Funny, New Picture Books Your Students Will LOVE!


Elementary students of all ages will enjoy these hilarious new picture books!
For me, stepping into the children's section of my local bookstore, and gazing at the covers of the featured picture books is like walking into a bakery and ogling over the decadent treats that line the bakery case. In both locations, my heart starts to race and my mouth begins to water! Can you relate?

During my most recent trip to the bookstore, I hit the jackpot! I found two books that were completely new to me (published in 2017), and I fell in love with both of them. Both are quite funny, making them perfect books to engage students of all age levels. (Full disclosure: This blog post contains affiliate links.)

The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors

The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors by Drew Daywalt- This hilarious picture book will surely become a favorite classroom read-aloud!
As you can probably guess, The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors was the first book to catch my attention. Check out that cover! I was eager to open it up and find out how Drew Daywalt created a legend to go along with this popular game.
The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors by Drew Daywalt- This hilarious picture book will surely become a favorite classroom read-aloud!

The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors by Drew Daywalt- This hilarious picture book will surely become a favorite classroom read-aloud!

I was not disappointed. This book is hilarious! It begins with Rock's crushing defeats over Clothespin and Peach. Next, it moves on to Paper's victories over Printer and Trail Mix. Then, readers watch Scissors defeat Tape and Chicken Nuggets. Finally, the epic battles between Rock, Paper, and Scissors take place. The three great warriors are relieved to finally have met their matches. The story ends with "That is why children around the world- in backyards, on playground, and yes, even in classrooms- still honor the three great warriors by playing... Rock, Paper, Scissors!"

The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors by Drew Daywalt- This hilarious picture book will surely become a favorite classroom read-aloud!

The author does an exceptional job of exhibiting voice in this book. In fact, if you teach your students about the Six Traits of writing, and spend time on the voice trait, this would be a great mentor text to add to your list.

I highly recommend asking your librarian to consider purchasing this book for your school library, or you might even want to purchase a personal copy for your own classroom. (Kids will be waiting in line to check this out from the library!) This one is sure to become a class favorite! I must warn you, there ARE a few incidents of some crude humor, so if this makes you uncomfortable, you might not enjoy this book quite as much. (Clothespin is holding a pair of men's underwear when they do battle. Also, when Rock challenges Peach, he tells Peach, "You, Sir, look like a fuzzy little butt.") I'm sure the crude humor, though, will make students love this book even more!

XO, Ox: A Love Story

XO, OX: A Love Story by Adam Rex! This fun classroom read-aloud is perfect for identifying character traits, theme, and to practice inferencing!
This book is quite different than The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors. Whereas the previous book was clearly funny in an in-your-face sort of way, XO, Ox: A Love Story contains more subtle humor. I love reading these sorts of picture books with upper elementary students because it's so fun to watch them "catch" the more advanced humorous elements.

In this book, Ox writes a fan letter to Gazelle to tell her that he loves her. Gazelle send a canned response and a photo as a reply. Ox, which turns out to be quite gullible, write a second letter and receives the same reply. Ox does not understand that Gazelle is not responding herself, in fact, he writes back and mentions the "amazing coincidence!" The book continues on with Ox and Gazelle exchanging letters, and Gazelle gets more and more rude in her responses to Ox.
XO, OX: A Love Story by Adam Rex! This fun classroom read-aloud is perfect for identifying character traits, theme, and to practice inferencing!

One of the best things about this book is its ending. It ends with "Dear Ox," and the reader must infer what Gazelle is going to tell Ox in her letter. The illustrations on the final page and inside the back cover makes the ending obvious.
XO, OX: A Love Story by Adam Rex! This fun classroom read-aloud is perfect for identifying character traits, theme, and to practice inferencing!

This book also includes an important message about judging others. This book would make a great read-aloud while you are covering ELA topics like character traits, inferencing, and theme.

I would love to hear your humorous picture book recommendations! Please comment below with a favorite title that I should check out!

