles can be printed.

The RWT Flip Book app is available for iPadfor Android, and for use in your web browser (Chrome or Firefox is recommended). RWT Flip Book lets students create books by typing or by drawing on the pages in their books. There is a variety of page templates that students can choose to use within their books. Some templates are text-only, some are drawing-only, and some are a mix of drawing and text templates. To use RWT Flip Book students simply open the app, enter their first names, then start creating their first pages.

Read Write Think's Word Mover app for iOSAndroid, and web browser helps students develop poems and short stories. When students open the Word Mover app they are shown a selection of words that they can drag onto a canvas to construct a poem or story. Word Mover provides students with eight canvas backgrounds on which they can construct their poems. If the word bank provided by Word Mover doesn’t offer enough words they can add their own words to the word bank.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Theme Poem Lesson Plans and Interactive Module

Read Write Think is one of my all-time favorite resources for free language arts lesson plans and interactive activities. I've written about and published videos about many of RWT's interactive tools over the years. But somehow the Theme Poems interactive has escaped my attention until now.

RWT's Theme Poems interactive provides students with 32 pictures to use as the basis for writing short poems. To write a poem students launch the interactive then choose a theme. Within each of the five themes students will find related images. Once they choose an image students are prompted to write the words that come to mind as they look at the image. Students then create poems from those words. The finished product can be saved as a PDF and or emailed to a teacher from the RWT site.

Applications for Education
As mentioned above, every RWT interactive has related lesson plans. Visit the RWT Theme Poems interactive page to find a handful of lesson plans appropriate for use in K-5.

Friday, March 2, 2018

The Cat In That Hat Knows A Lot About That - Educational Activities Inspired By Dr. Seuss

Today is the birthday of Dr. Seuss. If he was alive he'd be turning 114. Here's a set of fun, online activities that you could use to celebrate the work of Dr. Seuss. The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That is produced by PBS Kids and features online games, videos, puzzles, and printable materials based on the stories of Dr. Seuss.
Applications for Education
If you're an elementary school teacher looking for some puzzles or games that your students can use both offline and online, take a look at The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That. If you're an iPad user, you'll be happy to know that some of the activities are iOS-friendly.

Writing lessons inspired by Dr. Seuss:
The Seussville Story Maker helps kids write a Dr. Seuss style story. To create their stories students select backgrounds and characters then write their stories.

Read Write Think has a good lesson plan based on the book Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? The lesson plan is designed for K-2 students to practice observing sounds and creating words from what they hear.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Teaching With Crossword Puzzles from Read Write Think

My grandmother taught Language Arts for decades and she loved crossword puzzles. I know that many other teachers still like to use them in one way or another too. If you would like to create your own crossword puzzles for your students or you want them to create crossword puzzles, take a look at Read Write Think's Crossword Puzzle Tool.

Read Write Think's Crossword Puzzle Generator makes it easy to create your own crossword puzzles. To create your puzzle simply enter a list of words, a set of clues for your words, and then let the generator make a puzzle for you. You can test the puzzle before printing it. You can print blank puzzles and answer sheets from the puzzle generator.

Applications for Education
Read Write Think offers a bunch of free lesson plans that incorporate crossword puzzles. Some of the lesson plans are designed for learning synonyms. Other lesson plans teach students the vocabulary space travel.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Front Row Offers New Science Units for the New School Year

Earlier this summer I featured Front Row's updated social studies units that complemented their existing language arts units. Over the summer Front Row expanded their offerings to include ten science units. Like all Front Row offerings within the new science units you will find multiple versions of the same article to distribute to your students. You can give the same version of an article to all students or give different versions to individual students in your classroom.

