Classroom Resources

Students get to flex their writing muscles as they use a variety of writing genres to create a zine of their own: letter writing, persuasive writing, narrative, acrostic poetry, comic writing, and biography/autobiography. Each student chooses a prominent figure from popular culture as the focus for a multigenre zine and then plans the project using the Facts–Questions–Interpretations method. Students then write in each of the listed genres about their chosen subjects, using a variety of ReadWriteThink.org tools. Finally, students design covers for their projects, and the teacher binds all the printed documents into individual zines.

Grade(s)

3, 4, 5

Subject Area

English Language Arts

Learning Resource Type

Classroom Resource

In this lesson, students participate in a Directed Listening-Thinking Activity (DLTA), in which they listen to "The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe and answer prediction questions at designated stopping points during the reading. Students then discuss and write a written response to the story at the conclusion of the lesson, in the form of either an acrostic poem or comic strip. This lesson works well at Halloween or at the beginning of a mystery unit.

Grade(s)

6, 7, 8

Subject Area

English Language Arts

Learning Resource Type

Classroom Resource

After reviewing specific nouns, students create a two-column list of nouns and ordinary verbs specific to a particular occupation. They then pair a specific noun from the first column with an occupation-related verb from the second column to create descriptive lines with vivid verbs being used in a different context. The trick lies in the fact that the verbs must be used in a new way, having nothing to do with the occupation. Often this approach to writing leads to a natural metaphorical passage as a result. Students refine this writing strategy by rotating through computer stations, each housing a descriptive passage begun by other students, revising and suggesting improvements or just adding lines to the descriptive passages.

Grade(s)

6, 7, 8

Subject Area

English Language Arts

Learning Resource Type

Classroom Resource

This classroom resource is an engaging lesson plan from ReadWriteThink that allows students to explore how writers use sensory imagery as a literary device to make the text more meaningful for the reader.  The lesson begins with the students using all of their senses to describe known objects such as pasta, chocolate, or grapes. Students first feel and listen to the object, in a bag, before taking it out of the bag to look at, smell, and taste it. They then use at least three senses to write a poem about the object they've described.  Next, they evaluate how this literary device functions in Pat Mora's poem “Echoes.” As students read this poem, they look for sensory images and write an explanation of how these images contribute to the meaning of Mora's poem. Finally, students think about how sensory images work in their own poems and then make appropriate revisions to their work.  The resource includes links to student interactives and printable handouts.

Grade(s)

6, 7, 8

Subject Area

English Language Arts

Learning Resource Type

Classroom Resource

In this lesson, students explore ekphrasis—writing inspired by art. Students begin by reading and discussing several poems inspired by works of art. Through the discussion, students learn ways in which poets can approach a piece of artwork (for instance, writing about the scene being depicted in the artwork, writing in the voice of the person depicted in the artwork, speaking to the artist or subject of the painting, etc.). Students then search online for pieces of art that inspire them and, in turn, compose a booklet of poems about the pieces they have chosen.

The updated link to the Printing Press resource can be found at https://www.readwritethink.org/classroom-resources/student-interactives….

Grade(s)

9, 10, 11, 12

Subject Area

English Language Arts

Learning Resource Type

Classroom Resource

As students study the theme of community, they collect vocabulary words and key concepts. Students first talk about their community and then craft a definition of community. Students then examine several examples of the alphabet book genre and a variety of print and online texts. With the information they've found, students create alphabet books—individually, in small groups, or as a whole class—using an online tool. Their books relate each letter of the alphabet with a fact, keyword or phrase from their research, providing both an artifact that can be used to teach others about the subject and a demonstration of the knowledge gained in the unit that can be used for assessment. This unit focuses on the theme of community, but the idea can be adapted for any unit of study.

Grade(s)

K, 1, 2

Subject Area

English Language Arts

Learning Resource Type

Classroom Resource

These lessons challenge students to write original stories using alphabetical order. For students who are still developing a basic understanding of alphabetization, the entire class can write one story, beginning each page with a new letter. Challenge more advanced students to write their own stories or to compose the words in each sentence in alphabetical order. Students can illustrate their texts in class or at home with their families. Although this lesson was primarily written for a first- or second-grade class, modifications can be made to allow kindergarten students to have success with alphabetizing as well.

