The New Colossus: Teaching Notes and Vocabulary

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”

Emma Lazarus’s inspiring poem is engraved on a plaque at the Statue of Liberty.  Many people only know the famous ending, but reading the whole sonnet gives a much deeper meaning.

“The New Colossus” makes a wonderful memorization challenge.  Your students can handle it—my third graders sure did!

The title refers to the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.  The Colossus of Rhodes was a huge statue of the titan Helios, constructed to celebrate Rhodes’ victory over Cyprus.

America’s Statue of Liberty is “The New Colossus,” symbolizing welcome, freedom and hope.

I hope you and your students will enjoy my teaching notes and vocabulary handout.  It gives background information and lays the poem and relevant vocabulary words side-by-side.  Having all this information on one sheet will help your students understand and memorize the poem.

Memorization tips:

  1. Give a deadline:  Students will work harder if they have a deadline.  Memorize the poem alongside your students.  Offer a reasonable deadline—I chose two weeks—but you can tell students that if they don’t have it learned by then, they’ll get an extension.
  2. Offer a reward.  My class’s reward was an ice cream sundae.  I expected about five students to take the time to memorize, but 35 students qualified! (Tip: when you’re making that many sundaes, save yourself the trouble of scooping and buy the little ice cream cups.)
  3. Study and analyze the poem:  Students learn and memorize more effectively if they understand the material.  Work as a class to find examples of metaphor and symbolism.
  4. Memorize in sections.  Begin with the most famous lines, “Give me your tired…”  Then, go back to the beginning and memorize in sections.  Practice each section over and over.  Don’t move on until you know that section cold.
  5. Don’t worry about the lines.  Sometimes one thought continues onto another line.  Focus on meaning, not form.
  6. Memorize with your students.  When you undertake to memorize this yourself, you’ll come across tips and tricks to help your students.
  7. Finally, appreciate the poem’s beauty.

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

You can read about “The New Colossus” at Wikipedia.  Be sure to click and read about the Colossus of Rhodes.  Visit the Statue of Liberty’s official site, as well.

Posted in FREE Worksheets,Social Studies,Tips for Teachers by Corey Green @ May 13, 2017

 

FREE April Fools Day Worksheet

Here is a FREE April Fools Day worksheet written by a National Board Certified Teacher. Students will build comprehension skills and practice critical thinking as they learn about the origins of April Fools Day.

April Fools Day began with a calendar change in 19th century France. King Charles IX moved New Year from April 1st to January 1st. News spread slowly through the countryside, so some folks celebrated on the wrong day for years before they learned of the change. Others refused to change and became known as April Fools. It became a tradition to play pranks on them.

Click here for the FREE worksheet.

More April Fools worksheets are available from Classroom Jr. Click here to access them. There is a reading comprehension activity, a writing activity, and a word search. Build reading fluency with these fun and ready-to-print April Fools poems.

Posted in Academics,FREE Worksheets,Holidays by Corey Green @ Mar 26, 2017

 

Groundhog Day including a FREE Worksheet

Groundhog Day is a fun, low-stress holiday for the elementary classroom.

Teach your students about the history of Groundhog Day using my Groundhog Day Worksheet.  You will find vocabulary definitions, think and respond questions, and a fun tongue twister about woodchucks.  (Did you know a woodchuck and a groundhog are the same creature?)

Visit Groundhog.org, the official website of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, for pictures, articles, and resources for teachers.  (I like the songs to the tune of “Winter Wonderland” and “Up on the Housetop.”)

“Punxsutawney” [puhngk-suh-taw-nee ] originally was settled by the Delaware Indians.
The name derives from a Native American term which translates to “town of the sandflies.”
The town is located in Jefferson County, Pennsylvania, 84 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

Here is a quick brush-up on Groundhog Day history from my worksheet:

Groundhog Day is a holiday celebrated on February 2nd.  According to folklore, if it is cloudy when the groundhog emerges from its burrow, the groundhog will leave the burrow, signaling that winter will soon end.  If it is not cloudy, the groundhog will see its shadow and retreat back into the burrow.  Winter will continue for six more weeks.

