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Mister Mitchell's Education Resources

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.
Understanding Plagiarism: Lesson Plan + PowerPoint + Student Activities
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Understanding Plagiarism: Lesson Plan + PowerPoint + Student Activities

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Students will be able to define and identify different types of intentional and unintentional plagiarism. They will also brainstorm reasons why people plagiarize works and the consequences that can apply if caught. They will also be able to determine why plagiarism is damaging to their academic careers (beyond failing grades). The first few minutes (2-3 minutes approximately) of class will allow students to think about the topics of discussion. Next, introduce concepts related to plagiarism as outlined in the PowerPoint presentation. These activities include (1) students identifying examples of patchwriting, (2) a practice assignment asking them to use proper paraphrasing techniques, and (3) a 3-2-1 activity asking them to recap important themes in the lesson. This resource is not what I would call "comprehensive." I use it with 12th grade students who have a basic understanding of plagiarism.
Let's Explore Canada! Find Canadian Provinces & More on a Map: Map Skills
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Let's Explore Canada! Find Canadian Provinces & More on a Map: Map Skills

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This assignment is titled "Let's Explore Canada! Use a Map to Find Canadian Provinces, Territories, Cities, Landforms, and Bodies of Water." This assignment includes 20 questions that require students to analyze a map of Canada for boundaries and borders, major cities, landforms, and bodies of water. Here are two sample questions: "Which river forms part of the border between Ontario and the American state of New York?" and "What is the name of Canada's southernmost province?" I also included two basic mapping assignments: students must label maps of the provinces and territories, and the provincial and territorial capital cities. This would make a great introduction to elementary students preparing to study Canada for the first time. It would also work well in any higher elementary or middle school classroom as map skills are still critical needs in these areas. You might even consider it a "substitute assignment" and leave it for a substitute teacher on a day you are away from the classroom. This assignment works well as an individual assignment or as a partner assignment.
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.
Brave New World RAFT Writing Project + Rubric
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Brave New World RAFT Writing Project + Rubric

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The Brave New World RAFT Writing Project contains a writing project for the English/Language Arts classroom.This is a culminating project to end a unit of study on Aldous Huxley'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.).
Kwanzaa, Celebration of Heritage Reading Assignment + Critical Thinking Activity
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Kwanzaa, Celebration of Heritage Reading Assignment + Critical Thinking Activity

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My students asked me to explain Kwanzaa recently. I decided to write this assignment to guide the process. "Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Life and Heritage" 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, or geography class. It is quite flexible! Students will read a two-page passage that explains aspects about the holiday. 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.
Fifty (50) Landforms and Bodies of Water Workbook - Visual Dictionary
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Fifty (50) Landforms and Bodies of Water Workbook - Visual Dictionary

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This 50-page visual dictionary/workbook assignment gives students an opportunity to learn up to 50 landforms and bodies of water in a fun, completely visual way. Give your students the 21st geography skills they will need in an increasingly "globalized" world. Students must define each geography term, list examples, and then provide a photograph for each. The nice aspect about this assignment is that it is fully customizable to your students' abilities and needs. You may not need all 50 pages, but you can always mix-and-match to fit your curriculum. Let's imagine you are introducing landforms and bodies of water to elementary school students: you might choose ten basic terms from this workbook to teach.
Henry Ford and the Model T RAFT Writing Project/Graphic Organizers/Rubric
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Henry Ford and the Model T RAFT Writing Project/Graphic Organizers/Rubric

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The Henry Ford and the Model T R.A.F.T. Creative Writing Project is an excellent assignment to use to wrap up a lesson about this iconic figure in American History. It is also a great idea if you wish to make a unit multidisciplinary: you can combine social studies and language arts into a fun, challenging creative writing project! What is a R.A.F.T., you might ask? R.A.F.T. is an acronym for a powerful writing strategy that stands for Role, Audience, Format, and Topic. R.A.F.T.s provide rigor, flexibility, and variety. A R.A.F.T. 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 or types of writing to create one of several products including a letter, a television commercial, a journal entry, and several more. I define this further in the packet.
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.
Creating Mental Maps - Geography Map Skills Practice Activity
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Creating Mental Maps - Geography Map Skills Practice Activity

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This activity will provide a good warm-up activity for the beginning of a unit on map skills, an additional practice for quick finishers, and more. Students will create a mental map of their school, their neighborhood, or their home. A mental map is a map you create in your mind of a familiar place. You have been creating these kinds of maps to navigate from place-to-place since you were very young. Think of it like a drawing of a place you carry around in your mind. If you can visualize a place or location in your mind, you have a strong understand of mental mapping skills already. For example, you have a strong map of your school in your mind if you can walk from one part of your neighborhood to another without asking for help. In this activity, you will draw a mental map on a piece of paper. You may draw a mental map of your school, your neighborhood, or your home. The activity comes with a checklist to guide students when they create their maps.
Rock & Population: Form a Band! Location, Population & Logistics
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Rock & Population: Form a Band! Location, Population & Logistics