Grade(s)

K, 1, 2

Subject Area

English Language Arts

Learning Resource Type

Classroom Resource

Students are likely to know many more words than they use in their writing. This lesson is designed to help students better use their vocabulary by teaching (or reviewing) what verbs are and to help them access verbs they already know and use them in sentences. Students work together to brainstorm and create lists of verbs for each of the letters of the alphabet. Then, choosing one verb for each letter, they create pages for an Action Alphabet book. Each page includes an illustration and a sentence using the verb in context. The project can be adapted according to age level and language ability. Students in kindergarten may work together on a class book, while older students may work in small groups or individually. Similarly, the complexity of the example sentences will vary depending on students' writing levels.

Grade(s)

K, 1, 2

Subject Area

English Language Arts

Learning Resource Type

Classroom Resource

This unit is designed to help first and second-grade students learn new vocabulary by taking them on virtual adventures that replicate field trips. Students begin by accessing prior knowledge through an initial writing activity. Ensuing discussions, read-alouds, and the creation of a picture dictionary "take students to the moon," while further building their vocabulary. Students use an online Alphabet Organizer to complete a final writing activity, which they compare to the writing they did during the first session. Although this lesson focuses on the moon, its activities can be used with any content area topic.

Grade(s)

K, 1, 2

Subject Area

English Language Arts

Learning Resource Type

Classroom Resource

This unit exposes students to a variety of alphabet books to increase their knowledge and understanding of the genre. Students are involved in an interactive read-aloud of A My Name is Alice by Jane Bayers, during which they identify and examine the characteristics of alphabet books. Students then engage in shared writing to create a class alphabet book. After completing the class book, they work in small groups using technology to write their own alphabet books. These books are later shared with an audience, giving an authentic purpose to the writing experience.

Grade(s)

K, 1, 2

Subject Area

English Language Arts

Learning Resource Type

Classroom Resource

A writing unit focusing on alliteration allows students to strengthen their phonemic awareness while practicing their developing writing skills. Through the use of mentor texts, students construct a definition of alliteration. Using these texts as models, students experiment with creating alliterative sentences. First, working as a class, students create an alliterative book. While studying additional mentor texts, students generate their own sentences to contribute to a class book using the beginning sounds of their names. At the conclusion of the lesson, students use the mentor texts as examples when independently creating their own alliterative books using the Alphabet Organizer interactive.

Grade(s)

1

Subject Area

English Language Arts

Learning Resource Type

Classroom Resource

Comprehension requires more than knowledge of the basic facts in a reading. Instead, readers need to actively engage in their readings to move toward critical thinking. After reading a piece of literature, students explore their text, searching for literary elements such as characters, setting, figures of speech, and themes. They use the alphabet to organize their findings. Finally, they publish their work in ABC books, using the Alphabet Organizer student interactive.

Grade(s)

3, 4, 5

Subject Area

English Language Arts

Learning Resource Type

Classroom Resource

Think alphabet books are just for kindergarten? Think again! In this lesson, students examine a variety of alphabet books, some with rather complex structures, specifically Mary Elting and Michael Folsom's Q Is for Duck: An Alphabet Guessing Game. Students begin the lesson with a read-aloud of the story in which they guess why the authors chose to represent each letter with a particular word and then summarize the pattern of the book. Using "patterned" or "structured" writing can be very effective with struggling writers, and it also allows advanced students to extend their writing capabilities. Students use the pattern of Q Is for Duck to create their own class alphabet book in which students make clever associations for each letter of the alphabet. This experience will assist even the most reluctant writer in becoming an author.

Grade(s)

3, 4, 5

Subject Area

English Language Arts

Learning Resource Type

Classroom Resource

Students' vocabulary is expanded and their writing is enriched when they are encouraged to use a variety of adjectives to help readers "see, taste, and feel" what they've written. In this unit for grades 3 and 4, picture books are used as a springboard for helping students define, identify, and practice using adjectives and synonyms. They develop webbed lists and then put their new vocabulary skills to use by writing form poems.

