Saturday, 27 October 2012

Common Core Practice | Chickens, Clouds and the View Outside Your Window

I hope you're using the super writing practice prompts that The Learning Network at The New York Times shares most Fridays. They are so diverse that there's something for almost everyone. And for each task, designed and tested by teachers Sarah Gross and Jonathan Olsen and their ninth-grade humanities students at High Technology High School in Lincroft, N.J, you'll find suggested preparatory activities and extensions!

This week, your students can:

All great ideas based on informational text from the Times, for your students' Common Core writing practice!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Cures For The Common Core Blues: BOOKS, Vol. 3

What a book I have for you today! My Name is María Isabel has been on my short list of fantastic children's books for several years.

Publishers Weekly describes Alma Flor Ada's beautifully written chapter book this way: "Armed with her new blue book­bag, María Isabel bravely faces her first day at a new school. But when she meets her new teacher, she is told there are already two other Marías in the class. 'Why don’t we call you Mary instead?' her teacher sug­gests, unaware that María was named for both her grand­moth­ers, a grand­fa­ther and her father. María's inabil­ity to respond to 'Mary' leads to more prob­lems. Sim­ply told, this story com­bines the strug­gle of a Puerto Rican family’s efforts to improve their life with a shared sense of pride in their her­itage. The author’s care­fully drawn char­ac­ter­i­za­tions avoid stereo­types, thus increas­ing their appeal and believ­abil­ity. An essay involv­ing a wish list gives María a chance to reclaim her name, and allows her teacher to make amends."

Reading is Fundamental has several excellent activities for the book that you can adapt and make your own:
You and your kiddos can read Alma Flor Ada's biography and watch a video interview with her over at Colorín Colorado, a fabulous site worthy of its own post, and soon!

When I read My Name is María Isabel with a group of 4th graders several years ago, I asked them to write an essay about their "Greatest Wish" as María did; one of them brought me to tears. My sweet student wrote about how much she wanted to see her sister who lives in Mexico with their grandmother, and whom she hasn't seen since she was two years old. What a heartfelt, and mature, wish from a precious little girl! 
(Note: one of the activities suggested by Reading is Fundamental is writing just such an essay.)

Enjoy this wonderful book, available at Amazon, with your kiddos! Teach them the important vocabulary -  attentively, Hanukkah, manger, menorah, misunderstanding, pageant, strumming, Three Kings' Day, troublesome. Discuss the realistic fiction genre. Have them write, look for evidence and cite it, learn about measurement using the recipe, and much more.

And as always, let it help cure your Common Core blues!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Everybody is a Genius

Ok, so I was busily pinning post after post from Everybody is a Genius, and suddenly realized that only my Pinterest followers were ever going to see Sarah's amazing blog if I didn't write my own post about it!

Sarah is a middle and high school math teacher in New Jersey who's been teaching for six years and blogging for four. She's young and inventive, and some of her ideas knock my socks off!

From her lesson plan binders
to her activities with manipulatives
and interactive student notebooks,
Sarah's ideas simply ROCK!
So, click right on over, "steal" all of Sarah's ideas that will work for you, and maybe leave her a thank-you comment. I'm letting her know how much I like them and that I've shared with you!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Coraline. The book. On video. Free!

"When Coraline steps through a door to find another house 
strangely similar to her own (only better), things seem 
marvelous. But there’s another mother there, and another 
father, and they want her to stay and be their little girl. 
They want to change her and never let her go. 
Coraline will have to fight with all her wit and courage 
if she is to save herself and return to her ordinary life."

Good news for fans of Neil Gaiman's CoralineTo celebrate the 10th anniversary of his #1 New York Times bestseller, Neil Gaiman is posting readings of each chapter of Coraline on his official website for young readers, Mr. Bobo's Remarkable Mouse Circus.
Gaiman himself reads Chapter 1, Lemony Snicket reads Chapter 2, and Gaiman's "fairy goddaughter" Natashya Hawley reads Chapter 3. Chapters 4 through 11 are online now, read by such luminaries as John Hodgman, Melissa Mars, Holly Black, and R.L. Stine.
Gaiman was born in the U.K. and now lives near Minneapolis. He is a lifelong "devourer of books" who began his writing career as a journalist. I love this introduction of his biography on the website:

