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Archive of Other

Page history last edited by Melissa Gibson 10 years, 11 months ago
Integrating Literature Ideas & Best Practices - Other Disciplines


Book Title  Author  Activity / Idea / Weblink
Grade level / Content Area
Submitted by
Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
 This realistic fiction would be a good choice for teaching students about having to live and deal with the choices you make in life.  You could look at the book from Marty's point of view, showing how Marty has to work for Judd to get Shiloh and how Marty learns his lesson about not telling the truth about Shiloh. You could also have the students look at the topic of Judd killing a doe out of season.  Then you could compare the choices that Judd made and the consequences that Judd reviewed by breaking the law of killing an animal out of season.  You could even show how no one chooses to come around Judd due to the way he treats people as well as his dog.  After having students compare the consequences of both Marty and Judd's choices you could have them write a paragraph on how they could apply what they have learned from this book to their life.   
Grades 3-5
Jeremy Sanders
Frog and Toad Together
Arnold Lobel
Use this book and others in the series to discuss friendship and problem solving.  Complete a T-chart that compares  good friends and bad friends.  You can do this as a whole class or with partners depending on the grade level.  Discuss the ideas as a class. Other activities can be found at http://www.ehow.com/way_5406021.


character education

Diane Haase
Second Chance
Jill MacGregor
Use also the website, Toyota Teen Driver, for students to have interactive driving experiences during the reading of this book.
HS/Driver's Education
A. Lincoln and Me
Louise Borden & Ted Lewin
Read this picture book to students for character education. Lead large group in listing the characteristics of Lincoln. Allow for individual students to create a Venn Diagram or how they are like or unlike Lincoln. 
grades 2-6
Rough-Faced Girl
Rafe Martin

Have the children illustrate a cartoon strip that summarizes the story.  Some graphic editors, like Kid Pix, have cartoon segments and speech bubbles already created.  Each student can be assigned one section of the story to illustrate and retell.  You could also have students work in pairs.  These pictures can then be put into slides for a PowerPoint presentation.  The slides can later be printed and made into a class book.  Additional activities can be found at:



technology & literature


Diane Haase


Duffy and the Devil Harve and Margot Zemach Read this picture book to students for drama. Discuss the history of the story: it originated from a popular play in 19th-century Cornwall and was performed during Christmas time by people going from house to house. Have students act out the story for other classes around the Christmas season. This will help them to understand the history, language, and comedic elements of this folk tale. Grades 2-5 Marisa Gebert
Sarah Plain and Tall Patricia MacLachlan Read this picture book to students for Practical Living over the span of a week.  During that time discuss conflicts that are faced by the characters, and hardships they faced on the Kansas frontier.  Students will research needs/wants of Kansas frontiersman during the 1800s.  Teacher will develop the fact that many people died on their way out west, many women did not travel out west, and a mail-order bride request was a very feasible occurrence.  Grades 3-5 Sarah Howard-Montgomery
Strega Nona Tomie DePaola
After reading the book Strega Nona, students could research different kinds of pasta and pasta dishes. Students could learn about the origins of pastas such as where pasta came from and how it can be used in a variety of different dishes. Students could also learn about Italian cooking. After the lesson unit has been taught, students could work in groups to create their own special pasta dish. Lots of adult supervision would be needed for this activity! 

Grades 3-5

Home Ec/ Cooking Lesson

Lindsey Dickson 
Tuck Everlasting Natalie Babbitt

You be the judge!  Imagine Mae Tuck hadn’t been able to escape. What might her trial have been like?  Would the jury believe her story or would they sympathize with the man in the yellow suit?  Have a mock trial and find out!  You will need a judge, a jury of twelve people, a prosecutor, a defense lawyer, and a witnesses for Mae Tuck. This idea was found from the following site: http://www.scholastic.com/KIDS/homework/pdfs/Tuck_Everlasting.pdf




Jennifer Phillips
Tuck Everlasting  Natalie Babbitt  Make flapjacks to enjoy like the Tucks and Winnie did. Middle to High School/ Home Ec. Class Jennifer Phillips
Year Down Yonder, A
Richard Peck  After reading the story, students can use a character traits chart to identify the character traits of Mary Alice and Grandma Dowdel. Students can then use a Venn diagram to compare and contrast the two women in the story. Students can also create a timeline of the Great Depression .
Read more on TeacherVision: http://www.teachervision.fen.com/fiction/reading/6690.html#ixzz1gAYhOd8Z 
4th-5th Shannon Compton

When Sophie Gets Angry-Really, Really Angry...




