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Also, this blog post is part of The Reading Crew's Blogging Extravaganza! Click on the links below to read about other helpful tips, tricks, ideas and lessons!

Interactive Digital Task Cards!! {FREEBIE included!}

Find out about the new task card technology called Boom Learning! These task cards contain so many innovative features that you have to see for yourself!
Less than a decade ago, I didn't even know what a "task card" was. Now, however, I can't imagine teaching without them! They are so student-friendly, and they can be used in SO many different ways!

Now... get this... new technology has allowed task cards to be IMPROVED! The talented people at Boom Learning have found a way to create digital task cards that students complete online!! And to make it even easier, they have joined forces with TeachersPayTeachers! A set of Boom Cards can be purchased on TpT, and after you purchase, a link transports you right to the Boom Learning platform where the digital task cards are housed. (Full disclosure: I am receiving a free renewal for writing a blog post about Boom Learning.)

Boom Cards are truly incredible! Why? Let me share a short list of just some of the awesome features provided by Boom Cards:

  1. Boom Cards are paperless! That means that no printing, no cutting, no laminating, and no storing is required! 
  2. Boom Cards are innovative! At my recent school, my principal was thrilled whenever a teacher implemented a new type of technology into their classroom activities. 
  3. Boom Cards provide immediate feedback! After a student answers each question, he is informed immediately whether his answer is correct or incorrect. Students who choose an incorrect answer are given an opportunity to answer again.
  4. Boom Cards are student-friendly and engaging! They feel like any other educational app that you might find on an electronic device. Kids can earn badges and awards. They can even sign in from home to access the cards, and do them with a parent! 
  5. Boom Cards are teacher-friendly! Once a teacher sets up an account, he or she can add students and then assign a deck to individual students or to the entire class. Because the task cards are self-checking, the teacher can access reports that tells how each student did on the assigned decks.
  6. Boom Cards are versatile! They work on any device... SMARTBoards, iPads, desktop computers, phones, etc. Furthermore, Boom Cards can be used in multiple ways! Students can complete them individually at their desks, iPads can be set up at a learning center, or your entire class can work through them together as a large group activity using the Fast Play option!
During this launch period, Boom Learning is providing a one-year subscription to every teacher for FREE! After the year has passed, you can either renew your subscription in order to access the premium features, or you can continue to play all of your decks for free using the Fast Play option!

I encourage you to check out a deck for yourself! These truly unique task cards can best be understood by exploring a deck. Feel free to explore my FREE Boom Card deck that focuses on possessive nouns. Just click on the image below to check it out!
FREE digital task cards! This set focuses on singular and plural possessive nouns.

I currently have a few decks available in my TpT store, and I hope to add more in the coming months. Click HERE to view my current listing of Boom Cards.

Interactive digital task cards! Find out about this unique and innovative way to facilitate task card use in your classroom!

If you try them out, please let me know what you think! I hope you and your students love them as much as I do!



Anticipatory Set: 8 Ideas for Engaging Students

The very first principal I had was a huge fan of building anticipatory set, or a short activity that "hooks" your students and focuses their attention for the instruction that will follow. I don't remember a single detail about my first observation lesson (I don't even remember what subject was observed!), but I do remember the followup meeting in her office. Apparently my anticipatory set was lacking (or perhaps even nonexistent!), because we spent a lot of time discussing the importance of building anticipatory set at the start of a lesson. She provided many examples for me, and then sent me on my way, urging me to focus on this critical part of each lesson when I was writing my lesson plans.

As a new teacher, I was eager to please, so I tried my best to create engaging "hooks". I can't say that I have always incorporated an anticipatory set activity into every lesson, but I have found that they help students retain information, so I really do try to take the time to plan this introduction step. Below, I have compiled a list of some of my favorite ways to build anticipatory set, and I've included a short explanation or example. (Amazon affiliate links are included in this post.)
8 ideas for incorporating an anticipatory set activity into your lessons!


