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Out of My Mind About this Book!

Out of My Mind About this Book!

“We all have disabilities. What’s yours?” This is one of the most profound and truthful quotes from the amazing Out of My Mind novel by Sharon M. Draper. I loved this book so much. It made me cry with joy and also broke my heart with how cruel humans can be. I also loved how the author brought it to a close in an unexpected way. I think your students will love it just as much and also make them take the time to think about how they are treating one another, especially those that may be different from them. This is a great book to use in the classroom and I can’t recommend it enough!

Out of My Mind was first published in 2010, by the award-winning, Sharon M. Draper. It is the story of Melody, a fifth-grader who has Cerebral Palsy. Melody has always felt that she is trapped in her own mind without a door or a key because she is not able to talk and communicate all that is in her genius, photographic mind.

As Melody is “let out of her mind” with the help of an electric wheelchair, technology, and school aides, she shows everyone just how much has been trapped there for all these years. It is an inspiring story while staying true to the realities of just how cruel fifth-graders (and older ignorant people) can be when faced with someone they don’t have experience with or understanding for.

I offer a complete novel study to accompany Out of My Mind for use in the classroom or homeschool. The unit includes both a printable format and a Google Drive™ format for use in a paperless classroom or with Google Classroom. it is a great book to use in your classroom or homeschool for a whole class novel study, small book groups, or individual book studies.

Out of My Mind should be a must-read for every fifth-grader to help enhance empathy and understanding for those that are different from us. We should all be asked to face the question, “We all have disabilities. What’s yours?”



Are you interested in reading about and sharing ideas with other educators on using children’s literature in your classroom? My goal is to bring together teachers and homeschoolers who teach grades 3-8 and use novels with their students. I’d love for you to join me to learn, share, and grow together!

Click here or the image below to join my Facebook group, Book Talk with The Teaching Bank!

Click to join Book Talk with The Teaching Bank


*The Teaching Bank participates in the Amazon Associate Program and earns a fee from qualifying purchases made on the Amazon.com site.

Charlotte’s Web Brings us the Beauty of Friendship

Charlotte’s Web Brings us the Beauty of Friendship

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White is such a wonderful story that has a bit of everything for everyone. It is heartwarming, funny, inspirational, and of course sad. All my students, no matter how tough or cool, have fallen in love with this book. There is a reason it is a classic!

 

 

 

Charlotte’s Web was the first novel unit that I created a novel study and used in my classroom. It’s also the first novel study that I offered for sale. I was trying to think of ways to earn a little extra money to pay the preschool tuition for my son when I wondered if anyone would be interested in purchasing the novel units that I had created for my classroom. I decided to give it a shot and posted my Charlotte’s Web Novel Unit to see what would happen and from there The Teaching Bank was born!

I have used this book in several different ways in my classroom. First, I have used it as a read aloud to spark a sense of community. Reading, discussing, laughing and crying together brings about a sense of class community.

Mostly, I have used this book as a whole class novel unit or as a reading circle or book club unit. I have also used this book as an independent study unit for students.

Whether you use this book for the whole class, small group, individual instruction, or as a read aloud, you will find your students really truly enjoying the beauty of friendship in the story. Even if you don’t use the unit in your class make sure that you include this book in a class library for your students to read. Whatever you do make sure your students have access to this book! It is so much fun and really opens up the reading world for those reluctant readers!


Are you interested in reading about and sharing ideas with other educators on using children’s literature in your classroom? My goal is to bring together teachers and homeschoolers who teach grades 3-8 and use novels with their students. I’d love for you to join me to learn, share, and grow together!

Click here or the image below to join my Facebook group, Book Talk with The Teaching Bank!

Click to join Book Talk with The Teaching Bank


*The Teaching Bank participates in the Amazon Associate Program and earns a fee from qualifying purchases made on the Amazon.com site.

The Wonder of Wonder!

The Wonder of Wonder!

Of all the curriculum materials I create novel units are my favorite, but creating my Wonder Novel Study to accompany the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio has by far been my all-time favorite! The encouragement of building a community and building empathy among students is so rich with this novel.

 

Summary of Wonder:
(From the Book Jacket)

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances?

Auggie’s struggles are written on his face. You go into the book knowing you are going to read about a kid who’s going to have a tough struggle. The surprising thing with this book is that you end up realizing that the other “normal” characters who seem to have it all on the outside, they are beautiful, rich, smart, etc, all have some type of struggle as well. This book really makes you look beyond the cover and delve deeper underneath. It is a wonderful resource to strengthen empathy and learn to not be so quick to judge a “book by its cover” so to speak. This led me to a great after the book writing activity that corresponds with Plato’s quote: “Be Kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”


One thing I really love about the unit I was able to create was how the text lent itself to higher-order thinking questions. There are very few knowledge levels (recall) or even comprehension level questions in the comprehension packet section of the unit. The vast majority are analysis and evaluation level questions because that is just where the text leads you. The book is just so thought-provoking!

You can try a free activity that comes from the novel to check it out:

See what buyers are saying about the Wonder Novel Study by The Teaching Bank!

