Teacher Review: Next Lesson

*I was asked to give my honest review of NextLesson in return for a small payment and membership*

There is often a struggle for teachers to find a balance in their lessons. Not just to keep the students behaving and listening…but really to keep them engaged and learning. This struggle seems to get more difficult each year and is especially evident in upper elementary and middle school students, who have grown into themselves and their social stigmas enough to start worrying more about what their friends are doing or thinking, than what the teacher is!

A site that can help you find these types of lesson is NextLesson.org. They have interesting, engaging, and multi-directional lessons that are sure to please administrations, teachers, and students. I have spent the last few days excitedly searching through lessons for various subjects and age groups, finding dozens that I would have either used as is or found a way to adapt to the correct age group if I was teaching this year. However, I am not in my own classroom (so far) so I decided to review a lesson that grabbed my attention as soon as I saw it on the site.

The NextLesson set of plans I chose to review for this post is geared toward sixth graders and should immediately grab the attention of your students, engaging their minds and actively helping them to learn in a way that makes it fun and inviting for them.

Entitled “Build a Time Machine”  with the driving question/subtitle “How Can We Learn From People in the Past?”  this lesson begins with your own choice of activity that will peak student interest in the subject of time, specifically points of time. Look at the science book, look at the history book, and let them know where in time you’ll be studying (traveling). then discuss the driving question. Sound odd? You betcha…but guess what’s next? A video introducing the idea of time travel and, specifically, building their own time machine.

That’s Right!

Students will build their own desktop time machines from repurposed, recycled materials found around their homes or towns. No purchasing materials, and no having other people (like your family!) bringing them to you. This project is scheduled to take 5 weeks, corresponding to ‘time traveling’ in class while learning world history and while discovering the possibilities of making time travel work using science.

During this month of lessons, NextLesson provides you with ideas, suggestions, and print outs so that students (AND TEACHERS!) have what they need at their fingertips. With ideas like a ‘Tweet Board’ on which students write ‘tweets’ to brag about their projects, a ready to use ‘how it works’ page for students to explain the science behind their machine, and a group video or essay giving advice to the next generation of time travelers (And giving the teacher student reflections) this set of lesson aids is sure to get your gears whirring!

*warning: Geek Moment Approaching* So, warm up your Tardis, grab your Sonic Screwdrivers, and come on! The Ancients are waiting…

Dragon on My Neck – For Teachers!

I am very excited to let you all know that, along with writing, I have now started a TPT seller’s page. This page currently includes reviews and quizzes for Barbara Hay’s The Ill-Gotten Catfish, and Tim Tingle’s How I Became a Ghost, as well as Quizzes, Pronunciation, Writing Prompts, and Lesson ideas for the first 3 chapters of Dragon on My Neck. 

While you can find all of these things on my TPT site: HERE, and find the books on Amazon.com: Here, Here, and Here; I have a special offer for you teachers.

I am well aware of how much money we make, and how much out of pocket most teachers spend to make the learning experience more fun and easier for all those involved. So here’s the deal: If you are a teacher looking to purchase one or more classroom copies of Dragon on My Neck, or an entire set of the Stone Dragon Saga, you are invited to contact me here, or message me via our Facebook page Tyree Tomes. I will give you a large discount on the books and, if you would like, will even have them shipped to my house, where I will autograph them for you before sending them on your class.

If you would like to utilize the quizzes, lesson ideas, and suggested vocabulary sheets I have set up, I will also provide those at a large discount for you! I am really not looking to make a fortune off of these things, I just want to get the books into hands that will enjoy and use them, and hopefully learn something in the process!

If you, or someone you know, might be interested, Please let me know! You can look at a few preview pages on TeachersPayTeachers if you’re curious about the set up.

**UPDATE** I forgot to put this in originally but I am willing to visit your classroom, either in person or through Skype/Facetime calls, and discuss writing, ELA, my books, and even the connections with other topics, such as Science or Social Studies. Possible activities include a ‘special’ lesson for me to teach (corresponding to your content area and current lessons of course), writing with the students, discussing books, discussing Dragon on My Neck (or the other books in the series), and so on. I would like to think that this could be considered a great reward for students who work hard or a classroom reward for everyone making a certain percentage on their quarter grades etc.

Thank you and have a marvelous Day!

Coming Soon…

There are a lot of fun things going on in the Tyree Tomes world right now! Three of the most exciting (to me anyway) are the new line of quizzes and lesson ideas to go along with the Stone Dragon Saga books, Leonard’s Wildlife Picture Book Series (name still a work in progress!), and the Little Monster’s Story (also a name WIP).

If you’ve been reading this blog for very long, you’ve probably heard about both of those first two items. I am very proud of my dragons and their story, and I am incredibly excited for Leonard and his friends to join our bunch. However, the Little Monster has been under wraps for the most part. Want to know a secret? I didn’t write it! I will be making sense of the story, setting it up in book form, and presenting to you very soon…but the real author behind this adorable early (EARLY) childhood picture book is my daughter.

That’s right, my one month from being 3 year old Monkey has written her first book. She started telling the story as a bedtime story to her baby dolls. At first, I didn’t pay much attention since she makes up cute stories and scenarios all the time. However, this was different because, after the third night in a row of the exact same wording to the story, I realized that this story was one of THOSE. You know, one of those stories/poems/art pieces that you find doodled all over the edges of your notepads or menus until you just write it out and complete the silly thing. So that’s what we’re doing. Her goal has been to ‘be like Mama and Papa‘ and write and ‘Be like Gaga’ and draw/illustrate. You will see her story and her illustrations in the next few weeks (Hopefully the Good Lord allows us to get it done so quickly!).

That’s most of what’s new in the Tyree Tomes world.