Teacher Resources

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NNPS Teaching & Learning

Technology Help Desk
If you have a problem with any of the equipment in your classroom (laptops, desktops, printers), please be sure to file a Help Desk report. You will need the NNPS number from the silver tag on the side.

NNPS Sub Center

PLMS Frontline
Your link to professional development and training opportunities within NNPS.


Kathy Schrock's Collection of Rubrics
The name says it all! Links to rubrics on almost everything.

RubiStar Home page
Access many precreated rubrics for many content areas from the RubiStar site

PALs Guide to Rubrics and Scoring
Information from the Curry School of Education on using Rubrics.

Powerpoint Resources

Games for the Science Curriculum
Download these Science games in PowerPoint (Jeopardy, Taboo, Bingo, Pictionary, Baseball, What in the World, 20 Questions...) and change them to fit YOUR content!

Brainy Betty 
Free K-12 PowerPoint design templates to download and use for your own presentations

Lesson Plan Resources

Education World
"The Educator's Best Friend" An Incredible collection of lessons, resources and on-line activities

Graphic Organizers
Need ideas for using Inspiration and Thinking Maps? This is the place!

Reading A-Z.com
Over 30 leveled books to use with guided reading! Download the book and activity sheets to use in Reader's Workshop for FREE!

The Awesome Library
Think the Internet's too big to tackle? Awesome Library organizes the Web with 24,000 carefully reviewed resources.

Literacy Teaching Resources
Author Laura Candler shares her teaching resources from her cooperative learning books published by Kagen. Lots of Literary Lesson ideas, great for Reader's Workshop!

Cool Science for Curious Kids
From the Howard Hughes Institute. Explore biology on screen, off screen and in between! (Also on the Student page Science links)

Brain Pop
Short instructional videos in almost every subject area on almost every topic imaginable! Don't forget to log in with your name and password- NNPS has a subscription!

Flash Card and Bingo Card Generator
Create free educational game boards, game boards and quizzes!

The Learning Toolbox 
From JMU, tools and resources designed to enable students with learning disabilities, and those who work with them, to become better learners.

A-Z Teacher Stuff

Middle School Lesson plan ideas from Discovery Education

P.A.R. Literacy Lessons for Content Areas


Meet the Author

Meet the Author Kate DiCamillo
Check with students to make certain they are familiar with KWL. If they are not, ask for a student to explain the process.

What do you KNOW?
Students will volunteer information on what they know about the author Kate DiCamillo. Answers will be recorded as would be for a brainstorming activity. One student can record the class's responses on a large piece of paper labeled "K" to represent what students know about Kate DiCamillo.

What do you WANT to know?
If students could have a conversation with Kate DiCamillo, what would they ask her? Have a student record the questions on another piece of paper labeled "W".

After students choose to read a journal article, listen to a video tape, or search websites, they will take notes to share at another time .Students will be given a 15-20 minute period to discuss what they learned about Kate DiCamillo. With researching a variety of sources, hopefully students will be able to answer each other's questions. In summary, the students will check with the questions listed on "W" sheet to see if they have been answered.

Writing a Bibliography

Topic: Writing a bibliography for science project research

Preparation: Students would come to the library to collaborate with the librarian to discuss what they think they know about a writing a bibliography. Students will sit at four tables and need to have their agenda books with them. Students will need to brainstorm what they might be citing for their projects. They need to understand that websites, newspaper articles, magazine articles, books, and encyclopedias have certain formats that are followed to be correctly cited. Each of the four tables will have either an article from the internet, an article from a magazine, an encyclopedia, or a book from the science section.

Assistance: The agenda book will be used as a guide for the correct format to follow. They will use the agenda book to name the page on which the different sources are cited. A website article, magazine article, an encyclopedia, and a non-fiction book will be used in the discussion of how to do the bibliography based on the format from the agenda book. Students have to be in agreement 100% with the bibliographic entry before they share the information with their classmates. Students will record each entry in their notes exactly as it should be correctly written.

