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Vale Middle School - Articles of the Week - Vale Middle School (Oregon)

Grades
6 to 10
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Are you struggling to find engaging informational text for your students? Work out your Common Core by reading VMS Articles of the Week. The articles were developed using strategies...more
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Are you struggling to find engaging informational text for your students? Work out your Common Core by reading VMS Articles of the Week. The articles were developed using strategies originally created by Kelly Gallagher. They have been modified to meet the needs of Vale Middle School students using both the Oregon Department of Education reading sample guidelines and Common Core State Standards. The content of these articles is constantly evolving to best meet the needs of VMS students. Educators from other school districts are welcome to borrow from these articles so long as credit is given to Kelly Gallagher and VMS for the work/effort put into each week's article. Download articles as a pdf or Word document to edit. There is space provided in the margins for text annotations. Lexile(R) levels are provided to analyze text complexity.

tag(s): book lists (131), news (260), reading comprehension (126)

In the Classroom

WAYT: What Are You Thinking? Use this technique as the students read the articles to mark comments, connections, and questions. Read the passages in guided reading groups to scaffold the instruction. Post an article and the questions in an online forum for students to discuss their answers. Challenge above-level readers to make observations about the writer's strategies. Use the articles' trending topics to meet the students' interests and engage reluctant readers. The questions are great to teach students about Question Answer Relationships (QAR). Model current event literature response techniques with the articles on the website.
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Awesome Stories - AwesomeStories

Grades
4 to 12
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AwesomeStories is a one stop shop of primary source materials. It is a gathering place of sources located at national archives, libraries, universities, museums, historical societies...more
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AwesomeStories is a one stop shop of primary source materials. It is a gathering place of sources located at national archives, libraries, universities, museums, historical societies and government-created websites. The site includes documents, videos, audio clips and narrations. Topics range from the Women's Movement to Emperor Penguins to Abraham Lincoln to the Easter Story (through medieval/renaissance art) and much more. Search by biography, disaster, trials, flicks, history, philosophy, sports, or the arts. You can also search by lesson plans, narrations, slide shows, videos, images, audio clips, documentaries, and more! You can also take advantage of the Visual Vocabulary to learn vocabulary related to many of the stories and video clips available at this site.

tag(s): art history (81), artists (81), biographies (92), black history (58), civil rights (120), civil war (144), cross cultural understanding (124), disasters (40), earthquakes (50), inventors and inventions (90), korea (18), lincoln (84), mars (39), movies (71), natural disasters (20), presidents (123), primary sources (93), resources (106), south africa (12), vocabulary (319), weather (200), womens suffrage (25)

In the Classroom

Use this rich site to support your social studies, history, science, language arts classroom and many others! There is a lot here to explore and many diverse topics. Use the Visual Vocabulary Builder to introduce your students to new vocabulary in a different way. Middle and high schoolers could use the movies to teach about character development and themes. The site includes several lesson plans that help you teach with current movies. Have your students use the site to find historical images to use in presentations. (Be sure to check the licensing on any image you use and cite it properly.) Project the video clips using an interactive whiteboard or projector to introduce students to a unit of study. Challenge small groups of students to explore one of the topics presented at this site and share their "story" with the rest of the class. Have students create an annotated image including text boxes and related links using a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here. Many texts on this site are also useful examples of informational texts for practice of Common Core standards.
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CurriConnects Booklist: Bridges and Structures - Teachersfirst

Grades
K to 12
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Find books about bridges and structures in this list of fiction and non-fiction for student independent or group reading. Learn how bridges and other structures are built, the people...more
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Find books about bridges and structures in this list of fiction and non-fiction for student independent or group reading. Learn how bridges and other structures are built, the people behind them, and the risks some people take in pioneering new ways of building, using new materials, or thinking outside the building box. You will even find some stories of structures that failed. Some fiction, and some non-fiction, all will inspire young designers and engineers. CurriConnects thematic book lists include ISBN numbers for ordering or searching, interest grade levels, ESL levels and Lexiles''® to match student independent reading levels to challenge, not frustrate. For more on text complexity and Lexiles''®, see this information from the Lexile Framework. Don't miss other CurriConnects themes being added regularly. If your library does not have the books, try interlibrary loan!

tag(s): bridges (13), engineering (133), independent reading (129), structures (24)

In the Classroom

Make STEM a reading challenge. Share this list with students during your study of physics of structures, design, or basic concepts such as gravity. Have students choose a book they can connect to concepts you are studying in science class or have them choose a book of interest and generate a list of the questions they would like to learn about after reading the book. The non-fiction selections offer possible informational texts to practice Common Core science literacy skills.