"Sometimes, when he was smaller, people used to tell Neil Gaiman not to make things up. He never listened. Now he’s written over twenty books, been given dozens of awards, many of them astonishingly ugly. He’s written television drama and for movies, and for comics. He’s even written “non-fiction” which he learned is only marginally less made-up than the fiction. Sometimes he thinks about finding some of those people who warned him of all the awful things that would happen if he kept making things up, and finding out if it’s happened yet, or is still going to happen, and whether he should buy a tin hat and thick boots for protection. In the meantime, he grows pumpkins and keeps on making things up."
Coraline was awarded the 2003 Hugo Award for Best Novella, the 2003 Nebula Award for Best Novella, and the 2002 Bram Stoker Award for Best Work for Young Readers. The 10th Anniversary Edition of the book features a new foreword from the author, a reader's guide, and an author Q&A.

In 2009, the book was adapted by Henry Selick into an animated film of the same name, which is now available on DVD.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Cures For The Common Core Blues: BOOKS, Vol. 2

This is the second in a series about books that have great potential for Common Core lessons. Cures For The Common Core Blues: BOOKS, Vol. 1 was published two weeks ago with the promise of a new book post each Thursday. That was interrupted last week by the birth of our granddaughter (I write with a smile on my face.) This week we're back on track, with Patricia Polacco's amazing book about the friendship of two boy soldiers during the Civil War,  Pink and Say.

Here is the story, paraphrased from the words of Leah Polacco, the author's daughter-in-law: "When wounded attempting to desert his unit, Sheldon Curtis (Say) is rescued by Pinkus Aylee (Pink), who carries him back to the Georgia home where he and his family were slaves. Say is nursed back to health by Pink’s mother, Moe Moe Bay, and begins to understand why his new friend is determined to return to the war, to fight against "the sickness" that is slavery. When marauders take Moe Moe Bay’s life, Say is also driven to fight, but both boys are taken prisoner by the Confederate Army. Say survives to pass along the story to his daughter Rosa, Patricia Polacco’s great grandmother. Pink was hanged shortly after being taken prisoner, so Patricia’s book "serves as a written memory" of him. At the end of the story Patricia tells the reader, "Before you put this book down, say his name (Pinkus Aylee) out loud and vow to remember him always." A defining moment in the story is when Say tells Pink and his mother that he once shook the hand of Abraham Lincoln. Convinced that his encounter is a "sign" of hope, Say reaches for Pink’s hand, exclaiming, "Now you can say you touched the hand that shook the hand of Abraham Lincoln!" At the end of the story when the boys are dragged apart, Pink reaches for Say one last time to touch his hand."

When my co-teacher and I read this book with our ESL students last year, we began by having them research online which states were part of the Confederacy and which ones remained with the Union, and plot their locations on a table-sized laminated map. The kiddos color-coded the states, and we maintained the colors when we wrote anchor chart type notes about the advantages and disadvantages that each side brought to the war due to location and economy. 

We staged a simple role play of a slave market, which opened the floor for many questions and a brief Socratic discussion of slavery itself. We set the stage for reading with video clips and photos of battlefields. When we finally read the book using our visual presenter, the students were captivated. 

After reading, we did vocabulary work with card sorts; the culminating assignment was for each student to write a letter home from Andersonville prison. 

The letters written by our 4th grade English Learners blew us away with their insight and honesty. 

If this incredible book sounds like one you want to share with your students, you might want to look at the sites below.

Storybookipedia has numerous activities, from anticipation to building connections at Pink and Say Activities. provides lots of information about the author and has a page for each of her other wonderful books.

The Civil War for Kids is a site our students used for their beginning research.

When you finish your study of the book, which you can purchase from Amazon, reward your kiddos with these beautiful bookmarks available on Patricia Polacco's website. Just print on cardstock and cut apart; I promise they will love them.

I think you will love this book, and that it can help cure your Common Core blues!

Metacognition? Priceless!

To be honest, I had never heard the word metacognition until I was in graduate school (again!) adding an endorsement in PreK-12 English as a Second Language. In that program with the fabulous Dorothy Craig and Barbara Young as my professors, I was required to complete a metacognitive unit for English Learners.