1.  Ask an open-ended question related to the topic.
  • Ask students to think of a scenario that shows why it's important to understand fractions.
  • Ask students to think of advantages and disadvantages of living in various regions in the United States.
2.  Play Hangman.
  • Choose a meaningful word or two from the lesson, and play Hangman with your students! After they determine the words, tell them that at the end of the lesson, you will be asking them what the two words mean, so they should be sure to watch and listen for these words.
8 ideas for incorporating an anticipatory set activity into your lessons!

3.  Play Charades or Pictionary.
  • Let's say today's social studies lesson is about the transcontinental railroad. Write "train" on a slip of paper, and give it to a volunteer. That student comes to the front of the room and tries to act like a train without speaking. 
  • Consider a topic like the water cycle that you know that your students learned about in a previous grade level. Tell your students that you are going to draw something on the board without talking, and it's their job to guess what you're drawing. Proceed to draw a water cycle diagram on the board. This is an excellent way to check your students' prior knowledge.
  • NOTE: If you want to keep the noise level down, designate a student to be the "caller". When students have an idea they want to share, they raise their hand. The "caller" calls on students to share their idea.
4.  Watch a video.
  • Thanks to YouTube and educational websites like BrainPop, there are no shortage of brief videos that can be used to build anticipatory set!
5.  Anticipation Guide
  • I love to create anticipation guides. Below you will see the anticipation guide I created for my Constitution Day Readers' Theater script. Before handing out the scripts, students read each statement and predict whether it's true or false in the first column. After reading through the script as a class, students return to the anticipation guide and complete the activity again, writing true or false in the second column. Students usually enjoy discovering which of their predictions were correct, and which were incorrect.
An Anticipation Guide for Constitution Day!

6.  Do something unexpected!
  • Tell students that they will silently watch you for 1 minute. Proceed to walk around the room with a pad of sticky notes. Write an adjective on the sticky note that describes an object in your classroom. For example, write the word "smooth" on a sticky note, show the word to your students, and then stick the sticky note to the table. Look down at your clothing, and choose an adjective to write on a sticky note, such as red. Show the word to your students, and then stick it to your article of clothing. Repeat with other words, labeling nouns in the room with adjectives. After the minute is over, ask students how all of the labels are alike.
  • Walk into class wearing a pair of the glasses from the Googly Eyes game to introduce a lesson on concave and convex lenses. Take the lenses out of the glasses and let students pass them around, along with the extra lenses in the box, and let students look through the various lenses. Students can even make some predictions about the science behind these lenses!
7.  Read a picture book or play a song.
Looking for a fun anticipatory set activity for introducing idioms? Check out the book Even More Parts by Tedd Arnold!
  • Play the song Ironic by Alanis Morrisette before introducing the term "irony". Use a document camera to display the lyrics so students can follow along. When the song is over, ask students to discuss with a partner what irony might mean.
  • To introduce idioms, read Even More Parts by Tedd Arnold. The character in this book makes a list of all of the crazy things he hears (idioms) like "I keep changing my mind" and "I lost my head". The illustrations in this book are so FUN!

8.  Use a prop. (This one is my favorite!)
  • Bring an object to class that is somehow related to the lesson, and ask your students to predict how it might represent today's lesson. 
  • Sometimes I use a direct representation. For example, if your lesson is about the Pony Express, you might show your students an addressed envelope and a plastic toy horse, and ask how these two items might be related to today's social studies lesson.
  • Sometimes, I create an analogy that is a bit more abstract. Check out my post at Upper Elementary Snapshots for a complete example of employing this type of anticipatory set by clicking on the image. (This post includes a freebie, too!) 

To get the most out of your anticipatory set activity, be sure to revisit the activity at the end of the lesson! Incorporating an anticipatory set activity and referring back to it during the lesson will certainly result in improved student retention!

Teaching about Author's Perspective

Hello! Welcome to our mentor text link up! The book I chose to feature this time is A Fine, Fine School by Sharon Creech. I have found that this book is an ideal mentor text to use when teaching students about identifying the author's perspective. Full disclosure: this blog post contains affiliate links. :)


A Fine, Fine School- Mentor Text for teaching about identifying an author's perspective or an author's point of view! Includes a FREE follow-up worksheet!

