Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Learn ABC! Dr. Suess or Oxford Let's Go 00

I have been teaching the ABC lately to children. There are many books out there on the market, and schools like to use the Oxford Let's Go series.

Both teach the ABC, but really, which one do you as a parent or teacher have more fun teaching?

I like Dr.Suess.  Hands down it is more fun, kids can feel like Dr. Suess understands their world and how kids love playing with language.

Open to page 30.  The letter M.  there are 8 words beginning with the letter m.
Even the picture has m's flying around

Kids learn and have fun at the same time!  Dr. Suess is the BESTEST!

Rachael Alice Orbach
English teacher at your service

Monday, March 28, 2016

Because of Winn-Dixie chapter 6

This book was made into a movie, but I think that the dog in the movie was too cute!  I think of Winn-Dixie as a real ugly dog Something like this:

But lovable you know.  The book is written in a light-hearted style that is like you are having a conversation with India Opal

Let's get into Chapter 6. 

Memorial - in memory of someone
selecting - picking out 
humming - singing without words with the mouth closed 
never got over it  - still scared about it 
snuffled - to sniff 

hind - long i 

Why did India Opal go a lot that summer?  
What was the problem to bring Winn-Dixie inside? 
What does Herman W. Block Memorial Library really look like? 
What did Miss Franny Block think that Winn-Dixie was? 
What did she do when she saw him? 
Then what did she do when Opal explained things?
How is Opal like her mother? 
How did Winn-Dixie get himself comfortable? 

Write about a place where you are not allowed to take an animal and what would happen if you tried?  You can write it as fiction. 





Once upon a time there was a Queen who was afraid of cats.  She just didn't like them,  But the princess her daughter really loved cats.  She had cat wallpaper on the walls, a cat bedspread and even a life-like stuffed cat that she played with as a toy.  

One day the princess got tired of playing with the stuffed cat, and found a little grey tabby kitten outside the palace.  She took the kitten and taught it to stay in her bedroom.  Then about a week later the Queen came into the princess' bedroom and saw the grey tabby kitten sleeping on the bed.  She thought it was the toy cat.  But when she tried to pick it up to put on the shelf, she found out that it was a real kitten and it purred at the Queen.  

After that the Queen was not afraid of cats. 
Rachael Alice Orbach 

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Immigrants help innovation in the USA - English conversation lesson

The role of immigration in the United States is a hot issue this year in the 2016 presidential election.
Many people are against immigration because of various reasons, but a new study says that 35% of innovations come from people who were not born in the United States.

Let's read this article from VOA and find out more!

When did this report come out?
What does the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (or ITIF) do? 
What implications does this report have for the United States economy? 
Why do these people come to the US? 
Does the report deal with low-skilled workers? 
How many immigrant innovators has the White House honored?
What percent of innovators are women?  
What percent of the population are immigrants as a whole? 

What role does immigration play in your country?
What socio-economic group are immigrants?
Are you an immigrant?
Would you like to go to another country to live?
Which one?  Why?

Lesson Plan by Rachael Alice Orbach 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Because of Winn-Dixie, Chapter 5

Winn-Dixie is just a lovable, ugly dog, but with Opal's loving care, he is getting more beautiful, but that is not the reason that she loves him. Have you ever had a pet that others didn't like but you just couldn't stop thinking about the pet?  Well that is Winn-Dixie all right.

Ugly dog finds a home

Key Terms
couldn't stand 
made his heart feel empty

How does Opal know that Winn-Dixie doesn't like to be left alone? 
What does the church look like? 
Why do the people bring their own chairs? 
What is written on the floor? 
What did the preacher try to do to make it more presentable? 
What happened when they tied up Winn-Dixie outside the church? 
What happened when Opal brought the dog inside the church?
Who did the preacher say for everyone to pray for? 
What did Opal pray for? 
What finally happened to the mouse?

Sometimes talking to other people just doesn't help that much even if the person is a trained therapist. 
If you were to talk to God in your own words what would you say?  What is the most urgent problem that you have on your mind right now?  Tell God.  He will listen to you and maybe there will be a sign somewhere somehow that your problem will have a solution.  

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Magic Tree House, Pirates Before Noon, Chapters 9 and 10

Chapter 9 finds Jack and Annie back in the Tree House.
What other surprises do we find in the Tree House?