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For the Sake of Argument: Another Common Core Shift - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 6
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This installment in a series of articles about implementing Common Core in elementary focuses on argument/opinion writing and reading activities that can go together. The CCSS require...more
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This installment in a series of articles about implementing Common Core in elementary focuses on argument/opinion writing and reading activities that can go together. The CCSS require that all students work to become independent writers of three types of texts: narrative, informational/explanatory, and opinion/argument and recommend that the time spent on each type in the elementary grades be roughly the same. Find ideas to implement this shift. The article is intended for elementary teachers as part of our Help! I lost my library/media specialist series.

tag(s): commoncore (89), expository writing (40), letter writing (19), persuasive writing (57), writing (366)

In the Classroom

If you are fortunate enough to have a library/media specialist to partner with you, try these ideas together, including read-alouds and writing activities to follow up. Mark this article in your favorites and refer back to it for ideas to integrate writing into science or social studies activities, especially for opportunities to have students write and/or read opinion/argument pieces.

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Literacy Design Collaborative - Literacy Design Collaborative

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K to 12
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The Literacy Design Collaborative supports the development of literacy through a series of templates for use with text when writing. There are also templates for other subjects. Most...more
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The Literacy Design Collaborative supports the development of literacy through a series of templates for use with text when writing. There are also templates for other subjects. Most templates address secondary levels; however, other offerings contain some elementary templates. Template tasks allow you to fill in the blank with learning skills addressed. When completed, you create and produce a high-quality assignment. Three collections are available by choosing the tasks link: the template task collection II, Common Core template tasks, and K-2 template tasks. Use links provided to view instructions and download templates in PDF format. Choose the modules link to view and download complete modules for instruction for English, Science, and Social Studies. Also available at the Literacy Design Collaborative is a series of videos demonstrating changing teacher practice and literacy. Most of the videos are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, then they may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to school (or your meeting) "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): american revolution (85), animals (322), biodiversity (35), canada (31), careers (144), china (63), civil rights (120), cold war (30), ecosystems (92), energy (210), evolution (101), gettysburg (26), gettysburg address (18), india (32), industrial revolution (26), lincoln (84), literacy (106), marine biology (35), photosynthesis (33), poetry (221), pollution (65), professional development (161), shakespeare (111)

In the Classroom

This site is an excellent resource for schools implementing Common Core Standards. Share this site during professional development sessions to view and learn how to use the templates and modules in the classroom. Share the videos on an interactive whiteboard and have groups discuss afterwards. View videos from the site during these sessions to understand the framework behind the templates. Download templates and modules for use in your classroom for any content or use templates as a model for creating your own templates.
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Longform - longform.org

Grades
6 to 12
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Longform recommends new and classic fiction and non-fiction from around the web. Read articles on a browser or save to read later with Readability, Instapaper, Pocket, or Kindle. Articles...more
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Longform recommends new and classic fiction and non-fiction from around the web. Read articles on a browser or save to read later with Readability, Instapaper, Pocket, or Kindle. Articles include every imaginable topic. There are publications as "well-known" as New York magazine and as "low-profile" as the Broward-Palm Beach New Times. Search for a topic using the search bar or scroll through current offerings on the home page. Narrow down choices by method of reading such as Instapaper or Kindle format. You can also find podcasts about featured publications and articles. Click on an article's title to read online or print using links provided. Choose the read later button to save to your Longform account. Registration using an email address and password is required for this option.

tag(s): expository writing (40), independent reading (129), poetry (221), reading lists (81), writing prompts (93)

In the Classroom

Create a classroom account and save articles to use with classroom topics or for independent student reading. Find informational texts to use for Common Core practice. Share this site with students to create their own account to find articles to read. This is definitely a site that you want to list on your class wiki, blog, or website. Teachers of writing can use these articles as examples of different writing styles and of writing with audience and voice in mind. Select more controversial articles to use as writing prompts.