Begin by reading the book to the class. Afterwards, discuss Sophie from the story and what made her angry and what she did when she was angry. Next, let students share with the class about what makes them angry, how they feel when they're angry and what they do when they're angry. As a whole-group, make a T-chart comparing anger to another emotion such as happiness, sadness, etc. so that students can identify similarities and differences. Another idea would be to brainstorm several feelings/emotions as a class and write them on the board. Students will choose one of the feelings (since they are younger, silently tell them one) and write it on a piece of paper. On the other side of the paper, students will draw a picture to depict that feeling using only 2 colors that they think will best express the emotion/feeling. Students will take turns trying to guess each others feeling based on their selected colors and what they drew.














Michelle Jenkins















Skin I'm In, The
Sharon G. Flake 

Students will be introduced to Maleeka and her story of being bullied in this multi-cultural genre book. The story is one of racism, self-assurance, and insecurity. Maleeka's story is told in the first-person narrative, as told by Maleeka. The diary entries therein could be used as read alouds in class. Classroom discussions about bullying would follow the readings. Students learn that Maleeka kept a diary about being bullied because of her dark skin, good grades, or her handmade clothing.  Diary entries can be a seen throughout (beginning in chapter 5). Students will be asked to begin a diary of their very own for the purpose of writing about any real-life experience they have had with bullying. Students are encouraged to use descriptive words that appeal to one’s senses and to connect their experience with Maleeka’s experiences. How was the person who bullied you or someone you know like the bully, Charlese? What could Maleeka have done differently? Use the 6 Traits post-it as a tool for revising and editing.

Post-it resource:


Students are able to post their writings about The Skin I’m In at this website as a culminating activity.


Grades 6-8 Kimberly Simpson 
Out of the Dust Karen Hesse Students will read Out of the Dust and then prepare a PowerPoint presentation over the Dust Bowl and that time period.  Using excerpts from the poems, the slides should include pictures that represent different parts of the book as well as textual evidence for the use of the pictures.  Students will present to the class.

Grades 6-12


Elizabeth Coomer
Sarah, Plain and Tall 

Patricia MacLachlan


Would you like a brother for a day? Do you need a sister for a slumber party? Someone to help you clean your room, help with homework? Write a draft advertisement for a newspaper; transfer the information into a computer software program for an advertisement (to incorporate technology). Students read the book in a literature circle. After the discussions are concluded, students will write (using paper) a draft advertisement for the newspaper. Teacher: Model a newspaper advertisement for reference.

After the draft has been approved using a self-assessment or peer review-assessment (using a rubric), students will transfer the information into a word document or other template using the classroom computers or media center (incorporating technology).

Grades 3 and up Kimberly Simpson 
Hershel and Hanukkah Goblins Eric Kimmel

As part of a 7 lesson unit on multicultural beliefs, first the class would read and discuss this site together with Kimmel's book:


We would then use 2nd lesson to explore whether a person's cultural background affects the way s/he thinks about the unexplainable? Are Jewish people - here Russian Jews at the end of the 19th or beginning of the 20th Century - superstitious? I would conduct a couple lessons around how language and cultural heritage affected one's beliefs and discuss whether superstition has a place in 21st Century thinking.

For the fifth, sixth and seventh lessons, each student would be required to find a folk tale from her or his culture and then after relating it to the class lead a discussion about the message and/or theme therein and its relevance to our lives today.

The students would finish the unit by writing an essay relating what s/he found to Kimmel's book as homework.