What do Jack and Annie find in the tree house?
What is the weather?
How do they know that they are in Pennsylvania?
Which magic animal came back with Annie and Jack?
What did she turn into?
Describe the picture  of Morgan le Fay,
What does Jack call the old woman?
Why does Morgan collect the books?
Why does she put bookmarks in them?
How can Jack and Annie see the Tree House?
Why can they work the magic?

What happened to the Tree House?
What did Jack find in his pocket?
What did they have at home?

Which of the four books did you like the best?
Give examples from your favorite book, using descriptive language.  Tell about your favorite event or character from the book you choose.








My favorite book is Charlotte's Web
It is a story of friendship between different animals and people.
I like the scene where Wilbur tries to spin a web. He is jumping and moving around as if he is a spider and what is most heartwarming is Charlotte's reaction.  She lets him figure out for himself that it is impossible for pigs to weave webs, but because Charlotte is so nice about it, he takes it in stride and the two become even closer.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Magic Tree House, Pirates Before Noon, Chapter 8

Pirates Before Noon - The Pirates are looking for buried treasure.  What would you put in a treasure box?  It doesn't have to be just gold and silver, although they would help if you could find a place to sell them without being caught.


spray of the waves
Precious gems

How did the pirates get the black stone out of the hole? 
Why did Captain Bones toss the gold medallion into the hole? 
Why did the pirates leave the island?
Why was Jack tempted to open the chest himself? 
What did the parrot say to Jack? 
What was it about the bird that made Jack give up the treasure? 
What was Annie holding when Jack got to the tree house? 
What happened with the weather? 

Tell about a time that you had to choose between two alternatives. 
What were they? Why would you have wanted to do each of them? 
Why did you choose the one that you did? 
Do you regret not choosing the other one? 






Thursday, March 10, 2016

Pirates Past Noon Chapter 7

Magic Tree House Chapter 7

What would you like to do in a storm?  Dig for Buried Treasure?


a gale

What happened in Chapter 6?
What is Jack and Annie's problem now?
How are they going to get back to the island?
Why do Jack and Annie say that they are going to show the pirates the treasure?
Why doesn't Captain Bones help dig for the treasure?
Why doesn't he use proper English while speaking?
How do Jack and Annie use their knowledge to get what they want?

More reading about buried treasure

A real treasure that was dug up

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Pirates Past Noon Book 4 Chapter 6

Chapter 6  the Whale's Eye

By Ansgar Walk - Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5,

 Which part of the story do you like best so far?
What were the pirates afraid of in the sea?
What were the pirates doing aboard the ship?
What kind of music did they hear?
Which pirate did Jack read about in the book?
How did that help them to get back to the Island?
What is the island shaped like?
What does the palm tree remind Annie of?
What does the big black rock remind Jack of?


Research Captain Kidd

Write a summary of how Captain Kidd's treasure was found,






Monday, March 7, 2016

Trifles by Susan Glaspell (1916) Reflections on the Play . .

Trifles by Susan Glaspell (1916)  

Reflection by Rachael Orbach

The action in the play is separated into the men’s and women’s roles.  The women are relegated to the kitchen and to the sewing room.  There is a lot of work to be done, as the play was written in 1916, women’s liberation has not made it to this country community.  The men work outside the home, and the women work to make the home run. There isn’t electricity yet, so there is a lot of work to be done by hand.   Fruit has to be canned, quilts sewn by hand, there is no indoor plumbing.

The conflict is that the women’s husband has been strangled by a rope in the middle of the night.  The sheriff has been called in to investigate the crime. The county attorney comes with the sheriff, who brings his  wife, Mrs. Peters and the person who found the body and his wife, Mrs. Hale.   Mr. Hale had come to the house to see about putting in a party line telephone system. The Mrs. Wright had said that someone had strangled her husband, John Wright in the middle of the night, without waking her up.

The wives of the two men, have come to take some things to the wife who is sitting in jail.  They are very formal with each other, using their last names, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters.  They go and take some clothes, and her quilting.  The turning point comes when the women find the quilt that the wife has been working on, a Log Cabin quilt.  They comment about how the stitches are poorly sewn.  This is unusual because Log Cabin is a very simple quilt that consists of different sizes of fabric sewn together, in a log pattern.  It is very easy to do and can use up just about any scraps of fabric that are laying around.  I’ve included a Log Cabin pot holder that I made, it took about 5 hours of sewing, not much compared to other intricate patterns.  

