McKee Summer Reading Assignment Is Here for the Incoming Freshmen!rachel_chalkboard_reading_lg_wht.gif

Click here for the incoming 9th grade summer 2011 reading assignment.

Why? If you breathe, you read.
Why? One's mind always needs nourishment.

Science Sites That Rock

In a culture of exchanging information, here are a number of great sites that help promote a love of learning for science.
1. A great interactive site in which students can virtually manipulate legos is on
a. There are games which promote virtual kinesthetic and interactive play.

2. Newton's Apple is a free website that offers over 300 video clips that focus on science.
a. One of the favorite teacher's guides to explore on the site deals with roller coasters. In fact the teacher's guide is called Hypercoaster . This multimedia site uses a number of different interactive sources and crafts web based learning experiences.

3. Mr. Science Guy is a website that provides interesting alternatives for students to do science labs. Some are research paper ideas, others are demonstration/exhibition projects. Then there are ways to gain points for an examination.

4. Bite-Size Physics focuses on ways to involve students into the world of physics. There are a wide a wide selection of learning experiences that have short video cilps, puzzles, experiments, and curriculum suggestions.

5. Teach With Movies is a neat site, that highlights the connection between feature length films to supplement a teacher's curriculum. Since this entry has focused on science, why not check out Gorillas in the Mist or March of the Penguins and see the interesting connections provided in the respective teacher's guides. This very useful site has a nominal subscription fee.


25 Project Based Learning Ideas for All Subjects

All of these projects get students involved in actively researching and completing background as part of the process to successfully complete the product. All of the projects can be tailored to particular levels and capabilities.
1. Write a proposal.
Write a proposal or create a design that proposes a solution to a difficult problem or that addresses a community issue. Example: (a) propose a bike path or recreation area and submit the proposal to a local planning agency. (b) The proposal might include design, impact and estimated cost. (c) Study a plot of land near your school and create a plan for how that land would be best used, taking into consideration economic development, environmental conce4rns, recreational uses, etc.
2. Research an issue of importance to your community
Propose a law that will save a recognized problem.
3. Design a model or construction that demonstrates a law, principle, or idea.
Describe in writing the step-by-step process of how the construction was made, how it works, and how it demonstrates the intended concept. For example, construct a model of an atom or chemical compound, or build a model showing the process of plate tectonics and continental drift.
4. Invent a device to solve a problem or to improve a process or product.
Include a written explanation of the design and construction process and how the device will improve the process or product.
5. Write editorials/letters to the editor/or essays about a controversy.
a. Submit them to a newspaper. Be sure to address the issue from a variety of perspectives.
6. Maintain a journal or learning log.
Indicate your reactions, responses, and/or questions to literature or issues being studied. The journal may contain reflections, illustrations, connections to other learning, etc.
7. Create an audio, visual or media production
This production will show a particular situation or idea. Document and support your idea with written materials.
8. Do an oral presentation of a selected topic.
Document and support your presentation with written materials including sources.
9. Participate in a debate or mock trial.
Back up arguments with written materials and sources. Be sure to include a variety of perspectives in your debate.
10. Write a case study or test case.
Have the case study or test case show a certain concept, raise questions, encourage debate, and reflect a certain time period.
11. Write a collection of letters.
In this collection of letters or a simulated journal, the person is to focus on a certain topic, concept or time period.
12. Create a book around a particular topic or concept.
13. Participate in a structured discussion about a specific topic or concept.
Write a response that reflects on the topic including what was learned, further questions, and connecting ideas and thoughts.
13. Create a class newspaper.
Use Microsoft Word and click on the template for the newspaper. If possible use Microsoft Publisher. Focus on a certain topic or concept.
14. Create an original publication.
Include writing, drawings, cartoons, and visuals.
15. Create an experiment that explores a specific topic or concept.
Provides a written explanation and analysis of the experiment, including the process and the results.
16. Write a critique or review of a book, movie or performance.
17. Create a museum guide of a local museum’s current exhibit for elementary school children.
18. Create a museum guide of a local museum’s current exhibit for your peers.
19. Write and illustrate a picture book for younger students, and read it to them. Help younger students create their own picture book.
20. Create a how-to-manual including step=by-step instructions to complete a difficult process that you have mastered.
21. Write and illustrate a field guide to local plants or animals that live near your school. Include information on habitat, behavior, and identification.
22. The Webquest Page – A way to create, use, adopt and generate webquests
23. Have students create a blog and respond to a blog
24. Have students create a wikispace
25. SCORE Cyber Guides in literature and foreign language for grades k-12

