Reading Activities

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  • 1. Reading Activities: Before, During, After Caitlin Scully
  • 2. Texts and Grade Level
    • Ellen Raskin’s The Westing Game and Rodman Philbrick’s Freak the Mighty.
    • According to scholastic.com both of these texts are for 6 th to 8 th grade.
  • 3. Readability
    • According to the Fleisch Kincaid readability formula, The Westing Game is at a 6.9 reading level in the beginning, a 6.4 reading level in the middle, and a 6.8 at the end of the novel. I used random samples from the novel and inputted 100 word sections into Microsoft Word to use the formula.
    • According to the same formula, Freak The Mighty is at a 9.0 reading level in the beginning, a 12.0 reading level in the middle, and a 6.0 reading level at the end. I used random samples from the novel like above.
  • 4. Vocabulary Development Tenant Luxurious Mistake Murder Will Puzzle Asylum Binoculars Podiatrist Ulcer Confidential Pyrotechnics Heiress Attorney The Westing Game is filled with mysteries and puzzles, and some of the characters lie! So today we will be playing the bluffing game. The class will be divided into two teams. I will define one of the words to the left. If you know the answer stand, or you can ‘bluff’. One student will be called on. If the answer is correct, the team gets one point for everyone standing. If the answer is wrong, a point is deducted for every person standing.
  • 5. Freak The Mighty Chapter One Word Search BRACE BRAT CRITTERS DEATH RAY DEPARTED FIERCE FREAK GOON GRAM GRIM KEVIN KICKER LASERCANNONS MAXWELL MIGHTY ROBOT SLAY UNVANQUISHED Define each term using contextual clues from chapter one in Freak the Mighty. Then, circle the term in the word search Brace: something that steadies or strengthens something else. Freak wears leg braces. Maxwell: real name of narrator
  • 6. Anticipation Guides Tenant Luxurious Mistake Murder Will Mystery Puzzle Asylum Binoculars Chimney Podiatrist Ulcer Confidential Pyrotechnics Heiress Use the words to create a story about what YOU think is going to happen in the story. A tenant in an expensive and a luxurious apartment makes a mistake and is murdered. He leaves a will and his heirs have to figure out the mystery of his death, because it is like a puzzle. The tenant was a little crazy and spent time in an asylum with his binoculars staring outside. The will is secret and confidential and is so confusing it gives an heiress, the podiatrist, an ulcer. When the will is figured out, fireworks (pyrotechnics) are shot out of a chimney The Westing Game Chapters 1-5
  • 7. Students will fill out this anticipation guide before starting the novel. We will discuss their answers as a class, and at the end of the novel we will look at their previous answers to see if any of their perceptions have changed. Freak the Mighty Anticipation Guide
  • 8. Sunset Towers Ghosts or Worse Tenants In and Out The Corpse Found Sixteen Heirs The Westing Will The Westing Game The Paired Heirs Lost and Found The Long Party The Meeting The First Bomb The Second Bomb Pairs Repaired Fact and Gossip The Third Bomb Some Solutions The Trackers Odd Relatives The Confessions The Fourth Bomb Losers, Winners Strange Answers Wrong All Wrong Westing’s Wake Turtle’s Trial A Happy Fourth And Then… Five Years Pass The End Using the chapter titles, make predictions about what you think will happen in the novel. People move into Sunset Towers, and someone dies and leaves a will. The will is some sort of game, and the heirs of the deceased are put into pairs to play the game. There's a big party, bombs go off, and some answers are found. But, they are all wrong. There is a trial on July 4 th , and then five years pass. The End.
  • 9. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhScp7pP-yA I will use the trailer for “The Mighty” to generate interest in the novel for the class, along with a promise to view the movie after we finish reading.
  • 10. Using the cover art of the novel make predictions about what the novel is about. All but one of the covers has a reference to chess, so maybe there is a chess game. One of the covers has a blood spatter on it, and another has a dead body on the cover. So, someone obviously dies. Uncle Sam is in one cover, so maybe the book is about patriotism.
