This is a guest blog post from fifth-grade teacher Diane Roethler that originally ran in May 2014. If you like what you read here,
check out her blog at this link
One type of activity that I have been incorporating in my classes this year has been the use of hand lenses. Actually, I read about the idea from a previous Hameray blog post by Laureen Stewart , and I have adapted it for older students. Students use a hand lens to find teeny-tiny words that I have somewhat hidden on the page, then they either sort those words into different categories or find out some sort of significance for them. Normally I have done this in my social studies classes, but now I’m finding ways to bring the activity into ELA.
To create an activity for an ELA center , I found important people, places, and things in the book Steve Jobs: Apple and Beyond . I tried to pick out things that would interest the majority of my students, like his ideas and inventions, movies he helped to make, and a few facts that they would find interesting. Then the students sorted those words into the appropriate places on the worksheet.
It’s a really quick, easy, and highly-engaging way to have students show what they discovered!
Diane has been teaching fifth grade in Iowa since 1999. She has her masters in Educational Technology and loves finding ways to integrate technology into her curriculum. She blogs about organization, classroom management, DIY projects, and more at
To download the free worksheet, click the image to the left below. To download an information sheet with more information about the Hameray Biography Series , which contains the books show in this post, click the image to the right.