Front Row's ten new science units are designed for elementary school and middle school students. The ten new Front Row science units are:
  • Weather and Climate (K-2)
  • Ecosystems (K-2)
  • Forces and Motion (2-5)
  • Energy (3-5)
  • Space (3-5)
  • Structure and Properties of Matter (3-5)
  • Chemical Reactions (6-8)
  • Earth Systems (6-8)
  • Evolution (6-8)
  • Structure and Functions of Cells (6-8)
Applications for Education
Within each of the new science units you will find detailed lesson plans that include materials lists when necessary, videos, and articles to distribute to your students. 

Front Row has a short diagnostic test for your students to take when they join your Front Row classroom. The results of that diagnostic test can help you identify which version of each article to give to your students.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Fact Fragment Frenzy

Fact Fragment Frenzy is a free iPad and Android app from Read Write Think. The purpose of the app is to help students learn how to pull facts out of a passage of text. The app includes a demonstration video in which the narrator explains which words in a text represent facts and which words do not represent facts. After watching the demonstration video students can use the app to practice identifying facts in a passage.

Fact Fragment Frenzy lets students practice identifying facts in a passage by having them drag words from a text into a digital notebook within the app. The app contains five practice passages.

Applications for Education
Fact Fragment Frenzy could be a good app for elementary school students to use to learn how to identify the important facts in a passage. One downside to the app is that it doesn't provide students with feedback on the choices that they make in the app. You will have to review your students' choices in order for them to receive feedback.

Read Write Think offers some lesson ideas that incorporate Fact Fragment Frenzy.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Understanding the Science of Baseball

Baseball, my favorite professional team sport, is back in season. And soon Little League baseball will be starting again too. If you have elementary school students who are interested in America's National Pastime, take a look at Exploratorium's the Science of Baseball. The Science of Baseball is a bit dated in its looks, but it still has some nice resources that can help students understand how a bit of science and mathematics is involved in the game. The Science of Baseball includes video and audio clips of baseball players and scientists explaining how the weather affects the flight of the ball, the physics of various pitches, and reaction times to thrown and batted baseballs.

Applications for Education
The Science of Baseball has five suggested hands-on activities that you can do with your students after they have gone through the online resources. These activities could be a good way to get some of the Little Leaguers in your classroom excited about a science and mathematics lesson.

Monday, February 13, 2017

How to Make a Terrarium

Build a Tiny Plant World! is the title of a new SciShow Kids video. The video explains how plants stay alive inside of terrariums and what you need to create your own plant terrarium. The video does a good job of explaining what students will need to create a terrarium and the elements within the terrarium create an ecosystem. If you would like printable directions for building a terrarium, take a look at this National Geographic page or this Climate Kids page. Both pages were recommend by SciShow Kids.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

WriteReader Presents the Most Popular Topics Amongst Student Authors

WriteReader is a great multimedia writing tool for elementary school students and their teachers. On WriteReader students can create multimedia ebooks independently or with the assistance of their teachers. Teachers can log-in and see what their students have written. Teachers can make suggestions and corrections to what their students have written in WriteReader. Teachers' suggestions and corrections appear in a space just below what their students originally wrote.

Recently, WriteReader published a list of the most popular topics amongst the student authors using the WriteReader platform. Three of the ten most popular topics were animals, Minecraft, and food. See the whole list here.

Applications for Education
WriteReader makes it easy to get started creating multimedia books with your students. You can create a classroom account for free on the site. Your students don't need to have email addresses in order to use the service. And if you are in a school that uses Google Classroom, you can use those rosters to create classrooms within WriteReader.

If you're struggling to come up with topics for your students to write about, consult WriteReader's list of the most popular topics amongst student writers. WriteReader also offers a set of free writing lesson plans that will provide you with activities for six weeks.


Disclosure: WriteReader is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

WriteReader Offers Suggestions for Post-break Writing Activities

The holiday break is over and a lot of students have stories to tell about what they did in their two weeks away from school. Hearing students tell these stories after a break is one of my favorite things. The folks at WriteReader feel the same way and published a blog post featuring ideas for having elementary students write and record their holiday break stories. Some highlights of their blog post include suggestions for students to write about holiday decorations, family traditions/activities, and favorite holiday food and gifts.

