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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.
Let's Explore Mexico! Find Cities, Landforms, States, Bodies of Water and More!
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Let's Explore Mexico! Find Cities, Landforms, States, Bodies of Water and More!

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This assignment is titled "Let's Explore Mexico! Use a Map to Find Cities, Landforms, States, Bodies of Water and More." This assignment includes 20 questions that require students to analyze a map of Mexico for boundaries and borders, major cities, landforms, and bodies of water. This would make a great introduction to middle school students preparing to study Mexico for the first time in either a World Languages class or a geography class. 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.
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.
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.
Identify Biomes with six Star Wars Movies - Project & Rubric
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Identify Biomes with six Star Wars Movies - Project & Rubric

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This is an extensive 12-page lesson plan packet using Star Wars to teach biomes. I have used all seven Star Wars films to teach students about biomes with great success. (I recently updated the packet to include two scenes from The Force Awakens.) The lesson plan includes a twelve-question assessment that (1) asks students watch scenes from the Star Wars films to identify real-world biomes including temperate deciduous forest, desert, Mediterranean chaparral, tropical rain forest, alpine, tundra, and temperate coniferous forest; and (2) then conduct research on these real backdrops to gain a deeper understanding of the delicacy of our world's biomes. George Lucas' Star Wars movies are a delightful mix of heroic stories, wonderful characters and monsters, and dramatic action sequences. Millions of people -- including many young adults -- love these films. Look closely and you will see vibrant, natural worlds lying beneath the special effects. After all, Lucas chose many real backdrops for the Star Wars sagas -- Whippendell Woods, United Kingdom, and Tozeur, Tunisia, for examples. Now, you can use them to teach biomes to your science or geography students. I would suggest your students have at least a basic understanding of the biomes presented in this assignment beforehand. This assignment might work best after you have introduced biomes in your classroom and asked students to identify specific features of each. Included please find the lesson plan, teacher's scene guide, student identification assignment and answer key, guidelines for the research paper, and a rubric to evaluate the research paper.
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.
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.
Substitute Lesson A to Z Geography World Cities & Countries
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Substitute Lesson A to Z Geography World Cities & Countries

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Here's a fun, challenging way to teach global awareness and one of the five themes of geography: place. The "A-to-Z Countries" and "A-to-Z World Cities" assignments require students to find a country or world city for each letter of the alphabet. These are great, flexible assignments that you can leave with a substitute teacher or to be used on a regular learning day. I have used them both ways. You simply need a world political map (with well-labeled countries) or Internet access for quick reference to sites like Google.com or KidRex.org. I have included the student assignment sheets and two lists of possible answers. Your students will really enjoy this assignment. Mine certainly have over the years!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Pompeii & Mount Vesuvius RAFT Writing Project + Rubric
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Pompeii & Mount Vesuvius RAFT Writing Project + Rubric

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Would you like to enliven ancient history with a fun, challenging writing project? Maybe breathe new life into a science or geography lesson about volcanoes? The Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius 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 the destruction of Pompeii, the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, or Ancient Rome. What is a RAFT, you might ask? RAFT is an acronym for 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 (expository, narrative, descriptive, argumentative or persuasive) to create one of several products (letter, television commercial, diary entry, etc.).
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.
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.
Discover Canada- Collaborative Geography Research Project- Provinces/Territories
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Discover Canada- Collaborative Geography Research Project- Provinces/Territories

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This is a collaborative research project about Canada's geography that requires students to role-play as product designers for a fictitious travel association, Travel Canada. An excellent example of differentiated instruction, students may research any of Canada's provinces or territories to find information that makes their chosen place 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.
The Maze Runner RAFT Writing Project + Rubric
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The Maze Runner RAFT Writing Project + Rubric

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The Maze Runner 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 James Dashner's novel. What is a RAFT, you might ask? RAFT is an acronym for 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 (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.
Absolute & Relative Location Assignment: MLB Baseball Teams + Google Earth Tour!
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Absolute & Relative Location Assignment: MLB Baseball Teams + Google Earth Tour!

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Absolute and relative location are two basic, important geography tools that all students must master. While there are many available assignments to teach these concepts to elementary school and middle school/junior high school students, here's one with a twist! Students will locate all 30 MLB teams using absolute and relative location. Absolute location, of course, requires students to use latitude and longitude to give their answers. Relative location requires cardinal directions (north, south, east, west) and intermediate directions (northeast, northwest, southeast, southwest). This would be an effective assignment as the Major League Baseball season opens its latest season. Included, please find the assignment with chart for record-keeping, an answer key, and an idea for an extension assignment. If you have Google Earth installed on your classroom computer(s), you can visit every Major League Baseball stadium.
40+ Interactive Sites for Virtual Trips
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40+ Interactive Sites for Virtual Trips

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Virtual tours and field trips provide students with opportunities they may not get to experience otherwise. Where else can you “take a trip” to see Sistine Chapel, the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, or the African grasslands – all in one day? This recently updated and expanded resource provides links to more than 35 interactive sites for these experiences. The following websites are worth considering for virtual field trips. Some are built as all-inclusive virtual trips with text and audio; others provide only imagery which can be adapted to fit the needs of a lesson. UPDATED: Version 6 of this file is now available (March 2020). Broken links were fixed. Seven great resources for virtual reality (VR) field trips were updated. Plus, don’t forget about the ten 360-degree YouTube videos included from Version 4 (January 2017). That’s more than 60 resources to consider! Please download this file again to enjoy these updates.
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.
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.