Friday, February 21, 2014

A Fun Way to End a Book or Unit

Do you have kids interested in chess? What about checkers? Why not tie it into what you're studying?

Take a classic good vs. evil story like the Hobbit and have students decide which chess pieces should represent which characters from the story. (If you have an old game, maybe you won't mind if they tape labels onto the pieces.) Perhaps you'll have orc pawns vs. Gandalf the king or elf pawns vs. giant spiders.

If checkers is more their style, choose some main themes from your unit and perhaps you'll get white blood cells versus bacteria.

For very motivated students perhaps they might even come up with their own game board and trivia questions, Jeopardy-style clues, or Wheel of Fortune-type puzzles.

The possibilities are endless!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Free Writing From the 8 year-old

The Lost Sheep

Once upon a time there was a shepherd. The shepherd had 99 sheep. He also had one lamb as the 100th sheep. The shepherd loved his sheep. He especially tended to the young, feeble, tender lamb. Every day, the shepherd took his sheep to a wide meadow so the sheep could feed. The shepherd kept the lamb in his pocket so that it wouldn’t be trampled. Sometimes the shepherd stood up and counted his sheep. Then he might lay down and watch his sheep. Sometimes he would shear some of his sheep while the others grazed. Sometimes he would lay down and feed his lamb after taking it out of the pocket.
One day, the shepherd took his sheep to graze. As they walked by on their way to the green pasture (they could see their goal point already), the shepherd counted them. Perfect. 99 grown-up sheep. The shepherd patted the lamb, which was peeping out of his large pocket.
When about a half-hour was gone, the sheep started to get terrified. The shepherd saw a wolf. The wolf raced at the shepherd. The lamb bleated with terror. The shepherd saw that the wolf wanted the young lamb. He jumped just in time, so the wolf missed the lamb. The wolf growled his fiercest growl and stalked into a nearby forest. The sheep continued their pasturing, and when one full hour had gone by, the sheep returned home. When the shepherd counted them, he found the correct number of old sheep. He reached into his pocket for the lamb. The lamb was gone!
The shepherd looked deeper in the pocket. The wolf had made a large hole in the bottom of the pocket. The lamb must have fallen out of the pocket while the sheep were being led home! Quickly, the shepherd penned up the sheep and took off, following the trail they always led to the pasture. He hoped that the wolf did not already have the lamb! He cried at the thought.
Finally, the shepherd came to a white spot on the path. It had black, too. It also bleated with pain. The shepherd recognized this as his sheep. He hugged it, and the lamb bleated with joy. But then its happiness seemed to go away. It raised one of its hooves to show a scrape mark. The young sheep must have scraped itself on the fall. At least the wolf didn’t get to it!
The shepherd took the lamb home, and, when he was there, he fed it and bandaged its hoof. From then on, the shepherd was more cautious with all his sheep for the sake of the one, young, feeble lamb. And, the shepherd, the sheep, and the lamb lived happily ever after, and none of them were even one mile within the distance of wolves ever. The end.