MYP Grade 10 Theory of Knowledge Wendel Maunula
Carmen Learns English  Judy Cox  The book would be great for teaching character education because other kids bully Carmen and she learns to stand up for herself and remain confident.  She also teaches the other kids and her teacher Spanish.  The main text of the book includes many spanish phrases that the kids could learn as well as a small English/Spanish glossary in the back.  I have used this concept with my ESL students.  I always make a point to have them teach me and the other students Spanish while I teach them english.  It makes them feel confident when they see me struggling to learn their language and laughing at myself when I pronounce something way off. 


Character Education

Foreign Language

Jessica Pelfrey 
Wonders and Miracles  Eric A. Kimmel

Wonders and Miracles is a collection of stories, poems, songs, etc. as well as a sort of "how-to" guide for the rituals of Passover.  Students could cook the different dishes that are served during the Seder, the cornerstone of the Passover celebration.  A recipe for matzah (unleavened bread) can be found on p. 31, and recipes for some of the other dishes such as potato kugel, tzimmes, almond macaroons, and various versions of charoset are located on p. 100-105.  Food is not the only part of the celebration; music and the telling of the story of Passover are also integral to the Seder.  Simply cooking the food, therefore, is doesn’t complete the task.  This activity would be most effectively completed if incorporated into an interdisciplinary study, perhaps within a larger context of the symbolism of food across a variety of cultures.  We’re not just cooking refried beans or whipping up a couple of tamales here! (Not that there’s anything wrong with that…just acknowledging that the Seder is not food for food’s sake…)  Click here to go to a musical activity that could be a part of this larger study.    

Home Ec. Grades 6-8  Kate Hendrix 
Enemy Pie Derek Munson

This is a wonderful book to use with your students to teach character education and the important lesson of friendship.  You could read it at the beginning of the year to your students to teach a lesson about making new friends at school.  You could also read it during the school year to remind your students about the difficulties and rewards of friendship.  The author has a website with an enemy pie experiment which includes ingredients for a “good” enemy pie and a “bad” enemy pie.  (http://derekmunson.wordpress.com/2009/10/07/for-teachers-how-to-make-enemy-pie/)  You could conduct the experiment in your own classroom and ask your students, “Which pie do you think would get rid of your enemy—the “good” pie or the “bad” pie?  Why?”

The Reading is Fundamental website also has a page with several lesson ideas for educators, parents/families, and community coordinators to use with this book. 


1st-3rd Laura Beth Menser
Wrinkle in Time, A
Madeleine D'Engle As part of a unit of study surrounding the book: 

Five Senses:

What are they used for? Students are each given a disability that takes one of their senses away. They will be paired up and for half a day one student will have the impairment and the other will be the guide and then at noon they will switch. At the end of the day they will all write a reflection on their experience. The class will do a Jigsaw Activity so that each group has a person with a different impairment and they can share their experiences. How does this compare to what happens in the novel?

A Wrinkle in Time Unit Study - Ashlee Smith - ashleesmith.com

Health/Social Awareness


Grade 6

Geraldine Allen
Romulus and Remus Anne Rockwell Romulus and Remus is a myth used by ancient Romans to explain the founding of Rome.  The story has been turned into a children's book and could be useful to teachers with younger students being exposed to drama.  The book tells of two brothers, abandoned by their mother, and left to be raised by wolves.  Students could read the book, then discuss why it's a myth and how it relates to other myths.  The teacher could then assign a student gifted in drama to be the director.  This student will assign roles, prop designs, etc.  The students could then perform the play in the classroom or perhaps to other classes.


grades 1-4

Brad Abell
Gathering the Sun: An Alphabet in Spanish and English Alma Flor Ada

The book Gathering the Sun, An Alphabet in Spanish and English, contains poems in Spanish and presents them in alphabetical order.   Along with each Spanish poem is the translation in English.  This book would be great to use to help teach English-speaking students Spanish or Spanish speaking students English.  If working with a whole group, a document camera could be used to present the pages on a board or wall so students can see better.  This book could be very helpful for ESL students who are having trouble with English because they could see and hear Spanish words translated into English. 

