Middle School Teachers: You're planning to start the school year, hopefully not digitally due to COVID-19, and I encourage you to address the Common Core English Language Arts standards using a combination of Assigned and Independent Reading (IR). Assigned reading you and your students may not have any control over, particularly if you're in a well-established department or school district that tells you what texts to teach. With IR, students get to choose what they read (within a genre, for example) and therefore, they're more engaged and excited about reading.
- For novel units and other ELA book related resources, check out my post, Back-to-School Planning 2: English Language Arts Resources.
- For Social Studies book related resources, check out my post, Back-to-School Planning 1: Teaching Social Studies with Books.
- And end the year on a fun note with sets of readers theater pages for Ian Doescher's amazing Star Wars series written in iambic pentameter!
These are the IR project-based assignments I used with my students, complete with examples of student work, so you can effectively set expectations for your students' reading and project work.
Use this assignment to start your classes Independent Reading (IR) off right! Students choose what to read, any genre. Included are links to grading rubrics, Book Approval slips (four per sheet for efficient printing), and the Independent Reading Assignment.
This quarter students read a non-fiction book. Included are the Common Core standards this assignment addresses, a downloadable Assignment Sheet and an extensive Non-fiction Book List for students to choose books to read.
Q2 IR: Examples of Student Work Examples include pictures of a small diorama, a 3-D bust of a historical figure, and a dictionary of WWII terms taken from Symphony for the City of the Dead, by M.T. Anderson.
Use this assignment to examine "perspective," (not POV in terms of 1st, 2nd or 3rd) in fiction books, using a film vs. text comparison / contrast based assignment. Included are the Common Core standards this assignment addresses, a downloadable Assignment Sheet, a pdf of a Power Point presentation about Film Terminology with Examples, three downloadable film note-taking organizers, several links for teaching with films of books, and a Teaching With Film Adaptations lesson plan. Use any one of a number of student-produced book trailers (you can find via a Google search on just about any book title) as examples of student work.
In this last IR assignment, let your students pick a book they love and convince the rest of the class to read it over the long, hot summer. They have to "sell" the book to their peers! Included are the Assignment Sheet and an example of student work, a dictionary of terms from A Little Taste of Poison, by R.L. Anderson.