A quick summary: Tillie enjoys school, but she also enjoys being a kid. One day, the principal at Tillie's school, Mr. Keene, decides that the teachers and students at his school are doing so well, that he wants them to have school on weekends. The teachers and students didn't want to go school on the weekend, but no one knew how to tell Mr. Keene that. Mr. Keene is so proud of his school, that he decides to have school on holidays, too. A few months later, he cancels summer break. Finally, Tillie speaks up. She explains to Mr. Keene that although the kids are learning a lot, there are also many learning opportunities that have to be missed, like learning how to climb trees. Mr. Keene realizes that Tillie is right, and he changes the schedule back to the normal Monday-through-Friday schedule. The teachers and children are ecstatic! 

I LOVE THIS BOOK for so many reasons!! First, the author finds a subtle way to express her views on the current state of our educational system, with its overabundance of testing and procedures that are not in the best interest of our students. Along with that, the illustrations by Harry Bliss are fun to look at, but also quite profound. He further emphasizes the author's viewpoint with his illustrations. When I read this book with students, we have fun looking at the details in each illustration.
A Fine, Fine School- Mentor Text for teaching about identifying an author's perspective or an author's point of view! Includes a FREE follow-up worksheet!
Notice the banner that is hanging in the lunchroom that reads "WHY NOT STUDY WHILE YOU CHEW?"!

A Fine, Fine School- Mentor Text for teaching about identifying an author's perspective or an author's point of view! Includes a FREE follow-up worksheet!
The sticky notes on Tillie's suitcase say "HUGE TEST SUNDAY", "MASSIVE TEST SATURDAY", and "THE LARGEST TEST IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE NEXT WEEK!"

A Fine, Fine School- Mentor Text for teaching about identifying an author's perspective or an author's point of view! Includes a FREE follow-up worksheet!
Notice the details in this illustration! The girl is putting a 10,000 count box of pencils in her locker! On the other side, a girl is carrying a backpack with a WIDE LOAD sign.

BEFORE READING

I'll begin this lesson with an anchor chart that explains author's perspective. (I will also take a moment to explain that some people also refer to this as author's point of view.)


Author's Perspective Anchor Chart- this blog post includes a mentor text activity plus a FREE followup independent practice worksheet!

After reviewing the information on the anchor chart, I'll tell my students that I am going to read aloud a book today, and I want them to try to figure out a belief of the author that is evident in this book. I'll show the cover to my students, and ask if anyone would care to share a prediction about the author's perspective, just based on the title and the cover illustration.

AFTER READING

After enjoying the book, we will use discuss each quadrant on the anchor chart. For example, we'll talk about the problem/conflict in A Fine, Fine School, and discuss how it helped us determine the author's beliefs about school. I'll record notes of our discussion on a sticky note, and add it to the anchor chart. After discussing each quadrant, we will ultimately determine that the author of the book believes that today's schools aren't as student-centered as they should be. Rather, most schools are test-centered... administrators are focused on making policies that will allow kids to test well. It's evident that the author believes administrators and policy-makers need to take a step back and realize that a lot of important learning happens outside of schools, too.

After this guided discussion, you can use the following worksheet as independent practice to determine which of your students can identify the author's perspective without your help, and which students need additional small group instruction. Just click on the image below to download the FREE worksheet!


FREE Author's Perspective (Point of View) worksheet! Determine whether your students can identify an author's perspective!

Also, if you are looking for additional resources that focus on the ability to identify the author's perspective, feel free to check out my PowerPoint and worksheet packet!
Perspective PowerPoint for intermediate level students! Includes many practice passages!


Author's Perspective Worksheet Packet- includes 6 practice worksheets!



Thanks for stopping by! Before you leave, be sure to enter the giveaway. One lucky winner will receive all of the books shared in this linkup!! By the way, MY MYSTERY WORD IS SPRING.


