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Mister Mitchell's Education Resources

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I would describe my teaching style as "21st century facilitator." As a true facilitator, I believe students should be responsible for their own learning and be more independent. I strive to allow my students to reach these goals by designing dynamic lessons, heavy on technology, with real world applicability. When I design my lessons, I stress this real world aspect, because I believe students must understand the basic purpose of a lesson before they will consider the message behind it.

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I would describe my teaching style as "21st century facilitator." As a true facilitator, I believe students should be responsible for their own learning and be more independent. I strive to allow my students to reach these goals by designing dynamic lessons, heavy on technology, with real world applicability. When I design my lessons, I stress this real world aspect, because I believe students must understand the basic purpose of a lesson before they will consider the message behind it.
The Amazing 50 States - Geography Research Project - United States of America
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The Amazing 50 States - Geography Research Project - United States of America

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This is a collaborative research project about United States geography that requires students to role-play as product designers for a fictitious travel association, Discover the USA. An excellent example of differentiated instruction, students may research any of the 50 U.S. states to find information that makes the state unique: major landmarks, landforms, major and minor cities, symbols, fun facts, etc. Working with partners, the team members will then choose one of five products in this assignment to show what they have learned: a PowerPoint presentation, a three-fold travel brochure, a mobile, a game or game board, or a map on poster board. To meet Writing Across the Curriculum goals, a two-page report on what they learned in the project is also required.
What's on the Menu? Project - Research World Cuisines - Create a Restaurant Menu
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What's on the Menu? Project - Research World Cuisines - Create a Restaurant Menu

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What’s on the Menu? is one of my favorite ways of introducing my students to different cultures around the world and begin thinking critically about how people interact with their environments and vice versa. What better way to do so than with food? Here is what is expected of students in this assignment: Through an intensive, research-based study, students will learn about cultural similarities and differences around the world, particularly the foods people eat. The final project may provide a unique and fascinating study of the geography, history, economic, religious, and cultural factors that influence cuisine around the world. This assignment works best when tied to a map study or long-range unit of study that allows students to see how people influence their environments and how their environments influence them. The project should require students to provide thoughtful answers to questions about how, why, and where culinary interests develop. This packet contains the following: •A universal menu template that students can use to research ANY country’s cuisine. It is color-heavy, and if your school or classroom budget does not allow printing of heavy images, I have provided an alternative that will require less ink and copier toner. •The aforementioned printer-friendly menu template for any international menu. I have also included several individualized menus for the following nations: Brazil, France, Greece, India, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, and Thailand. •Three lesson extension ideas. •A rubric you may consider using to evaluate the project.
Create-a-Country Geography Skills Project - SCALABLE
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Create-a-Country Geography Skills Project - SCALABLE

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This is the create-a-country project which requires students -- upper elementary, middle, or high school -- to demonstrate fundamental geography skills. I mention it is a scalable assignment. Simply, there are different versions of this two-part assignment here: an upper elementary school assignment, a middle school assignment, and a high school assignment. Of course, you can mix-and-match to fit the needs of your classes. Both parts of this assignment require students to think critically to earn full credit. The first part of the assignment requires them to define their country’s unique characteristics. The second part is a map-making assignment in which they take the displayable characteristics from part one and illustrate them on a blank piece of paper. This can be a very powerful and engaging project!
Flowers for Algernon RAFT Writing Project + Rubric
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Flowers for Algernon RAFT Writing Project + Rubric

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The Flowers for Algernon RAFT Writing Project contains a Common Core-ready writing project for the English/Language Arts classroom.This is a culminating project to end a unit of study on Daniel Keyes's famous novel. What is a RAFT, you might ask? RAFT is an acronym for a powerful writing strategy that provides rigor, flexibility, and variety. RAFT stands for Role, Audience, Format, and Topic. A RAFT can be implemented in all content areas, thus making it an excellent Writing Across the Curriculum resource. Young writers might pursue one of several genres of writing (expository, narrative, descriptive, argumentative or persuasive) to create one of several products (letter, television commercial, diary entry, etc.).
Ancient Civilizations - Egypt - Famous Pharaohs Research Project with Rubric
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Ancient Civilizations - Egypt - Famous Pharaohs Research Project with Rubric

