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Language Arts: Writing, Literature, and Creativity

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Cross-Cultural Dialogue Writing: Guy Fawkes’ Gunpowder Plot
Expand students’ cultural horizons by shaping a fun dialogue-writing exercise around Guy Fawkes Night, a November 5 historical observance that’s popular in England.

Harry Potter Inspires: Design a Wizard Sports Team
In this lesson for grades K-2, students use creativity, reasoning and language skills to develop a new sports team.

Students draw inspiration from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland in order to jump-start their own creative writing process.

Harry Potter Inspires: Character Sketch for a New Wizard
In this writing and literature lesson for grades 5-8, students create a new character that would fit into the wizard world.

Creating a Poetry Collection
In this lesson, which encourages students to think about the sounds of poems, students use lip-syncing software to produce an animated talking head.

Community Scavenger Hunt Teaches Research Skills, Much More
When armies of students descend on local libraries, it has to be time for the State of Jefferson Scavenger Hunt. The three-day event challenges kids to track down answers to a series of questions. The results include improved research skills, priceless memories.

100 Years Ago in History
Start the new year by investigating events that happened 100 years ago this year. (Grades 5-12)

From the Land, Of the Land: An Interdisciplinary Lesson on Indigenous Peoples
Energize a geography or language arts lesson with this online activity for grades 7-12. Students research the concept of indigenous people then write a diamante poem about what they've learned. Both the research and the poem creation are done online.

Jet-Setting Pets
In this lesson, K-5 students select a pet and a travel destination, then find four things the pet could do at that locale. Designed for use with Inspiration/Kidspiration, the lesson can be adapted for use with other programs.

This Bird Can Blog!
Want to improve your students' quality and quantity of writing? Check out this lesson plan for grades 3-5! Students assume the persona of a real or imagined classroom pet and write a blog describing daily activities in the classroom.

Daily Language Practice Builds Skills, Test Scores
Turn daily language practice into a game, build test scores too. (Grades 3-12)

Scriptwriting with a Wiki
This middle- and high-school lesson plan uses a wiki -- a Web site that allows users to add and edit content collectively -- to write a one-act play.

Biography Brainstorm: Using Word and the Web to Jumpstart Research
Students use Internet resources and Microsoft Word drawing tools to brainstorm (through webbing) questions about a person they will research and write about.

A Picture's Worth 1000 Words
In this interdisciplinary lesson, K-8 students try to interpret what pictographs -- pictures that symbolize a word or concept -- really mean. Then they write sentences using their own pictograph system.

What's the Word?
In this activity for grades 3-8, students define 4-5 vocabulary words, use a free online tool to create crossword puzzles with the words, and then share their puzzles for review.

Portrait of a Hero
Students select and research someone they consider a hero and then use facts about that person and quotes by that person to create micrographic portraits.

As Easy as A, B, C
Are your students learning their ABCs? Then check out these easy-to-use and fun Web sites filled with ideas for teaching and learning the alphabet. Whether you make the sites available in a computer center or display them on a projector, something valuable is just a click away!

No Place Like Home
Students learn to "read" digital content as they analyze photographs of high plains sod homes and read accompanying narratives. They then choose one photograph and identify characteristics, points, differences, and questions they find in that photograph.

A Lesson in Proofing
Students in middle and high school learn to use Word's Find/Replace feature to check written work, increase accuracy, and improve their grades. Teachers might want to use the feature too.

Teaching Writing on a Computer
Students love seeing their work in print, so why not have them write some of their work on the computer? Walk students through the basics of typing and saving on a computer.

Edit Essays with Word Tables
Still grading essays, red ink pen in hand? Next time your students have an essay due, ask them to submit their work in Word, help them identify their grammar and spelling errors, and then have them correct those errors using Word's table feature.

Fun Activities Get the School Year Off to a Good Start!
Every teacher has a different approach to the first few days of school. Whatever your approach, Education World has an activity for you!