The clue that the women first  find, is a bird cage. They compare Minnie to the bird, and they decide to take the quilt to Minnie to have something to do.  As they look for more patches and thread the find the box, they find the dead canary in a pretty box.    It seems that the women see that the quilt has begun to be finished, but the sewing is not neat and tidy.   There are a few ways to finish a quilt. One is to quilt it, that is running lines in a certain pattern through all the layers of the quilt.  The other way is to knot it.  This is to take certain places of the quilt and tie knots to connect all the layers together.  The women then look at each other and they know that the wife killed the husband.  At that point the sheriff comes back from the upstairs, and he hears the women talking about the knotting.  He doesn’t know that the women were really talking about the rope that killed the husband. He thinks that it is a trifle,  they were talking about, just quilting techniques.  

But the women know better.  

Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Road Not Taken Unit Planner With LOTS and HOTS

State of Israel
Ministry of Education
English Inspectorate

Unit Planner
Teacher’s Name:     Rachael Orbach                        
Date:    Feb 16, 20xx               
Name of School:              
Piece #:
Name of Literary Text: The Road Not Taken
Type: (poem/story/play/novel)     Poem                                             
Targeted Higher-Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) for Analysis and Interpretation
poem= 1 / short story = 2 / play or novel=3
Methodology used for Teaching HOTS (Inductive or Deductive)
1. Poem
Hand out #1
2.  Problem Solving


Relevant Literary Terms to be Taught


Targeted Benchmarks in the Domain of Appreciation of Literature and Culture

 Recognize the use of literary techniques in a variety of genres
 Interpret literary texts
 Are aware of the author’s background and the cultural, historical and/or social themes in literary texts or other cultural products
 Are aware of how cultural practices are reflected in various literary and cultural products

Unit Planner (continued)

Lesson # / Date
Key Components
List of attached worksheets (when used)
Predict the content of the poem from the title
      1. The Road Not Taken Handout 1


Make sure that the students understanding all the words.
Hand out #2 Translate the vocabulary
Problem solving
HOTS Worksheet #3
Apply HOTS to text
Using the process of problem solving we now use it for the poem.
Rhyme and Rhythm  scheme of the poem
Mark on the poem the rhyming lines. Theme,

Bridging Text Biography of Robert Frost
What was Robert Frost thinking when he wrote thie poem?  Where was he?

Unit Planner (continued)
Lesson # / Date
Key Components
List of attached worksheets (when used)
Post Reading Activity
Answer the questions in the handout

Write in Journal about your  experience about learning this HOTS and the poem
How does this help you in your everyday life?

Summative assignment

Note: Every unit needs to include the seven key components:

State of Israel
Ministry of Education
English Inspectorate

Key Components Checklist
Use this checklist to be sure you have included all of the seven Key Components in each piece of literature you teach.
Key Component
  1. Pre-Reading

  1. Basic Understanding (LOTS)

  1. Analysis and Interpretation
    • teach students HOTS explicitly (including definition of HOTS and appropriate vocabulary)

    • have students apply the targeted HOTS to the text

    • have students apply the targeted HOTS to their lives and other areas of learning

    • additional analysis and interpretation tasks (ex: literary terms, idiomatic expressions,etc.)

  1. Bridging Text and Context (quoted source & questions)

  1. Post-Reading Activity

  1. Reflection

  1. Summative Assessment (to be graded)

Hand out #1
The Road not Taken by Robert Frost.

The roads diverged in a yellow wood, 
And sorry I could not travel both 
And be one traveler, long I stood 
And looked down one as far as I could 
To where it bent in the undergrowth; 

Then took the other, as just as fair, 
And having perhaps the better claim, 
Because it was grassy and wanted wear; 
Though as for the passing there 
Had worn them really about the same, 

And both that morning equally lay 
In leaves no step had trodden black. 
Oh, I kept the first for another day! 
Yet knowing how way leads on to way, 
I doubted if I should ever come back 

I shall be traveling this with a sigh 
Somewhere ages and ages hence; 
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—— 
I took the one has traveled by, 
And that has made all the difference.

Handout #2
Vocabulary: Look up these words in your dictionary.
wanted wear

Hand out #3  Lots Worksheet
Visualize the images-Paint a picture in your mind.  Do the images remind you of something?

Clarify words/phrases-Do certain words or phrases/figurative language stand out? Why?