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Persuasion Across Time and Space Lesson Plan - Stanford University Graduate School of Education

Grades
6 to 12
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Stanford's Understanding Language offers this free five-lesson unit plan for English Language Learners on persuasive writing. Although geared towards middle school students, it could...more
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Stanford's Understanding Language offers this free five-lesson unit plan for English Language Learners on persuasive writing. Although geared towards middle school students, it could be useful with high schoolers as well. Each lesson includes an overview of content and goals for the end of lesson. Download the introduction and each of the five lessons using the PDF links provided. All lessons include correlations to Common Core standards and take approximately 4 to 5 days to complete. Each lesson includes all necessary handouts and assessment suggestions. Lesson topics relate to important events and people from American history: Gettysburg Address, civil rights, and others.

tag(s): advertising (33), civil rights (120), gettysburg address (18), martin luther king (36), persuasive writing (57), speeches (19)

In the Classroom

Print and use lessons (or portions of lessons) in your classroom. Although geared toward middle school ESL/ELL students, these materials can be adapted and used for any middle and high school students. Challenge your students to write their own persuasive writing pieces. Use this site to teach about historical events in America's past (Gettysburg Address, civil rights, Martin Luther King Jr, and more).
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The Common Core Shift: Short, Focused Research Projects - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 3
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This article explains the idea of short, focused research projects as emphasized by Common Core. Find out the background, the why and what, and more as you see an example ...more
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This article explains the idea of short, focused research projects as emphasized by Common Core. Find out the background, the why and what, and more as you see an example you can use when teaching about the water cycle in elementary grades. Use a readaloud of a recommended book to get your class started. This particular example is for lower elementary, but the article is useful for elementary teachers at any level. The article and the sample project are written (and field tested!) by an experienced elementary library/media specialist.

tag(s): commoncore (89), water cycle (32)

In the Classroom

NO more BIG projects! Make research manageable and meaningful. Try the lesson plan as a way to incorporate Common Core reading skills into the lessons you would be teaching as part of your science curriculum. If you do not have access to the same book, check interlibrary loan or adapt the lessons to another book.

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Sacred Stories - The British Library Board

Grades
4 to 12
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This visually stunning site offers stories from six world religions. At the time of this review, there were twelve stories in all. All stories are read aloud, animated, and subtitled...more
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This visually stunning site offers stories from six world religions. At the time of this review, there were twelve stories in all. All stories are read aloud, animated, and subtitled (you can turn on or off). The stories use artwork from the British Library collection and stay true to the religious beliefs. For instance, the Islamic text uses no human or animal figures while telling the stories. Instead, they use beautifully changing geometric patterns. By clicking on the home button, you can discover for yourself the origins of the text and the "contrasts and crossovers" for three of these religions by investigating "Understanding Sacred Texts." Click on the "Home" button at the top right and find teachers notes and student activities.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (124), cultures (107), hanukkah (14), holidays (140), religions (67)

In the Classroom

Ancient History and World history teachers will delight in this site! Use this site at a learning station (headphones would be a good idea) and allow students to talk about what they think they know about the religion before viewing the text. Follow up after with what know after viewing the content and completing the student activities. This site would also be an excellent extension for the gifted students in your classroom. Consider having the gifted students explore the three religions that have the "contrasts and crossovers." Language arts teachers can use this site to meet the goals of Common Core State Standards (cross curricular studies and nonfiction reading). Challenge students to find other myths and legends from other cultures that "crossover" with these or other well-known tales.
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E is for Explore! - Erin Bittman

Grades
K to 6
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E is for Explore! offers many learning activities and opportunities for classroom exploration (and fun) that conforms to Common Core. Explore the blog by scrolling through the many...more
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E is for Explore! offers many learning activities and opportunities for classroom exploration (and fun) that conforms to Common Core. Explore the blog by scrolling through the many activities or search using keyword tags on the right of the page. Choose from popular posts such as Lego fractions or ABC handprints or St. Patrick's Day skittles. All activities include simple directions, and some include links to printables for completing activities. Be aware: some of the activities include comments from other users. At the time of this review all comments were appropriate.

