Compare & Contrast Explorers
This free comprehension activity allows students to compare and contrast explorers from three eras: Ponce de Leon, Lewis and Clark, and the Apollo 11 astronauts. It’s primarily designed to accompany the three read aloud plays Ponce de Leon and the Fountain of Youth, Lewis and Clark and Bird Girl, and Fly Me to the Moon (all available on my TpT store), but it can also be used independently as a research guide. Teachers can further extend the activities by using the same format to compare other explorers. Two compare and contrast activities are included (basic and advanced) and both come with answer keys.
Focus on Common Core
This two page activity can be used with any of my read aloud plays from the classic short story series including The Birth-mark, A Retrieved Reformation, Cyclops, The Monkey’s Paw, and others (all available on my TpT store), but you can also use it to compare Key Ideas and Details from most any play or short story. Use it for written response or as discussion starters. It addresses literary devices such as protagonist, mood, symbolism, and more. And it’s FREE.
Using Drama in the Classroom
Tired of teaching to the test? This four-page, three-part article by National Board Certified teacher and Scholastic playwright Mack Lewis provides tips and strategies to make the most of your reader’s theater or classroom play activities. “Why Use Drama?” reveals the research about how the reader’s theater model builds fluency and comprehension. Use it to defend against all the text-book pushers out there! “There’s More Than One Way to Produce a Play” maps out six performance/production strategies. “The Delicate Nature of Assessing Drama” offers tips on teaching students to self-assess and discuss performance standards in a mature way. Click on the cover to download.
Quick Start Guide to Teaching
“The Quick Start Guide to Teaching” provides teaching-candidates and beginning teachers practical information on getting their careers off on the right foot. From fitting in with a new staff to planning for retirement, these valuable tips will help every new teacher find their footing. Save a beginning teacher some grief and a little time by slipping this set of tips in his or her box. Just click, print–and hand it to a beginning educator near you!
Here’s a basic set of 3-dimensional figures suitable for grades 3 to 6. Kids get hands-on experience with geometric solids. They simply decorate each net, cut, fold, and glue or tape to create models of space figures. Includes two cubes, a cone, a cylinder, a rectangular prism, and two pyramids. Simple enough to use as a math center, as a homework task, or within your direct instruction. Just click on the image to download.
Ace the State Writing Test
This simple guide provides concepts from Mack’s book, Super Sentences and Perfect Paragraphs about preparing kids for writing tests by teaching them how to make and use pre-writing templates when creating their rough drafts. True, it’s designed to encourage you to buy the book, but whether you do or don’t, the concepts presented will help your students organize their thoughts, improve their editing, and increase their success on any standardized writing test.
Perfect Paragraph Sample
Still not ready to invest in Super Sentences & Perfect Paragraphs? Try this sample paragraph-writing activity and then decide if you’d like more. This descriptive paragraph writing task is best suited for grades 4 through 6. It includes a paragraph paste-up in which students unscramble sentences to place them in a structure that follows the Perfect Paragraph formula, as well as a paragraph-writing assignment based on the given model. Just click on the cover to download and use for FREE! (Note: this same activity appears in EZSubPlans 5.1).
Jack in the Box
Take a break from the classroom rat race for a little clowning around. This Easy Goin’ Art project is just the trick! Fourth through sixth graders use the included templates to trace and cut the basic pieces of their Jack and assemble. You’ll be amazed how they’re able to express themselves by personalizing their creations with earrings, goatees, and more. An engaging project and an easy way to enjoy a relaxing afternoon in the classroom. (Note: This activity appears in EZSubPlans 4.2). Be sure to check out the rest of Mack’s Easy Goin’ Arts & Crafts activities in his storefront at TeachersPayTeachers.
The Checkbook Project
The Checkbook Project pumps life into a classroom the way the stimulus package pumped bucks into GM. It improves test scores, inspires the entrepreneurial spirit, and even turns “thugs” into pussycats. Simply put, it’s a more complex form of “class money” without the bother of handing out Monopoly bucks (which often get lost and stolen). But it’s also much more. It’s a “real world” simulation, an economic infrastructure that promotes work ethic, practical math skills, and financial literacy. These five pages tell how to make it work. To give it that polished look, be sure to download all the FREE reproducible forms such as the tax report, table of credits and debits, desk purchase form, business license, job postings, and more by clicking here. (Note: save ink–download but don’t print the cover.)