Also, be sure to hop around to my friends' blogs and check out the other books shared in this linkup!



A Fine, Fine School- Mentor Text for teaching about identifying an author's perspective or an author's point of view! Includes a FREE follow-up worksheet!
 


Five FREE Idioms Activities

I've always love teaching kids about idioms... the majority of English speakers use them so often in conversational language, we often don't even realize we are using them! When we study them in school with our students, though, we take a good look at their literal AND figurative meanings, and we realize how entertaining these language features truly are.

When I took my ESL endorsement classes the summer after I began my teaching career, I remember thinking about how perplexing idioms must be to our English Language Learners. However, when I got a chance to teach idioms to my ELLs the following school year, I found that they enjoy learning about idioms just as much as native English speakers do. They just may need more repetition and practice opportunities before they memorize the meanings of the countless idioms in the English language.

Since repetition is key, I decided to compile a list of idiom activities you can use with your students!

1. Post an anchor chart in your classroom.

Write the idioms on the anchor chart before class begins. Then, enlist the help of your students by asking them to help you figure out the meaning of each idiom during class.
Idioms Anchor Chart- This blog post features Five FREE Idiom Activities!
This fun clip art  by Monster Wrangler Mike is available on TpT. Just click HERE to check it out.

2. Go through this {free} PowerPoint with your students.

FREE Idioms PowerPoint and companion handout when you sign up for my newsletter. 44-slide PowerPoint with many multiple choice practice questions!

This PowerPoint contains many direct teaching slides and multiple choice practice slides, like the ones below.
FREE Idioms PowerPoint and companion handout when you sign up for my newsletter. 44-slide PowerPoint with many multiple choice practice questions!

FREE Idioms PowerPoint and companion handout when you sign up for my newsletter. 44-slide PowerPoint with many multiple choice practice questions!

I also teach my students to use context clues to determine the meaning of unknown idioms. Therefore, I included some of these practice slides, as well.
FREE Idioms PowerPoint and companion handout when you sign up for my newsletter. 44-slide PowerPoint with many multiple choice practice questions!

To access this free PowerPoint, just sign up for my newsletter, and this will be sent to you automatically. (There is a sign-up form directly above my photograph in the righthand corner of my blog.)

3.  Download this {free} "I Have, Who Has?" idiom game.

I found this free resource in Cassie Dahl's store! How awesome, huh? Cheers erupt any time I bring out one of these games, and this one looks super fun!
Free I Have Who Has Game... featuring idioms!

4.  Download this {free} set of idiom task cards.

I found this resource in the store of The Teacher Next Door.  32 idiom task cards are included!
Free School Idioms Task Cards


5.  Make a class idiom book!

Students seem to LOVE illustrating idioms because they are so zany! Your students will likely enjoy creating this class idiom book by Nicole from Learning Lab! (It includes a list of 50 idioms!) Plus, then it is complete, this will become a cherished addition to your classroom library.
Make a class Idioms Book!

My favorite idiom activity- Concentration!

Finally, I'd like to share my all-time favorite idiom activity! My students have always LOVED this game! After printing out the cards and cutting them apart, we turn them over and play Concentration. I am very purposeful when I play this game with students. When it is a student's turn, he turns over ONLY ONE CARD to begin. If he turns over a picture card, he reads the short passage aloud, identifies the idiom within the sentence, and guesses the meaning. If he flips the words-only card, he reads it aloud, and tries to recall an idiom that matches the definition. AFTER the student has completed that crucial step, he can turn over his second card, and determine if he has a match. 
Idioms Concentration-featuring 17 common idioms!

If you do some of these fun, engaging activities with your students, idioms will be a PIECE OF CAKE before you know it!

Homophones Anchor Chart & Freebie!

By the time students reach the upper elementary grades, they often have a solid understanding of how homophones work. They might not be able to recite a quick definition, but hey, I have to pause for a moment whenever I hear the word homophone, too. Homophones, homographs, homonyms...you can certainly understand why these words are easily confused!