Groundhog Day began as a Pennsylvania Dutch tradition in the 18th and 19th centuries (1700s and 1800s).  In Pennsylvania today, you can see official Groundhog Day early morning festivals.  You can enjoy special food, hear speeches, and even watch a g’spiel (play or skit).  You might find that only the Pennsylvania German dialect is spoken.  Those who speak English at the event pay a penalty, usually a coin per English word spoken, to a bowl at the center of the table.

Posted in Academics,FREE Worksheets,Holidays by Corey Green @ Jan 30, 2017

 

Teaching Notes for Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” Speech

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, you may want to show the “I Have a Dream” speech to your students.  I have found that this speech is captivating for elementary school students, but it is absolutely necessary for you to teach them about the speech before they listen.

I’d like to share my teaching notes (pdf) on MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech with you and your students.  I hope it helps you teach the historical context, allusions, and rhetorical techniques.  If you copy my teaching notes for your students, I suggest you read the speech with them and explain the context.  Then, listening to Dr. King give the speech will be an unforgettable experience for your students.

Why are teaching notes so important?  The “I Have a Dream” speech is rich in allusions: historical, biblical, and even financial.  Your students will appreciate these allusions—if they know about them.

Take the first few paragraphs: will your students understand the significance of the speech’s setting, the Lincoln Memorial, and the phrase “a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today” if you don’t explain these details?  Will your students understand how the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution compare to a promissory note?  My teaching notes explain these details clearly.

What about the famous part of the speech, at the end?  For example, knowledge of geography is essential to understanding the “let freedom ring” section.  Dr. King begins it with “let freedom ring…” [in famous landmarks of northern and western states]… “But not only that.  Let freedom ring…” in famous landmarks in the southern states.]  The sequence will be more memorable for your students if they understand this distinction.  Without teaching notes, your students might miss much of the meaning.

I recommend you buy the Martin Luther King Jr. – I Have a Dream speech on DVD rather than listen to the speech through the Internet.  This DVD introduces the speech with real footage of events leading up to it.  You can also watch a featurette about the March on Washington on August 28, 1963.  Your students will enjoy seeing the marchers and will be impressed with how well-dressed the marchers are.  (Every year, this is the first thing my students notice.)

Free “I Have a Dream” speech at AmericanRhetoric.com

Posted in Academics,FREE Worksheets,Holidays,Social Studies by Corey Green @ Jan 16, 2017

 

FREE Worksheet for the Movie The Mouse on the Mayflower

Celebrate Thanksgiving and give yourself a little prep time by having your class watch Mouse on the Mayflower and complete this FREE worksheet.

Mouse on the Mayflower is a time-honored Thanksgiving movie. Your class will enjoy the cartoon story told from a mouse’s point of view.

For older students, you can use this FREE comprehension worksheet to increase the educational value a little. The questions are easily completed by a fifth-grader who pays attention. This worksheet is perfect for grades 4-6. In my experience, third graders just stress out and interrupt each other asking for the answers because they missed them.

Here’s a previous post about Mouse on the Mayflower.

Follow up other mouse-eye views of history. My favorite is Ben and Me, a wonderful book by Robert Lawson and a fun cartoon movie by Disney. It’s a great way to teach students about Benjamin Franklin and set the stage for a unit on the American Revolution. Another good mouse story is She Was Nice to Mice: The Other Side of Elizabeth I’s Character Never Before Revealed by Previous Historians, a cute mini-novel written by 80s star Ally Sheedy when she was twelve.

Posted in Academics,FREE Worksheets,Holidays,Social Studies by Corey Green @ Nov 16, 2016

 

Free Leap Year Worksheets Part 3

Leap Year Idioms

Teachers, here is a FREE Leap Year worksheet written by a National Board Certified Teacher. I hope you and your students enjoy it! Here is the Answer Key.