Reflection: Stress to the students that they are responsible for everything they write to cite sources whenever the work is not their own. Science projects are just one of the many times in their educational career that they will need to write a bibliography.

The Bully

Preparation: The character Darrell in THE BULLY novel is depicted as wimpy, scared, and passive. When Tyray or his Uncle are cruel to Darrell, he whines about it. Eventually, Darrell decides that he will remain miserable until he fixes the problem--himself. He decides that he must make changes about himself, and he begins to work out to gain strength, as well as make new friends to have a support network. Have you ever realized that a problem in your life was caused by you? Write down your situation.

Assistance: As we read, we learn how Darrell changes and who else his changes affect. Use sticky notes to track the changes, how effective the changes are, and how his changes affect others.

Reflection: Review your notes of Darrell's changes. Share them with a partner to compare how you both viewed the changes. After discussing with your partner, explain on paper how your comments agreed or disagreed. State the strongest, most effective change Darrell made, and tell why you believe it was the most important change. Discuss as a class.


What does it mean if books are categorized as historical fiction?

KNOW: Ask students what they know about historical fiction as a brainstorming activity. After the topic has been thoroughly discussed, ask students to define the terms historical and fiction. Ask students to volunteer titles that they think may fit the description of historical fiction.

WHAT: Ask students what the criteria would be for deciding whether or not a book is historical fiction. Have the students verbalize some questions they would ask themselves to help them decide whether or not a book is historical fiction. Some questions might be:

  • "Do the characters seem realistic?"
  • "Is the story written from a time in the past?"
  • "Does the story contain events that could have happened?"

LEARN: Have the students discuss what they have learned about the criteria for deciding whether or not a book is considered to be historical fiction. Students must agree on the criteria. Check for comprehension. Make sure they understand some characters and actions may be historically correct while others are not. This is an excellent opportunity to tell students that authors who write historical fiction often do extensive research before they begin writing. Ask again for them to volunteer some books that are classified as historical fiction.

SUMMARIZING: As a prewriting activity to writing a paragraph describing the traits of books categorized as historical fiction, students could us a graphic organizer, such as a bubble map, to put their thoughts in order.Each student would be responsible for writing a short paragraph describing the genre of historical fiction. Encourage the students to include in their paragraph an example of a book that is historical fiction and explain why.


Preparation: Students will be introduced to the novel "Holes" by giving them background information about the main character. He is accused of taking something that did not belong to him. They will respond to the journal topic "Have you ever been accused of doing something that you did not do? Explain the situation, how you felt about it, what did you do prove your innocence. They will share their writing with the class before we start reading the first chapter.

Assistance: The teacher will monitor the students as they read in their groups. As the students read silently,they will be required to stop at certain points to answer questions and defend their answers within their group.

Reflection: The students will compare their situation that they wrote about in their journal to the characters in the novel Holes. They will use a Venn diagram to show how their experience compared to the novel.

Tree Castle Island

This lesson is designed to last two to three class periods: TREE CASTLE ISLAND by Jean Craighead George

Pre reading:
Intro book: In a VKWL chart (vocabulary, what do I know, what do I want to know, what have I learned) students will record the following:

  • Activate Prior Knowledge: Ask students to brainstorm on paper anything they might know about swamps - the ecosystem of the swamp - what plants, animals might live in the swamp
  • Ask students if they ever spent time away from home with a relative, or family friend for an extended period of time - maybe for a summer...- on paper Ask students to think about doing something challenging, daring, different from their normal routine - for the first time - on paper

Then explain to students that they will be meeting a boy about their age in this story who is spending the summer with his Uncle in the Okfenokee Swamp in South Georgia...And, he will be involved in an adventure - that daring and somewhat dangerous!! Frontload the lesson with photos from a variety of websites (there are over 50 on the Okefenokee Swamp and related sites) pointing out the various plants and animals and types of bogs, peat, waterways, and the types of boats on the waterways.In the column labeled "V" for vocabulary, have students copy these words in categories that make sense to them from the board: Okefenokee Swamp, forest of cyprus, prairie, lake, squirrels haul and draw, stability, bull alligator, j strokes, sphagnum moss, pole, terpene, gunwhale, 'possums, catfish, bass.