Evaluate the poem’s theme-What message is the poet trying to send or help me understand?  Make inferences and draw conclusions based on the text in the poem.

Handout #4
Lots:  Helpful Vocabulary:  Use this vocabulary when speaking about choices  
advantage / disadvantage ..........................................
alternative ..........................................
cause ..........................................
choice ..........................................
choose ..........................................
conflict ..........................................
deal with ..........................................
difficult ..........................................
difficulty ..........................................
dilemma ..........................................
handle / have /
pose a problem ..........................................
make a decision ..........................................
option ..........................................
personal / serious problem ..........................................
problematic ..........................................
problems arise ..........................................
pros / cons ..........................................
resolve ..........................................
settle the matter ..........................................
similarity ..........................................
solution ..........................................
solve ..........................................
weighing possibilities ..........................................
Handout #5
HOTS  - Problem solving.- Learning strategies  and ways to solve problems.
What would you do if:
You are trying to choose what Major to choose in College:  Psychology or Communications
First you research both possibilities, what type of classes you need to take,
What are the future prospects of each major,
Which is more exciting to you?
Which can you earn more money?
Now list the advantages and disadvantages of each

Think of a time when you had two alternatives.  Each of them had good points and bad points equally shared.  How did you decide what to do?

Give the good points of each

Give the bad points of each

Now that you have everything down on paper, Make a choice:

Hand out #6

The Road Not Taken and HOTS: Look at each path:.  Each of them had good points and bad points equally shared.  How did you decide what to do?

Give the good points of each

Give the bad points of each

Now that you have everything down on paper, Make a choice:

Handout #7

Theme of the poem: The theme is the overall feeling and idea that the poem is about.  
Why did the author call the poem “The Road Not Taken?”
Evaluate the poem’s theme-What message is the poet trying to send or help me understand?  

Make inferences and draw conclusions based on the text in the poem.

What made him think that he would never go back to the other road?

Why do we think that the road that was not taken was the beaten path?  (the one which was more traveled?





Personification is taking human characteristics and using them to apply to things or animals.   The thing then is related to as if it were a person.  
Find at least one personification in this poem.


Why is it effective?

Rhyme: Underline the rhyming words in the poem.
Rhythm : read the poem again and see if you can find the rhythm of the poem.
Listen to the poet reading the poem,  Is your rhythm different?
The Road Not Taken - - Poetry, Poems, Bios & More

Handout #8
"Poetry withers and dies out when it leaves music, or at least imagined music, too far behind it. Poets who are not interested in music are, or become, bad poets." (Ezra Pound - American Poet and Critic)

Write a response to this quote in your journal.  What does this quote mean to you?
How does The Road Not Taken conform or not conform to this quote?


Did learning the HOTS help you to understand this poem?
What tools do you now have that you didn't have before to help you make decisions?




Hand out #9
Summative assignment:

Frost had written Untermeyer two years previously that "I'll bet not half a dozen people can tell you who was hit and where he was hit in my Road Not Taken," and he characterized himself in that poem particularly as "fooling my way along." He also said that it was really about his friend Edward Thomas, who when they walked together always castigated himself for not having taken another path than the one they took. When Frost sent "The Road Not Taken" to Thomas he was disappointed that Thomas failed to understand it as a poem about himself, but Thomas in return insisted to Frost that "I doubt if you can get anybody to see the fun of the thing without showing them and advising them which kind of laugh they are to turn on." And though this sort of advice went exactly contrary to Frost's notion of how poetry should work, he did on occasion warn his audiences and other readers that it was a tricky poem.

Respond in your journal:
What did Frost mean when he wrote to his friend Untemeyer about the poem?  
What does “fooling my way along?”
Who did he write the poem for?
What is the poem about?
Why is the poem funny according to Thomas?

What does the poem mean to you?


Relate to this quote:

So, how many of us took the beaten path and know what is will be store for us? On the other hand, how many of us are daring enough to choose new pathways to life? 

I chose a new study pathway back in the early 1970s. It was a bad mistake. If I had chosen the traditional pathway. i will be a good lawyer or accountant by now. 

Similarly, those who chose to do biotechnology have come home to be unemployed but those that chose teaching has a job waiting for them. Life can be unfair, don't you think? 

We usually say that The Road Not Taken, is the better path, what does this student have to say about that?  
Write an e-mail back to the student and explain  the meaning of the poem in your own words.  

A Video A Day Helps You Learn English - Bucket List

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