For those who are not familiar with WriteReader, it is a neat multimedia writing platform for elementary school teachers and students. The appeal of WriteReader is found in the collaboration between students and teachers. Students can create multimedia books that teachers log into to correct. As is seen the video below, each page of a book has a space for students to write in and a space for teachers to write in. Teachers use the space on the page to correct spelling errors and or make editing suggestions. WriteReader books can include text, pictures, and voice recordings. Completed WriteReader books can be shared online and can be downloaded as PDFs to print.




Disclosure: WriteReader is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com

Monday, November 21, 2016

A Quick, Last-minute Thanksgiving Lesson Plan

American Thanksgiving is just a few days away. Some schools are closed this week while others are open for the first few days of the week. If you're school is open and you're looking for a quick Thanksgiving lesson activity, try this idea that I originally shared a few years ago.

1. Create a Padlet wall for your students on which they can share what they are thankful for this year.

2. Let students create drawings of what Thanksgiving means to them then take pictures of those drawings to post on your Padlet wall.

3. Use Padlet as a KWL chart on which students share what they know about the origins of Thanksgiving and what they would like to know more about.

Don't forget to take advantage of the new comments feature in Padlet. It offers a great way to give your students direct feedback on their notes.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Storyboard That Offers 5 Thanksgiving Lesson Plans

American Thanksgiving is just a couple of weeks away. Many of us are looking for Thanksgiving-related lesson ideas. If you're looking for some elementary school lesson plans about Thanksgiving, Storyboard That has some ideas for you.

On the Storyboard That teacher guide site you'll find five Thanksgiving lesson plans. As you would expect, all of the lesson plans incorporate the use of Storyboard That. All five lesson plans are appropriate for elementary and middle school ELA. The five lesson plans are The Story of Thanksgiving, Symbols of Thanksgiving, What Thanksgiving Means to Me, Thanksgiving Cards, and I Am Thankful for... 

In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to create Thanksgiving Cards with Storyboard That. 



Disclosure: Storyboard That is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com

Friday, October 21, 2016

WriteReader - Collaborative Book Creation for Elementary School Classrooms

WriteReader is a neat multimedia writing platform for elementary school teachers and students. The appeal of WriteReader is found in the collaboration between students and teachers. Students can create multimedia books that teachers log into to correct. As is seen the video below, each page of a book has a space for students to write in and a space for teachers to write in. Teachers use the space on the page to correct spelling errors and or make editing suggestions.


WriteReader books can include text, pictures, and voice recordings. Completed WriteReader books can be shared online and can be downloaded as PDFs to print.



Applications for Education
WriteReader's teacher edition lets you create online classrooms. You can manually create accounts for your students or you can have your students join your classroom by entering a class code. Either way, your students don't need to have email addresses to use the service.

Creating picture books in WriteReader could be a good way for students to develop their writing skills. You could insert an image into the pages of a book and then have students write a short description of what they see. The audio commentary option could be used by students to describe what they are seeing and trying to write.

Monday, March 21, 2016

5 Great Writing Activities from Read Write Think

Over the years Read Write Think has published dozens of excellent templates and tools for elementary school language arts lessons. Five of my favorite Read Write Think activities are featured below.

Read Write Think offers a good interactive guide that can help students craft a good persuasive essay. The Persuasion Map asks students to start with a thesis statement before walking them through developing support for that thesis. Students can print their persuasion maps or email them to you. RWT offers a number of lesson plans that incorporate the Persuasion Map. You can find those lessons here.

Essay Map provides students with step by step guidance in the construction of an informational essay. Some of my students seem to struggle most with constructing an introduction and conclusion to their essays. Essay Map is particularly good for helping students visualize the steps needed to construct good introductory and conclusion paragraphs. After students complete all of the steps in their Essay Map they can print their essay outlines.