Finally, point out the name of this novel: TREE CASTLE ISLAND, and ask how the categories of words they have on their paper might relate to the title. Ask students to pair with another student, share their categories, and share how they are related to one another and to the title of the book.

Finally, direct students' attention to the "W" portion of their chart - what do I want to know. and explain that based on what they have brainstormed and shared, what they have learned about the swamp and the new vocabulary they have categorized, jot down what they would like to learn from this text.

During Reading: Paired Reading - Think Aloud, looking for the vocabulary in the "V" column. Using notepaper and sticky notes, students read reciprocally: reader A reads three paragraphs to reader B while reader B listens.. Reader B then tells Reader A what he heard and Reader A agrees, disagrees, or re reads in order to come to consensus with Reader B. Both students then agree upon the most important ideas in those few sentences and then write down those ideas on paper. This procedure continues thru the assigned reading. As they are doing this, they are also looking for new vocabulary from the V column of their pre reading sheet. Students write each word on on asticky note and use the context clues to discover the text specific meaning of that word. If there is not adequate context clue info, students look the word up or go to the on line dictionary, and select the definition that most closely matches the way the word was used in the text.

After reading: Vocabulary - students look back at their original ideas about the way the vocabulary related and decide whether or not it reflects the way the words relate to one another in the text. If not, then student rearrange the words - using the sticky notes to do so...They can then write a statement about how the words interrelate, that is,how they would categorize the words and why.

Exit Slip: Students review their notes and write a summary of the selection read and a prediction of what will happen next The teacher can begin the next day's class with students sharing their summaries and their predictions as a focus for reading.


Math Connections

Before Reading: Type up some facts that could be answered by checking agree or disagree (in column form) Have the students read through them and check agree or disagree. Students will then discuss why they agree or disagree with the statement. Since mathematics is consecutive, some facts can tap into prior knowledge.

During Reading: Have the students read through the section or chapter to look for evidence to support their opinion within the chapter or section.

After Reading: Have the students go back and check to see if their opinions changed or stayed the same based on their reading. This is a great way to hook students before a starting a chapter in math.


Students will use the KWL chart to explore "Fractions".

  1. Students will write and then discuss what they know about fractions, how they are used, etc.

  2. Students will explore the chapter to find different types of fractions,
    such as improper fractions, mixed numbers.

  3. Once students have explored the types of fractions, they will focus on 2 activities involving fractions such as comparing fractions and changing fractions to decimals.

  4. Students will write a paragraph comparing what they knew to what they learned and will also use mathematical examples in their summaries.



Before: Review the K - W - L process.

Step K: What do I Know?

  1. Place the words, atom, molecule, element, and compound on the board.
  2. Have the students make a list of all the facts that they know about these words.
  3. Have the students preview the section of the textbook (pages 52 - 55) looking at the topics, subtopics, and pictures.
  4. Have the students add to the list of facts that they have under the K section.
  5. Each student should give one fact from his/her list and the teacher will place them on the board under K.

Step W: What do I want to learn?

  1. Have the students review the list and write questions on facts that they want to know about the topic.
  2. Place the students in groups and have them read their questions to the class.
  3. The group should select two questions that they think are the most interesting.
  4. The teacher will write the questions from each group on the board under the W.
  5. The teacher will ask if there are other questions that members of the class want added to the list of questions that need to be answered.

Step L: What I Learned

  1. The teacher will have the students silently read the assignment to find the answers to the questions. The teacher should remind the students that this assignment is different from other reading assignments and that they may have to read between the lines.
  2. Students are to read silently and record the answers that they find in the W section of their paper.


