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BrainyCats Learning

Our store focuses on resources for math, ELA, and US History, for students in grades 4 - 8. Many of the resources are designed for beginning-intermediate level English Language Learners. The goal is to provide resources with simplified language that still allow students to understand grade-level academics.

Our store focuses on resources for math, ELA, and US History, for students in grades 4 - 8. Many of the resources are designed for beginning-intermediate level English Language Learners. The goal is to provide resources with simplified language that still allow students to understand grade-level academics.
National Poetry  Month:  Langston Hughes:  Poetry, Civil Rights, and the Harlem Renaissance
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National Poetry Month: Langston Hughes: Poetry, Civil Rights, and the Harlem Renaissance

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Introduce your students to Langston Hughes, one of the most influential poets of the 20th century. There are activities to guide your students through analysis of two of Hughes's poems, as well as an informational text that highlights some of the experiences that shaped him as a champion of equality and black rights. This resource, originally designed as a poetry unit for ESL students, is great for both Black History Month and National Poetry Month, but also works well for cross-curricular units involving the Harlem Renaissance and Civil Rights. Activities and suggested timeline: DAY 1: “Hold Fast to Dreams”: Two activity pages that help students analyze meaning and figurative language in “Hold Fast to Dreams” by Langston Hughes “Hold Fast to Dreams: Comprehension Questions DAY 2: Self-Reflection: Two writing prompts to get students thinking about the themes in the lesson Pre-Reading Vocabulary: Use context clues and matching to introduce students (especially English language learners) to words from the informative text. Informative Text: A text about Langston Hughes and some of the events that shaped his decision to speak out for equal rights. Comprehension questions for the Informative Text DAY 3: Pre-reading Vocabulary: A cut-match-paste activity that introduces students to some of the vocabulary in the poem “Harlem”. (Designed with beginning-intermediate English language learners in mind. Some words will seem simple to more fluent students.) “Harlem”: Students fill in missing words in the poem and answer analysis questions. “Harlem”/Figurative Language: Students examine the similes in the poem and note their reactions “Harlem” Guided Analysis: Question (loosely based on the TPCAST method of poetry analysis) guide students through a deeper examination of the poem. “Harlem” Comprehension Questions Figurative Language Wrap-Up: Students identify types of figurative language as they work to get from START to FINISH in the maze.
Root Word Fun:  Agamographs for Latin Root Words
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Root Word Fun: Agamographs for Latin Root Words

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Are you looking for a resource that can keep your students focused on those days before holidays or after testing? These 3D agamographs are an engaging way to capture student attention, while contining to review vocaubulary. Learning Latin roots is important for many reasons. Not only can it help students understand unfamiliar words in the English language, it can help in learning a second Latin-based language like Spanish or French. This resource gives students a chance to link root word with meaning through art. Students can pair up to make agamographs -- three-dimensional pieces of art that change depending on the angle from which they’re viewed. Looking from the left shows the root, while looking from the right shows the English meaning and a related picture. Have students color the pictures individually then partner up by finding the matching picture. (“aqua” with “water”, for example). Working together to assemble the agamograph makes a great cooperative activity. After the agamographs are completed, they can be displayed and students can use the graphic organizer to do a gallery walk and copy the information
US History Card Games: Learn the Facts about the Early Republic
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US History Card Games: Learn the Facts about the Early Republic

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It's the plaintive cry of history students everywhere, "How can I memorize all these names and dates and facts?" History is filled with amazing stories, world-changing events, and decisions that affect everyone living today. Students get so caught up in the memorization, however, that they miss the excitement of history. This product is designed to make that memorization a little easier and more fun, so that students can take that knowledge and begin seeing, and appreciating, the bigger picture. Students can use the cards in a variety of ways. Each deck of 44 cards consists of 11 four card sets-- one picture card and three fact cards-- about the Founding Fathers, the Federalists, and the Anti-Federalists. The cards can be used to play games similar to Go Fish, Authors, Concentration, Spoons, and Solitaire. They can also be used as flashcards for review, manipulatives to create timelines, and focal points for mind map connections. You can even have your students come up with their own ideas on how to use the cards. Included are: Two decks of 44 cards, one with names and one without Chart with all the facts and pictures of each person Cheat sheet with "just the facts" Detailed rules for five games that can be played with the cards The people included in this deck are: George Washington, John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, Federalists, Anti-Federalists, Patrick Henry, James Monroe, and George Mason.
Informational Text:  Friday the 13th reading passage and activities
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Informational Text: Friday the 13th reading passage and activities