  • 11. It is 2008 and you are in the 5 th grade. A boy walks into your class who is taller than everyone else. He looks bigger and stronger too. His father is in jail for murder. Your teacher starts pairing students for a class activity. The boy is alone with no one to work with, do you offer to work with him? Why? What assumptions are you making based on his size and family? Would you invite him to a party at your home? Why? Would you try to become his friend? Creating a Problem Perspective with Freak the Mighty
  • 12. No! Would you lie, cheat, and steal for $200 million dollars? Maybe. Have you ever felt like doing something crazy to get attention? Poker, once or twice. Have you ever played a high stakes game? Yes. Have you ever had to solve a puzzle that seemed impossible? Heck no! Have you ever invested in the stock market? Or known someone who has? Westing Game Anticipation Guide
  • 13. Very small Very smart Sick Likes to read Does well in school Very big Very tall Sees himself as dumb Lives in a basement Different from regular kids Absent fathers Venn Diagram Comparing and Contrasting Main Characters in Freak The Mighty
  • 14. Vocabulary Bingo Students will get a list of the 25 vocabulary words. After placing the words in a blank “Freak” bingo sheet, the teacher will pull a word out of the hat, and will call on someone for the definition. Students are not allowed to count a word that has not been called AND defined.First to FREAK wins. F R E A K Unvanquished Rubbish Ignorant Yonder Sobriquet Deficiency Telemetry Aberration Intensive Prodigy Converge Divulged Tussle Troglodyte Viscous Scuttle Propulsion Evasive Gruel Obstinate Postulate Primordial Quest Relativity spastic
  • 15. Found Poem Jake snatched the menu from his wife and watched her glide (gracefully he had to admit) to the reservations desk and whisper in Hoo’s ear. (Jimmy, she calls him.) “That’s a fine kettle of fish,” he exclaimed, then turned to his dinner companion. Students will use the words from an excerpt to create a ‘found’ poem. Class will discuss how meaning of the words changes. Gracefully, she calls Jake Glides to Hoo in a kettle of fish Companions at dinner On the menu Turned to the desk Snatched him With reservations From his wife.
  • 16. ReQuest with The Westing Game
    • Students and teacher read chapter 6 together, silently.
    • Teacher closes book, and is questioned by the students. (“How many heirs are there?” “What state does the story take place in?”
    • Students and teacher exchange roles, and the teacher asks students questions. (“Who does the attorney tell to sit down?” “How did Westing die?”
    • Move on to chapter seven and repeat the procedure.
    • After the entire will has been read, allow students to discuss and make predictions about what happens next.
  • 17. After reading the first chapter of Freak the Mighty , students will start to fill out the chart with what they Know, what they Want to know, and eventually what they have Learned. I would ask students to focus on character information and traits in this chart. K W L Narrator is Maxwell What happened to Max’s mom? Max’s mom was strangled by his father. Max lives with his grandparents What is going on with Max’s dad? Father was in jail for murder, gets out on parole eventually Max and Freak are the same age They live on the same street Max’s mother is dead
  • 18. No, because he was violent, and Max didn’t even really know him. Students can use Discussion Webs like this to discuss issues that arise in readings. Should Max have gone with his father when he showed up on Christmas Eve? Conclusion No His father was violent His father was just out of prison He didn’t know his father, and you shouldn’t go along with strangers Yes It was his only real family He says he didn’t kill anyone
  • 19. Second Chances Students get into small groups and write about what would have happened if a character made a different decision. Freak The Mighty If Max had not approached Freak while his toy was stuck in the tree, he probably would have failed out of school and been an outcast like he was already.