This worksheet helps you teach students about idioms—a commonly assessed concept on state standardized tests. Have some Leap Year fun with idioms based on the word “leap” or “year.”

If you haven’t seen them already, check out Free Leap Year Worksheets Part 1 and Part 2.

Part 1: Leap Year Reading and Writing

Part 2: “Fun with Leap Year and Leap Day” reading comprehension and Leap Year Math

Posted in FREE Worksheets,Fun With Literacy,Holidays by Corey Green @ Feb 1, 2016

 

Free Leap Year Worksheets Part 2

Fun Reading Comprehension and Leap Year Math

Teachers, here are FREE Leap Year worksheets written by a National Board Certified Teacher. I hope you and your students enjoy them!

Here is an enjoyable reading comprehension worksheet called “Fun with Leap Year and Leap Day.” The passage and questions are indeed fun. What other worksheet challenges you to figure out what Pope Paul III and Ja Rule have in common? (Answer: they were both born on Leap Day.)

You and your students will enjoy learning about Leap Year luck (or lack thereof), Leap Year marriage proposals in Ireland, and the quandary posed by a Leap Year birthday in The Pirates of Penzance. The questions are all opinion based—and in my opinion, you shouldn’t grade them! Give students credit for completion, then go home and kick back to enjoy the rest of Leap Day.

Next is my fun “Was it a Leap Year?” worksheet that lets students apply their knowledge of divisibility by 4. Hints for determining divisibility by 4 are at the bottom of the page. The worksheet teaches a special case: century years. Because a revolution around the sun does not quite take 365.25 days, only century years divisible by 400 are Leap Years. The worksheet gives a student-friendly explanation and challenges them to determine if a century year was or wasn’t a Leap Year.  I also have provided an Answer Key as a separate download.

Don’t forget to download the other two worksheets in Free Leap Year Worksheets Part One.

Happy Leap Year!

Posted in Academics,FREE Worksheets,Holidays by Corey Green @ Jan 25, 2016

 

Free Leap Year Worksheets Part 1

Reading Comprehension and Writing Nonfiction

Teachers, here are FREE Leap Year worksheets written by a National Board Certified Teacher. I hope you and your students enjoy them!

The first one is a reading comprehension worksheet about Leap Year.  It’s a good, basic introduction to the concept of Leap Year that is appropriate for third grade and up.

Next is a writing worksheet about how and why Julius Caesar created Leap Year and rearranged the calendar. To shake things up a little, this worksheet challenges students to write a newspaper article about the event. The article gives “notes” our fictitious reporter took at the press conference—in a handy who, what, where, when, why format.

Stay tuned for Free Leap Year Worksheets Part Two: Leap Year trivia reading comprehension and Leap Year math!

Posted in Academics,FREE Worksheets,Holidays by Corey Green @ Jan 19, 2016

 

How to introduce two digit multiplication

Best Multiplication Workbook EVER!An occasional series with sample pages from the Best Multiplication Workbook EVER!

This tip comes straight from my Best Multiplication Workbook EVER!  The section on teaching 2 digit multiplication is very helpful for teachers looking to scaffold learning.  I break long multiplication into 3 sections—multiplying multidigit numbers by 1, 2 or 3 digits.  Within each section, a dozen or more lessons teach the process step by step.

Please use these two FREE sample pages with your class to introduce 2 digit multiplication.  This introductory lesson lets your students learn the Hugs and Kisses method to keep their numbers lined up when they have to put in that place holding O.  (The place holding O is the hug.  You put an X, or kiss, over a number to kiss it goodbye when you are through with it.)

The workbook lets students practice Hugs and Kisses by beginning with multiplying times 11.  This isolates the Hugs and Kisses skill, allowing students to focus on the procedure, not the math.

I wish I’d learned multiplication this way when I was a kid!  I hope this and other lessons from the Best Multiplication Workbook EVER! help your students.