25 Project Based Learning Possibilities for Humanities

Here are a number of projects which can be used to push the thinking of students in exploring new directions regarding the material they have read.
1. Character astrology signs
A neat site to find out about basic astrology is
After reading brief descriptions of the astrology or sun signs, figure out which signs you think three of the main characters from the book were born under. Write an explanation of why you think they fit the sign using their actions, attitudes and thoughts from the book.
2. Heroes and superheroes Superheroes_big5.jpg
Select two or three people your character would think of as a hero or superhero. Describe the characteristics of the hero. Why would those characteristics be important to your character? Describe which characteristics your character would most want for himself or herself that the hero or superhero possesses.
3. Create a childhood for a character
If your main character is an adult try to figure out what he or she would have been like as a child. Write the story of his or her childhood in such a way that shows why he or she is the way he or she is in the novel.
4. Critique from the point of view of a specific organization
Select an organization that might have a lot to say about the actions or portrayals of characters in the novel you read, and write a critique of the book from its point of view. For example, the Society for the prevention of Cruelty to animals have a lot to say about Lennie’s treatment of animals in Of Mice and Men. The National Organization of Women on the portrayal of Curley’s wife and the fact that she was never given a name.
5. Social worker’s report
Write up a report as a social worker would on the conditions in the home. Is it a good environment or not for a child. If a social worker were to go to the home of the character, how would she describe the home? How would she describe the parenting style? What would his or her recommendations be?
6. College applications wm_coll_appl_still.jpg
Create the application that a character you have just read about could write and submit to a college. Use all the information you know about the character and infer and create the rest of it. On the application include name, academic rank in class, high school courses taken and grades; extracurricular activities, personal activities, and work experience. Choose one of the following questions to answer in a two page essay from the character’s point of view:
a. What experience, event or person has had a significant impact on your life?
b. Discuss a situation where you have made a difference. Describe your area of interest, your personality, an dhow they relate to why you would like to attend this college.
7. School counselor’s recommendation letter
Write a summary appraisal from the school counselor’s point of view that assesses the character’s academic and personal qualities and promise for study in college. The college is particularly interested in evidence about character, relative maturity, integrity, independence, values, special interest, and any noteworthy talents or qualities. Why do you believe this student would be well=suited to attend college?
8. Talk show invitation
Select a character, think about his or her involvements and experiences. Figure out which talk show would most want your character on as a guest. What would they want the character to talk about? Who else would they invite on the show to address the issues the character is involved in? Write up the correspondence between the talk show host and the character in which the host explains what the character should focus on while on the show. After the show, have them exchange one or more letters mentioning how they felt about what happened.
9. Podcast or Radio exchange
Your character calls into a radio show for advice. Choose which show your character your character would call up? What would your character most want to talk about?
10. Twenty Questions
Three classmates are each assigned the role of one of the characters in the book. You and your fellow classmates have to figure out which person is which character. Only 20 questions may be used. Create the questions that you and your classmates can use to figure out the identify of each of the three students. This activity is also known as “What’s My Line?”
11. Talk to the Author
Write a letter, or blog,to the author of the book explaining to him or her why you think he or she wrote the book. What do you think he or she was trying to show through the book? Be sure to explain what the student got out of the book. This is where the writing process comes in because several drafts have to be created before a final copy can be viewed. If the author is still alive, send the letter to the author via the publisher of the book.
12. Make up a Word Test for a Novel
Introduce the students to Use that website to pull 15 to 20 words for a word search. Think of 15 to 20 words that are essential to the understanding of the book. Explain why you picked the words. How would you define them in terms of the story?
13. Found Poems
Select a chapter from the novel you have just read that you consider powerful or interesting. Select words, lines, and phrases that you think project strong images and show the impact the chapter makes.
14. Name Analysis
Select a few of the characters from the novel. Look up each of their names in a name book to see what the name means. Write all the meanings down and then write a short essay for each character explaining in what ways the name is suitable and in what ways the name does not fit the character.
15. A Character's Fears
One way to get to know characters is to think deeply about them and make inferences based on their actions an don what they and others say about them. Pick several characters from a novel and write short essays on what you believe they fear the most. What evidence is sued to come to this conclusion?
16. Current Events
Select 5 current news or feature stories from television or news magazines that you think your charactter would be interested in. Explain how your character would respond to each of the stories. What are the opinions your character would have about what was happening in the story?
17. Advertisements
Go through several magazines and newspapers looking for advertisements of goods you think your character would like. Cut out the pictures or better yet make a PowerePoint or wikispace of goods you think your character would like. Make sure there are connecting sentences and captions which explain why the products would appeal to your character.
18. A Pamphlet sample_pamphlet_homelessness.jpg
Think of an issue that was very important to your character. Then create a pamphlet aimed at persuading others of the importance of the issue. Include factual information, testimonials, pictures or graphics, etc.
19. Draw a Scene
Think of an important scene and draw it, either using your knowledge of graphics, web design or various software programs. Place the characters in the scene too and then figure out where you were in relation to the characteristics when you read the book. Write or tape your explanation of why you drew the scene the way you did and why you think you were where you were in the scene. What does it tell you about who you related to in the novel?
20. Create a Blog For Your Characters
Select two characters. From the point of two characters and then using the voice of the two characters, have them interacting between one another.
21. Book Choices for Character
Select a character and then choose 5 books for him or her, thinking about what he or she might like and also what you think they need to know more about. Scan the Internet or use the library's computer card file. Why did you select the nonfiction books you did? What do you hope your character will like about or get ot of the fiction?
22. Community Resources
After looking on the phone book and on the Internet, create a file of community resources that would help a character in your novel cope with an issue. If the main character has alcoholic parents, you could collect pamphlets, names of self-help gropus, and any agencies that address the roblem. Then create a wikispace so others can see what is available.
23. Detective Work
If a detective or police officer suddenly showed up in the novel, who or what would they be investigating? Write about what the detective is looking for, how he or she knew something was awry or needed investigating, and what was recommended.
24. CD Collection CD_collection.jpg
Design a CD collection for a character you know well, being sure that the collection includes music that expresses aspects of the character. Indicate the words of the song from the CD designed just for your character. Write a short essay that indicates why the music defines the character.
25. A Character Alphabet
Choose a character you liked and then create sentences based on the alphabet scheme that demonstrate your knowledge of the character. If after reading //The Color Purple?? you decided to write Celie's alphabet, it could start like this:
A is for the ABUSE Celie took at the hands of Mr.