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Are you tired of the same old geography worksheets? Your students are, too! Here is a project to keep them engaged while learning about location, population sizes, and simple logistics. Rock & Pop(ulation) is a collaborative assignment asking students to imagine they are part of a very successful musical act: a rock band, an indie outfit, a country group, or a rap collective. They must plan a tour to play for their thousands of fans. Students must work collaboratively – in groups of three or four – to “route” the tour correctly. They must play municipalities (i.e. cities) with a population size of at least 50,000 based on reported data. They must also be sure that the cities their band schedules to play from night-to-night are not too far apart. In this assignment, the logistics of a tour require large buses of equipment to move from city-to-city with enough time to set up the stage, lighting, instruments, and other equipment before the show.
The Aquarium Map Scale Project: Geography: Map Skills: Substitute Lesson
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The Aquarium Map Scale Project: Geography: Map Skills: Substitute Lesson

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In this project, students will design a walk-through aquarium full of exhibits containing their favorite marine mammals, fish, amphibians, reptiles, and more! The challenge is that they must design their aquariums to scale. Thus, one inch on the map might represent 50 feet in their aquariums. I have taught map scale in several ways over the years, using worksheet after worksheet, to introduce the concept and allow students to practice it. I used political maps, highway maps, physical maps, and more, but I felt like I needed a project to allow my students more hands-on, critical thinking exercise to learn the concept. Recently, I developed this short project to give students just that. Included in this packet are: a brief teacher's guide, a step-by-step set of instructions including notes and a materials list, three sample maps, and a rubric for easy grading.
Macbeth: The Social Media Network Project - Character Analysis Assignment
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Macbeth: The Social Media Network Project - Character Analysis Assignment

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“Macbeth: The Social Network” is an excellent way to bring differentiated instruction to the classroom for a complicated Shakespearean play. We hear a lot these days about how our students enjoy communicating with one another on sites like Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. This project is essentially a character analysis assignment in the form of a “mock social network.” Students must imagine that characters from Macbeth have social networking pages where they post their thoughts, concerns, activities, motivations, and more. There have been many creative ways to teach Macbeth over the years including mock newspapers, mock trials, and the like. This project puts a 21st-century spin on those assignments and allows students to express themselves in a familiar medium. This packet includes pages for seven characters in Macbeth. Students may role-play as any of them (or all of them) and write “status updates” as if they were the characters. They must write updates in a way that imaginatively demonstrates their knowledge of the character. Ideas for doing so might include interpreting the character’s motivations, justifying his/her actions, inventing private thoughts, and more. The idea however must apply to all: we must find this character’s social networking profile “believable”; the student must stay within character to prove their knowledge of the play. For example, a student might role-play as Macduff and post thoughts that reflect his impulsiveness, while a student role-playing as Lady Macbeth might make comments reflecting her constantly twisting mindscape. A student might take artistic liberty to imagine Malcolm’s thoughts on being king, while another student might get really wild and explore what it’s like to run a joint social media account as the three witches. (That one will be wild, right?) Consider purchasing the assignment today!
World Cultures Theme Park Map Project - Social Studies/Substitute Lesson
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World Cultures Theme Park Map Project - Social Studies/Substitute Lesson

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This is a five-page packet that provides detailed instructions for the world cultures theme park project. In this project, students will apply information they know about world cultures and then create a theme park reflecting those cultures in a unique, fun way. I use it to reinforce students' knowledge about world cultures and to brush up on their mapmaking skills. This would also make an excellent project to leave with a substitute teacher, as I have provided very detailed instructions that are easy to follow. This project encourages creativity and critical thinking. You might consider using it as an alternative to a test or an essay. Students will create a theme park that demonstrates their acquired knowledge of a nation's culture, while also demonstrating an ability to accurately create and label a map. You can adapt this assignment to fit any culture (or cultures) that you have taught.
25 Prompts for Narrative and Descriptive Writing
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25 Prompts for Narrative and Descriptive Writing

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The following 25 prompts worked wonderfully in my language arts classes. These prompts will provide narrative and descriptive writing opportunities. For instance, there is a prompt in this packet that requires students to think about a typical Saturday and recount sequential events descriptively. Another prompt will require students to describe a perfect lunch, which will require them to think critically and logically in a creative passage. There are several possibilities here, but the real bonus is the full-color image that accompanies each question to inspire deeper thinking and colourful language choices. I have alternated prompts in this packet to allow for daily or weekly instruction possibilities. Thus, each narrative prompt is followed by a descriptive writing prompt. Why? In my classroom, I passed this assignment out as a classroom packet and one that we would use throughout the school year so students could track progress and see how they had developed as writers from the first day to the last. Please let me know how you use these prompts in your classroom.
27 Websites for Locating Primary Sources
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27 Websites for Locating Primary Sources

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Primary sources are defined as "works of human endeavor that were created at the time or very close to the time that is studied." Teaching with primary sources allows students to interpret information for themselves and demands of them higher level critical thinking skills. They also provide students a "window to the past," and depending on the era or subject taught, can provide eye-opening perspectives about social and political issues, economics, artistic movements, and so much more. The following 27 websites are my favorite resources for locating primary source materials to use in my classroom. I have organized this document categorically: the first part of the document contains primary sources related to American history and culture, while the second part of the document focuses on more global resources.