Monday, December 14, 2015

The Great Gatsby Science and ELA Integrated Lesson

This past summer I had the opportunity to take a two-week science and English integration class for teachers. It was an eye-opening experience to learn just how differently science and English brains work. As a fun way to wrap up our first Friday of this class, we did an easy oil and water experiment. As I watched the mesmerizing colors seep down through the oil, I immediately thought of how I could use this fun experiment with my Gatsby Color Symbolism Unit. Five months later, I finally got to test out this lesson, and my students thought it was SO cool. It was a hit for sure!

(This is me on the right being very excited about my first ever lab coat!)

The Great Gatsby Science and ELA Integrated Lesson: 

1. First, I set the pre-filled water bottles out on their desks (I just asked my coworkers to save me their recycling). 

2. I asked the students to predict what would happen when I poured the oil in the water. Most of them knew what would happen, but hardly anyone could explain WHY. So, I had them read an informational text on why oil and water don't mix. 

3. After reading, they filled out their flipbook page by writing down oil and water properties. 
(My lesson is in a book format, so that's why Tom is on the other page) 

4. Then, they had to switch from their science brain to their English brain and decide who or what in The Great Gatsby represents oil and who or what represents water. I had a lot of unique answers to this question, so the oil and water analogy really sparked critical thinking! One answer was that Daisy is the oil because she only cares about herself and is uppity (oil has zero charge, so it is only attracted to itself and sits on top of the water). 

5. Next, we got to the fun part--adding the food coloring! Since we have been doing a color analysis of The Great Gatsby, I had students describe the symbolism of each  drop of color before putting it into their bottle. Again, lots of great discussion with this! 

(Gold  and riches mixed with "blood" red to show Myrtle's desire to climb the social ladder ended brutally)  
 (Green for the green light that represents Gatsby's envy) 

6. Then, we did a close reading of the last passage of the book: 

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic   future that year by year recedes before us. It  eluded us then, but that’s no matter–  tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther...And one fine morning—- So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

7. Lastly, I had students add a small, plastic bead to the bottle to represent a boat.We then held the bottle on its side and created waves. I told the students to try and get the "boat" to the "light" at the end of the bottle. Of course, this didn't happen because the boat went against the current, "borne back ceaselessly into the past." I have tried to teach this passage at least 10 times now, but this single activity brought it to life for my students. They really got it! 

Full Gatsby Unit Here: 

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Monday, December 7, 2015

Book Club Questions for Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris

I reread Holidays on Ice every year around the holidays. I'm a huge fan of David Sedaris, and it wouldn't be Christmas without his dark humor!

Most of the stories in this book are too risque to use in the classroom, but the story, "Us and Them" (with a Halloween setting), would make a wonderful nonfiction pairing with Bradbury's, "The Pedestrian." Also, "Jesus Saves" would make a great story to pair with teaching tolerance or to use in a foreign language class as long as you black out the last line!

Book Club Discussion Questions:

1. Overall, did you enjoy Sedaris's style of humor? 
2. Did you like the way Sedaris mixed fiction with nonfiction? If you have never read any of this other books, was it easy for you to pick up on? 
3. Which story was your favorite and why? 
4.Which story was your least favorite and why? 
5. Did the stories put you into more of a holiday spirit or less so? 
6.How does Sedaris use satire to spread universal messages related to the holidays? 
7. Did any of his stories make you consider changing your own holiday habits? 
8. Do you think Sedaris highlights something sad about the holiday season, or is he just being cynical? 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Teacher-Bestie Gift Idea: Merry Kissmas Free Printable

I don't know what I would do without my teacher besties! We bounce ideas around, confide in each other, and laugh at shit our students say. I'm a firm believer that your vibe attracts your tribe, so I like to think that's why I attracted some really cool people ;)

If you are looking to gift your teacher-besties this holiday season, here is a cute idea. Go to my Instagram account ( @Bsbooklove ) where you will see a Teacher-bestie gift idea hop! You will find lots of other ideas and FREE printables from there! Be sure to follow everyone for great teacher tips and freebies like this!

 Search for the hashtag: #teacherbestiegiftideas

My idea for this hop is a cute printable for your teacher friends who love to thrift or browse used book stores. Simply print out this free printable, follow the directions below, and add chapstick and a gift card from their favorite thrift or book store! 

 Free download from Google Docs here: Merry Kissmas and a Happy New-To-You Year! 

1. Cut out the printable and one glitter square

2. Place hot glue around three edges

3. Press down the glitter square around the three edges 

4. Put a dab of hot glue on your lip gloss (it will peel right off later) 

5. Insert your gift card into the slot

Ta da! I love how festive this looks! 

I've also added just a "Merry Kissmas" for an even more frugal gift!

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