  1. Post reading of text material if needed.
  2. Reflections on reading

Elements, Mixtures, Compounds

Preparation: Demonstration of iron and sulfur- mix the iron and sulfur together and then heat it together in a test tube. Have the students predict the answers to the following questions:

  1. What happens when the iron and sulfur are physically mixed together? Can they by separated by physical means?
  2. What about when they are chemically combined? Can they be separated physically now?
  3. Visit The Mineral Pyrite website.

Assistance: In pairs, use the Think-Pair-Share reading strategy to read about elements, mixtures, and compounds. Discuss similarities and differences between these classes of matter.

Reflection: Create a graphic organizer using Inspiration to visually show the similarities and differences of mixtures and compounds. Include important vocabulary, as well as, the terms- iron pyrite (fools gold), iron, and sulfur.

Genetic Engineering

Before: Have students work in groups to brainstorm any terms they have heard about genetic engineering and its controversies

During: Have students choose 3 articles to read. Tell the students to create a chart with 2 columns with 1 column titled "Pros" and the other "Cons". As they read the articles, instruct the students to place any ideas they come across that are for genetic engineering in the Pro's column and any against in the Con's column.

After: Have students create a Venn Diagram that shows the Pro's, Con's and even some overlap of the 2 sides of genetic engineering.

Writing(+): Students must write a 1-2 minute commercial that will show one side of.



  1. The students will complete the KWL Chart about Bears
  2. They will write a Friendly Letter using the correct format using the POWER writing process.
  3. They will answer comprehension questions about Bears with 80% accuracy.


  • KWL Chart
  • Video about Bears
  • Paper
  • Pencil/Pen
  • Questions about Bears
  • Friendly Letter Format

The teacher will provide each students with a KWL chart to record what they already know about Bears. Students are instructed to write as many facts as they can in 5 minutes. They will share their answers with the class as the teacher records them on the board. After a discussion about what they already know, the students are asked to write down at least three questions they have about Bears. After discussing their questions, the students will view the video. They will be encouraged to see if their questions are answered.

Next: The students will watch the video about The Life of Bears. As they view the video, they are instructed to write down at least 15 facts they learn about bears.Each student will be asked to give at least 3 facts they learned from the video.

Next: The students will be assigned a section in the text to read about Bears. Upon reading the section, they will answer the comprehension questions that follow the reading. The questions will be discussed in their cooperative groups and turned in to the teacher.

Finally: The teacher will discuss the format for writing a Friendly Letter. Students will be required to write a Friendly Letter using the correct format informing their friend what they've learned about Bears. This is their First Draft. They will Peer Edit their letters in groups of two. Upon editing, the students will write their Final Copy of their Friendly Letter and turn it in to the teacher to be graded and placed in their writing folder.

Social Studies

Branches of Government

Preparation: Have students work with a partner to make predictions to this question: What keeps the President of our country from becoming so powerful that we become a dictatorship?

Assistance: In pairs, use the Think-Pair-Share reading strategy to read the information on the websites listed below:

Reflection: Create a graphic organizer showing the 3 branches of government, their powers, and people. Create a symbol separate from the diagram that answers the question asked at the beginning of the lesson.

Harriet Tubman

Based on the 8th grade literature text "Harriet Tubman"

Materials: text, paper, writing utensil

  1. Students copy a KWL chart off the board.

  2. Class reads title, subtitles, looks at pictures in the text and discusses knowledge about Harriet Tubman and Underground Railroad.

  3. Class discusses possible questions based on current knowledge--how she traveled, did she have life-threatening experiences, was it worth the problems of fear-possible death-hunger-cold.

  4. Class reads text and makes inferences throughout story. Students write impressions of her journey and important details of the story. Class discusses responses and checks that questions were answered.