Grade(s)

3, 4, 5

Subject Area

English Language Arts

Learning Resource Type

Classroom Resource

Diversity is celebrated in this lesson in which students embark on a cultural research project by first reading a variety of alphabet books about world cultures, including D is for Doufu: An Alphabet Book of Chinese Culture by Maywan Shen KrachThey then select a culture to study and work in groups to conduct research into the history and symbols of their selected culture. The unit includes tools for conducting primary interviews and other research techniques. The project culminates with each group writing and illustrating a cultural alphabet book based on their research. Groups share their work with the class and invited guests during a Diversity Celebration.

Grade(s)

3, 4, 5

Subject Area

English Language Arts

Learning Resource Type

Classroom Resource

Students are engaged and motivated to build content-area vocabulary through the creation of ABC books. A small-group activity introduces a variety of ABC books, including books for older readers that use the letters of the alphabet as a starting point to present information about a featured subject. Students then decide on a style and structure for their own alphabet books and choose a word for each letter from content area textbooks, encyclopedias, reference books, or suggested websites. A storyboard is constructed including each of the 26 words, the context in which it will appear, and a quick sketch of the proposed illustration. Students' final ABC books are created using either the interactive Alphabet Organizer or PowerPoint.

Grade(s)

6, 7, 8

Subject Area

English Language Arts

Learning Resource Type

Classroom Resource

In this lesson, the traditional autobiography writing project is given a twist as students write alphabiographies—recording an event, person, object, or feeling associated with each letter of the alphabet. Students are introduced to the idea of the alphabiography through passages from James Howe's Totally Joe. Students then work with the teacher to create guidelines for writing their own alphabiographies. Students create an entry for each letter of the alphabet, writing about an important event from their lives. After the entry for each letter, students sum up the stories and vignettes by recording the life lessons they learned from the events. Since this type of autobiography breaks out of chronological order, students can choose what has been important in their lives. And since the writing pieces are short, even reluctant writers are eager to write!

See this updated link for the online Alphabet Organizer from ReadWriteThink.org.

Grade(s)

6, 7, 8

Subject Area

English Language Arts

Learning Resource Type

Classroom Resource

Validate students' out-of-school language use by asking them to share details on the use of words and phrases from movies, television shows, books, and other texts. In this activity, students compose dictionary entries for words and phrases from pop culture texts, connecting the definitions to their personal use of the terms. Their work is published individually, or if desired, collectively in a class dictionary.

Grade(s)

6

Subject Area

English Language Arts

Learning Resource Type

Classroom Resource

This unit provides three types of reports that can be written and shared by kindergarten students. These reports allow young students to see themselves as writers with important information to share with others. In the first report, students report what they've learned about an apple using all five senses by completing a simple report form. In the second activity, they explore a variety of nonfiction media about animals of their choice. After they write journal pages recording simple information about the animals, completed pages are stapled together, and students create clay representations of their selected animals. In the final report, students use facts they have researched to create and share original riddles about selected animals.

Grade(s)

K

Subject Area

English Language Arts

Learning Resource Type

Classroom Resource

Young children are fascinated with the world around them, showing intense interest and curiosity about animals and their lives. Through the use of nonfiction, students can be encouraged and challenged to learn more about favorite animals and to document their findings with graphic organizers. Students begin their inquiry by comparing fiction and nonfiction books about animals, using a Venn diagram. They list things they want to know about animals on a chart. As a class, students vote on an animal to research. They revise their question list and then research the animal using prompts from an online graphic organizer. After several sessions of research, students revisit their original questions and evaluate the information they have gathered. Finally, students revise and edit their work and prepare to present their findings to an authentic audience.

Grade(s)

K, 1, 2

Subject Area

English Language Arts

Learning Resource Type

Classroom Resource

This lesson describes how to use selected fiction and nonfiction literature and careful questioning techniques to help students identify factual information about animals. Children first identify possible factual information from works of fiction which are read aloud, then they listen to read-alouds of nonfiction texts to identify and confirm factual information. This information is then recorded on charts and graphic organizers. Finally, students use the Internet to gather additional information about the animal and then share their findings with the class. The lesson can be used as presented to find information about ants or can be easily adapted to focus on any animal of interest to students. Resources are included for ants, black bears, fish, frogs and toads, penguins, and polar bears.

