Bridge to Terabithia Lesson Plans….

If you’re looking for Bridge to Terabithia lesson plans, activities, and printables, stay put.  There is a free download on this page for Bridge to Terabithia lesson plans below!

Katherine Paterson’s Newberry Medal novel Bridge to Terabithia is a gripping story about the unlikely friendship of a lonely boy and girl.  As their friendship grows, they create a magical kingdom in the forest.  This touching story will be one of your students’ favorite novel!  Read on for activities I use while teaching this book and to print FREE handouts!

Two of my most interesting activities I use while we read this book accompany chapters five and nine.  After reading chapter nine, I provide students with a handout that includes snippets of conversations had by both the Aarons and Burke families.  The students spend time thinking about the impact the use of dialect has on the development of the characters.  They infer why the author most likely used the dialect in the dialogue.

After analyzing the author’s craft in this chapter, when we finish chapter nine, my students are ready for some dialogue writing of their own.  In chapter nine, student’s take a careful look at the serious tone Jesse and Leslie use while they are at Terabithia. I mean, they REALLY use a serious tone!  We have to haul out the dictionaries to be sure we know the meanings of some of the words they use.

Then, my seventh graders practice writing a dialogue that they would have with a friend while visiting the magical kingdom of Terabithia.  They must use a formal tone in their written dialogue. Sure, these sassy scholars moan and groan after they first hear they have to actually write, but they get into it after a bit.  The last thing I have them do is choose a classmate to help them read the dialogue and bring it to life.  (Never hurts to have a bit of fluency practice!)

I have a free little Bridge to Terabithia packet you can download, and you are welcome to use the chapter nine activity.

 The packet also has handouts for chapters four and thirteen and even a few questions from a test!  If you enjoy this free packet, consider purchasing our entire unit.  Your plans will all be complete for you.  You will simply print and teach!  Best of all, you will have it to use year after year!

Happy Teaching!

The Cay Lesson Plans

If you’re looking for The Cay lesson plans, printables, or activities, you’re in the right spot!  The Cay by Theodore Taylor is a story of survival and friendship.  Your students will not want to stop reading this awesome and powerful story!

Scroll down to print free lesson plans/handouts for this novel.

After reading chapter one of The Cay, we have students analyze the setting by explaining how it relates to the main character.  We also have them pay attention to any historical information regarding the setting.  After chapter three, we take a look at Timothy’s dialect.  Students absolutely love reading Timothy’s dialogue.  We use another chart and have students translate what Timothy says in this chapter.

The Cay lesson plans and activities that we offer in our unit will engage your students and help them become better readers as they analyze the literary elements and author’s craft in this novel.

Print these two handouts for chapters one and three as well as a test for chapters 1-6

button free sample for novel unit

If you enjoy this free sample, consider downloading our entire teaching unit for The Cay.  You will have everything ready to print and teach!  Plus, you can save it and use it year after year!

Maniac Magee Lesson Plans

All students love Jerry Spinelli’s Maniac Magee!  Scroll down to print free Maniac Magee lesson plans and a test.

 The unforgettable characters and the legend of Maniac paired with a plot that deals with real issues and family life create the perfect realistic story.  In the classroom, this book lends itself perfectly for an independent or whole-class study.  Before starting your own Maniac Magee lesson plans, we recommend listing literary techniques and passages from the book to study.  For example, the Finsterwald’s backyard is described in chapter 5 of this novel.  This description is captivating, mainly because of the metaphor, imagery, and humor in it.  After reading the description, we have our students write their own description, mimicking Spinelli’s writing style.   In the students’ description, they must describe the yard as if it is the nicest place in town instead of the worst.  With activities such as this one, students are not only examining the literary elements of imagery and metaphor, but they are also growing as writers by studying the author’s craft.  

You can download the handout for this Maniac Magee writing activity in the link below.

In our teaching unit, the Maniac Magee lesson plans handouts guide students in analyzing literary elements, such as dramatic irony, conflict, and theme.  In addition, we  provide printables that teach students to study the author’s craft by taking a look at things such as Spinelli’s word choice and creation of realistic characters.  

We would like to share some of our printables from our Maniac Magee lesson plans with you.  Just click the link below.  If you like these lesson ideas, consider purchasing our entire unit.  Buy it one time, and use it for years.  Everything will be ready for you to print and teach.  Your planning – done!  We hope you enjoy the free lessons!

Click here to download our FREE sample packet for Maniac Magee which includes handouts for chapters five, six through eight, and a test!

Duffy’s Jacket Lesson Plans

My favorite story to read in October around Halloween time is “Duffy’s Jacket” by Bruce Coville.  Click the link below for a FREE handout to help you teach this awesome story!

It can be read in one class period, it is highly suspenseful, and I can bang my hands on my podium at just the right point in the story and get a nice scream out of my students!  They absolutely LOVE this story, and they hang on to every word.  This is why I read it out loud to them.  I do not stop to discuss the plot or characters or any other literary device because they would certainly protest and roll their eyes, or worse, read ahead!

Once we are done with the story, however, I have plenty of time to include some good Common Core activities.  This story lends itself perfectly for a discussion on how the setting affects the plot.  It also is a great text to analyze suspense and how foreshadowing helps create it!  Check out a sample packet that I have put together for this story by clicking the link below.


Download a FREE sample packet to teach “Duffy’s Jacket” by clicking here!

After Twenty Years Lesson Plans

“After Twenty Years” by O. Henry is a great story for students to read out loud!   Read on to see how I teach this story, and print a free handout in the link below!