tag(s): addition (226), alphabet (86), angles (89), branches of government (52), charts and graphs (199), density (24), dinosaurs (54), division (160), electricity (93), erosion (18), fractions (229), geology (81), geometric shapes (173), inferencing (5), literacy (106), logic (249), minerals (18), money (187), multiplication (211), place value (56), reading comprehension (126), rocks (52), senses (31), subtraction (186), transformations (18), weather (200)

In the Classroom

Bookmark this site for great hands-on activities across the curriculum. Use the activities throughout the school year. Allow students to explore areas of the site to find activities to perform on their own. For example, click on the fractions tag and allow students to view the list of activities to choose their own exploration. When finished, challenge students to create a talking avatar using a photo or other image (legally permitted to be reproduced). The avatars can be used to explain the activity and its outcome. Use a site such as Blabberize (reviewed here).

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Read Tennessee Reading and Math Toolkits - Read Tennessee

Grades
K to 3
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Reading and math toolkits are available through this informative website. Enter through the Reading or Math link. Choose the portion of the site for your interest as a teacher, parent,...more
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Reading and math toolkits are available through this informative website. Enter through the Reading or Math link. Choose the portion of the site for your interest as a teacher, parent, or community member. Teachers can choose from Common Core standards links, resources for teaching standards, and a preK section. Choices for families include videos to help children understand math and reading, brochures, and grade level parent guides. Community pages offer resource networks, collaborations, and information on how to become involved with early learning support.

tag(s): commoncore (89), literacy (106), preK (286), professional development (161)

In the Classroom

Bookmark and save this site as a resource for math and literacy resources correlated to Common Core standards. Although geared toward the state of Tennessee, modify and use the guides for parents as a handout during open houses. Provide links to portions of the family section of the site on your classroom website to provide tips for helping students at home. Share videos and professional information from the site during staff development sessions.
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Games: Institute for New Media Studies- Ethanol Issues - Institute for New Media Studies/University of Minnesota

Grades
5 to 12
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Explore multiple ways to learn about "Ethanol as Fuel." Navigate through the simulation city (You be the Reporter) to be the reporter in learning about Ethanol. Click on the areas ...more
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Explore multiple ways to learn about "Ethanol as Fuel." Navigate through the simulation city (You be the Reporter) to be the reporter in learning about Ethanol. Click on the areas of the city where information is located and access the knowledge from people and other sources by locating the glowing items. Visit the farm, government office, university, park, and other locations. Follow the information to learn and be a reporter of facts. Play the Ethanol Issues board game to learn facts about the use of ethanol as a fuel source. This site also offers the relevant information as a text story, a topics information page, or a short story containing relevant links. The activities were originally developed as part of a research project on delivering the news using games.

tag(s): energy (210), fossil fuels (18)

In the Classroom

Be sure to bookmark this site on a classroom computer or provide the link on a classroom site or blog. use this site in a unit on energy and society or issues in energy use and production. You can also use the text story as practice with informational text a la Common Core. Be sure to find other sources that provide additional information to support or refute information discussed in this site. Try a keyword of TeachersFirst for the phrases carbon footprint and fossil fuel.
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Thirty Something and Fabulous: Using Marzano Question Stems in a High School Classroom - Stacy

Grades
6 to 12
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Stacy at "Thirty Something and Fabulous" has taken Marzano's rework of Bloom's Taxonomy and created questions that "address all the literary elements as well as purpose and style" for...more
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Stacy at "Thirty Something and Fabulous" has taken Marzano's rework of Bloom's Taxonomy and created questions that "address all the literary elements as well as purpose and style" for all levels and categories on the taxonomy. Use these questions with any type of reading. They are downloadable (with credit) from her blog. With Common Core and its emphasis on critical thinking and reading nonfiction, these questions are helpful. This review is for the May 17, 2012 blog entry only. TeachersFirst feels this blog post was valuable for teaching. The remainder of the blog is off topic and not a part of this review.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): blooms taxonomy (9), critical thinking (120), independent reading (129), literature (270), reading strategies (51), thinking skills (16)

In the Classroom

If you like to compare fiction or poetry with nonfiction, you can choose a few of these questions for students to answer for both pieces. Then ask students to compare which answers are similar and different for both pieces, and why that happens. If you would like to start pairing fiction with nonfiction you can start by using a site such as Earth Care reviewed here. You will find a link for Focus on Books that has lessons for The Lorax, Diary of a Worm, and several others.