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Are you trying to get your students to connect with what they read? This product contains an informational text about Friday the 13th and a literary non-fiction piece thatwill capture student attention and engage critical thinking. High-level comprehension questions at the end of the readings will help you assess student understanding. The informational text also has a pre-teach vocabulary worksheet that will help make content comprehensible for language learners, while the literary non-fiction has a character trait follow-up. It's everything you need for a no-prep, print-and-teach lesson that you and your students will all enjoy. CONTENTS Reading passage (single page) Comprehension questions "Think About It" questions/Exit Ticket Coloring page with make-a-word activity Vocabulary pre-teaching sheet Second reading passage (double-sided) Interactive notebook root word activity Character analysis activity Answer keys for all activities
Valentine's Day 2018:  Math, Writing, Science, Informational Text and Other No-Prep Activities
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Valentine's Day 2018: Math, Writing, Science, Informational Text and Other No-Prep Activities

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Everyone adores Valentine's Day. With candy, fun, and a chance to take a break from the books , it has everything your students love. With this resource, you can let your students enjoy the Valentine's Day while completing a variety of activities that keep them learning and engaged Activities in this resource include: Love Among the Robots: Students use logic to determine which members of the Robotics Club exchanged cards and what type of candy they shared on Valentine's Day. Famous Couple Match-Up: Build student background knowledge with this activity that requires students to match up famous couples in history and literature. While the students are cutting and matching, you can lead a discussion about each pair. Equivalent Fraction Match-Up:: Students “repair” the broken hearts by matching equivalent fractions to bring the left and right pieces together. Valentine’s Day Make-a-Word: Challenge your students to use the letters in Valentine's Day to make as many words as possible. Informational Text: Valentine’s Day celebrations around the world. Comprehension Questions The Language of Love: Students match different ways to say “I Love You” with the correct language. It’s Not Valentine’s Day: Students can stretch their creative muscles and enjoy a break from “mushy love stuff” by creating new celebrations for February 14. Circulation Station: Students read a paragraph about the process of circulation in the body and use the information given to label a diagram of the heart. Heart and Blood Word Search: Students search the grid for words related to the heart and blood
7th Grade STAAR Reading Review: Drama
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7th Grade STAAR Reading Review: Drama

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This resource was designed for use as a review for drama questions on the 7th grade STAAR Reading test. BEFORE PURCHASING THIS PRODUCT, PLEASE REVIEW THE EXCERPT FROM "RUIN A FOOD" (with the preview files). My students enjoyed it, but it is about a food contest where competitors try to make disgusting combinations of food, so the topic may be off-putting to some groups. This resource includes: * A template for taking notes, along with a completed copy to project for the students, or to use while giving instrauctions. * PRE-READING VOCABULARY for “RUIN A FOOD”: A Frayer model activity to help familiarize students with words in the play. Two versions are available – one for ESL students which includes a spot to translate the word into their home languages, and one for General Education students. *RUIN A FOOD: A scene for guided practice which includes figurative language and stage directions. *Comprehension questions for “RUIN A FOOD”, using question stems from the 7th grade STAAR Reading test. *THE LAST STRAW: An excerpt from a drama about bullying. *Comprehension questions for “THE LAST STRAW” using question stems from the 7th grade STAAR Reading test.
Myths and Superstitions:  Informative Text, Reader's Theater, and Writing Activities
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Myths and Superstitions: Informative Text, Reader's Theater, and Writing Activities

