Teaching Ideas and Classroom Activities from the Books I read

If you are a teacher in search of cool ideas, check the teaching ideas and classroom activities related to the books I read.

The New Kids: Big Dreams and Brave Journeys at the High School for Immigrant Teens

  • On page 10: “the entire wall is covered with a colorful patchwork of squares painted in different shades, representing the skin tones…” This is a wonderful idea for an art activity or an LA/ social studies/ ESL activity.
  • On page 11: “students step up to the map, point out their countries, and then say one thing they liked about where they were from and one thing they like about New York City.” This is a wonderful “break the ice/first week of school” activity!
  • On page 12: “The peach walls are covered with posters of laminated world currencies and flags.” Great social studies/LA/ESL activity!
  • On page 16: “re-create the native dress of ancient Aztec, Sumerian, and Greek civilizations.
  • On page 36: “write everything you can about your hair.” This is a great warm-up activity.
  • On page 43: “The worksheet features five bubbles, each labeled for the different senses.” This is a great activity for brainstorming sensory details to create a setting.
  • On page 66: “list adjectives that come to mind when you think of home …List adjectives that describe ‘away from home’” Great warm-up activity.
  • On page 76: “‘The exchange diary.’” This is a great activity that promotes friendship and communication.
  • On page 93” an assignment called Secret Mission, in which students have to go on a James Bond-style mission to an exotic locale of their choice and track down a villain who has claim to some coveted, secret power.”
  • On page 172: the self-portrait project.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

On page 12: ” Find one word, the name of an object…turn that object into a piece of art…sketch it, carve it…you must figure out how to make your object say something, express an emotion.”

On page 25:  Writing prompt! –” Twenty Ways the Iroquois Survived in the Forest.”

On page 85: Writing prompt! “–500 words–” The best Lost Homework Excuse Ever.”

On page 119: ” Sketch a Cubist tree with hundreds of skinny rectangles for branches.”





  1. As a lover of books, art….. And I detect also social issues can I point you in the direction of a favourite book of mine (if of course you haven’t come across it before). ‘The Arrival’ by Shaun Tan tells an immigration story through pictures and pictures alone. And yet it is highly readable. I’ve used in class in a number of ways….. Mostly in ways that the pupils have to write their own narratives, articles or interviews with the main characters…… Highly recommended!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are wonderful! Thank you so much. I have checked “The Arrival” on Amazon and wow, wow, wow….! I already love it! Yes, it is a book I would love to review and I book I would love to read to my students. Buying it right now! Keep pointing me in the direction of your fav. books,,,it looks like we have similar interests. You made my day!


      1. I taught art for years. Currently I am finishing graduate school to add social studies and possibly ESL and Language Arts to my resume. I too like to be prepared in more than one subject areas and I think all areas are interconnected. Thus, it is better to be a teacher (and a person!) with broad cultural, social, and language interests! I can see from you posts that you are one of those exceptional teachers who are not contempt with just teaching the bare essentials.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That sounds like my sort of resume! Feel free to plunder any ideas on my blog….. As you may have worked out, I teach in the Netherlands, although I am English. If youre interested in a few more book ideas you can perhaps reach me more easily via my “contact” page on my other website at http://www.petersansom.nl

        Liked by 1 person

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