Learning About Adjectives Anna Panetta, Language Arts Teacher, Grades 3-6: Nutley, NJ

“Make a list of adjectives and ask students to name a noun that goes with the adjective. For example, courageous – captain; timid – puppy; powerful – monarch. If students have trouble with the meaning of a word used as an adjective, encourage them to look for the definition using a dictionary. Tell students that they cannot repeat a noun twice. This activity can be extended to include synonyms that can also be used to describe the noun. In this case, a thesaurus comes in handy.”

Kids Can Be Dramatic Janet, 4th Grade Teacher: Florida, NY

“To help students appreciate literature related to drama/plays, etc., have them write their own play(s) as a project that can then be presented to the entire school body. Always start with a model of the genre that you want them to focus on. Ask them to point out the characteristics of the genre and create a list that will guide them through the process of writing a play that includes the elements of the genre. This can also be used to have kids act out a story that they are reading; dramatization is very effective in helping students to think about the characters and action of the story which helps in interpretation/comprehension.”

Be a Collector! Dick, Veteran Teacher: Branchville, NJ

Provide a collection of literature that is easily accessible to students in the classroom. You can ask parents to send in books that will no longer be used by their children. Ask local bookstores to consider donating books for your students to use. Don’t forget to add a special recognition to each book that has been donated. Provide a list of resources next to the computer station in your classroom with directions on how to access literature online. You can also brainstorm ideas with students on how to obtain books.

Predictable Books Sarah, Reading Teacher: Morristown, NJ

“To begin reading instruction and to reinforce reading comprehension and writing, introduce books that are repetitive and structured so that students can see language patterns that are repeated. This motivates children to read along and anticipate what is going to happen next. Characteristics of predictable books include rhythm and rhyme, lots of refrains, sequences that are logical, repeated patterns, and lots of illustrations. Just make sure that when students read along, they aren’t reciting memorized text!”

Choosing the Best Literature Jeff, School Principal: Atlanta, Georgia

“Here are some guidelines that you can use to choose materials to use with your students:

1. Does the literature you choose represent people with a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds?

2. Are both sexes represented and are genders treated in a nonstereotyped manner?

3. How are the elderly and/or people with disabilities represented?

4. Does your collection of literature include old favorites, new material, poetry, fiction, notification on a variety of topics, and a range of interests?

5. Are most of your literature selections known for their excellence in authorship and illustration? If you answered yes to all of these questions, you are well on your way to having a collection that is appropriate for classroom use and that will enhance the literature experiences of children!”

Using What’s Familiar Barry, Poetry Teacher: Des Moines, Iowa

“Always build on what is familiar to students. If you are going to teach a unit on poetry, ask your students to tell you the words to their favorite songs. This can be done as a whole group instructional event or by placing students in groups and asking them to reach a consensus on three of their favorite songs. Use the words to the songs to show them how they can qualify for poetry by pointing out the characteristics common to the poetry genre, i.e., expressing feelings, ideas/thoughts, creating images, metaphors, etc.”

Teaching Novels Karen Davis, 7th. Gr. Reading Teacher

“I dislike written book reports for novels that I teach to my classes. So we do major projects at the end of each novel. My students love the chance to be creative. Examples: Outsiders by S.E. Hinton; Students publish a newspaper using only information from the story. We discuss all parts of the newspaper before they begin. I have examples of different newspapers in the classroom. The class is divided into two groups, the greasers and the Socs. The end product is two newspapers with different points of view, and students learn that they know more about the book than they thought was possible. The newspapers are put on display in our school library. For The Pigman by Paul Zindel, the students put the characters on trial for their responsibility in the death of the Pigman, including the Pigman himself. My students love this. They really get into it.”

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