Alphabet Organizer is a great little tool from Read Write Think that students can use to create alphabet charts and books. The idea behind Alphabet Organizer is to help students make visual connections between letters of the alphabet and the first letter of common words. In the video below I demonstrate how to use this tool.



RWT Timeline is available as a web app (Flash required), as an Android app, and as an iPad app. All three versions make it easy for students to create a timeline for a series of events. In the video below I demonstrate how to use the web version of the RWT Timeline creation tool.



RWT's Animal Inquiry guide is a good fit for elementary school science lessons. Animal Inquiry provides students with four templates; animal facts, animal babies, animal interactions, and animal habitats. Each template is an interactive template in which students respond to three prompts to help them create short reports about animals they are studying. Read Write Think suggests using the questions in the Animal Inquiry template as prompts for research. The questions in the templates could also be good for helping students brainstorm additional questions to research.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Photos for Class + Canva = Fun Animal Stories

Photos for Class is a great tool for locating Creative Commons licensed images that your students can use in all kinds of projects. The great thing about Photos for Class is that when students download an image from the site all of the attribution information that they need is included in the image's footer.

This afternoon I saw a neat example of using Photos for Class to create a simple meme or one-image story. The example was on the Storyboard That Facebook page (Storyboard That owns Photos for Class). In the example they had an image of a polar bear and a fun fact about polar bears.

When I saw the sample this afternoon I immediately recognized how easy and fun it could be for students to create their own animal stories through a combination of Photos for Class and Canva. You could have students search for a picture of an animal on Photos for Class then upload it to Canva where they could put it into any of the Canva templates to create a small poster or online graphic. Students could then add some fun facts in the form of text written over the image. See my example below.

The Photos for Class search tool can be added to your classroom, library, or school website. A video on that process is available here.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

3D Printers in Elementary School

This week I am hosting some guest bloggers. This is a guest post from Terri Eichholz.

We were recently gifted with a Makerbot Replicator (5th Gen) to pilot in our elementary school library. Our librarian, Angelique Lackey, and I knew that time was short before the end of the year, but we wanted students to experience the power of creating with this device.

If you search the web for 3D printing curriculum to use in elementary schools, you will find a sparse number of appropriate resources. Most of the “curriculum” turns out to be instructions on using a 3D printer like this, or lists of manipulatives teachers can make on a 3D printer. Angelique and I were looking for something that would be more transformational for our students, however.

As we researched, though, we came across the CityX curriculum. Written to teach students about the design process, this free curriculum was exactly what we wanted. The downloadable Toolkit includes an instructor’s guide, printable student workbooks, Common Core alignment, and videos. Angelique immediately found a group of students who could meet with her each day to test it out before the end of school. It has been exciting to see how the steps of the design process unfold and the confidence, collaboration, and creativity this project has engendered.

If you feel like the City X curriculum doesn’t suit your needs, I encourage you to check out the #makered Twitter chat that occurs every week on Tuesdays at 8 CST. The contributors are extremely experienced and happy to answer questions or offer resources. When I asked for app suggestions for creating, here were some that they offered:
Software that you can use for designing includes:
I would caution you to try any of the above using student logins on your devices, as some may be restricted by district filters. This may be due to links to galleries, such as Thingiverse, that are great sources of inspiration, but may include inappropriate materials.

One of my 2nd grade students used Makerbot Printshop to design the medal below for our GT class.

A 5th grade student of mine, with no other instruction from me than, “See if you can design something for us to print in Tinkercad this weekend,” created the following. It is the sled from the book, The Giver, by Lois Lowry. (It was printed in white plastic, then painted with acrylic paints.)