In my ESL classroom, I talked to my English Learners about how they learned best. I would ask them: do you understand and remember better if you
  • hear the information? hear it with pictures?
  • read it yourself? read it with pictures?
  • read it yourself while hearing it with pictures?
  • write or draw it? 
  • hold something in your hands (use manipulatives)?
  • talk about it with a partner, along with some or all of the above?
  • move while you learn? (for younger kiddos especially, the unspoken answer was "ya think?" :-)

They were not really accustomed to thinking this way for themselves, because they were elementary students with good teachers who differentiated their learning experiences by addressing every modality as much as possible. But as we discussed the different ways they might learn, they soon began to tell me what worked best for them. They had begun to think metacognitively.

There is more to metacognition than simply thinking about thinking; it also involves monitoring your learning and controlling it. But simply recognizing their own learning style was a great start.

If you want to start (or continue) working with your students on their metacognitive skills, you may find some of these sites I found useful: 

I love how Amanda, over at The Teaching Thief blog describes how she teaches active reading strategies to her 4th graders using metacognitive modeling. Amanda recommends the video below as an introduction to metacognition, and displays this anchor chart to guide her kiddos.

The positive effects of deliberately teaching metacognitive reading comprehension strategies are described in this research report over at Reading Rockets - Instruction of Metacognitive Strategies Enhances Reading Comprehension and Vocabulary Achievement of Third-Grade Students. PLEASE read this article - it will impact your teaching and your students' learning!

Another important resource is Melissa Taylor's Imagination Soup: Teach Kids to Think About Their Thinking - Metacognition. Melissa offers ideas on HOW to scaffold and direct this skill development for your students.

Finally, if you are an ESL teacher or teach English Learners in your content classroom, you might want to read this more scholarly article from The Reading Matrix: The Effects of Metacognitive Reading Strategies: Pedagogical Implications for EFL/ESL Teachers.

Once you read all of this great information, I'm sure you'll want to work on developing metacognitive skills with your students. It will make a difference in their comprehension now, and in their success in the future!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

12 Things Kids Want from Their Teachers

Angela Maiers is an educational consultant who specializes in literacy, communication, and social technologies. She says that for twenty years, she has asked her students how she can be their best teacher, and added what they wrote to her ongoing list of how teachers can help their students be most successful.

Her list is simple, and yet profound. I urge you to read it, believe it, print it, and refer to it regularly. 

You may already be doing the things that students find most important for their success, but Angela's list can be a reminder that THEIR main things need to be OUR main things, every day.

Here is a paraphrased list of Angela's 12 Things Kids Want from Their Teachers:
  • Greet me each day, and smile!
  • Give me your attention - ask about me - notice me.
  • Imagine with me; help me dream of things I might be able to do; not just the things I need to do now.
  • Engage me...I came to you in love with learning, keep me excited, keep me wanting more.
  • Give me challenging content and assignments - show me how to handle it. Teach me what to do.
  • Let me have time...time to let things sink in. Time to think. Time to reflect, process, and play.
  • Demand of me - hold me accountable to high standards. Don’t let me get away with what you know I am capable of doing better. 
  • Trust me - believe that I can do it. Allow me the chance. I promise to show you I can.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Common Core Practice | Young Voters, College Rankings and Food Journeys

This week, The Learning Network's Common Core Practice writing prompts include two from the classroom of Sarah Gross and Jonathan Olsen, and a third that uses Room for Debate, a feature of The Times Opinion Pages.

The first is an argumentative task regarding the Presidential campaigns' use of social media.

The second, also argumentative, prompts students to write about whether or not the college ranking system is useful.

Finally, a narrative writing prompt asks students to consider the journey of fresh food to our table.

Note, from the website: "The #art4me hashtag suggested in this feature last week is alive and well on Twitter. Learn more here, then join the conversation by posting a photo of the art in your life."

Thursday, 11 October 2012

A Short Break

I'll be back researching and writing for you on the blog in just a few days. For now, my focus is on my beautiful new granddaughter, Ava Lauren Carden. She was born yesterday afternoon, and my husband and I are in love again, as we were with our children, Joanna (Ava's Mom), Carson, and Connor, and our grandsons, Jude, Caleb, and Silas.