However, once you remind upper elementary students that homophones are words with the same pronunciations (or sounds), but different meanings and spellings, they can generally rattle off a string of them. That's why I approach this lesson a little differently than I approach most other lessons where I use an anchor chart.

Prior to the beginning of class, I create this "base". As you can see, I review the definition for homophone by relating it to our prior knowledge of the Greek roots homo, which means "same", and phon, which means "sound".
Homophone anchor chart for upper elementary students! Students write the other spelling of the homophone on the FREE handout linked to this blog post!
After a brief review, I tell students that I designed a challenge for them. I purposely chose a handful of somewhat-challenging homophones to include on this anchor chart. I will give them three minutes to see how many "homophone partners" they can list on their handout. (Click on the image below to download this for free!) For example, what is another way that you can spell "sell", that means something different than "sell"?
FREE Homophone handout! Students record the other spelling for each homophone on the line beside each word.
Once the three minutes have passed, I invite students to compare their lists with a partner and discuss their answers. I enjoy walking around the room and listening in on student discussions. I often hear students using the words in sentences and discussing the spellings of words.

After a few minutes, I ask random students to share their answers with me, and I record the words on the anchor chart. With each listed pair, I ask students to provide example sentences where each particular spelling would be used.
Homophone anchor chart for upper elementary students! Students write the other spelling of the homophone on the FREE handout linked to this blog post!

My favorite follow-up activity to this lesson is my homophone craftivity! As you can see, students are given text message screens where certain words are underlined. They must write a sentence on the other screen that uses the homophone's alternate spelling.
Homophone Craftivity!  Students use homophones in the context of a sentence to differentiate their meanings! Two versions- easier and more challenging!

Students glue their message screens to their phones in order so that when both screens are gently pulled back, you will see a new pair of homophones used in appropriate sentences.

Homophone Craftivity!  Students use homophones in the context of a sentence to differentiate their meanings! Two versions- easier and more challenging!

This craftivity includes a basic version and a more challenging version so that it can be used with multiple grade levels, or differentiated for students within one classroom. If you're interested in taking a closer look at it, click on one of the photos above to view this resource in my TpT store!

Read Alouds for Black History Month (with free printables!)

In the United States, February is Black History Month. This month is dedicated to educating Americans about the countless contributions African Americans have made to our country, as well as remembering the obstacles they've had to overcome throughout American history.

My favorite way to celebrate Black History Month in the classroom is to present read alouds. There are so many excellent picture books that would be perfect to read during February... I'm going to share two with you today. (This blog post contains Amazon affiliate links.)

Two incredible books that highlight important aspects of African American history. This blog post also contains a FREE printable that can be used as a follow-up activity for each book! Great for Black History Month or for any time of the year!


SIT-IN: HOW FOUR FRIENDS STOOD UP BY SITTING DOWN

A fabulous book about a student-led protest that took place during the Civil Rights Movement. This blog post contains a FREE follow-up writing activity, too!

Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down is written by Andrea Davis Pinkney, and is illustrated by her husband, Brian Pinkney. It tells the story of the four young college students who, after hearing Dr. King's messsage, took a seat at the Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina. They ignored the restaurants segregation policy, and refused to leave until they were served. The book goes on to explain how word of the sit-in spread like wildfire, and soon there were sit-in protests happening across the country during 1960.

The author of this book uses a beautiful poetic voice. I like how some of the most important messages of the Civil Rights Movements are written in bold to really stand out.
Sit-In is a fabulous book about a key student-led protest that took place during the Civil Rights Movement. This blog post contains a FREE follow-up writing activity, too!

I created a simple follow-up writing activity that highlights a few of those quotes that are written in bold. Click HERE to download the writing worksheet.

Sit-In is a fabulous book about a key student-led protest that took place during the Civil Rights Movement. This blog post contains a FREE follow-up writing activity, too!