Books Give Us Wings
In this Letters About Literature lesson, students read and discuss letters written by young readers to the authors of books that "gave them wings."

Will the Leaning Tower Fall?
Students in grades 9-12 research the Tower of Pisa and write a report about its history. They examine the physics of why the Tower leans and whether it might fall. Finally, they plan a trip to Italy to see the Tower, developing an itinerary and budget for the trip.

A Favorite Poem
Students explore a variety of poems, find one poem they feel a particular connection to, and share that poem by reading it aloud to their classmates. Students then create videos of their readings to share with other classes.

Create A Poetry Calendar
In this lesson, students research, design, and create a school-year calendar based on the work of famous poets. The activity, which can take 4-5 class periods to complete, is a great culminating activity for a poetry unit for grades 3-12.

Quilting Connections
Help your K-8 class celebrate Women's History Month. Students research an influential woman, then create on the computer a quilt block with text and graphics. Quilt blocks are then printed and combined to form a quilt of connections.

Definition Expedition
Students in grades 9-12 learn three ways to define a term in technical writing, search the Web for scientific text, then copy and paste sections into a Word document. Finally, they use the highlighter feature of Word to highlight examples of definitions within the text.  

Write a Number Story
Make writing across content areas fun with this K-3 computer activity. Students use AppleWorks (or Office) to write and illustrate number stories. The stories then are used to create a Keynote or PowerPoint show and displayed for the class (or parents!) to see and share.

Poetry From Photos: A Lesson on the Great Depression.
Getting information from the Internet often is just a copy and paste operation. The challenge for teachers is to teach students to apply and extend what they learn online. In this lesson, students view photographs of migrant families during the Great Depression, try to interpret the photos to answer questions about the subject's life, and then write a cinquain poem based on their interpretations.

PowerPoint Poetry Slam
Make poetry come alive with this English lesson for grades 7-12. In a unique twist to a standard poetry reading, students select poems, create PowerPoint presentations that use graphics and text to enhance their poems, and then display those presentations as they read their poems aloud.

Prehistoric Pen Pals
Students research dinosaurs, then assume the personality of a specific dinosaur species in this lesson for grades 3-5. Each student/dinosaur writes an online "getting to know you" letter to another student/dinosaur in class. Students swap letters and reply to each other's questions, improving research and letter writing skills while learning fun dinosaur facts.

The News Behind the (Short) Story
Transform students from passive readers to gritty journalists. In this lesson, students read a short story, then create a one-page newspaper depicting the facts of the fictional story as real-life events. Included: Links to an online newspaper template as well as to a classic short story site are included.

Take the Polar Express to Learning
Polar Express, the movie, arrives in movie theaters nationwide on November 10. Don't miss the movie and the opportunity to take advantage of this "teachable moment." Included: Education World connects you to lessons, resources.

Illustrating Illustrating Student Writing in Grades 1-3
In this lesson, students type in Microsoft Word a descriptive paragraph about a person or other creature they would most like to meet. They then draw in Microsoft Paint a picture of that person and/or of their meeting, and insert the image into the Word document.

What's New? Translating Foreign Newspapers With Word
Engage students while practicing translation skills. This activity helps foreign language students decode newspaper articles from around the world using Microsoft Word's Text-to-Table tool.

How Does it End? A Lesson in Creativity
Put students' creative talents to work by having them compose their own endings to a read-aloud story. Students use drawing software, such as Paint or AppleWorks, to draw, or write and draw, what they want to happen at the end of the story.

Celebrating Asian and Pacific-Island Heritage
Each May -- during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month -- we recognize the special contributions of people of Asian and Pacific Islander heritage. The lessons here introduce students to famous Asian Americans and explore their origins and their literature.

A Puzzle A Day Provides Practice That Pays
Puzzles exercise students' critical thinking skills while providing practice in many curriculum areas. Puzzles make great "bellringer" activities. Introduce a puzzle a day: A puzzle a day provides practice that pays Included: A year of puzzles!

