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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. Included: Goudie's favorite lesson plan resources for use across the grades!

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"The Internet has put literature into the teachers' hands," says teacher Marcia Goudie. "It allows them to reach every corner of the world and share literature and lesson ideas for wonderful books."

When Goudie, an instructor with 24 years of teaching experience, realized what a useful tool the Internet could be for teachers of literature -- and the time it could save teachers! -- she created Children's Literature Activities for the Classroom. That resource, a part of her larger Web site called Marcia's Lesson Links, provides a guide to help teachers find quality literature-related materials for their classrooms.

"I have enjoyed collecting lists of books for many subjects," Goudie told Education World. "I search out a theme or topic and then dive in looking for books that fit the theme." One of Goudie's largest lists of books is Great Literature for the Classroom.

"I have talked with teachers in Japan, Hawaii, New Zealand, and Europe," Goudie told Education World, adding, "We have been able to share stories and methods to teach children the joy of literature and its many shapes and forms."


In her online travels, Goudie has found several sites that consistently offer quality instructional activities for teachers.

Goudie recommends TeacherViews [archived version], part of Houghton Mifflin's Education Place Web site, because it is "a place to find lessons that have worked well in the classroom. The lessons are detailed and easy to present." In the TeacherView page for Ezra Jack Keats's story The Snowy Day, Latresa J. Bray, a kindergarten teacher at Huber Ridge Elementary School in Westerville, Ohio, recommends an experiment with snowballs inside plastic bags. (If snow isn't typically found in your area, shaved ice will do.) Students predict what will happen to the snow that is brought inside, discover how long it takes for the snow to melt, and compare the melting rates of snowballs close to and far from a heat source.

Another favorite of Goudie's is the Teachers.Net Lesson Bank. "I can't say enough about Teachers.Net," she said. "It has literature, science, and more." When mentoring teachers during workshops, she tells them to start at this site when they don't know where to go. Goudie warns teachers not to let the title of MCPS Social Studies dissuade them from visiting this valuable Web site. "This is a site sponsored by a school district [Montgomery County, Maryland]," she said. "The lesson ideas relate well to literature and include all parts of the curriculum."


Check out these activities from sites selected by Goudie as some of the best literature resources on the Web!

Jam for your friends and jam for your pet, jam takes over the Internet! Francis would be so pleased to find that her story, written by Russell Hoban, has been included among the teaching resources of the S.C.O.R.E. CyberGuides. Bread and Jam for Francis, an instructional unit by Beverly Nelson and Susan D. Murphy, includes information on choosing healthful foods, baking bread, and making jam. This excellent collection of teaching ideas is complete with related links.

If you have read a book by Jan Brett, you must be familiar with the intricately detailed illustrations that are her trademark. As a part of her Web site, Brett provides Piggybacks for Teachers. Among the "piggybacks" is a series of suggested activities for Berlioz the Bear. This particular set of ideas offers a compound word activity, a count-the-beats activity, an opportunity to study bears online, and a map activity page. Don't miss the rest of the piggybacks to Brett's works.

Teachers in the know head for the curriculum selections of AskERIC when high-quality lesson plans are what they seek. The Language Arts collection is especially useful and covers all grade levels. Authored by Margaret Sornenson of Holy Rosary School, Idaho, Gregory, the Terrible Eater is one such terrific resource. Students read the story of Gregory and discuss his parents' tactics to get him to eat "better" foods. They then work in groups to create menus for five days of eating. Referring to supermarket ads in the newspaper, they attempt to incorporate economy into the choices they make.

Carol Hurst's Children's Literature Site may be widely recognized for its book reviews, but it also presents a listing of possible classroom activities for each of its selections. In her review of Fly Away Home, by Eve Bunting, Hurst includes some discussion topics, activity suggestions, and a list of related books. One thought recommended for discussion deals with the characters in the story being "homeless, but not valueless."

Designed for students in grades five and six, The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare is a literature lesson that incorporates art, drama, geography, history, math, reading, science, social studies, and writing. Students create a story wheel that illustrates the characters, setting, and conflict in the book. They also draw a map of the area described in the tale and write a play of a scene in one of its chapters. This lesson is one of many in the Curriculum Archive.

From the Ed World Library