Posts Tagged ‘Language Arts ideas’

Teachers spend on average about $395 out of pocket annually, with first-year teachers spending an average of $770, according to a study by Perry Research Professional.  During the holiday season, when all of our budgets are straining, newspapers can be an inexpensive resource.  Most students love the novelty of the format.  Let’s take a couple days and consider the possibilities: 

Language Arts:

Separate articles from the headlines.  Students see if they can correctly match them. 

Cut off the headlines and have students create them, then compare with a classmate.

Find all of the nouns (or verbs, or adjectives, etc.) in an article.

Cut out letters to make this week’s spelling words.

Highlight words that begin with a certain sound.

Write captions for photographs.

Study the Want Ads.  Create one for a designated item in the room.

Compare and contrast articles written for two different sections of the newspaper.

List the main idea and supporting details from an article.

Start your own classroom newspaper.

Tomorrow we’ll look at ways to support math concepts with a newspaper.

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Healthy Snack for Thanksgiving Party


  • Apple
  • Clementine or navel orange
  • Pear
  • Dried apricot
  • Soy nut butter or cream cheese
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Nut (or candy corn if allergies are an issue)
  • Dried cranberry



  1. Arrange apple and clementine or navel orange slices on a plate as shown, and lay a cored pear half on top.
  2. Use scissors to halve a dried apricot, then snip small triangles from each half and tuck them under the pear to form the feet.
  3. Finally, use soy nut butter or softened cream cheese to attach mini chocolate chip eyes, a beak, and a dried cranberry snood.



Turkey Yarn Bug

This is a fun and whimsical Thanksgiving craft that any child (or adult) will enjoy making. To make it, you need: brown yarn, yellow and orange foam scrap, 2 wiggle eyes, one Styrofoam ball, feathers, tacky glue, scissors, heavy hardboard.

You start this Thanksgiving craft out by making a pompom by wrapping the brown yarn around the heavy cardboard 100 times or more. Cut a smaller piece of yarn (about 6”) and slide it under the wrapped yarn – tie it very tightly in a double knot. Turn over your heavy cardboard and cut through the middle of the yarn and that side. Now turn your yarn pompom sideways and smooth out the strands.

Take your Styrofoam ball and slice off and end so that it can sit flat without rolling (ask an adult to do this part). Cover the Styrofoam ball with glue (except for the bottom, of course). Glue the pompom down across the ball so that the entire ball is covered. Now you can take your feathers and stick them into the ball to form the turkey’s tail. Next, take the colored foam and cut out a beak (one or two triangles) and a waddle (in the shape of a tear drop). Glue these along with the wiggle eyes onto your turkey bug and voila!



Placemat Project

Students research information about the Thanksgiving holiday using Internet resources from a hotlist. They research the history of holiday. They design placemats using the information before writing about what they are thankful for.



Giving Thanks Tree – smaller version

Materials Needed:

Fill the clay pot or jar with pebbles and stick the branch into the pebbles so it stands like a tree. Cut a variety of leaf shapes out of red, orange, and yellow construction paper. Use the hole punch to make a hole in each leaf. Cut a piece of ribbon, about 8″ long for each leaf shape you have.

On each leaf, a person should write something they are thankful for. The ribbon can be threaded through the hole in a leaf and tied to the tree.


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The National Network for Child Care encourages strong lead alouds for these reasons:

  • develops a positive attitude toward books as a source of pleasure and information;
  • increases vocabulary;
  • expands the child’s knowledge base;
  • stimulates imagination;
  • sharpens observation skills;
  • enhances listening skills;
  • promotes self-confidence and self-esteem;
  • offers many new friends since book characters can become quite real;
  • contributes to the child’s problem-solving skills;
  • satisfies and heightens curiosity;
  • encourages positive social interaction.


The time spent reading to your students can promote responsible behavior and strong character, an investment that will pay dividends in our society for years to come.   

It’s certainly not an exhaustive list, but here are more books to consider:

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

The Black Stallion by Walter Farley

The Cricket in Times Square by George Seldon

The Moffats by Eleanor Estes

The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary

The Secret Garden by Frances H. Burnett

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fiaher

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

What’s your favorite read aloud?

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Children need good role models.  Some are fortunate enough to have a pair of parents who love, affirm, instruct, and guide.  While those kids have someone to look up to, they still need additional encouragement to make wise choices.  What about children who don’t have the advantage of an involved mom or dad?  They need even more input if they are going to learn how to become responsible adults.  Solid book characters can provide positive examples.  Children can learn from others’ successes and failures and apply those lessons to their own lives.  As their teachers, we can give our students a glimpse of their future possibilities.

Here’s my second list of books to consider for book reports and read alouds:

Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

King of the Wood by Marguerite Henry

Little House in the Prairie Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Little Prince by Saint-Exupery, Antoine de

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Louise Braille by Margaret Davidson

Old Yeller by Fred Gipson

Peter Pan by James M. Barrie

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

Sacajewea Wilderness Guide by Kate Jassem

Sounder by William H. Armstrong

Stuart Little by E.B. White

(Poster by Paulo Jiminez of Miami, Florida)



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Content Counts

Fall and winter usher in early evenings and extra time for great books.  Contrary to some, I believe that good content is a priority in children’s book choices.  Yes, it’s important that interesting plots capture their imaginations.  And, yes, kids laugh at boogers and butts.  But, with a plethora of amazing choices to consider, why not invest in your students’ character and values when it’s time for book reports and read alouds? 

 Here are a few of my favorites for the intermediate grades:

 A Girl Named Helen Keller by Margo Lundell

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Big Red by Jim Kjelgaard

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

Call It Courage by Sperry Armstrong

Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth, Jr. & Ernestine Gilbreth Carey

 The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

Freedom Train by Dorothy Sterling

Heidi by Johanna Spyri

Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary

Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell

Tomorrow, I’ll post a few more books for you to consider.

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“Seeing is believing.”  That used to be true, but in the generation of Photoshop, you can’t always trust your eyes to verify accuracy.  Visualizing plots, characters, timelines, etc. , however, bring insight to many students.  You may have your favorite sites to pull from, but here are a few of my favorite places to browse graphic organizers:






 Any sites that you visit often?

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