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This is a research project about ancient Egyptian pharaohs that requires students to role-play as Egyptologists-in-training. Students may choose one of these eight pharaohs: Akhenaten, Cleopatra, Hatshepsut, Khufu, Ramesses II, Seti I, Tutankhamen, or Thutmose III. Their task is to evaluate their chosen pharaoh's strengths and weaknesses as a leader and their contributions to Egyptian life and culture. Here are some of the specifics: For students: the role-playing letter introduction, step-by-step directions for implementation (written in plain English for students to easily understand), research logs, and a works cited page to document their sources. For teachers: a list of required materials, a pacing guide, two rubrics, and a list of reputable online resources for students to use when they conduct their research. This project is intended as a cumulative assignment to enrich a unit on Ancient Egypt.
Ancient Civilizations - Rome - Roman Rulers Research Project with Rubric
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Ancient Civilizations - Rome - Roman Rulers Research Project with Rubric

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You are about to download a research project titled "Roman Rulers: The Good, the Bad... and the Weird." Students must research one of the following emperors: Julius Caesar, Octavian (Augustus), Claudius, Nero, Vespasian, Titus, Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius, Caligula, or Commodus. They must determine the emperor's strengths and weaknesses and their contributions to Roman life. In the assignment packet, you will find: For students: a role-playing letter for students to read as an introduction to the project, a step-by-step list of detailed instructions, research logs, and a works cited page to document their sources. For teachers: a list of required materials, a pacing guide, two rubrics, and a list of reputable online resources for students to use when they conduct their research.
20th Century American History - 1910-1919 - 20 Research Questions
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20th Century American History - 1910-1919 - 20 Research Questions

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This is a challenging set of 20 research questions for a 20th Century American History class studying the decade 1910-1919. The questions are organized chronologically, and there are two questions per year in most cases. Here is what is GREAT about this assignment: it's fully customizable! For instance, you might use only 10 of these questions instead of the 20 in the packet. You might choose 5 of the questions and ask students to conduct in-depth research for a full-length report. The possibilities are endless! I decided to make a research assignment that went beyond basic questions like "When did the Titanic sink?" and "Who was president during World War I?" Instead, I opted for questions that required strong critical thinking skills and better research skills and - above all - taught an appreciation for 20th Century American history.
To Kill a Mockingbird RAFT Writing Project + Rubric
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To Kill a Mockingbird RAFT Writing Project + Rubric

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The "To Kill a Mockingbird RAFT Writing Project" contains a Common Core-ready writing project for the English/Language Arts or Social Studies classroom.This is a culminating project to end a unit of study on Harper Lee's famous novel. What is a RAFT, you might ask? RAFT is an acronym for a powerful writing strategy that provides rigor, flexibility, and variety. RAFT stands for Role, Audience, Format, and Topic. A RAFT can be implemented in all content areas, thus making it an excellent Writing Across the Curriculum resource. Young writers might pursue one of several genres of writing (expository, narrative, descriptive, argumentative or persuasive) to create one of several products (letter, television commercial, diary entry, etc.).
Islam Introductory Vocabulary Matching Assignment/Quiz + 4 Puzzles
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Islam Introductory Vocabulary Matching Assignment/Quiz + 4 Puzzles

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Consider purchasing this quick vocabulary assignment to introduce your elementary or middle school students to some basic terminology about Islam. You might even use it as a vocabulary quiz. The choice is yours! I believe this assignment would be best for kids between the ages of 10-14. There are twelve terms found in the complete assignment, with kid-friendly definitions, and an answer key for quick, simple grading. Additionally, I have created and included four puzzles you might consider using: a word search, a crossword puzzle, a fallen phrase puzzle, and a cryptogram puzzle. All answer keys are also provided. Last, please find a handful of websites you might consult to build a lesson or unit plan about Islam. The vocabulary words include: Allah, the Five Pillars, Hajj, Kaaba, Mecca, Minaret, Mosque, Muezzin, Muhammad, Quran, Prophet, and Ramadan.
The Book Thief RAFT Writing Project + Rubric
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The Book Thief RAFT Writing Project + Rubric