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Everything you need for a two week reading and writing unit that includes fiction, drama, and informative text. Introduce your students to Baldur and Loki as they really were in myth, before they became Marvel characters. This product contains the following items: Suggested sequence: Two weeks worth of exit tickets Five interactive notebook pages for root words List of optional definitions for the root word sheets Root Word Fill-In worksheet Myth: Loki’s Betrayal Reader’s Theater: Loki’s Betrayal Story summary graphic organizer Comprehension questions: Loki’s Betrayal Pre-teach vocabulary: Magical Mistletoe Informational text: Magical Mistletoe Comprehension questions: Magical Mistletoe Creative Writing Prompt Expository Writing Prompt (written in the fashion of the STAAR 7th grade prompts) Guided expository pre-writing Peer and self-edit checklists Pages for rough draft and final copy
SAMPLER|  Facts, Commonplace Assertions, and Opinions
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SAMPLER| Facts, Commonplace Assertions, and Opinions

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With television, social media, and the internet, students have the ability to gather information almost effortlessly. But, this convenience requires an ability to discern between what is true and what is the author's opinion or a misguided belief. This sample, excerpted from a two-day lesson, includes both a reading passage and exit ticket. CONTENTS Informational text: the story of Nicholas of Patara, who may have been the man who we know today as Santa Claus. Exit ticket: a winter-themed worksheet to check your students' abilities to distinguish fact from commonplace assertions and opinions. Reading comprehension questions: assess student knowledge over the reading. PowerPoint slides: preview the longer lesson
Inauguration Day: Informational Text and No-Prep Activities
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Inauguration Day: Informational Text and No-Prep Activities

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UPDATED ON JANUARY 21, 2017. Update includes a second informational text that focuses specifically on President Trump's Inauguration day. This resource contains informational texts, , critical thinking activities, word puzzles and other fun activities for January 20 or any unit involving the election process in the US. Teach your students about the peaceful transfer of power in the US every four years with these fun and educational no-prep activities. Included in this resource: Inauguration Day Informational text (2 levels)-- Unexpected at the Inauguration -- odd things that have ahppened over the years Inauguration Day 2017-- informational text about Donald Trump's Inauguration Day and address Comprehension questions for all informational texts Presidential Word Search Oath of Office Word Cross Presidential Birthplace Hunt Presidential Birthplace Mapping Activity Inauguration Alphabet Challenge Inauguration Acrostic and coloring page Create-Your-Own Oath of Office and coloring page Answer keys
Super Bowl 2018:  Informational Text and No-Prep Activities
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Super Bowl 2018: Informational Text and No-Prep Activities

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This resource includes an assortment of math, reading, writing and critical thinking activities, all involving different aspects of the 52st Super Bowl on February 4, 2018. It's perfect for upper elementary and middle school students who need activities that allow them to review concepts while engaging them with the excitement of the big game. Activities include: Logic Puzzle: use the clues to figure out the team mascot and average points per game for four new teams that entered the NFL in 2034. Informational Text: The Pope of Football. The Super Bowl trophy is named after coach Vince Lombardi. This informational text details events from Lombardi’s life. Comprehension questions for “The Pope of Football”. Two Word Searches with Hidden Messages featuring the Eagles and Patriots starting players Make the Score: Students must figure out what combination of touchdowns, field goals, and point after touchdowns resulted in a given score. Did They Make the First Down? Students read a scenario and must determine if the team was able to move the ball at least ten yards in four plays. Great practice for integer addition! Scrambled Mascots and Cities: Students unscramble place names and mascots and match them together in this fun word puzzle. Predictions: Students use statistics from this year’s Super Bowl teams to predict the winner and final score of the big game. Students are also given sentence starters to justify their predictions. Create Your Own Team: Students can take a break from calculations and reading and exercise their creativity by creating a team name, choosing team colors, and creating a logo to put on their team helmet. Expository Prompt: Students write an expository prompt in response to one of Vince Lombardi’s quotes. A prompt analysis, pre-writing activity, rough draft, editing and final draft sheet are included. Answer keys for all activities ********** Looking for Informational Texts with comprehension questions and no-prep activities with the same theme? Need a last-minute lesson for your sub> Looking for a way to perk up your students on Friday afternoon with some engaging and educational activities? Check out some of these products: Myth and Superstition : Informational Text, Readers Theater, and More Benjamin Franklin: Informational Text and No-Prep Activities
ESL New Beginnings: Spelling Weeks 1 and 2
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ESL New Beginnings: Spelling Weeks 1 and 2