Teaching Grammar Without the Hammer: Five Fun Activities
Learning grammar has been compared to other fun things -- like having teeth pulled or being assigned detention. But it needn't be a painful experience with these five lessons that teach grammar -- without the hammer!

Word Wall "Active-ities" Build Vocabulary, Spelling, Writing Skills
A classroom word wall has many uses. A wide variety of activities and games can be used to reinforce vocabulary words on the wall -- and to build students' vocabulary, spelling, and writing skills. Included: Teachers share favorite word wall activities.

Celebrate Books: A (Book) Week of Fun!
The calendar might identify November 17-23 as Children's Book Week, but for most teachers -- always on the lookout for new ideas to promote literacy -- every week is Book Week. Education World offers five new lessons for a week of reading fun.

Take Note: Five Lessons for Note Taking Fun
If recent surveys are any indicator, cheating and plagiarism are on the rise. As teachers, however, we might be able to reverse that trend by teaching our students to take good notes. Included: Five fun lessons that teach needed note-taking skills.

 

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Spotlight on Spelling
Each May, the National Spelling Bee is held in Washington, D.C. Since most of your students won't be there, this week we offer lesson plans to help put them there next year! Included: Five new lesson plans plus links to many more. Voice of Experience: Revisiting Walden Pond in 2003
If your students were to head for a modern-day Walden Pond, what would they take with them? Kathleen Modenbach shares an activity that helped her students grasp Thoreau's sacrifices and appreciate his work. Included: Cross-curricular activities extend the lesson.

What is the Most Serious Problem Facing Earth? -- An Education World WebQuest
In this special Earth Day WebQuest, student teams research a critical threat to Earth's environment as they vie for $1 million in funding from the fictional Help Our World (HOW) Foundation. Included: student work sheets, lots of Earth Day resources, more.

Reviving Reviews: Refreshing Ideas Students Can't Resist
Is review time a deadly bore for you and your students? Add a little fun to review time and you might be surprised. Games will spice up reviews, revive interest, and ensure retention! Included: Five activities for use in all subjects, all grades!

Its Up for Debate!
Debates are a staple of middle and high school social studies classes. But have you ever thought about using debates at the lower grades -- or in math class? Education World offers five debate strategies and extra lessons for students of all ages.

Special Reading Fun for Read Across America Day
Each March, on Dr. Seusss birthday, schools celebrate Read Across America Day. This week, Education World recognizes this special day with five new reading lesson plans plus links to dozens of great reading projects culled from our archive.

It's a Mystery!
If it seems that something has been sneaking up on you this month, it is probably Kids Love a Mystery Week! Included: Five mysterious lessons -- focused on language arts, history, and forensic science -- to ignite critical thinking and spark interest in reading.

Winter Wonderland -- Lessons for Frosty Days!
Though the weather outside is frightful, wintry lessons are delightful! Whether the topic is snow, cold, or other icy treats, winter is a frosty focus that will motivate and entertain your class. Bundle up and brace for wild, windy, weather outside while showing your students the best of winter activities indoors! Included: Five lessons that make winter a winning subject!

Better Book Reports: 25 More Ideas!
Tired of the same old book report formats? This week, Education World presents a sequel to its popular "Better Book Reports -- 25 Ideas! article. Are you ready for 25 more practical book report ideas?

By the Book -- Activities for Book Week!
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket" -- but getting kids to crack open books is often no walk in the park! During this year's observance of Children's Book Week, share the wonder and magic of books. Included: Five language arts lessons you'll want to "bookmark"!

Spice Up Your Spelling Lessons
Are you looking for ways to spice up boring old spelling routines? This week, Education World offers five activities to help you do just that!

Better Letters: Lesson Plans for Teaching Letter Writing
Is letter writing a lost art? This week Education World provides five new lessons to revive student interest in writing friendly letters. These letter-writing lessons are sure to get your stamp of approval!