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The Book Thief RAFT Writing Project contains a Common Core-ready writing project for the English/Language Arts classroom.This is a culminating project to end a unit of study on Markus Zusak's powerful novel. What is a RAFT, you might ask? RAFT is an acronym for a powerful writing strategy that provides rigor, flexibility, and variety. RAFT stands for Role, Audience, Format, and Topic. A RAFT can be implemented in all content areas, thus making it an excellent Writing Across the Curriculum resource. Young writers might pursue one of several genres of writing (expository, narrative, descriptive, argumentative or persuasive) to create one of several products (letter, television commercial, diary entry, etc.). I define this further in the packet.
50 States & Capital Cities - Worksheets for upper elementary- substitute lesson!
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50 States & Capital Cities - Worksheets for upper elementary- substitute lesson!

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These worksheets are good tools for teaching students about the fifty states and their capital cities. In this packet, you will find the following worksheets and visual aids: (1) State Capitals – Students must find all 50 state capitals and write them down on the blanks provided. (2) The 50 States & Their Capitals – Students must write down the name of each state on the blanks provided. (3) State Abbreviations – Teach students the proper postal abbreviations for all 50 states. (4) State Nicknames – Teach students all of the state nicknames. (5) and (6) Capital City Jumble – Two worksheets containing 15 problems each. Students must unscramble the names of capital cities and then list their respective states. (7) A colorful map containing the 50 states and their capital cities (8) A blank map of the 50 states.**
The Outsiders RAFT Writing Project + Rubric
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The Outsiders RAFT Writing Project + Rubric

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The Outsiders RAFT Writing Project contains a Common Core-ready writing project for the English/Language Arts classroom.This is a culminating project to end a unit of study on S.E. Hinton’s famous novel. What is a RAFT, you might ask? RAFT is an acronym for a powerful writing strategy that provides rigor, flexibility, and variety. RAFT stands for Role, Audience, Format, and Topic. A RAFT can be implemented in all content areas, thus making it an excellent Writing Across the Curriculum resource. Young writers might pursue one of several genres of writing (expository, narrative, descriptive, argumentative or persuasive) to create one of several products (letter, television commercial, diary entry, etc.).
How Hard Is It to Predict Snow? Winter Reading Activity & Assignment
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How Hard Is It to Predict Snow? Winter Reading Activity & Assignment

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Just in time for those snowy winter months: "How hard is it to predict snow?" is a Common Core-ready reading assignment and critical thinking activity. It is intended for upper elementary and middle school students. Consider using it in reading, language arts, science, or geography class. It is quite flexible! Students will read a two-page passage that explains why forecasting snowfall is no easy process. They will then complete ten questions related to the reading. First, they must use the reading (or a dictionary) to define seven vocabulary words. Some of which are "Tier Two" and "Tier Three" vocabulary words. (If you are not familiar, the "tiers" refer to language objectives in the Common Core standards.) They will also answer three critical thinking questions in sentence form. There are no multiple choice or true-false questions here. I want my students to really use their noggins to succeed on this assignment!
The Great Gatsby RAFT Writing Project + Rubric
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The Great Gatsby RAFT Writing Project + Rubric

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The Great Gatsby RAFT Writing Project contains a Common Core-ready writing project for the English/Language Arts or Social Studies classroom.This is a culminating project to end a unit of study on F. Scott Fitzgerald's famous novel. What is a RAFT, you might ask? RAFT is an acronym for a powerful writing strategy that provides rigor, flexibility, and variety. RAFT stands for Role, Audience, Format, and Topic. A RAFT can be implemented in all content areas, thus making it an excellent Writing Across the Curriculum resource. Young writers might pursue one of several genres of writing (expository, narrative, descriptive, argumentative or persuasive) to create one of several products (letter, television commercial, diary entry, etc.).
Flags of the World - 11 worksheets - matching assignment - substitute lesson!
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Flags of the World - 11 worksheets - matching assignment - substitute lesson!

