Many of my middle school students have goals related to reading comprehension, including vocabulary, inferences and higher level question comprehension. Working on these goals is a struggle, especially when they are unmotivated by the text context and materials.
Topics that always catch their attention are those having to do with historical catastrophes. How many students on your caseload are obsessed with the Titanic? I decided to capitalize on this fascination with my latest packet, which includes four high-interest reading passages: Vesuvius, The San Francisco Earthquake, The Hindenburg, and of course, The Titanic.
Working on historical units also provides opportunities for collaboration with classroom teachers. Consider working with Social Studies teachers–you’ll be targeting speech and academic goals and increasing understanding of how we support academics.
Each unit contains five activity sheets to target I.E.P goals and build higher level thinking skills:
1. Vocabulary & Semantics worksheets follow the methods of researchers Beck & McKeown as outlined in their book “Robust Vocabulary Instruction” (you can read about their methods in my earlier post here). Rather than provide “matching words to definitions” tasks, Beck & McKeown’s research validates activities that have students interact with new words in meaningful ways.
2. Comprehension & Inferences
3. Main Ideas & Details
4. Classifying & Associations
5. Compare/Contrast Syntax
Here’s a link to the packet in my TpT store.
I also love to show videos to enhance the experience and boost attention. Here are some links to YouTube videos I’ve used with these materials (please preview as you may not feel they are appropriate for your students:
Vesuvius (this is long but very good; I’ve had Social Studies teachers show it during class)
San Francisco Earthquake
Titanic: This is a Minecraft video which my middle school students love. Here’s another, more traditional with great survivor interviews.