If your students write in reading journals, you may want to assign a few of these questions as prompts for reflection. Challenge your students to think of additional writing prompts following this same pattern.
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Futurity - Futurity.org

Grades
9 to 12
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This site features the latest discoveries by the scientists of top research universities throughout the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. There is a huge selection of topics to explore....more
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This site features the latest discoveries by the scientists of top research universities throughout the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. There is a huge selection of topics to explore. Find current findings and research in the topics of Earth and Environment, Health and Medicine, Science and Technology, and Society and Culture. This free site is funded by the universities partnered in the project solely to share research news directly with the public.
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tag(s): earth (224), environment (322), medicine (69), nutrition (158), scientific method (67)

In the Classroom

Enter an email address to receive daily e-news. Use these articles as a way to connect current research to material being studied in class. If you are looking for informational texts to use for Common Core practice, this is a great place to start! Use to highlight the use of the scientific method and the importance of publishing findings. Critique the presentation of data and graphs. Determine if raw data could be presented in a different way. Assign students to choose a research topic from this site and research background information to present as a poster or a multimedia project. Have students make a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here. Include this site in resources for career explorations or science fair inspiration.

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ReadWorks - ReadWorks.org

Grades
K to 12
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ReadWorks provides a free, research-based, and Common Core-aligned reading comprehension curriculum for grades K-6. Search through hundreds of lesson plans organized by grade level,...more
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ReadWorks provides a free, research-based, and Common Core-aligned reading comprehension curriculum for grades K-6. Search through hundreds of lesson plans organized by grade level, topic, or book titles. Register to download materials and save lessons to your folder. (A valid email and password is required). Other areas of the site provide information about using and teaching the provided lessons and differentiation. Choose the non-fiction portion of the site to obtain over 1,000 reading passages along with question sets to support learning activities for grades K-12. Click on the skill/strategy link located by a passage to find other material addressing that skill.

tag(s): characterization (15), context clues (7), figurative language (16), guided reading (47), independent reading (129), main idea (8), parts of speech (67), plot (10), point of view (10), reading comprehension (126), reading strategies (51), sequencing (29), themes (12), vocabulary (319)

In the Classroom

This site is a must. Bookmark ReadWorks for access throughout the year. Search for lessons addressing specific skills to use in your classroom. Share with others in your building, and be sure to check out the 5th and 6th grade novel study units for classroom use, perhaps with gifted 3rd and 4th graders too!
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Annotary - Ashok Nayar and Travis Hardman

Grades
6 to 12
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Annotary is a social bookmarking and annotation service provided through an extension for Google Chrome and Firefox. Bookmark sites, highlight portions of pages, and annotate pages...more
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Annotary is a social bookmarking and annotation service provided through an extension for Google Chrome and Firefox. Bookmark sites, highlight portions of pages, and annotate pages with sticky notes. Create as many collections as you like for each project, topic, or idea. Share bookmarks using icons on each page for most major social networks. Search by user, keyword, or collection names. Sign up with your Facebook account or use your email and a user name.

tag(s): bookmarks (67), social networking (111)

In the Classroom

There are so many applications and possibilities for this site! Use prompts on articles to build Common Core skills analyzing informational texts. How many times have we heard students complain during a group project, "But I couldn't get to his or her house to work on it?" Tell them to use Annotary to interact online. The research and conversations created through highlighting and annotating what they read can greatly enhance both their research skills and their online interaction on academic level skills. Or use the site to post and share discussion assignments on specific articles or even parts of articles using the highlighting tool. Find a relevant article to your subject, highlight the part that you want students to read. (If students are younger keep it short to reduce the intimidating reality of too much information for kids.) Attach a note with a discussion question for the students. Have them comment on the link in a "class discussion" as an outside assignment. If you are fortunate enough to have all students with computer access in your class and at home, such as in one to one laptop program schools, you can use this essentially to run your class. Post assignments or post readings. Science teachers can post online interactive labs, and more. The site even allows students to submit work via the comment.