Also, I found this 4-minute video clip that summarizes how non-violence was key to the Civil Rights Movement. I suggest showing this video before reading the book to provide background knowledge.
Cut and paste this link to access a sharp image: http://www.voanews.com/a/nonviolencekey-to-civil-rights-movement/1737280.html

THE SECRET TO FREEDOM

This is a fabulous book that tells about how quilts were used to guide escaped slaves along the Underground Railroad. What a great read-aloud for Black History Month or any time of the year! This blog post contains a FREE test prep activity that accompanies this book.

The Secret to Freedom is by Marcia Vaughan. Although it is historical fiction, it is written like a personal narrative. The book is written in first-person as the narrator recalls visiting her great-aunt Lucy when she was 10 years old. The young girl asks her great-aunt Lucy about the quilt scrap hanging from the kitchen wall. That's when Great-aunt Lucy tells her story of growing up as a slave on a plantation in South Carolina right before the Civil War.

It's a heart-wrenching story, as she tells of how Lucy's parents were sold to a far-away plantation, and how her brother is tied to a tree and whipped for no good reason. It's also an inspiring story, however, as Lucy tells of how Albert arrives home one day with a sack of quilts. The quilts are sewn in such a way that they contain a secret code, as each pattern gives important information to slaves planning to escape along the Underground Railroad. Lucy hangs certain quilts on certain days, and the plantation owners have no idea what is happening on their property.

The ending of this story is very touching, and it reinforces the unyielding strength of family bonds. In fact, if I were reading this book to upper elementary students, I would definitely take a moment to determine the theme of the book after finishing the story.

I truly love the book itself, so when I found the Author's Note, it was an added bonus! The author's note gives additional details about how the quilts were used to convey messages to the passengers of the Underground Railroad.
The Secret to Freedom is a fabulous book that tells about how quilts were used to guide escaped slaves along the Underground Railroad. What a great read-aloud for Black History Month or any time of the year! This blog post contains a FREE test prep activity that accompanies the Author's Note at the end of the book.

The Secret to Freedom is a fabulous book that tells about how quilts were used to guide escaped slaves along the Underground Railroad. What a great read-aloud for Black History Month or any time of the year! This blog post contains a FREE test prep activity that accompanies the Author's Note at the end of the book.
The back cover provides illustrations that match the quilt patterns described in the Author's Note.


USING THIS BOOK AS A TEST PREP ACTIVITY

This blog post contains a test prep activity that can be used with the read-aloud book The Secret to Freedom. Use the author's note to model an excellent test-taking strategy!

In the school districts near me, teachers are preparing to take standardized test in late February or in March. When I read the author's note, I decided that it would provide a perfect ELA test-prep activity in which a teacher could model the best way to approach a reading passage on a test.

In the school district where I most recently taught, we instructed students that a good test taking strategy is to read the question stems first, highlighting the important words in the stem. This allows students to "read with purpose" because they know what information they should be looking for as they read. After reading through the question stems and determining the important words, our paper looks like this:

FREE TEST PREP PRINTABLE! This blog post contains a test prep activity that can be used with the read-aloud book The Secret to Freedom. Use the author's note to model an excellent test-taking strategy!
Click on this image to download this free test prep printable!


The next step is reading the passage, of course. For this modeling activity, I would think-aloud as I read aloud. For example, when I reached the section about the log cabin, I would say something like "Hey! I remember highlighting "log cabin" when I was reading the question stems. I'm going to highlight it here on the passage so I can refer to it easily when I am answering the questions.

After reading the entire passage, I would return to the questions and answer each one. I would also model how I would return to the text to justify each of my answers.

Would you like an opportunity to win these two books? Just enter the Rafflecopter! I will ship the book to the winner of each giveaway!



Finally, if you are looking for additional activities to recognize and celebrate Black History Month in your classroom, feel free to check out my partner plays! This set includes SIX scripts featuring the accomplishments of Frederick Douglass, Hank Aaron, Elijah McCoy, Ruby Bridges, Thurgood Marshall, Althea Gibson, and Jesse Owens. Click on the image to check them out!
Black History Month Partner Plays for upper elementary classrooms! Great for building fluency and recognizing the contributions of African Americans throughout history!