Speaking of literature, another resource I was able to obtain through the #makered Twitter chat was a list of books that can be used with elementary students to connect to inventing and 3D printing. I have not read the following books, but they were recommended:
How to Bicycle to the Moon to Plant Sunflowers
The Big Orange Splot
Galimoto
Leo the Maker Prince: Journeys in 3D Printing

An excellent book that my colleague recommended, and I have since read, is Skyjumpers. I would also suggest the following books for any kind of curriculum in which creativity and invention are encouraged:
The Most Magnificent Thing
Rosie Revere, Engineer
Iggy Peck, Architect
Going Places
Weslandia

A 3D printer should not be purchased for the sake of having the newest technology. However, you should not discount the idea of having one in an elementary school. Teaching our students about the design process is one of the most valuable skills we can give them. In addition, getting a chance to see the tangible results of planning, problem-solving, and collaboration can be the most powerful way to make an impact.

Terri Eichholz teaches Gifted and Talented students in San Antonio, Texas. She has been teaching for 24 years, and shares resources and idea at http://engagetheirminds.com. You can also often find her participating in educational Twitter chats (@terrieichholz). Angelique Lackey is Terri’s fabulous colleague, and is the librarian at Hidden Forest Elementary. She can also be found on Twitter (@lackeyangie).

Monday, January 19, 2015

Lesson Plans for Teaching About Germs

To help elementary school teachers educate their students about germs and disease prevention (and to sell disinfectant) Clorox has developed a website for teachers. Clorox Classrooms offers sixteen lesson plans for K-5 classrooms. Each of the lesson plans is designed to help students understand what germs are and how to prevent the spread of germs. Most of the lesson plans include an "extension" activity for interactive whiteboards.

Applications for Education
Most of the Clorox Classrooms lesson plans are intended to be conducted as hands-on lessons. The download package for each lesson plan includes references to National Science Standards, handouts for students, and slides when necessary.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

A Handful of Resources for Teaching About Thanksgiving

It's the first day of November. The change of the calendar reminds me that Thanksgiving in the United States isn't too far away now. Over the years I've collected some resources for teaching about Thanksgiving. Here are the ones that I like best. I'll be adding more to this list as the month goes on.

You Are the Historian: Investigating the First Thanksgiving is an interactive exploration of the facts and myths associated with the story of the First Thanksgiving. Students can explore the facts and myths through the eyes of a Native American child or through the eyes of a female Pilgrim. Through the eyes of each character students discover the culture of giving thanks in the Native American and English cultures. My favorite part of the investigation is "The Path to 1621" in which students hear the perspectives of Native Americans and Pilgrims about events prior to 1621.

Voyage on the Mayflower is a nice resource produced by Scholastic. Voyage on the Mayflower has two parts for students to explore. The first part is an interactive map of the journey across the Atlantic Ocean. Students can click on placemarks on the map to read and hear about the journey. The second part of the Voyage on the Mayflower takes students "inside" the Mayflower to see and hear about the parts of the ship.

The First Thanksgiving: Daily Life is another online activity produced by Scholastic. Daily Life is comparison of the lifestyles of the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag. Students can click through each aspect of daily life to see a comparison of housing, clothing, food, chores, school, and games.

The Year We Had Two Thanksgivings tells the story of Thanksgiving 1939. In 1939 Thanksgiving was going to fall on the last day of November which caused merchants to be worried about a shortened shopping season. In response to this concern President Roosevelt proclaimed that Thanksgiving would be moved up one week. Some states chose to ignore this proclamation and celebrate Thanksgiving on the last day of the month anyway. The conflict was finally resolved in 1941 when Congress passed a law stating that Thanksgiving would always be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of the month. The Year We Had Two Thanksgivings is supported by ten primary source documents. Included in those documents are letters from merchants appealing to FDR to change the day of Thanksgiving and letters opposing the change.


When Is Thanksgiving? Colonizing America is an episode in John Green's Crash Course on US History. The video starts with the history of Jamestown before moving onto Plymouth. Green does a good job of illustrating the differences between why and how each colony was established. This is video is suitable for high school students, but Green's use of sarcasm (which I actually like) and the details would probably be lost on middle school students.