I'll also be beginning my work with a nearby elementary school as an Academic Specialist during the next week. I'm excited about that, too.

I hope you're having a beautiful October; mine is a bit busy and absolutely gorgeous! :)

Monday, 8 October 2012

Columbus Day?

So. Columbus Day, hmm? Such a romantic story of the discovery of a "New World." 

"In 14 hundred 92, Columbus sailed the ocean blue," was the sing-song verse I learned in elementary school. The First People weren't mentioned, of course.

My missionary son (a member of a minority in Tanzania, a former colony itself) posted this link on Facebook today: Rethinking Columbus: Towards a True People's HistoryThe embedded question is, "Is it OK for big nations to bully small nations, for white people to dominate people of color, to celebrate the colonialists with no attention paid to the perspectives of the colonized, to view history solely from the standpoint of the "winners?"

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Happy 127th, Niels Bohr!

If you teach science, you must teach your students about scientists, making sure that they understand they are scientists themselves as you investigate together. You must, of course, also teach them about well-known scientists who have made huge contributions to our understanding of the natural world.

Today is Niels Bohr's birthday. Bohr won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922, fled the Nazis in 1943, and worked on the Manhattan Project. CNET's Chris Matyszczyk calls today's Google Doodle in his honor "beautifully random and humorous (since it) is not some especially significant milestone in the Bohr family. It is not the 100th anniversary of his birth or death, nor his 150th. It's just that Niels Bohr would have been 127 today."

Matyszczyk seems to think this appropriate, calling Bohr a scientist with a sense of humor, citing a Washington Post article that includes "some of his more pithy observations, ones that make one imagine Bohr would have been anything but a bore in company." Here are some of my favorites:

“Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.”

“No, no, you’re not thinking — you’re just being logical.”

“How wonderful that we have met with a paradox. Now we have some hope of making progress.”

“An expert is someone who knows some of the worst mistakes, which can be made, in a very narrow field."
“We are all agreed that your theory is crazy. The question which divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct. My own feeling is that it is not crazy enough.”
Intelligent, intuitive, influential, and yes, funny. A man who so inspired one of his sons that he also received a Nobel Prize. Show your students this short YouTube video tomorrow to introduce them to the amazing man who was Niels Henrik David Bohr:

Friday, 5 October 2012

Common Core Practice | Floating Buddhas, MacArthur ‘Geniuses’ and Fracking

Today's Common Core Practice from Sarah Gross, Jonathan Olsen, and The Learning Network includes narrative, informative, and argumentative writing tasks. 

Floating Buddhas so inspired Sarah and Jonathan's students "that they have designed a challenge for students (and adults) everywhere: find a piece of “art” (however you define it) in your own surroundings, and post a photo of it to Twitter with the hashtag #art4meThey hope to 'see how far this project will travel,' so consider joining in!"

Librado Romero/The New York Times

Chang Jin-Lee’s inflatable Buddha sculpture, called “Floating Echo,”
is anchored on the East River at Socrates Sculpture Park
in Long Island City, Queens. Go to related article »

MacArthur ‘Geniuses’ tells students that “talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction (can win) $100,000 per year for five years" and asks them to "propose a dream project that you hope the MacArthur Foundation would help fund."

Fracking refers students to the article Shift by Cuomo on Gas Drilling Prompts Both Anger and Praise, as well as a video and an earlier lesson plan, and asks them to "write a letter to the editor of The New York Times explaining whether Governor Cuomo should allow fracking to occur in New York State, (using) evidence from the article to support your argument."

"Winning!" again, with this great resource at The New York Times.

Banned Books Week

It's the next-to-last day of Banned Books Week, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. The event is sponsored by the American Library Association, and recognizes the importance of the freedom to read.

I've always been amazed at the books that have been banned in one place or another. Here are just some of the books that were banned or challenged from 2000 to 2009:

A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle
Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume

Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
Draw Me A Star, by Eric Carle
Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

Friday Night Lights, by H.G. Bissenger
Goosebumps series, by R.L. Stine
Harris and Me, by Gary Paulsen
Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George
Junie B. Jones series, by Barbara Park

Mick Harte Was Here, by Barbara Park
Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor
Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Green

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
The Fighting Ground, by Avi

The Giver, by Lois Lowry
The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson
To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

Yes...classics, favorite children's books, and many books that we read to and with our students and love ourselves!