Grade(s)

K, 2

Subject Area

English Language Arts

Learning Resource Type

Classroom Resource

The reading community recognizes nonfiction as vital to early learners. This concept is relatively new, and most primary teachers have little experience with how to introduce nonfiction to their students and use it as part of the reading curriculum. This lesson supports second-grade teachers in introducing nonfiction to their students and using it for informational purposes. Students develop an understanding of nonfiction through peer interaction and hands-on experiences with books. They use graphic organizers to record their thinking and new learning.

Grade(s)

K, 1, 2

Subject Area

English Language Arts

Learning Resource Type

Classroom Resource

Foregrounding scientific vocabulary, these integrated lesson plans invite students to research worms in order to create a classroom habitat. Students are first introduced to inquiry notebooks and then use them to record what they already know about worms. Next, students observe the cover of a fiction book about worms and make a hypothesis on whether the book is fact or fiction, and then check their hypotheses after the book is read aloud. Next, after an introduction to related scientific words such as hypothesis, habitat, attribute, predator, and prey, students conduct and record research and findings in their inquiry notebooks. Once they have gathered the necessary information, students plan and build a worm habitat, which becomes the springboard for further scientific exploration, observation, and experimentation.

Grade(s)

K, 1, 2

Subject Area

English Language Arts
Science

Learning Resource Type

Classroom Resource

In this unit, students tell their own stories and explore the stories of other Americans. Hearing and telling these stories helps students realize that social studies is not simply the study of history, but an exploration of real people and their lives. Students begin by telling stories about their personal experiences. They then explore the character traits that promote democratic ideals and tell stories about family members who exemplify these traits. Finally, they conduct research and share stories about famous Americans. Practiced skills include reading, researching, visually representing, writing, and presenting.

Grade(s)

3, 4, 5

Subject Area

English Language Arts
Social Studies

Learning Resource Type

Classroom Resource

Students in a class form a type of community, and members must get to know one another for that community to thrive. When students and teachers share their backgrounds and interests early in the year, they develop a base for understanding that will support effective teaching and learning throughout the months that follow. This unit, which is designed for the first few weeks of school, helps build a classroom community. Students begin with a discussion about community and what it means to be part of a community. They then prepare interview questions to ask a classmate about their lives. Students interview a fellow classmate to compile biographical data about him or her and use a Web tool called Bio-Cube to organize the material. In a culminating activity, students use their completed Bio-Cube to introduce their partner to the class.

Grade(s)

2, 3, 4, 5

Subject Area

English Language Arts

Learning Resource Type

Classroom Resource

While engaging in the processes of researching, writing, and evaluating short biographical sketches, students can master essential writing skills and enhance their content area learning. In this unit, students discuss standard elements in a biography and examine the characteristics of the genre in a workshop setting. After selecting and researching a contemporary or historical figure using online databases, students practice writing short biographies. They then offer feedback on others' compositions and publish final drafts for reading aloud and displaying in class.

Grade(s)

3, 4, 5

Subject Area

English Language Arts

Learning Resource Type

Classroom Resource

Engage middle school students in a meaningful study of the lives of students from across the globe through the use of contemporary nonfiction and fiction. Students create personal autobiographies, sequence story events, and prepare well-crafted summaries while learning to use higher-level comprehension strategies such as Question-Answer Relationships and the Bio-Cube. Additionally, students conduct a critical study of the NCSS Notable Tradebook Nasreen's Secret School: A True Story From Afghanistan by Jeanette Winter, comparing and contrasting their own lives to Nasreen's and expanding their geographical knowledge of the Middle East.

Grade(s)

6, 7, 8

Subject Area

English Language Arts

Learning Resource Type

Classroom Resource

Students take turns taking home a book bag that includes a stuffed toy, a book to read with their families, art supplies, a topic to discuss, and a journal to complete as a family. The students then return the bag the following day and share their entries with the class. After every student has taken the bag home, the journal is bound into a book for the classroom library. The teacher then selects a new topic and book to start a second rotation. The goal is to invite parents to join their children in these literacy activities.

