Gestures

When introducing new vocabulary for a story, it is very important to establish a gesture for each term. Often, I come up with a gesture and teach it to my class. For more difficult terms or for “fun” terms, I ask students to create a gesture. This week, the second strategy was immensely successful with…

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Cornell Notes

Developed “far above Cayuga’s waters“, Cornell Notes are an effective note-taking strategy that can be used across grade levels and content areas. I was first introduced to Cornell Notes by my administrator in a 6-8 public school in Anchorage, Alaska. She didn’t have to sell me on it too hard since my grandfather, my parents,…

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Running Dictation Relay Race

Running Dictation is a review activity. Traditionally, language teachers have used this fast-paced team game to review a story. Students benefit from repeated exposure to information and to language, and so content area teachers will find this activity just as helpful as language teachers. Running Dictation in a nutshell In a Running Dictation, students are…

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Class Storybook Illustration

After most class stories that we tell (well, at least any story that isn’t totally lame), I like to have the class make a storybook to add into the class library. They are great to have when students stop in with friends or come in for conferences with their parents. I made a 14 page…

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Four Square Story Map

One struggle for me has been to create questions and activities that help my students practice their critical thinking skills. Much of what we do in class, regrettably, is regurgitation and transformation. Standardized test results show that students at my school and at schools throughout the nation struggle when it comes to critical thinking and…

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Human Timeline

This is an activity that is meant to be used after you have finished asking a story. Break the story into chunks. If you have a smaller class (15ish students or fewer), each student can have their own chunk of the story. If you have a bigger class, several students may have the same piece…

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