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Showing posts from September, 2016

Oreos in China and Read 180

A few years ago I read an article about what happened when Kraft introduced the Oreo to the Chinese in 1996.  It was not a success.  The Chinese thought the filling was too sweet-the cookie too bitter.  Kraft almost pulled the beloved cookie off the shelves. Instead, they began a quest to find out how to make the Oreo appeal to the Chinese. Enter the green tea Oreo, the mango Oreo, and an Oreo in the shape of a straw (not sure that still qualifies as an Oreo).  The revamped Oreos were a huge success! I found the article fascinating and decided to design a lesson around  it to share with my students.

First I showed them a news clip from CNN about the topic. Then, I taught them a few vocabulary words that appear in the article using Kate Kinsella's method.  Next, we read the article together and marked the text. I did a think aloud as I read aloud to them.  After that, students created a T-Chart listing the ten most important words in the text, as well as five main ideas from the tex…

Teaching Connotation and Denotation

This week's focus was understanding the importance of diction and  the difference between the connotation and denotation of words,   I began by using an analogy.  I asked students to think about all of the shades of green.  They came up with: kelly green, neon green, forest green, emerald green, blue-green, lime green, sea green...You get the idea! I explained that much like the color "green" words have "shades" of meaning.  To be a better writer, it's important to pick the perfect "shade" of the word.  We also discussed the danger of relying on the thesaurus to find new words.  I struck gold last week when I found a clip from Friends to supplement this very idea!  Monica and Chandler want to adopt a baby and ask Rachel to write a letter of recommendation for them.  Joey is hurt that he was not asked, so Monica and Chandler agree that he can write one.  The results are hysterical because Joey relies on a thesaurus.  Let's just say that he desc…

A Safer Icebreaker that Serves Many Purposes

All teachers are familiar with icebreakers-activities you do with students to create a sense of community and help everyone get to know one another.  My first week has often included icebreakers.  One of my "go to" activities was a Scavenger Hunt.  Students  answer questions about themselves to complete a bingo sheet. They then wander around the room and find other students who have the same favorite color, same number of siblings, same phobia (you get the idea) as they do.  Most kids relished the opportunity.  A few cheated by signing people's names, rather than actually meeting someone new.  Most smiled or laughed.  However, a few students always looked terrified and downright miserable.  After reading an article this summer about why NOT to start the year with these types of ice breakers, I rethought my practice.  You see, the kids who enjoy them don't need any help "breaking the ice."  It's the kids who are miserable and don't participate,  who …