Grade(s)

K, 1

Subject Area

English Language Arts

Learning Resource Type

Classroom Resource

Using a story which has been written collaboratively, students engage in a whole-group revising process by having each student add a sentence at a time (see the ReadWriteThink lesson Collaborative Stories 1: Prewriting and Drafting). The teacher leads this shared-revising activity to help students consider story content. Students begin by reading their collaborative story and then discuss ways of making changes. Then, after revisions have been made, they reread the story as a group. Finally, students come to a consensus on a title for their story.

Grade(s)

K, 1, 2

Subject Area

English Language Arts

Learning Resource Type

Classroom Resource

Recognizing problems and identifying solutions are skills that help students develop an awareness of themselves and their surroundings. After reading the book Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann, students explore potential safety problems and then devise possible solutions. Each student creates a safety tip poster similar to the ones in the book to present a solution to one of the identified safety problems. Students communicate their safety messages to others by displaying the posters around the school or in the community. This lesson could easily be adapted for use with older students.

Grade(s)

K, 1, 2

Subject Area

English Language Arts
Health Education

Learning Resource Type

Classroom Resource

This unit introduces the concept of cause and effect with Trinka Hakes Noble's books about Jimmy and his boa constrictor. Each lesson begins with the teacher reading a new story about Jimmy and his boa and the chaos they bring to each place they visit. Class discussions about each event and its cause are followed by tasks for the students to help illustrate understanding of the concept. Students create cause-and-effect pictures, puzzles, and flow charts as they explore the genre. As a culminating activity, students write their own book with causes and effects, which are assessed with a rubric.

Grade(s)

K, 1, 2

Subject Area

English Language Arts

Learning Resource Type

Classroom Resource

The proverb says, “You can't judge a book by its cover.” In this lesson plan, students are not judging what is inside the book, but what is on the cover itself. What does it include? Why? What is left off? Why do you think that is? After examining many book covers and dust jackets, students recreate a cover or dust jacket for a selected book; then, they share their creations with their classmates and explain the changes they made or what they chose to keep. Students use a checklist to make sure they have all of the needed components, and the teacher can use the checklist as an assessment piece.

Grade(s)

3, 4, 5

Subject Area

English Language Arts

Learning Resource Type

Classroom Resource

A story's lead begins the reader's adventure, yet it can just as likely end that odyssey if those opening words do not immediately interest the reader. This lesson examines examples of leads in children's literature, focusing on strategies such as setting, action, character, reflection, event, and dialogue in a shared reading experience. Students rank several leads from novels as they are read aloud and discuss their rankings. They then generate different leads for a read-aloud book in the classroom, using different strategies for each. Finally, they write or revise a lead in one of their pieces of writing.

Grade(s)

3, 4, 5

Subject Area

English Language Arts

Learning Resource Type

Classroom Resource

Each day at the end of their independent reading time, students give Book Boosts, one-minute raves about books they've read. Students select a book that they really enjoyed and then give a one-minute talk that generates interest in the book but does not give away the book's ending. Students can boost their books in a variety of ways, including creating alternate book covers, designing posters or flyers, or making promotional bookmarks. Have students take turns giving book boosts with two students giving a Book Boost each class day. These Book Boosts are easy ways to suggest a multitude of titles to students, and they act as a way for students to have something to think about as they read.

Grade(s)

3, 4, 5

Subject Area

English Language Arts

Learning Resource Type

Classroom Resource

Tapping existing texts for models is one of the best strategies for writer's workshop. This lesson examines types of leads in prominent young adult literature and asks students to search for great leads and then try their own hand at writing leads. Students rank several leads from novels as they are read aloud, and then discuss their rankings. Working in small groups, students read alternative leads from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. They then act as a marketing group to select the best lead. Next, students create two new leads for a novel, using different strategies for each. Finally, students apply this process to their own writing, working in pairs to create two alternative leads to something they have written.

Grade(s)

6, 7, 8

Subject Area

English Language Arts

Learning Resource Type

Classroom Resource
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