Posted in Academics,FREE Worksheets,Math by Corey Green @ Dec 21, 2015

 

Spaceship Math–FREE leveled worksheets to teach basic addition and subtraction

SpaceshipMathHelp kids learn math facts by using Spaceship Math, the FREE leveled worksheets with 26 scaffolded levels.

Spaceship Math is part of Dad’s Worksheets, a terrific math site that I have written about a few times.  With Spaceship Math, students learn their basic facts a few at a time.  It starts very simply.  For example, level A for addition covers 1+2 and 1+3.  That’s it, unless you count 2+1 and 3+1 as separate facts.  Level by level, students build their skills.  There are four versions of each level, plus timed tests for every two levels.  The worksheets are cumulative, so students are always reviewing old facts.

To find Spaceship Math on Dad’s Worksheets, click on the operation you want students to practice.  That opens a menu of choices for the operation, and then you can easily find Spaceship Math.

I like to give the whole class a placement test.  I choose a level in the middle, usually L.  That has 7+2 and 7+4.  From the placement test, I assign students to packets of either levels A-L or L-Z.  The students don’t exactly thank me for these packets, but they do see that the packets help them learn.  Plus, the leveled worksheets keep kids in their zone of proximal development, so it never feels too difficult.

I really like Spaceship Math for addition and, subtraction.  For multiplication, I recommend Best Multiplication Workbook EVER!–and not just because I wrote it.

Spaceship Math multiplication is very different from the way most of us learned our times tables–one table at a time.  It moves pretty quickly, and doesn’t give students a sense of how each times table works as a unit.  My Best Multiplication Workbook EVER! levels times tables in an effective way.  It provides lots of practice problems, plus word problems that show the value of each times table.

I haven’t written a Best Division Workbook EVER! yet, so for division, I give students worksheets based on the times tables.   I assign division times tables in the same order I presented multiplication tables in Best Multiplication Workbook EVER!

I hope you and your students enjoy Spaceship Math.

Posted in FREE Worksheets,Math by Corey Green @ Mar 23, 2015

 

FREE comprehension worksheet for the movie Felicity: An American Girl Adventure

FelicityCoverTeachers, here is a FREE comprehension worksheet for use with the movie Felicity: an American Girl Adventure.  The worksheet follows the movie, so students can answer the questions as they watch.  The worksheet helps you hold students accountable for following and learning from this high-quality movie.

Click here for the FREE pdf worksheet for the movie

I highly recommend the movie for the elementary school and junior high classroom.  It’s an excellent, family-friendly and unobjectionable introduction to a unit on the American Revolution.  The movie is extremely high quality.  The script is top-notch, nicely melding sequences from the Felicity books into a cohesive story.  The acting is superb.  Felicity is played by Shailene Woodley.  When I saw this movie, I knew she’d be a star.  I wasn’t surprised when she was nominated for an Academy Award a few years later.  Then she scored the lead in the Divergent films.  Academy Award-winner Marcia Gay Harden plays Felicity’s mother.

The movie has surprising depth.  There are strong themes of justice, loyalty and honor.  Students will be very interested in a subplot involving Ben, apprentice to Felicity’s father.  Ben wants to break his apprenticeship and fight with the Patriots.  When he runs away from home, he is pursued by bounty hunters.  Felicity helps Ben understand the importance of keeping one’s word.  Another tense subplot involves Felicity’s friend Elizabeth, whose family is fairly new to the colonies.  Elizabeth’s family are Loyalists, and her father is imprisoned by Patriots.  Felicity and her father help right this grievous wrong.

Death has always been a part of life, but it was a more prominent part of life in Felicity’s time.  The movie doesn’t shy from this topic.  Felicity loses her grandfather and very nearly loses her mother.  Woodley’s scenes here are made me sure this girl would be a star.  She makes you feel Felicity’s grief.

There is plenty of fun in Felicity: an American Girl Adventure.  Felicity tames a horse, botches charm lessons, and banters with her friends.  The movie strikes the perfect balance of action and reflection, excitement and danger, comedy and tragedy.  Your students will love the story, and it will help set up lessons on the American Revolution.  Outdoor scenes were shot in Colonial Williamsburg.  Your students will enjoy the special features, in which the young actresses take you on a tour.