Once Upon a Time
Activities to teach fables, fairy tales, folktales, myths, and more.

Turn Your Students Into Well-Versed Poets
In celebration of National Poetry Month, Education World offers more than 20 poetry lesson plans to help teachers integrate poetry into their classrooms and develop "well-versed" students. Stage a poetry slam for profit, find the funniest poems around, write synonym poems, more!

More 'Write' Stuff!
Engage students with writing activities that involve them in writing round-robin stories, "indescribably" excellent descriptions, persuasive alien essays, tabloid news stories, and books about younger students they interview.

Make the 'Write' Impression!
According to the NAEP Writing Report Card published in 1999, 23 percent of fourth graders, 27 percent of eighth graders, and 22 percent of high school seniors, write at the "proficient" level. The push is on in schools across the U.S. to improve students' writing skills. This week, Education World provides five lesson plans to support that effort.

Better Book Reports -- 25 Ideas!
Tired of the same old book report formats? Do your students grumble every time you mention the words book reports? Spice up those old book reports with some new ideas. Education World presents 25 ideas for you to use or adapt.

Lit to Fit: Literature Lessons for Every Grade
Instructor Marcia Goudie says, "The Internet has put literature into the teachers' hands." Her Web site -- Children's Literature Activities for the Classroom -- directs educators in the direction of lessons made to fit the literary works they teach.

Building on Biographies -- Bringing Real-Life Stories Into Your Curriculum!
Who can dispute the value of a good story? Though students may initially view them as dull, biographies are the stuff that great classroom activities are made of -- history, honest, and heroism. With the help of the Internet, every teacher can bring biographies into the classroom!

Vocabulary and Spelling: Do Your Students Say Boring?
It is hard to argue the fact that a good vocabulary is an asset in life. What greater service can teachers perform than to help students foster their understanding of words? The Internet offers many tools for young etymologists and an abundance of great ideas for teaching vocabulary and spelling. Dig for definitions and pry for pronunciations -- virtual vocabulary has no limits!

Spell It Out!
Spelling lessons and activities from Education World can help your students join in the fun of the 74th annual National Spelling Bee. It takes place next week in Washington, D.C.

Author! Author! Activities for National Children's Book Week!
Celebrate the joy of reading during National Children's Book Week! To recognize this special observance, Education World offers ten lessons to spark students' curiosity about the wonderful world of books! Included: Activities that engage students in writing sequels to a classic story, "interviewing" people in biographies, completing surveys about their reading interests, participating in a poetry slam, and much more!

Read All About It! Ten Terrific Newspaper Lessons!
Education World celebrates National Newspaper Week with ten lessons to help you integrate the newspaper into your classroom curriculum. Included: Activities that involve students in interviewing a local newspaper reporter, creating editorial cartoons, comparing newspapers, and much more!

Building on Biographies -- Bringing Real-Life Stories Into Your Curriculum!
Who can dispute the value of a good story? Though students may initially view them as dull, biographies are the stuff that great classroom activities are made of -- history, honesty, and heroism. With the help of the Internet, every teacher can bring biographies into their classrooms! Included: Ten activities that begin with biographies!

Harry Potter Haiku
Kids by the dozens are creating original Harry Potter haiku and posting them to the Web! If you are a teacher who is looking for a fun -- and educational -- activity, why not turn students' enthusiasm for all things Harry Potter into a creative writing opportunity?

Folktales of Cooperation for Your K-3 Class
Are you looking for a fun and effective way of promoting the spirit of cooperation in your K through 3 classrooms? This week ---National Library Week--- Elaine Lindy, creator of the Absolutely Whootie Web site, shares three favorite folktales that will get kids thinking and talking about the importance of cooperation! After you use the tales in the classroom, why not send them home so the discussion about cooperation can continue? Included: Lindy shares follow-up activities and tips.