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The Flags of the World matching assignment packet requires students to match up the names of countries with their respective flags. The assignments come complete with separate name banks, which you can use (or withhold) depending on how challenging you would like to make the assignment. Answer keys are also included. There are eleven worksheets in this packet. These sheets include two Africa sheets, two Asia sheets, one Australia and Oceania sheet two Europe sheets, one North America, one South America sheet, and two sheets that allow students to test their knowledge of flags of countries from all over the world. This is a full-color assignment that would be great to introduce a new continent of study in a geography unit, to test students' abilities to conduct quick research, or to leave with a substitute teacher.
Apollo 11 Moon Landing Writing Project + Rubric
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Apollo 11 Moon Landing Writing Project + Rubric

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Would you like to enliven your 20th century American history or science lesson with a fun, challenging writing project? The Apollo 11 Moon Landing RAFT Writing Project contains a RAFT writing project for the social studies or science classroom. This project may be used as a creative research project or as a summarizing assignment to end a unit of study on Apollo 11. What is a RAFT, you might ask? RAFT is an acronym for a powerful writing strategy that provides rigor, flexibility, and variety. RAFT stands for Role, Audience, Format, and Topic. A RAFT can be implemented in all content areas, thus making it an excellent Writing Across the Curriculum resource. Young writers might pursue one of several genres of writing (expository, narrative, descriptive, argumentative or persuasive) to create one of several products (letter, television commercial, diary entry, etc.).
Create Your Own Culture Critical Thinking Project
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Create Your Own Culture Critical Thinking Project

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The Create Your Own Culture Project will give students hands-on practice working with concepts that are sometimes difficult to understand. What is a culture? What are culture traits? These are questions that students may struggle to define. If they are given the opportunity to create their own culture full of vibrant culture traits, I believe these concepts will be easier to master. Throughout this project, students are challenged to create unique characteristics and explain them thoroughly. There are other parts in which students must draw their creations. If used in its entirety, this can be a very powerful and engaging assignment! Of course, depending on your instructional goals and how much time you have available to you will also determine how much of the packet you may wish to use.
Black Death (Bubonic Plague) RAFT Writing Project + Rubric
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Black Death (Bubonic Plague) RAFT Writing Project + Rubric

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Would you like to enliven history with a fun, challenging writing project? The Black Death RAFT Writing Project contains a RAFT writing project for the history classroom. This project may be used as a creative research project or as a summarizing assignment to end a unit of study on the Middle Ages or another aspect of European History. What is a RAFT, you might ask? RAFT is an acronym that stands for Role, Audience, Format, and Topic. It is a powerful writing strategy that provides rigor, flexibility, and variety. A RAFT can be implemented in all content areas, thus making it an excellent Writing Across the Curriculum resource. Young writers might pursue one of several genres of writing to create one of several products. In this project, students have four writing options to choose from. They may role-play as a Sicilian authority figure, a Venetian trader, an English nurse, or a French tailor.
Evaluating Sources for Credibility Lesson Plan + PowerPoint + Student Activities
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Evaluating Sources for Credibility Lesson Plan + PowerPoint + Student Activities

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I have used this successfully with ninth grade English/language arts students to begin a research project, but I believe it would also work best with students in the middle school grades. Students will be able to identify criteria (authority, objectivity, authenticity, timeliness, relevance, and efficiency) for evaluating sources of information. Students will be asked to reflect upon the following questions: “What does it mean if something is ‘credible?’ Why is credibility important when you are looking for information? For example, if you’re looking for song lyrics, why must that web site be credible? How else might we evaluate things in our daily lives for both quality and credibility? Students will then paraphrase major points discussed in the PowerPoint-aided mini-lesson about evaluating resources. They will use the graphic organizer to paraphrase these points.
50+ Links to FREE Informational Texts for Middle & High School Grades
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50+ Links to FREE Informational Texts for Middle & High School Grades

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As you may know, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) place significant emphasis on the incorporation of informational texts into the curriculum. These texts might include freshly published articles and essays, foundational U.S. documents, and historic speeches. I hope the following resources will help take the guesswork out of finding these resources and save you some time along the way. This list is far from comprehensive, but I tried to ensure that each publication listed below has at least some free long-form content available. Remember that some publications will eventually restrict access to their articles and essays behind a paywall, but to avoid possible loss of access, please consider "clipping" the article with a tool like Evernote, Instapaper, or Pocket. Last, I have linked the Text Complexity Grade Bands and Lexile Bands to help you get started using appropriate CCSS-related Lexile levels.