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Gail Gauthier   www.gailgauthier.com
In The Classroom

 

Note: Though My Life Among the Aliens, Club Earth, A Year With Butch and Spike and The Hero of Ticonderoga are no longer easily available for purchase, we are leaving the teaching material for them here at the website for a while longer because the books are still being used for classroom read alouds and for student reading groups. They are available through many school and local libraries.

Teaching Literature

The only reason to analyze literature is to better understand and, therefore, enjoy what we're reading. It's important to make the introduction of basic literary elements, as they're often called, enjoyable. Using My Life Among The Aliens, A Year With Butch And Spike, or Club Earth in your classroom is a fun way to illustrate the concepts you're trying to teach.

Teaching Literature - My Life Among The Aliens

Teaching Literature - A Year With Butch And Spike

Teaching Literature - Club Earth          

 

Teaching Writing

A third grade boy once asked me how I could say I write fiction if I really gave my son a birthday party with an Olympic theme and then used the party in My Life Among The Aliens. Excellent question. Fiction writers take something from their own lives (an experience, a feeling, whatever) and combine it with some other idea they picked up somewhere to create a third thing…a story.

Teaching Writing - Writing What You Know

 

Teaching History

Using an historical figure (or an event or a place) as a case study to help explain such things as religious and philosophical movements and issues of a particular period is known as micro-history.  Micro-history helps make dry subjects like, say, religion and philosophy, less theoretical. Religion, philosophy, politics, and all the other things students hate about studying history, begin to make more sense when we can see how real people were influenced by them.  The Hero of Ticonderoga can enable teachers to use Ethan Allen as a case study to explain some of the things that were going on during the Eighteenth Century.

Teaching History - with The Hero of Ticonderoga

 

Alien Food

A fourth grade girl in our local school had to do some sort of book presentation for her class. So, being a smart, clever girl she chose My Life Among the Aliens as her book. As part of her presentation, she brought in food that is mentioned in the book. And she had a lot to choose from.

In the very first chapter the aliens and kids eat hot dogs and popcorn. They're not allowed to eat gum, but it is mentioned. The birthday party chapter features pizza and watermelon. Bran muffins turn up in the book, as do mystery cookies. And, of course, in the very last chapter you have what I always refer to as "snowballs"-prepackaged cakes covered with marshmallow and coconut.

Now according to the mother of the girl who originally did this, the teacher was not terribly impressed. I, however, was. I thought it was a great idea for a special event to encourage reading in a classroom or for a special presentation such as this girl needed to do.

 

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February 7, 2015