Award-winning broadcast journalist Bill Moyers talks about how libraries provided his first opportunity to indulge his love of reading and learning, and shares his dismay over efforts to remove books from schools and libraries in modern times. Watch the essay, titled “The Bane of Banned Books," below: 

This letter from author Pat Conroy was published in the October 24, 2007, issue of the Charleston Gazette in West Virginia. It was written in response to his books’ permanent removal from classes at a local high school.

The National Council of Teachers of English is a co-sponsor of this year's celebration.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Cures For The Common Core Blues: BOOKS, Vol. 1

I know, I know. If you went to CCSS training this summer, you got a ton of helpful materials to take home.

And if you didn't, because you're a brand-new teacher? Or because your district didn't pay for it? Or require it? Or you went to school all summer, or taught summer school? were overwhelmed and still haven't worked your way through all of it, because you teach ELA in Tennessee, and you're trying to figure out how to phase in the CCSS, and at the same time prepare your students for the TCAP because after all, that's what they will take next spring? I understand.

That's why I'm writing Common Core posts in chunks, with one topic, so you can actually look at resources one or a few at a time, when you have a minute. (I also know that even those minutes are few and far between, with PLC meetings, IEP meetings, RTI meetings, and meetings for every other acronym in education. :)

So. This post is the first in a series about a book that causes my juices to start flowing, just thinking about the possibilities for Common Core lessons using it. I'll write about one book each Thursday for the next several weeks.

Irena's Jars of Secrets, by Marcia Vaughan, was named a 2012 Sydney Taylor Honor Book for Older Readers. The Sydney Taylor Book Awards are presented annually to “outstanding books for children and teens that authentically portray the Jewish experience" by the Association of Jewish Libraries.

Here's a description from the publisher's website: "Irena Sendler, born to a Polish Catholic family, was raised to respect people of all backgrounds and to help those in need. She became a social worker; and after the German army occupied Poland during World War II, Irena knew she had to help the sick and starving Jews who were imprisoned in the Warsaw Ghetto. She began by smuggling food, clothing, and medicine into the ghetto, then turned to smuggling children out of the ghetto. Using false papers and creative means of escape, and at great personal risk, Irena helped rescue Jewish children and hide them in safe surroundings. Hoping to reunite the children with their families after the war, Irena kept secret lists of the children’s identities.

Motivated by conscience and armed with compassion and a belief in human dignity, Irena Sendler confronted an enormous moral challenge and proved to the world that an ordinary person can accomplish deeds of extraordinary courage." 

The book is available from: Lee and Low Books and Amazon. Download a PDF document with discussion questions for the book at Lee and Low's website.  Use them as inspiration for your own activities for close reading, inferring, vocabulary, cross-curricular connections, schema, and multicultural awareness. Lee and Low also provides a book talk with Vaughan and Ron Mazellan, who illustrated the book.

At the links below, you can read interviews with the book's author and illustrator that were part of the official Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour:
In December 2008, The New York Times published The Smuggler, a story about Irena Sendler, by Maggie Jones.
You can learn more about Irena Sendler and the group of students from Kansas whose research brought her story to worldwide attention at Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project. A book of the same name by Jack Mayer is available both on the site and at

Irena Sendler: Mother of the Children of the Holocaust, Irena Sendler and the Children of the Warsaw Ghetto, and Irena Sendler: Bringing Life to Children of the Holocaust are other books about this remarkable woman. The Other Schindler...Irena Sendler: Savior of the Holocaust Children is available for Kindle.

In the Name of their Mothers: The Story of Irena Sendler is a film that was shown on PBS stations in May 2011. It includes some of Sendler's last interviews, and is available from

The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler, a 2009 Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation, is also available on DVD.

What a wonderful stand-alone book this is, but wouldn't it be amazing to embed these resources into a unit on the Holocaust or World War II, or a book study of The Diary of Anne Frank? If you create a fabulous unit around these ideas, be sure to let me know. 