  • 20. Paraphrasing Passport During guided discussion about the novel The Westing Game, students must paraphrase what the student before them said to gain a “passport” to continue talking. This forces students to listen to the person who is speaking, instead of just focusing on what they want to say Sally, “Ms Scully said that Sydelle Pulaski is the ‘mistake’ and I agree with her. I think that she is the only tenant that does not fit into the equation.” Mark, “I see your point Sally, that Sydelle does not fit, but if you think about personalities Madame Hoo does not fit at all! She cannot even speak English.”
  • 21. Notes and Quotes Students will divide paper in half with quotes on the left side, comments and analysis of quotes on the right side. Teacher will model process for class on overhead projector. As a matter of fact I do not the answer --- The reason Johnny Tremaine got made and hateful is because he burned his hand in a stupid accident--- and I know about that because Freak has been showing me how to read a whole book and for some reason it all makes sense, where before it was just a bunch of words I didn’t care about. Pg 81 Max is finally learning to read and growing as a student and person. His motivation to read is growing, and their friendship is growing also And I swear on the dictionary, if Freak ever tries to eat American chop suey again, I’ll dump it on his head or something. Pg 87 Max swears on the dictionary like it is the bible, which is an interesting parallel.
  • 22. Students will create a diary entry for the story Freak the Mighty told from the point of view of a minor character Fair Gwen: It is so nice that Kevin has a friend now, even if he is a little bit…off. The poor boy has to live with his grandparents and doesn’t even remember his mother. I wish Kevin would tell Max what is really going on with his illness, but Kevin is smarter than I am, so he probably knows better. Rosencrantz and Gildenstern
  • 23. Video vs Book During this activity I would play The Mighty movie with the sound muted. I would ask different students to narrate the movie according to what they think is parallels in the novel. We can discuss how the movie is different from the novel and watch the movie with sound after the activity. This could be used as review at the end of the novel, or periodically during the reading. “ Now this is the scene where Kevin and Max are getting bullied by Tony, and they are about to start throwing rocks, and the cops should come…” “ Oh, Max is feeding Kevin chop suey and is he going to start choking and get sent to the hospital”
  • 24. Journaling For The Westing Game a journal would be a good tool for the students. They could write from the perspective of an heir, OR they could use their journals to figure out the mystery of “who killed Sam Westing?” I think that Grace Wexler did it, because she is so conscious of money. I think she would kill for 200 million dollars. Also, she likes to hide her maiden name. She is sneaky. Clues seem to point to lyrics of America the Beautiful. Not sure how relevant the clues actually are.
  • 25. Vocabulary in Context
    • The ____ snore that erupted from the next hospital bed was Sydelle Pulaski pretending to be asleep.
    • Quiet b. Loud c.Cute d. Weird
    • “ We must do something about your coiffure. I’ll make a appointment with my ____ once the snow is cleared; long hair is too youthful for a woman about to be married.”
    • a. Doctor b. Nail Technician c. Hair dresser d. Decorator
    Students will create vocabulary quizzes like the example to the left for each chapter of The Westing Game. Each student will create 2-3 questions and I will compile them into a quiz for students to take at the end of the week.
  • 26. P.S. Epilogue.
  • 27. Letter to the Author Students will close out their reading of The Westing Game by writing a letter to Ellen Raskin about her novel. They will write about what they liked, and why, and which characters they related to. I will send the letters to the publisher and hope for a response. Dear Ellen Raskin, I just read your novel The Westing Game. I really enjoyed the novel because I got to figure out the puzzle along with the characters. Unfortunately I was still surprised at the end! Turtle was my favorite character, even though she was a little violent. I wish I had 10,000 dollars to invest in the stock market! Thank you for writing such a great book! Sincerely, C. Scully
  • 28. I feel like I have come up with many different activities that can be used before, during, and after reading. These strategies can be applied to different readings, and different types of texts. I feel like these are appropriate and engaging activities for my target 7 th grade classroom.
  • 29. Adaptations
    • All of these activities can be adapted for other texts.