This worksheet helps you justify the 85 minute run time of Felicity: an American Girl Adventure.  Students can answer the questions as the movie plays.  The questions are mostly at a basic comprehension level, so students can quickly jot down answers as they watch.  Theme-based questions are saved for the end.

Click here for the FREE pdf worksheet for the movie

The picture shows the Felicity movie, but I have linked to the four-movie set 4 Film Favorites: American Girl.  The original Felicity movie is quite expensive on Amazon, almost $30.  However, the four-movie set is under $10.  All four movies are excellent, and they each make a great introduction to curricular units on their respective eras:

Felicity Merriman, 1774:  a horse-loving girl caught between Patriot and Loyalist family and friends during the American Revolution

Samantha Parkington, 1904:  an orphan being raised by a wealthy family during the Victorian period

Kit Kittredge, 1934:  faces the hard times of the Great Depression

Molly McIntire, 1944: keeps the home fires burning during World War II

You might enjoy these other ClassAntics posts about American Girl:

American Girls and history class

American Girl Teaching Guides

Fun and Educational Games on the American Girl Website

A Smart Girl’s Guide: Advice Books from American Girl

 

Posted in Academics,FREE Worksheets,Social Studies by Corey Green @ Oct 27, 2014

 

FREE printable reading guide for George Washington’s Socks by Elvira Woodruff

GWSocks

George Washington’s Socks is an excellent choice for a literature study to support a social studies unit on the American Revolution.  In the novel, a mysterious rowboat transports five kids to the Battle of Trenton, where they experience the American Revolution firsthand.  The kids interact with Hessian soldiers, revolutionaries, and Washington himself.

About George Washington’s Socks:
AR reading level 5.0
AR points 6
Available at Amazon.com

I wrote a reading guide (teacher’s guide) that helps me keep the students accountable and make sure they are following the story.  I wrote a half-sheet comprehension worksheet for each chapter, so the kids can answer enough questions to show they understand without belaboring the book.  I hope you like the printable study guide.

Click for the FREE printable study guide for use with literature studies or units about George Washington’s Socks.

If you want something more involved than my FREE study guide, you can buy some at Amazon.com.

George Washington’s Socks – Teacher Guide by Novel Units, Inc.

George Washington’s Socks – Student Packet by Novel Units, Inc.

George Washington’s Socks: Novel-Ties Study Guide


 

Free worksheets for the Tapestry series by Henry Neff

TheHoundOfRowanBring the fantasy series The Tapestry into the classroom with FREE worksheets written by a National Board Certified teacher.

Have you discovered The Tapestry series? It’s a richly imagined fantasy about a Chicago boy who stumbles upon a mysterious Celtic tapestry. His discovery leads him to Rowan Academy, a secret school where great things await him.

The Tapestry series stands out because of the beautiful writing and gorgeous illustrations. The illustrations are my favorite part. Author Henry Neff is a great artist, and it’s interesting to see the world so vividly illustrated by the person that created it.  Click here for a gallery of Henry Neff’s illustrations for Book One: The Hound of Rowan.

The Tapestry series is four books strong and growing, with Book Five set for release in 2015. I met author Henry Neff early on, when we presented together at the International Reading Association Annual Conference West. Henry presented his book; I presented worksheets and ideas for teaching The Tapestry in the classroom.

Books in The Tapestry series, all available at Amazon.com:
The Hound of Rowan: Book One of The Tapestry

The Second Siege: Book Two of The Tapestry

The Fiend and the Forge: Book Three of The Tapestry

The Maelstrom: Book Four of The Tapestry

The Red Winter: Book Five of The Tapestry

My worksheets:
What Do You See? In The Tapestry, Max saw a tapestry depicting the Cattle Raid of Cooley. He later learns that he may have abilities like those of Cuchulain, the Irish folk hero. What qualities link you to heroes of the past?