In my classroom, I require my students to complete a close read of the first paragraph.  This first paragraph can be intimidating to some middle school students because  it is not easy for many of them to understand, so the close read works perfectly.  Next, we preview some of the vocabulary words. I give my  students a handout with some of the most difficult words from the story and ask them to match the words with their definitions.  You can print this handout in the link below.

Once we are familiar with some of the vocabulary, we read the story readers’ theater style.  This allows students to build fluency in a successful way and really keeps them awake and involved in the story.  After we are done reading, we are ready to cover some Common-Core standards!  This story lends itself for the author’s craft and theme to be analyzed; so together, we take a look at the imagery, foreshadowing, and irony from the story.  Last, but not least,I end the week by allowing students to work collaboratively to create a tableau.  Students have a lot of fun with this activity!

We have created ready-made handouts for all of these activities, including a walk-through guide of completing a close read and a readers’ theater script!

Download the table of contents, and print our vocabulary preview handout for “After Twenty Years” free!

Amigo Brothers Lesson Plans

My lesson plans for  “Amigo Brothers” by Piri Thomas include the right amount of Common Core standards and fun!  Click the link below for our FREE handouts!

Before we read the story, I teach my students a little boxing terminology and even have them mimic a few boxing moves (not on each other LOL, but in the air).  Together we complete a vocabulary preview handout, and then  I usually read the story out loud as students follow along, stopping along the way to discuss the characters, conflict, and author’s craft.

After reading, I teach my students how to answer a constructive response question by using examples and non-examples.  Then, I give students fifteen questions.  These questions require them to return to the text, draw conclusions, and analyze various elements of the story, including suspense, conflict, setting, and characters.  Many Common Core standards are addressed within these questions.  To add the element of fun, I put the students in groups to answer the questions, and play a fun card game with them once they have their answers.  They can earn points based on the cards, and of course the group with the highest number of points wins a prize!  Click the link below to see the table of contents for the packet I have put together, and download a free handout!


Download our sample packet for “Amigo Brothers” and print a FREE prereading handout!

Double Dutch lesson plans

The novel Double Dutch is perfect for a whole class read or an independent novel study.  However, in our classrooms, we use this book as a choice on our book club list.  Students in book clubs read the book independently and then get together three times to complete activities and discuss the novel.  We would like to share some of our Double Dutch lesson plans with you!  The download will contain activities for the following literary elements:  Chapter 5 – making inferences and drawing conclusions, chapter 6- allusions, chapter 7- point of view, chapter 8 – theme.

Click here to download free printables from our Double Dutch lesson plans!

If you like these free handouts, consider purchasing our complete teaching unit so you will have all of our Double Dutch lesson plans and printables.  All of your plans will be complete, and you can use them for years to come!

While we use this novel as a book club choice, it is also perfect for a whole class read or an independent novel study.  Our seventh graders love this book!  And while it is about double dutch, it’s perfect for both girls and boys.  The Tolliver twins, Randy, and Delia all have secrets, and this is one thing that makes the book such a page-turner!  We hope you enjoy the free lessons.  Happy teaching!


Hearts and Hands Lesson Plans

This past year I introduced my students to O. Henry’s “Hearts and Hands” for the first time.

To make things fun, I decided to allow students to read the story readers’ theater style.  I typed up the story as a script, put the students in groups, and had them read it aloud.  I provided them with a reading guide to complete in groups as well.

The fun part came next.   I assigned each group a section of the story, or in this case the script, and told them to modernize it.  They had to keep the same basic plot but write it as if it were happening this day in time.    Then, the groups took turns acting out their portion of the story.  It was quite amusing to see what the students came up with.  Cell phones, social media, and modern day music all became a part of this classic plot.  This activity really ensured that the students understood the text, and it certainly required them to return to the text and decipher what they read.

Click here to view our teaching packet for “Hearts and Hands” and to print a free handout to use before reading!

“The Ruum” Common Core Activities and Test

“The Ruum” by Arhur Porges is most likely the hardest story in our seventh grade Literature book  for students to read.  This means the story is perfect for a “close read”.

The problem is that many students just don’t know how to read closely.  After I had my students read several paragraphs and groan the ever familiar, “I don’t get it”, I decided to give them a little help.  I split the story into sections and created an active reading guide.  This guide takes portions of the text and asks questions to help them along the way.   After following the guide for half of the story, students read the second half and took notes on their own.  I have found this the best way to teach students to complete a close read!

Click here for a FREE portion of the active reading guide that I use to teach this great story!

The Great Gilly Hopkins lesson plans

Want to hear some good news?  This post has a free The Great Gilly Hopkins lesson plans preview lessons for you to download!  In my classroom, I offer The Great Gilly Hopkins as a choice for literature circles, but this book will also work perfectly as a class read or as an individual novel study.  

It is often hard to incorporate Common Core standards into activities students are completing on their own or in a small group.    One of the activities that students enjoy with this novel is completed after reading chapter four.  In this chapter, Gilly receives a letter from her mom.    I have each member of the Gilly lit circle group reply to this letter by taking on the persona of Gilly herself.  This requires the students to really understand her inner thoughts and feelings and conflicts. After the students in the literature circle have all written their own “Gilly letter”, I have them swap letters and then respond to Gilly from mom!  Both activities require my students to delve back into the chapter and revisit the text.  This is the kind of activity that is included in our The Great Gilly Hopkins lesson plans packet.

Click the link below to print the instructions for this activity and print some other free handouts as well from our Gilly Hopkins Teaching Unit.

Print FREE lessons and handouts for the novel The Great Gilly Hopkins.