And please, let great books help cure your Common Core blues!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

White Flour - The Book and The Video

There are fourteen white faces in Geita, Tanzania, a rural town of 40,000 souls. Our son Carson, daughter-in-law Holly, and grandsons Jude and Silas are four. The rest are members of their mission team, except for a single German woman who also came to Geita as a missionary.

Since our kids moved to East Africa in 2009, I've spent a total of almost eleven weeks there, and I've glimpsed life as a minority. This has led to a great deal of reflection, as have my seven years of experience teaching English as a Second Language to Hispanic children and working closely with their families.

Holly sent me a link to this video last night, and I had to share it with you. If I were still in the classroom, I would get a copy of the book, download the video, and create a lesson to use with my students. I hope you will.

The book is available at and at From the website: "White Flour is David LaMotte’s second children’s book, with illustrations by Jenn Hales. In Seussian rhyme, it tells the funny and inspiring story of the day that the Ku Klux Klan met the Coup Clutz Clowns, who offered a whimsical and wise retort to their racist rally. The poem that provides the text for the book was inspired by true events in Knoxville, TN in 2007. White Flour was written for middle school students and older, but may be appropriate for younger kids at their parents’ discretion."

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Great Resources From Ireland's NBSS

Today I'm sharing a fantastic resource from across the pond! Ireland's National Behaviour Support Service was established in 2006 in response to a recommendation in School Matters: The Report of the Task Force on Student Behaviour in Second Level Schools (2006). Education reform movements that result from a report - we've lived through a few, right?
I think, however, that you'll love this service's guiding principles:
  • Schools can make a difference in young people’s lives.
  • A whole school approach, founded on respectful relationships, is essential in promoting and supporting positive behaviours throughout the school community.
  • Behaviour is intrinsically linked to teaching and learning.
  • Inclusion is a core educational value.
  • Good practice in schools is acknowledged and disseminated.

Here's the best part for your practice: The NBSS has assembled a library of resources that support schools and students in the development of academic literacy, learning, and study skills. On the Publications & Resources section of this site there are over twenty individual comprehension, vocabulary and study strategy resources to download, as well as vocabulary notebooks, reading comprehension bookmarks and posters, and many other resources to support teaching and learning. Wow.
I chose one of these great items to highlight: 

From their description: "The Somebody-Wanted-But-So strategy is used during or after reading. It provides a framework to use when summarising the action of a story or historical event by identifying key elements. The strategy also helps students identify the main ideas, recognise cause and effect relationships, make generalisations, identify differences between characters and look at various points of view." Yes, their spelling is British, naturally. :)

I really want you to click over and see all of the amazing resources, so I'm showing you everything included with this one: 

1. Teaching steps, including modeling the strategy for your students:

Explicitly teaching ‘Somebody Wanted But So’:
Step 1
Model the ‘Somebody Wanted But So’ strategy by reading a selection of text aloud or retelling an event – this could be a story, film or real life event. Complete the SWBS four column chart: Somebody (character/figure), Wanted  (goal/motivation), But (conflict), So/So then(resolution/outcome). Point out that there can be more than one ‘Somebody Wanted But So’ in a text selection/chapter and show how a second SWBS statement can be generated, if applicable.   
Step 2
Read aloud a second text selection or retell an event. Ask students to identify the Somebody from the event. Write down the name of the person in the first column. Explain that the Wanted represents the plot or motivation of the person/people and complete the second column. Explain that the But is the conflict or challenge the person/people faced and record the student responses in the third column. Finally, explain that the So column is to record the outcome or resolution and complete this column. Then read aloud the summary statement.
Step 3
Assign another selection of text or retell an event and in pairs/groups students complete a SWBS chart. Share SWBS statements in small groups and discuss the similarities and differences in the statements, as well as evidence in the text used to support each statement. Continue to guide students until they can use the strategy independently.

2. Examples, including Anne Frank and Romeo and Juliet, AND 
3. Templates to use with your students, with & without scaffolding

Remember that much more awaits you at NBSS...enjoy!
If you'd like to see more info about using SWBS, you can visit:
Anchorage School District
Learning Point
Response to Intervention Online