Calling on the Muse: Exercises to Unlock the Poet Within
I think that I shall never see ... well-disciplined creativity! How often has that thought crossed your mind? Don't despair! The experts -- working poets who teach their craft--- share their secrets for instructing and inspiring budding poets. Included: Exercises to help students access their creative powers and produce well-crafted poems.

A Quotation a Day: Just What the Language Doctor Ordered!
Many teachers have discovered the power of famous quotations. Such quotations can be used to develop students' writing and critical thinking skills. Included: "Why use quotations?" *plus* a quotation a day for 180 days of school.

Priceless Works of Language Arts: Invaluable Activities!
There are many ways to enrich the language arts lessons you teach. One is to add gems from the Internet to your collection. Teachers everywhere share their priceless bits of wisdom through mailing lists and publish their best ideas on Web sites. Let's mine the Web for golden reading, grammar, and language activities!

Kids Can W.R.I.T.E. (Write, Revise, Inform, Think, and Edit) --- Activities for Every Grade!
In July of 1965, Snoopy's first line as an author was, "It was a dark and stormy night." We can't all have his wonderful way with words -- written at least -- but we can work on it! How do you help your students overcome their fear of the blank page? How can you make writing an exercise in personal expression, not drudgery? One key to better writing is better writing assignments -- and the Internet has them! Let's tour a few of the finest writing activities that the Web has to offer!

Vocabulary and Spelling: Do Your Students Say 'Boring'?
Henry Ward Beecher said, "All words are pegs to hang ideas on." If words are pegs, does it follow that the more words we know, the more ideas we may have? True or not, it is hard to argue the fact that a good vocabulary is an asset in life. What greater service can teachers perform than to help students foster their understanding of words? The Internet offers many tools for young etymologists and an abundance of great ideas for teaching vocabulary and spelling. Dig for definitions and pry for pronunciations --- virtual vocabulary has no limits!

'Every Day' Activities: Language
Build vocabulary skills, spelling skills, literature awareness, thinking skills, and more with daily fun. Make it a goal to work one of these Web sites into your lesson plans in the year ahead!

Rhyme Time: Poetry Plans and Projects
"If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry," said Emily Dickinson. Many students wouldn't disagree! Even the best teachers and students can be perplexed by poetry, but it doesn't have to be a painful experience. The Web is a rich source of verse and activities that make use of poetry. Bring poetry into your classroom through monitor and modem with the help of these activities!

Tired of the same old book report formats? Or worse, do your students grumble every time you mention "book reports"? Spice up those old book reports with some new ideas. Education World presents 25 ideas for you to use or adapt. In addition: Ideas for cyber book reports!

Taking the "Pain" out of Lesson Planning: Children's Book Resources on the Web
Teachers are the original "borrowers." But there's nothing wrong with taking advantage of a good idea -- especially when it is volunteered! National Children's Book Week (November 16 to 22, 1999) provides the perfect opportunity to take advantage of a few of the Internet's best resources for teaching with children's books. So, books closed, pencils away, and monitors on -- it's time for some S.S.R. (Super Story Resources)! Included: Resources for teaching literature for teachers PreK to grade 12!

ABC Books Aren't for Babies!
Looking for some inspiration for an activity that will engage students -- from kindergarten to college -- while they learn? Why not challenge students to create their own ABC books? Included: More than 200 ABC book ideas -- spanning the grades and the curriculum!

Reading Activities for Read-In! Day!
Teachers who've joined The Read In! share their favorite reading activity ideas. Included: Theme ideas for reading fun!

25 Ideas to Motivate Young Readers!
To celebrate Children's Book Week, the folks at the BOOK-IT! Program have given permission for Education World to reprint 25 great ideas from teachers -- ideas that are sure to get kids across the grades excited about reading!

Seventh Graders Writing Italian Sonnets? You Bet!
Glori Chaika's students at Slidell (Louisiana) Junior High School are among the most-often published poets in the country. Let's take a look at a program that has kids writing all kinds of poems---from quatrains to limericks to (yes!) Italian sonnets.

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