I have heard it said many
times that to become a better reader you need to read! I truly
believe that is true. Many times we teachers put so many obstacles
in the way of our students' reading that they never get a chance
to read, they're too busy completing worksheets, literature logs,
and practice bubble tests. Keep this in mind when having your
students complete the activities here, they are intended to expose
and extend, not to "get in the way."
This website is designed for students
in grades 3 through 6 ... "ish." The learning activities
were selected for several reasons: they allow for a variety of
abilities to successfully complete them due to their being open-ended,
they incorporate and require more thought than that of a single
subject area, they help children learn the essence of a particular
genre, and they are inherently fun. The links to the various
webpages support both the learning and the specific activities.
However, they are not exhaustive, feel free to support your students
with more links if you feel they need or want them.
One of the main purposes of this
website is to help young readers explore some genres that they
may not have read before. Educational activities for and information
on other genres is out there and perhaps I will find the time
to include those on this site in the future.
Directly below I have included
some background information for most of the links and activities
I have used while creating this site. You may find a student
or perhaps your entire class wanting to pursue a genre further,
some of these links should help. To find formal citations of
the resources used please follow this link to the Bibliography
and Resources page.
The activity for eulogizing a famous
person comes from a lesson by Kristi Young and can be found on
the Learning Space website at: http://www.learningspace.org/instruct/lplan/library/kyoung.html.
The Learning Space has a lot of great lesson plans all of which
are directly tied to the Washington State academic learning requirements.
The URL for the lesson plan section is: http://www.learningspace.org/instruct/lplan/default.html.
The websites I have listed for
students to use for their biography research, The American
Experience - Featured Presidents http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/presidents/nf/featured/featured.html,
Black Pioneer Bios http://www.teleport.com/~eotic/blakbios.html,
Distinguished Women of Past and Present http://www.DistinguishedWomen.com/subject/field.html,
Who's Who in American History http://us.history.wisc.edu/hist102/bios/bios.html,
are by no means all that are out there, they are just a very
few among many. Use your favorite search engine, type in "biography,"
and you will find hundreds more websites. A word of caution however,
you may get some sites with inappropriate information on them.
To help minimize this, use a "kid-friendly" search
engine such as Yahooligans ... and read through the sites.
The activity idea for the Harry
Potter books comes from a lesson titled The Harry Potter
Movie, Allstar Fantasy Cast by Keith B. Shaw. It can
be found online at: http://www.incwell.com/HarryPotter/DreamCast.html.
A character trait chart to use with this lesson can be found
Of the many websites that focus on the popular series of books,
I have found Scholastic's (http://www.scholastic.com/harrypotter/home_noflash.asp)
to be among the best. Of course they are promoting sales of the
book, but there is a lot of great information about the series
here, including a pronunciation guide. The guide however needs
for your computer to have Flash Player
software from Macromedia
in order to use it.
The Lilypad is courteous of Internet Public
Library's Youth Story Hour website. More stories are
available and can be accessed from: http://www.ipl.org/youth/StoryHour/.
The complete text of The
Velveteen Rabbit is one of many complete text stories
available from The at theCelebration of Women Writers' Build-A-Book Initiative at: http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/williams/rabbit/rabbit.html.
However, a linked listing of full-text stories for young readers
that is probably more useful for teachers can be found on the
Classics for Young People webpage, http://www.acs.ucalgary.ca/~dkbrown/storclas.html.
Story Studio is a Canadian
television program that produces shows based on stories written
by kids. The website is one access to the show that students
can use to submit their own stories for use in their programming.
The URL is: http://www.storystudio.com/.
They also have a "Teachers and Parents" page
that will give you much more specific information. It is located
TheCase.com for Kids is a wonderful online resource for this
genre. The site publishes a short online mystery every week for
kids to solve. In addition there are two other mysteries, a writing
contest, a weekly magic trick to learn, and a listing of TV mysteries!
The URL is: http://www.TheCase.com/kids/.
For older students there is another resource from this group
that you may wish to know about, Learning with Mysteries
Lesson Plans. They can be found at http://www.MysteryNet.com/learn/lessonplans/.
Although I feel some of the stories that go with these lessons
are for older children, they lessons themselves could easily
be adapted for younger students.
Millennium Mystery Madness (http://library.thinkquest.org/J002344/)
is a ThinkQuest Jr.
website written by students from Ss. Peter & Paul School
Jr. site, Mystery (http://tqjunior.thinkquest.org/5109/index.html),
is written by 4th and 6th grade students from Robert Healy
Elementary School in Chicago. It includes two mysteries to
solve as well as two mystery story starters. Another interesting
feature about this site is the glossary
that the students have included.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
has a wonderful website that includes lots of well-written lessons.The
Art of Reading Poetry is one of them and is available
I used this lesson as the basis for the activities on the Poetry
page. Links to the other lessons available from the Commonwealth
of Pennsylvania can be found on the page at: http://188.8.131.52/success/index.htm.
The Poetry Guide
webpage lists 10 different activities for kids to do to become
better, more thoughtful poets. Although the page is sponsored
by the Environmental Defense
organization, the activities are generic enough to be used in
many settings. You can find this page at: http://www.edf.org/Earth2Kids/teachers/poetryguide.html.
The websites used for students
to read other students' poems, Kids' Poems http://www.edf.org/Earth2Kids/kidspoem/,
Positively Poetry http://advicom.net/~e-media/kv/poetry1.html,
andWeb Choice--Site Developer's
Favorite Poems http://geocities.com/EnchantedForest/5165/webchoice.html,
together have tons of poems to read. I find them to provide good
models for elementary aged students who are just beginning to
be able to express themselves through poetry.
The interplanetary travel brochure
activity is from Roberta Sauer's lesson plan titled Interplanetary
Travel Contest which can be found on the Learning
Space website at: http://www.learningspace.org/instruct/lplan/library/Sauer.html.
The Solar Scouts
online activity by Keith B. Shaw can be found at: http://www.incwell.com/Library/Scout/index.html.
It is one of several online language arts activities from Spectrum
Home and School Magazine, all available at: http://www.incwell.com/LanguageArts.html.
It's Magic is courteous of the Internet Public
Library's Youth Story Hour website. It was written and
illustrated by fourth and fifth grade students in 1996. It's
opening page can be found at: http://www.ipl.org/youth/StoryHour/itsmagic/.
The Story Hour page can be accessed at: http://www.ipl.org/youth/StoryHour/.
There are many great websites that
provide information about our solar system. The three I've included
here, StarChild: The Solar System http://starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/StarChild/solar_system_level1/solar_system.html,The Planets http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/planets/,
and Views of the Solar System http://solarviews.com/eng/homepage.htm,
are among the best.
The learning activities and student
links can also be looked at in a different way, by subject area.
Below is a listing of these site elements in this format. Note
that some elements are listed in more than one subject area due
to their integrated nature.
One final bit of information for
you. As teachers it is important that we do our best to follow
laws, if for no other reason than to be good role models for
our students (they have enough poor role models already)! One
part of this is to give citations for the pieces of work that
we use. In this spirit I am providing a Bibliography
and Resources page for this website linked here.