Students could use a tape recorder (or anything similar) to record themselves reading the poems in both languages.  If you have both Spanish and English-speaking students you could have them read in their native language and record it so the others could listen and learn.

English – Spanish: Little Explorers – students can explore pictures by letters and see the English and Spanish name for picture/object


English – Spanish Numbers – student can learn the English/Spanish pronunciation for numbers


ESL/Foreign Language


Heather Shepherd  

Maniac Magee


Jerry Spinelli



In this project, students will consider the problem of homelessness from different angles. They will learn about homeless populations in other countries and cultures and study homelessness during the Depression in this country. Students will compare what they learn with the information presented in Maniac Magee. Students will study available resources and conduct a fundraising campaign for a local homeless shelter.

Other activities and worksheets :  


Grades 3-6 


Sara Jones 






 W.D. Myer

This novel is written as a screen play with journal entries included after every scene. Students could use this novel as a readers theater. The screen play is written very clearly making it easy for middle school students to follow. The journal entries help the students understand the emotional strife the main character went through.   

Writing extension: Upon completion of the this novel students could write a persuasive letter to  convince the reader of their innocence or guilt. The writer could choose a side (guilty or innocent) after reading all the evidence.

6-8th grade/ Dramatic Arts

Michelle Czepyha 

Grandfather tales

Richard Chase 

The first story in the collection is called "Old-Christmas Eve."  In it, the author relates his experience in arriving at the home of an elderly man whom he is to collect stories from.  The gentleman invites him to stay and experience Old-Christmas Eve, which is January 6th, twelve days after Christmas; the date is a traditional holiday for the mountain people.  He does so and gets to experience an amateur theatrical production by the young men of the family, which includes a narrator (the Presenter), actors, and songs (for example, "Joseph and the Angel"). 

This story would be the perfect opportunity for a "Creating Our Own Play" activity in my Drama Class.  I would make copies of the story for each student.  I would divide them into three groups: script-writers; costume/prop collectors, and actors.  I would give them two weeks to complete this project.  Their assignment would be as follows:

Script Group:  First, write down all characters in play.  Then, examine the actors group. Based upon how many students are in the group, you are to combine/eliminate characters, and/or change male characters to female characters. Next, recopy all dialogue in play.  Rewrite it into the form of a script.  When finished, add blocking.  Read as a group.  In just speaking, the mini-play should be at least fifteen minutes long.  You will be graded on your ability to: 1) keep the Applachian vernacular of the story; 2) make the action understandable and recognizable; 3) make the story being told easily understandable; 5) make the play at least fifteen minutes long.

Costume/Prop Collector Group:  Read through the story; make note of all props used; make note of all costumes/clothing described.  Next, research the publication date of the book.  Then, look on the Internet for period clothing for the time and region.  What did Appalachian people wear?  What would the author have been wearing?  What would the play-actors have been wearing to "create" their own costumes?  Then, using your notes, collect the props and costumes from classroom and outside resources.

Actor Group:  After the Script Group has finished their script, you are to divide the parts up.  They have made parts for every member of your group.  After your parts have been assigned, you are to check in with me and let me know what parts you have each chosen.  Then, begin memorizing your lines and blocking.  We will produce the "Old-Christmas Eve" in exactly two weeks.

After two weeks, we would produce the mini-play for the school.

*Each of the groups would receive assistance and supervision from me throughout the creative process.

Drama (7-12) 

Maegan Renick 


Karen Hesse 

This book of poetry from perspectives of people that live in very different situations in the time period of the early 1900's would be a perfect book of poetry to read and create a dramatic play. I feel this should be done at the high school setting. The students that are involved in drama could research the KKK and the time period that the book was written. As a language integration students can study the elements of poetry while they learn about the racism and divisions of a society as a whole.http://massmoments.org/moment.cfm?mid=302

Activity-Students will choose excerpts from the book and create a short play with the given book characters. Students will create sets and costumes that are relevant to this time period. Students will use dialect of southern characters and re-enact parts of the play. The play will be shown to the school; inclusion of history teachers and students will be used as an interdisciplinary approach to link learning history to the arts.