Vye Detector: In The Tapestry, Vyes are minions of The Enemy. It is important to be able to identify them:

“A vye is not a werewolf. The vye is larger, with a more distorted and hideous face—part wolf, part jackal, part human, with squinty eyes and a twisted snout. In human form, however, they can be most convincing….They are clever in their deceits and their voices are wound with spells to ensnare you.”

After a Vye attack at Rowan, students receive extra training in identifying and fighting Vyes. In the following scenarios, how would you identify and fight a Vye?

Create Your Own Charge: In The Tapestry, students are paired with mythical animals who will be their charges and companions for the rest of their lives. In the book, the animals choose the students. Max was chosen by Nick, the lymrill. It is difficult to describe a mythical animal—until you organize.

Workers for Rowan: Like any school, Rowan depends on workers to help the school run smoothly. The cooks are a reformed hag and ogre, and a leprechaun is the bathroom attendant.  The following creatures want to work at Rowan. Match the creatures with the best job for them.

Enjoy The Tapestry!


 

FREE worksheet about “If” by Rudyard Kipling

Here is a FREE worksheet written by a National Board Certified Teacher to help students comprehend “If” by Rudyard Kipling.  “If” is an inspirational poem that complements lessons on character.  It’s a perfect choice for National Poetry Month.bookonhead

My students and I love Rudyard Kipling’s “If.”  We read it every year, and I often print a special copy on decorated paper as an end-of-year gift.  The poem is best appreciated by just reading and discussing it, but a multiple-choice reading comprehension worksheet can’t hurt.

The questions help students interpret the poem and understand its theme and central ideas.  Still, it’s a tricky worksheet.  I like to read the poem with students, then let them try the worksheet.  That gives students a chance to show what they comprehended on their own.  Afterward, we can discuss the worksheet, share our favorite parts, and appreciate nuances like rhyme scheme, repetition, enjambment, etc.

Click here for the two-page pdf file.  Page one is the worksheet; page two is the poem.  That way, it’s easy to create a two-sided worksheet.

I know you and your students will like “If.”  I hope you also like the worksheet!

Answers: 1 a, 2 c, 3 b, 4 e, 5 e, 6 c

Posted in Academics,FREE Worksheets,Fun With Literacy by Corey Green @ Apr 21, 2014

 

Free Divergent Worksheet: Create Your Own Faction

DivergentEngage your students with a FREE Divergent worksheet written by a National Board Certified Teacher.

Students love Divergent, with good reason.  It speaks to the clique-plagued teenage experience.  It shows students a way out of the conformity while acknowledging that individuality has a price.

Challenge your students to create their own faction within the Divergent  universe.  This worksheet walks students through the process, allowing them to think deeply about their faction.  The questions serve as a window into an author’s prewriting process.  Students can imagine author Veronica Roth pondering these possibilities as she crafted her story.

The printable pdf worksheet poses eight questions that should take students a class period to answer.  You can extend the assignment by asking students to write an essay, advertisement, brochure, or editorial about their faction.  Creative students might want to try their hand at fan fiction, describing an initiate’s experience of joining the faction.

  1. Faction emphasis: which virtue or value will your faction emphasize?  Brainstorm, then choose.
  2. Faction name: use a thesaurus to give your faction a distinctive name.  For example, Dauntless sounds much better than Brave and Abnegation sounds better than Selfless.
  3. Contribution to society: what role does your faction fill?  What are its responsibilities?
  4. Faction manifest: describe your faction’s mission and vision.
  5. Overkill: what is the downside of the faction’s emphasis on one value?  What does the faction lose by emphasizing one virtue?
  6. Aptitude test: what challenge would identify people who are well-suited to your faction?
  7. Initiation: what is your faction’s rite of passage?
  8. Wardrobe: how do people in your faction dress?  What accessories do they choose?
Posted in FREE Worksheets,Fun With Literacy by Corey Green @ Apr 14, 2014