Language

The Giver by Lois Lowry | The Great American Read

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The Giver is a Newberry Award-winning book by Lois Lowry that tells the story of 12-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly perfect society called “the community,” where memories and feelings have been eliminated. He eventually discovers the community’s dark side and takes a daring step to save a life and seek freedom. We explore how Jonas is an ordinary boy who does the extraordinary.

Learning objectives
Students will:
 

  • Watch a video segment and answer contextual questions 
  • Build vocabulary, reading and listening comprehension skills
  • Complete a vocabulary worksheet 

 

1984 by George Orwell | The Great American Read

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George Orwell's dystopian novel, 1984, centers on a world of perpetual war and totalitarian rule, in which Winston Smith is a low-ranking government employee. Big Brother is always watching, and even thinking rebellious thoughts is a crime. Winston risks his life waging a battle for individual freedom and expression: a battle he cannot win.

Learning Objectives

Students will: 

  • Watch a video segment and answer contextual questions.
  • Build vocabulary, reading and listening comprehension skills

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy | The Great American Read

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Douglas Adams' 1979 novel, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, is a comedic satire on society, bureaucracy, and closed-mindedness. Former NFL player Chris Kluwe shares his love of the novel, and suggests why it helped to popularize the phrase "Don't Panic," among other things. And expert Baratunde Thurston thinks of it as an absurdist, post modernist, non-linear way to create a story world.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Watch a video segment and answer contextual questions.
  • Build vocabulary, reading and listening comprehension skills

Pride and Prejudice | The Great American Read

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In Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen wrote a strong female heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, who is more than a match for the rich and handsome Mr. Darcy, and who will not marry merely for money or position. Actress Lauren Graham is one of several book lovers who share their fondness for this novel that has become a template for many other books and movies. Literary experts also weigh in on why this novel has become an enduring classic.

Learning Objective

Students will:

  • Watch a video segment and answer contextual questions
  • Create character sketches of the two major characters of “Pride and Prejudice”
  • Build vocabulary, reading, listening and comprehension skills

 

Moby Dick | The Great American Read

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Experts discuss Herman Melville's love of the sea and how the obsessed Ahab is the anti-hero of the story. Professor Mary K. Bercaw Edwards brings her students onto a 19th century whaling ship to learn about the sea tale. Ahab teaches us how obsession can lead anyone down the wrong path.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Watch a video segment and answer contextual questions.
  • Explore the character of the villain in novels and the role they play to push the narrative forward
  • Build vocabulary, reading, and listening comprehension skills

Planning for Communication | English Language Arts Strategies for Students with Cognitive Disabilities

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In this self-contained high school classroom, a student is learning the new word "would". Using aided language input, the teacher helps him build a sentence that uses the word to contribute to the class chart. During the conference, the teacher models how to use the communication book to convey her message. When the student creates his message the teacher asks the student to confirm that the message is the intended message. The teacher encourages the student to use the communication system as well as a vocal response. The video demonstrates effective strategies for engaging students with significant cognitive disabilities in literacy instruction.

Cuatro Gatos | Sesame Street

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Learn how to count to four, in both English and Spanish, with The Cuatro Gatos!

Bill Holm: Through the Window of Brimnes | Holm and Wayne Gudmundson’s Icelandic Heritage

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A common Icelandic background brought the two to a study of the Icelandic poet Kirstjan N. Julius, interviewing those in his adopted home of Mountain, North Dakota, who knew the poet.

Fromage Here to Eternity | The Electric Company

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Learn about the vocabulary words capsule, orbit, monitor, and slightly with The Electric Company when a journalism assignment gets out of hand. Lisa is chosen to write a story on Skeleckian cheese-making for the school paper, but Annie is determined to scoop her.

Martha Walks the Dog

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You can use this video for Session 6 of the MARTHA SPEAKS Reading Buddies program. Students watch the video, in which Martha tries to find out why the new dog in town is so loud and mean. After watching, buddy pairs talk about the episode, play a Choose and Chat game, read a children’s book together, and write in their journal. Prior to using this resource for Reading Buddies, be sure you have read the complete introductory materials in the MARTHA SPEAKS Reading Buddies Program Guide.

Key vocabulary: pleasant, unpleasant, compliment, bully

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