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Every week, I give my ESL Newcomers twelve or thirteen of the most commonly misspelled words in the English language. I ask them to translate the words into their home language, copy each word three times, create a sentence, illustrate three of the words, complete a word search and do a fill-in-the –blank activity . These activities can be assigned as classwork or homework throughout the week. We do a quick review of the words each day before going on to our lesson, and at the end of the week, we take a spelling test using the words. Words in this resource: again all right always  an and animals another around asked babies beautiful because before believe bought came caught  children clothes coming course cousin decided didn't different
Supporting Evidence: Powerpoint Lesson, Reading, and Activities (TEKS 7.11A)
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Supporting Evidence: Powerpoint Lesson, Reading, and Activities (TEKS 7.11A)

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PRODUCT DESCRIPTION Knowing how to identify the different types of supporting evidence not only allows students to analyze speeches, but also aides them in their own writing. The activities in this resource were designed to help middle school students (including ESL Newcomers) differentiate between quotes, facts, statistics, and examples. This resource includes: Lesson Guide: use this PowerPoint to walk your students through each step of the lesson. Notes Page Connections page: an activity that allows your students to connect the examples from the notes page with the definitions of each type of evidence. Give One/Get One activity: Students pair up with several different classmates throughout the activity to identify different types of evidence. Talking Head: Assess student knowledge with this activity that requires them to create their own examples of each type of evidence for a central argument of their choice. Service Dogs Informational Text and Comprehension Questions: Two levels of the same policy speech are included, along with comprehension questions, to be used as a post-assessment. ****** Check out my store for more ELA products including: 100TH Day of School with Benjamin Franklin: Informational Text and No-Prep Activities Myths and Superstitions: Informative Text, Reader's Theater, and Writing Activities Fact, Opinion, and Commonplace Assertions: Informational Text and Activities
Fact, Opinion, and Commonplace Assertions
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Fact, Opinion, and Commonplace Assertions

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Students need to understand the difference between fact, opinion and commonplace assertion, so they don't fall into the trap of believing everything they read on the Internet, or hear on television or radio or podcasts. This product was designed to help students differentiate between fact and opinion, and introduce them to the idea of commonplace assertions -- those things that many people believe to be true, but really aren't. With a PowerPoint that guides both teach and students through the activities, activities that allow movement, cooperative learning opportunities, and interactive notebook suggestions, it's a two day lesson that is both engaging and valuable. This product contains the following items: PowerPoint for students that guides the lesson and activities over the two days. Card sorting Activity Give One/Get One activity Three leveled readings about Pocohontas (app. 350, 650, 1050 L) Exit ticket
Superstition:  Informational Text, Writing Prompt, and Word Activities
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Superstition: Informational Text, Writing Prompt, and Word Activities

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Challenge your students with this 1000 L reading passage about superstitions. This text can be used with students at any time of the year, but is particularly relevant when Friday the 13th rolls around. ( In 2017, there will be one in January and one in October). This product gives students an informational text to read about the superstitions, and activities that go with the reading. The no-prep format allows you to print it out and hand to the students, which also makes it ideal for days when you need an emergency lesson for a substitute. This packet contains: Frayer model to be used for a bellringer or anticipatory set (3 versions: ESL, Gen ED, and customizable)) Informational reading passage about superstitions (2 versions -- one-sheet "paper saver" and two-page "note-taker) Comprehension questions, including questions about text structure, fact vs opinion, and author’s purpose Phrase search Word Search with hidden message Superstition Acrostic Writing Prompt with Pre-writing guides and editing checklists Answer keys for all activities
100TH Day of School with Benjamin Franklin: Informational Text and No-Prep Activities
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100TH Day of School with Benjamin Franklin: Informational Text and No-Prep Activities