I loved how R.J. Palacio subtly adds the character of Daisy the dog as the only soul who does not “see” Auggie’s facial abnormalities. Through Daisy’s interactions, Ms. Palacio shows the unconditional love of animals. This prompted me to add a Reading Informational activity to the unit involving therapy dogs and animal-assisted therapy. I know teachers are looking for Common Core-aligned resources to help with Reading Informational Text skills so I added this small activity to the unit. You can download this activity for free by clicking on the image below:

Therapy Dog

As you can tell I loved this book. It is one of the best books I have read and I think it would serve well in any 4-6th-grade classroom. However, I do have one minor complaint. In the book, Auggie also deals with a hearing loss and there is a chapter that describes his experience in getting fitted for a hearing aid for the first time. I also live with hearing loss and have worn hearing aids for several years. In some ways, Ms. Palacio was spot on describing Auggie’s feelings about wearing hearing aids around his friends and how he may be perceived. However, Ms. Palacio was very off the mark when she described the experience of getting hearing aids and how they work. This is very understandable as I am sure most people do think that wearing hearing aids is very much like wearing glasses, which is how Ms.Palacio describes the experience. In reality, it is nothing like that. After reading this chapter in the book I felt so strongly that I felt the need to add my own supplement to the unit explaining what it is really like to wear hearing aids and have a hearing loss in our modern world. I hope this supplement is helpful to your students. This resource is included in the Wonder Novel Study and is also offered as a stand-alone item here:

As I mentioned I loved this book! 🙂 It hits on so many issues in the modern classroom and appeals to such a wide audience. It really is a must-read and a wonderful addition to any classroom instruction.

Boy with a hat Wonder Novel Study Compatible with Google Drive


Are you interested in reading about and sharing ideas with other educators on using children’s literature in your classroom? My goal is to bring together teachers and homeschoolers who teach grades 3-8 and use novels with their students. I’d love for you to join me to learn, share, and grow together!

Click here or the image below to join my Facebook group, Book Talk with The Teaching Bank!

Click to join Book Talk with The Teaching Bank


*The Teaching Bank participates in the Amazon Associate Program and earns a fee from qualifying purchases made on the Amazon.com site.

Teaching a Fish to Climb a Tree

Teaching a Fish to Climb a Tree

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

This a great quote that is often mistakingly attributed to Albert Einstein. He didn’t say this, but the quote is powerful just the same.

This quote is the premise of the book, Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt. The main character is Ally, a sixth grader, who hates school because she feels stupid and thinks she will never be successful. Ally has isolated herself and does not take any risks towards academic work or towards making friends. She feels everything is hopeless until a new teacher, Mr. Daniels, comes in as a long-term substitute. Mr. Daniels recognizes Ally’s talents as an artist and is impressed by her “out of the box” problem-solving skills. He leads Ally to admit her fears and helps her to take risks that lead to a diagnosis of dyslexia. Mr. Daniels helps Ally build confidence and realize she’s not stupid, she just learns differently, which opens up the world academically and socially for Ally.

 

 

 

This is a very inspirational book for all students to read, not just those that may have dyslexia. It showcases through the many different characters that everyone has a talent and everyone has value, sometimes it takes a little more work to discover!  Research shows that 80-90% of all students that are identified as learning disabled have some degree of dyslexia. In fact, it is hypothesized that about 20% of the population is afflicted with dyslexia to some degree.

This book gives those students hope that they are not alone and that there are ways for them to shine and learn. It also helps to build empathy among the students that may not struggle in this way so they can better understand their classmates and encourage kindness to all.

 

Fish in a Tree is a wonderful book to use as a whole class novel study or for literature groups and book clubs.

If you’re looking for a book that is for a little bit younger child dealing with Dyslexia I recommend trying out the Hank Zipzer series by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver. The first book in the series, Niagara Falls, or Does It? is great for third graders who are struggling with learning challenges to help them know they are not alone and they are full of talent!

Book cover for Hank Zipzer Niagara Falls or Does It?


Are you interested in reading about and sharing ideas with other educators on using children’s literature in your classroom? My goal is to bring together teachers and homeschoolers who teach grades 3-8 and use novels with their students. I’d love for you to join me to learn, share, and grow together!

Click here or the image below to join my Facebook group, Book Talk with The Teaching Bank!

Click to join Book Talk with The Teaching Bank


*The Teaching Bank participates in the Amazon Associate Program and earns a fee from qualifying purchases made on the Amazon.com site.

Wishtree in your Classroom!

Wishtree in your Classroom!

A friend recently suggested a new book to me, Wishtree by Katherine Applegate. Katherine Applegate is the author of the beloved book, The One and Only Ivan, that I absolutely adore so I went straight to Amazon to purchase and I am so glad I did!

You first realize this book is narrated by a tree. A tree? Doesn’t sound super exciting, but it really is. The story is written in such a beautifully poetic way and how the author ties current events is really mesmerizing and thought-provoking. The reader is left with a lot to contemplate about how we treat others, especially those that are different than ourselves.

Click the book photo to learn more about this book and to read an excerpt.

These lessons are so needed in classrooms today. This book is sure to hook any reader and make them think and philosophize. I highly recommend using this in your classroom!

You can find my complete novel study for Wishtree here:

 

 

 



Are you interested in reading about and sharing ideas with other educators on using children’s literature in your classroom? My goal is to bring together teachers and homeschoolers who teach grades 3-8 and use novels with their students. I’d love for you to join me to learn, share, and grow together!

Click here or the image below to join my Facebook group, Book Talk with The Teaching Bank!

Click to join Book Talk with The Teaching Bank


*The Teaching Bank participates in the Amazon Associate Program and earns a fee from qualifying purchases made on the Amazon.com site.