  5. In writing, class describes the hardships of Tubman's journey and detailed the strong range of emotions Tubman experienced in her freedom flight. Students share their writings with each other, asking follow-up questions and providing feedback.

P.E. & Related Arts

Elizabethan Drama

The Objective: The analysis of Elizabethan Drama, use of KWL+ format.

Supplies: Paper, pencil and kwl+ outline (on black board).Ask students to relate any knowledge they have about the Elizabethan Period; Politics, lifestyle, costumes, history,customs and famous figures.


  • Only Men could act.
  • The theater called the Globe had no roof.
  • This is placed under the K. (prior knowledge activated)
  • For our W list, We need to ask questions that activate critical thinking. Such as How, Why, Would you, Could you...


  • Would you see women in the cast?
  • How much were tickets?
  • Did they really throw veggies and fruit?
  • The L section will contain facts from the Text and / or film that answers questions from the W section and information that was not mentioned in either section. Please add the categories of information: L-location C-cause D-description E-effect L - The Globe theatre was in London on the Avon. E - The lack of a roof and floor meant that the audience was subjected to the elements. ( as were the actors ). This will help the students in the summary / mapping section called the (+). This is where information is synthesized and placed into any number of graphic organizer. ( spider / bubble / flow chart...).


Before reading, hold a discussion on the proper mechanics of shooting a free throw. Have kids fill out the chronological order free-throw sheet. After completed have them act out exactly the order on their page.

Give each student the "Proper Mechanics for Free-Throws" handout. Have them skim through it and draw ideas. After skimming the class will read aloud. Give any definitions and clarifications as they read.

Discuss the proper mechanics and have the students compare before and after. Write in journals what needed to be corrected and also how you think it made you technique better.


Objective: That students will learn the differences in family types and the importance of their family.


  • (KWL) See what students know about the family.


  • What is the definition of a family.
  • What are the types of families.
  • What type of family do you belong to.
  • How important is the family?


  • Summarize the types of families.
  • Discussion on "How important is your family to you?"
  • Find some pictures of difference families and label them.
  • Students be ready to explain the different types of families tomorrow in class.

Kitchen Equipment

Objective: Students will be able to identify kitchen equipment and their usage.


  • Today's Teen Book
  • Actual kitchen equipment displayed on table.
  • KWL Worksheet

Introduction to kitchen equipment (using prior knowledge of kitchen equipment).

  1. Student will be given 5 minutes to talk about kitchen equipment they know.
  2. Teacher will ask students to tell/list the equipment they know on the blackboard.
  3. Determine what equipment the student want to learn about.
  4. Provide the kitchen equipment for the student to name, identify and what it use is.
  5. Student will read chapter to check for any equipment they couldn't identify and to see if there were any equipment not listed.

Closure: Is it important to know the name and proper use of kitchen equipment?

How to assess students learning: Have students show their knowledge by going to the kitchen and gather the correct equipment that could be used for a recipe.


K - Students give examples of anything they know about tchoukball. Rules, playing surface, of players per team, etc... Give each student and let them skim through it.

W - Have the students write realistic goals they would like to reach or personal achievement they want.

L - Give a small summary of the things you learned and contrast them with what you knew about it previously.

Victorian Era

We were about to read two plays written from works from the Victorian era, 'The Mad Tea Party' based on Lewis Carroll and 'The Elephant's Child' based on Rudyard Kipling. I had my class fold a sheet of paper into three equal folds, and label them K,W and L.

Under the K (What we know), I had them list anything they knew or associated with Victorian times. They knew the Queen and that it was England. Some knew facts about fashion and the geography.

The next fold was W (what I want to know), and here they filled up the fold with questions about the government , food, life styles and health. Which fit in well with the tone of the plays and character development. Why the plays were written and what they were expressing.

The third fold was L (what I learned) they mixed facts from text and a history book I used a a reference source(my notes). This was then assessed by essays that focused on plot and characters analysis.