Every ELA teacher needs some go-to activities for their teacher toolbag. Activities that can be used with any novel (or short story) but that still help students improve their reading skills and deeply analyze the text. Activities that can be used again and again without losing their effectiveness. We call these “rinse and repeat” activities.
Whether you’re trying to fill some gaps in an existing novel unit or you’re building a unit from the ground up, this episode will give you some great ideas for activities to rinse and repeat all year. Specifically, it will give you ten! Bonus: They make great sub plans, too!
So, take a listen for 10 great critical thinking activities to add to your lesson plans. Caitlin and Jessica will walk you through each one, explaining which objectives they will help your students reach and master. Try them out in your classroom soon – and don’t forget to rinse and repeat!
Tune in now to hear:
- [01:00] Caitlin explains the benefits of rinsing and repeating activities. It’s not just easier for you, the teacher! Rinsing and repeating allows students to better understand concepts as they practice a procedure.
- [02:00] Caitlin and Jessica will share 10 activity ideas in this podcast episode! If you are an EB Teacher and want all of these activities done for you (along with handouts, rubrics, etc.), you can grab 10 Critical Thinking Activities for Any Novel Part 2 with your free coupon code! If you are NOT an EB Teacher but don’t want to make these activities yourself, you can purchase them here.
- [03:00] Not an EB Teacher, but you’d like to become one? Go here to sign up for our priority list and be one of the first to know when your membership opens back up!
- [03:40] Anticipation Stations: A great pre-reading activity to give background before reading. They pack a lot of learning into a little time.
- [04:40] Author Interview: Help students consider the author’s craft by asking and answering questions about the author’s choices.
- [05:40] Book Jacket: Teach ideas like symbolism and summary by having students create a book jacket for the novel. The book jacket would include a cover, summary, and blurbs for the book. Don’t forget to include a reflection, so students can justify their choices.
- [06:40] Chapter Titles: Have students create new chapter titles for the book and justify their choices. This activity helps students to identify key points and ideas throughout the novel.
- [07:30] Character Backpack: In order to consider elements like topic, theme, symbolism, and characterization, you can have students decorate a (template of a) character’s backpack with pins and buttons, Students also draw and explain items that would be inside the character’s backpack, as well. (If the character in your class novel is an adult, you can switch the backpack for another item, like a purse or suitcase.)
- [10:30] Film Comparison: Want to show students the film version of the book they’re reading? This activity sets purposes for viewing. Jessica shares some awesome pre-reading questions to get students thinking about books vs. movies and predict what they will see in the film they are going to view. During viewing, students respond to questions based on these predictions. This ensures that students are actually analyzing the film as they watch! After the film, you can now have a much deeper discussion than just, “How were the book and movie similar and different?”
- [12:40] Hexagonal Activity: Students make connections by writing a novel’s topics, quotes, symbols, vocabulary words, etc. onto hexagons and connecting these hexagons to each other before explaining their choices. Listen here for a great episode on hexagonal thinking!
- [14:00] List Poems: Students write a list poem for their book in order to shine a light on the story’s details. Jessica shares an example based on To Kill a Mockingbird. Analyze a sample first and make sure students justify their choices as they made their poems.
- [15:40] Mirrors and Windows: In this activity, students notice what they connect with in the book (mirrors) and what offers them a new perspective (windows). Students draw their noticings on templates of mirrors and windows and write about their choices.
- [17:30] Novel Game: Students create their own board game based on the novel’s topics, conflicts, themes, and events. Groups switch their games with another group and play the game in order to review the book.
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