Making a Masterpiece

make your masterpiece one and only ivan

I spend a lot of time in the summer reading (even more) kid lit. I am always on the hunt for books I can use in my classroom. I have a core group of novels that I teach each year, but I like to rotate one or two out of the line-up and bring in something fresh. This year, I am adding The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. I have spent the past week designing new materials to use with my students. While there are some materials I like to have for all novels I teach (chapter vocabulary lists and a character chart), I pretty much start from scratch every time I design a unit so that the activities are unique to that specific novel. Developing the ideas and wrapping layers of language skills into a unit of study are probably my favorite part of teaching.

  • I read lots of books for pleasure until I find one that catches my interest.
  • Once I choose a book I would like to teach, I read the book a second time and make notes. I circle key words, write notes and questions in the margin, underline important quotes, put stars next to interesting passages, and jot activity ideas at the bottom of the page.
  • Next, I set up my basic handouts that I use in every novel unit. I always add chapter vocabulary, and I always have a character chart of some kind.
  • After that, I often implement an ongoing task. I call this an anchor activity. Students might have to find figurative language in each chapter, write a summary “gist” statement after completing each chapter, or re-tell the chapter from the point of view of one character.
  • I add in activities that are unique to the themes, story, and writing style of the book. For The One and Only Ivan, students recreate the “puzzle” drawing Ivan paints with his message to save Ruby, the baby elephant. Based on evidence from the text, students draw and color their version of Ivan’s masterpiece. They cut their drawing into pieces, and a partner has to reassemble the drawing just like the character, Julia, did in the story. I want to keep the flow of the story going, so I won’t plan for these unique activities at the end of every chapter; I sprinkle them throughout the book.
  • Ivans masterpiece cuttingI also like to incorporate at least one non-fiction reading selection that supplements events in the story. In the Ivan story, students get to compare the book version of Ivan to the real Ivan who lived at Zoo Atlanta after spending 27 years in a glass enclosure at a mall.

One and Only Ivan real v book

Typically, the first year I teach a book, I am creating the items I need the night before I will use them with the students. Thanks to the TpT Seller Challenge, I had motivation to get a head start on my new novel for this school year. I also had a great editing buddy, DocRunning, who offered great suggestions for improvements.

 

Middle School Teacher Giveaway

Middle School Giveaway

I donated a literature unit to a middle school giveaway for teachers. If any of my teacher followers are interested in some new teaching resources, please click the links below to enter. I contributed my In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson literature unit, but if you win the ELA product pack, you can choose any literature unit from my teacher store.

Thanks to Krystal from Lessons From The Middle and Kate from Kate’s Classroom Cafe for organizing this giveaway just for middle school teachers.

middle school giveawayA Rafflecopter Giveaway

Middle School Giveaway A Rafflecopter Giveaway

Middle School GiveawayA Rafflecopter Giveaway

Middle School Giveaway A Rafflecopter Giveaway

Middle School GiveawayA Rafflecopter Giveaway

Middle School Giveaway A Rafflecopter Giveaway

Middle School GiveawayA Rafflecopter Giveaway

Teacher Tip

sample workbooks

Teachers receive many booklets with reproducible student pages inside. It is easy to recognize this type of teacher material because it looks just like a student workbook but may have 3 holes punched in it. The idea is to have the teacher remove the pages when needed, make copies for students, then start a materials binder that will hold the student worksheet until the teacher needs to copy it again.

Teachers rarely remove the pages because the pages do not pull out easily. The pages tear. The pages get mangled when a person tries to oh-so-carefully remove them along the handy perforation the book publisher provides. Instead, TheRoomMom teachers will push the entire book flat on the copy machine while the copy machine (who think it is smarter than you are) reorients the page, so it copies landscape rather than portrait, and you get a copy of a half a page and a good shot of your arm and watchband.

workbook pages separated

I found a solution. An instructor at a professional development class I attended this summer told me to put the book that you want to separate in the freezer for several hours. When you pull the book out of the freezer, bend the pages back, and the glue will crack. Voila. You can separate all pages and reassemble in a binder.

workbook pages in binder

I apologize to my non-educator followers who might not find today’s post useful. On the other hand, if you have been desperate to find a way to cleanly remove pages from the heavy glue binding in a book, this might just be the tip that will change your world.

cover of workbook in binder