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This Benjamin Franklin - inspired twist on the more traditional observation of the 100th day of school, gives your middle school students a little education with their fun. (Or, maybe, a little fun with their education!). The no-prep activities in this packet all have to do with the $100 bill and Benjamin Franklin, and differentiated levels make them are suitable for 5th -8th graders. There is also a self-reflection journal that allows students to analyze their performance in the first 100 days. This 100th day, make it all about the Benjamin Franklins! Activities included are: Math word problems with answer keys. (Two sets: one with one-step problems and one with two-step problems) Informational Text: Text about Franklin’s accomplishments. Two different reading levels (app. 600 and 900) with comprehension questions. $100 Words: Find out how much your name is worth, and try to discover some $100 words. Franklin Quote Completion Challenge: Let your students step into Benjamin Franklin’s shoes and dispense words of wisdom based on his well-known quotes. Quote match: After coming up with their own endings to the quotes, students can try to match the actual beginnings and endings. Quote- Libs: Like the popular story fill-in game, but with Franklin-inspired quotations Creative Writing Prompt: What would you do if you found $100? Find the Difference: Examine twelve $100 bills and find the one that is not like the rest Find the Match: Examine twelve $100 bills and find the two that are identical. Reflection on the First 100 Days: Students think about what they’ve accomplished in the first 100 days, and what they would like to accomplish before the end of school.
Pi Day 2017: No-Prep Art, Math, Figurative Language and Writing Activities
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Pi Day 2017: No-Prep Art, Math, Figurative Language and Writing Activities

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Celebrate Pi Day with these fun, no-prep activities that focus on the number (and its homophone) in a variety of ways that will engage and educate your elementary, middle, and even high school students. Activities in this resource:Activities in this resource: Agamograph: This engaging art project shows the word and symbol for Π when viewed from one angle, and the approximation 3.14 when viewed from another. Discovering Pi: Students measure the diameter and circumference of circles to determine the value of pi for themselves, them use their discovered value to predict the circumference of a circle they draw. Pie Idioms: Students use context clues to predict the meaning of idioms that include the word “pie” Hidden Message Pi Word Search: Students find the names of people throughout history who worked on calculating the value of pi. When they are done, the unused letters will reveal a quotation about pi. Uncovering Pi: Use PEMDAS to find the first ten digits of pi. Memorizing Pi: Create a story to help memorize the first ten digits of pi.
Reader's Theater:  Federalists vs Anti-Federalists and Ratifying the U.S. Constitution
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Reader's Theater: Federalists vs Anti-Federalists and Ratifying the U.S. Constitution

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Every US History student is expected to know the names of prominent Federalists and Anti-Federalists, weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation, and why we have a Bill of Rights, This fun, 20-minute reader's theater script allow students to review these concepts in a fresh, interactive way. With added bits of humor (did Patrick Henry really say, "Give me liberty or give me a side of beef?") and the constant middle-school scuffling between Alexander Hamilton and John Adams, students will see that the Founding Fathers might be a little less stuffy and a lot more interesting than first impressions might have indicated. It's the Federalists vs Anti-Federalists reader's theater that you've been waiting for! The dialogue is conversational and modern, to engage students and make the material more accessible. Contents 20- minute Reader's Theater script with 9 speaking parts Comprehension questions
Lucky Thirteen:  No-Prep Activities for Friday the Thirteenth and Beyond
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Lucky Thirteen: No-Prep Activities for Friday the Thirteenth and Beyond