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Common Core Part 2: Moving Forward with Informational Text - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 5
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In this second in a series about Common Core, move into lessons that address Common Core Reading standards for "informational texts." This article offers specifics about Common Core...more
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In this second in a series about Common Core, move into lessons that address Common Core Reading standards for "informational texts." This article offers specifics about Common Core Anchor Standard #5 for Reading, which deals with text structure. Find explanations of the five most common text structures and instructional approaches to help students understand and even write each type of information text. Learn how you can explicitly teach organizational patterns in reading and have students apply these patterns in their own writing. Note that the CCSS and texts also apply in science and social studies literacy, so the lessons cross into these disciplines, as well. Although the article is intended for elementary teachers as part of our Help! I lost my library/media specialist series, the discussion of Common Core and informational texts applies at any level.

tag(s): commoncore (89), graphic organizers (42)

In the Classroom

Read lesson ideas and explore the suggested resources as you begin to implement Common Core. Mark this article in your Favorites. Many of the suggested resources may be helpful during curriculum planning sessions with other teachers. Click the "share" widget to send them to others!

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25 Language Arts Graphic Organizers - Daily Teaching Tools

Grades
K to 9
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Find ready-made graphic organizers for Language Arts at this site. View organizers through the quick links containing titles such as 3 column notes, main idea web, or character map....more
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Find ready-made graphic organizers for Language Arts at this site. View organizers through the quick links containing titles such as 3 column notes, main idea web, or character map. Scroll down a bit further to see images of each of the organizers. Right click and save each image or choose the link provided at the very end of the page under "Free Download" to access and easily print the files in PDF format for all of the graphic organizers listed. The permissions say you can use them for one teacher. Tell your teaching colleagues to download for themselves.
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tag(s): graphic organizers (42), process writing (48), writers workshop (34), writing (366)

In the Classroom

Many of these organizers are useful for Common Core standards. Print and save the graphic organizers for use throughout the year. These organizers should be especially helpful when teaching different text structures found in informational text as required in Common Core. Use as part of your writer's workshop or guided reading instruction. Share organizers when preparing for standardized tests to help students organize and understanding test materials.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Introducing Text Structures in Writing (5th Grade) - Utah Education Network

Grades
4 to 6
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Introducing Text Structures in Writing is a comprehensive lesson plan to introduce the idea that science writing organizes in identifiable patterns called text structures. Common Core...more
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Introducing Text Structures in Writing is a comprehensive lesson plan to introduce the idea that science writing organizes in identifiable patterns called text structures. Common Core Reading/LA Standards focus on these text structures in informational texts. Use the provided links to many materials such as word cards, sentence strips, definitions, and graphic organizers to print materials in PDF format. Lists include suggested books for different text structures such as sequence, description, and compare and contrast. Use extension and assessment ideas as additions to the lesson plan. Although labeled for 5th grade, this lesson would be appropriate for use in any classroom learning to read and understand non-fiction and informational text.

tag(s): process writing (48), reading comprehension (126), reading strategies (51), sequencing (29), writers workshop (34), writing (366)

In the Classroom

Print materials included with this lesson and use as an addition to a current writing and reading comprehension units. This would make an excellent addition to standardized test preparations to help students analyze and assess readings provided during testing. Extend this lesson beyond science texts. Use lesson components and ideas for social studies and all other non-fiction reading materials.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Mr. Anker Tests - Henry Anker

Grades
K to 7
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This "must-see" site includes many flash tests for Kindergarten through grade 7. Activities support California State Standards and Common Core Standards. Each activity includes a link...more
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This "must-see" site includes many flash tests for Kindergarten through grade 7. Activities support California State Standards and Common Core Standards. Each activity includes a link with standards addressed. Choose by grade level or topic. Each topic has a drop-down box to further refine choice by grade level and content. Although the site is in Flash, a few tests include iPad versions. Find them in the blue box on the main page.

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In the Classroom

Create a link to activities and tests on classroom computers to use for review. Share a link to the site on your class website or blog for practice at home. Assign the "tests" for homework practice.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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