Wendy Philpot


True Story of the Three Little Pigs, The

Jon Scieszka 

I would plan to use it with 4th and 5th graders in the context of a drama lesson.  This is both outside my grade level and content area.  After reading the story with the students and discussing the ironic outcome of the wolf's tale of how the three little pigs "framed" him I would review (or introduce) with students the drama curriculum.  Use the interactive link below to help with this.


Next have the students work on different aspects of the story.  Assign some to work on costumes, some on the set, some on the props, and some as the characters in the story.  Have the students act out in various ways what is happening in the story.

4th-5th grade 

Brittany Lin 

Junie B. Jones Jingle Bells Batman Smells 

Barbara Park 

I chose to use this book as my last post, because it is on a 1st to 3rd grade level and could be used as a drama lesson for grades 1 to 8. I could really see some of the older kids getting into this, because of the author's fun approach for gift giving. I think it would be neat to see students work in groups to create a reader's theatre for one of the major events in the text. Students could go on to create costumes and props for their production. Technology could be used in recording the events or even as props during the actual performance. Students could go on to write about the true meaning of gift giving and not being selfish. This lesson could be simplified for younger children with an assigned section or even extended for older students with more choice of a selection. Students could go on to connect it to the real world with their writing and have the opportunity to share their writing with their peers.

The following link gives information that could be used with the lesson.



(1-4) or (5-8) 

Ciara Wheatley 

Bud Not Buddy 

Christopher Paul Curtis

When reading this book I suggest to be sure to highlight the historical context in which this story is happening in.  Don’t only talk about the great depression but help the students experience what it was like.  You can do this by watching a video from the following link: http://app.discoveryeducation.com/searchjustthefacts/americanhistory.  Have the student follow up with some writing ideas (found below).  Next while reading this story, at the end of each day ask a review question (found below) to enhance student thinking and have them journal their response to your question in a “Traveler’s Diary.”  My last suggestion is to have students create a jazz song in groups to reflect on the book and the huge influence the jazz era had on this time period.

Writing Ideas:

  1. My rules for life- What would I do if the Great Depression hit my family?
  2. My rock collection- What is most valuable to me?  Why are these things important?
  3. An interview- Interview a character form the story or an imagined one from the Depression and ask questions about their life?

Review Questions:

  1. Why is Bud so protective and self conscious about his name?
  2. Describe the relationship between Bugs and Bud?  Do you have a friend like that?
  3. Read the song “Shenandoah.”  What significance do you think this song has to the story?
  4. Who is Bud’s favorite band member?  Why do you think that?

4th and 5th grade 

Brittany Lin 

Knots on a Counting Rope

Bill Martin, Jr.


After reading this book for REOL536, I immediately took into my fifth-grade classroom and read it to all of our students. We have a fifth-grader who deals with blindness and has sense birth. The entire fifth-grade, as a whole, has been great with him since day one but this year we have had some issues. I used the book to help show our classes what our student may be going through. The book was extremely good in helping each student see the challenges that not only the blind may face but helped for them to recognize challenges that we all may face. 

After a class discussion, we all wrote an one-page personal narrative (most of these turned into 3 or 4 pages) about a "disability" we have in our lives and how we are trying to overcome it. The students were also encouraged to discuss ways that they could use the help of their peers in order to cope with their disability.


Charlie Hamilton

Wringer Jerry Spinelli OVERCOMING FEAR::

Being able to forget the past and look forward to the future. When Palmer walked through the park, he remembered experiences from past pigeon days. Have students think about places that you like or don't like to go because they bring back certain memories? Palmer was pressured to participate in Pigeon Days. What would you do in his situation? Have you ever had to "take a stand?" Discuss the problems of peer pressure and find ways to help students overcome them.

Grades 3-7 James Bridges
    choose one person in class to pretend to be the main character and then the other students would "interview" them like on a talk show..   Melanie Camron




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