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Be ready for Friday the Thirteenth or any day with this bundle of thirteen reading, math, science and history activities. This package contains thirteen different activities from all four core classes for you to use for centers, early finishers, brain breaks, or just a fun Friday activity. Each activity has the number 13 as a focus, making them especially ideal for Friday the 13, but suitable for any day. The activities included in this set are: The First Thirteen Elements: Students answer questions about the first thirteen elements in the Periodic Table, then find the elements in a word search. The unused letters reveal a quotation about the Periodic Table. My _________ Day: Students select words to complete a fill-it-in story that may or may not be about Friday the 13th. Target Thirteen: Students play in groups of 2 – 4 to add and subtract single digits and develop strategies to be the first person to reach 13. The Thirteen Colonies: Students have an opportunity to review the names and locations of the thirteen colonies by labeling a map and using a color key to highlight the three major regions. Thirteen Languages: Students test their language skills as they work together to translate “hello”, “good-bye” and “thirteen” into thirteen different languages. Thirteen Pairs: After cutting apart the triangle, students reconstruct the original by pairing up sides that add up to thirteen. This would be a great activity to laminate and have on hand for early finishers to work on. Make Thirteen: Students use the ten digits 0 – 9 to make the number thirteen according to the operations given. There are two versions – one with some of the numbers in place, and one without. Friday the Thirteenth Make-a-Word: How many words can be made with the letters in “Friday the Thirteenth”? Friday the Thirteenth: This reading passage gives students information about the origins of the unlucky day, and is accompanied by a set of comprehension questions. The Thirteenth Amendment: This reading passage introduces history students to what may be a surprising fact about slavery in the United States and asks, “Does the Thirteenth Amendment need to be changed?” Thirteenth Amendment Word Fill-In: The words of the Thirteenth Amendment are featured in this Word Cross puzzle. The Thirteenth Guest: Jemima Ficklewort needs an heir. Students must solve a logic problem to find out who the lucky person is. Thirteen Pieces of Gold: This easy to learn strategy game helps students develop problem-solving skills and learn to think ahead as they try to outwit their opponent. The real treasure is the fact that once students figure out the strategy to the original game, different variations can be created to further challenge their thinking.
St. Patrick's Day:  Art Projects, Writing Prompts, Spelling Games
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St. Patrick's Day: Art Projects, Writing Prompts, Spelling Games

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Agamographs, writing prompts, and spelling games, all with a St. Patrick's Day theme. Each of the three activities comes with two variations, one easy and one a little more challenging, to allow differentiation. The activities are: Irish agamographs: Choose from a combination of St. Patrick and a snake or a leprechaun and his pot of gold to make a 3D piece of art. This is a great cooperative activity, with pairs of students working together to each complete one part of the art, then assempling the finished artwork. Two writing prompts accompany the agamographs. One is an eyewitness account of seeing St, Patrick drive the snakes out of Ireland. The other is a story about finding a pot of gold. Blarney Stone Spelling: Students will make their own tetrahedron-shaped “Blarney Stones” and use them in to complete two spelling games. Losers have to "kiss the Blarney Stone" by complimenting the winner..
Middle Grades Emergency Sub Plans:  No-Prep Informational Texts, Comprehension Questions, Activities
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Middle Grades Emergency Sub Plans: No-Prep Informational Texts, Comprehension Questions, Activities

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Just in time for cold and flu season, with its accompanying need for emergency sub plans, it's a bundle of my most popular informational texts. Each of these eight texts comes with a set of comprehension questions, along with a no-prep activity. Just print and copy to keep your students engaged and learning while you rest. This resource includes: “It’s All About the Benjamins”: 2 reading levels of an informational text and comprehension questions about Benjamin Franklin, along with a “Mad Lib”-type activity that allows students to put their own twist on quotes by Benjamin Franklin. “The Story of Groundhog Day”: This text traces the origins o Groundhog Day. The accompanying activity challenges students to use the letters from GROUNDHOG DAY to make as many words as possible. “Inauguration Day 2017”: Informational text about Trump’s Inauguration Day , along with a word search using the last names of all the presidents. “Inauguration Day”: This informational text reveals some of the unusual events of inaugurations past. The text comes in two-levels for differentiation. The accompanying activity is an Oath of Office Word Cross. “Service Dogs”: This policy speech about allowing service dogs in businesses is offered in two different levels to fit the needs of your class. The activity requires students to research their own facts, statistics, quotes and examples to support a central argument of their choosing. “The Pope of Football”: This text introduces students to Vince Lombardi, the man for whom the Super Bowl trophy is named. The accompanying activity uses a quote of Lombardi’s to create an expository writing prompt. Pre-writing activities, editing checklists and a page for the final draft are also included. “Friday the 13th”: This text explains many of the negative associations that Friday the 13th has in our culture, Use the accompanying activity to preview vocabulary before reading. “Superstitions”: This one-page informational text describes superstitions, both in the United States and around the world. An acrostic puzzle is included as a follow-up to the reading. PLEASE NOTE: Each of these texts are available as part of an individual resource that includes more themed activities.