Bright Ideas: Just Add Color (When Making Your Next Flip Book)

            Sometimes when you have to shake things up with your students, you just have to add a splash of color! I've been working with my students in preparation for the PSSA on developing their text dependent analysis essays. I taught them how to organize a strong response to a text dependent question using an outline/template: Introduction, Topic Sentence, Evidence/Proof, Analysis/Explanation, Conclusion. I decided to create a flip book to help them keep notes on each component of their response and to use for ...

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Word Solving Strategies: As It Relates to Word Study

Do you do word study in your classroom? If so, how much of your instruction is devoted to word sorting. In my first post, Understanding Word Study in the Primary Classroom: Understanding the Three Language Systems, I mentioned that when referring to word study I am specifically talking about word sorts. Are you familiar with word sorts? When students are engaged in word sorting activities in your classroom, they are actively and independently sorting words into categories. Categorizing is a fundamental way that humans make sense of the world. When students sort words, they ...

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Understanding Word Study in the Primary Classroom: Understanding the Three Language Systems

Understanding the Three Language Systems: As It Relates to Word Study If you are looking for information that will support word study instruction in your classroom, you may find this blog post helpful. I personally find that word study instruction, when done consistently and systematically, can be key in strengthening the young readers in your classroom. In this particular post, and a few that will follow, I want to highlight tools, strategies, and resources for word study instruction that are instrumental for effective word study instruction during your literacy block. ...

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End of the Year Hack (Writing Picture Prompts)

I don't know about you but my class is ANTSY right now. Everything they do involves a lot of chatting, some redirection, a clip down on our clip chart, or a class minute to regroup. I am kind of shocked because usually around this time of year my class is running on autopilot without a problem. Man....my days can be exhausting. So of course, when it comes to planning I've been looking for things to keep them engaged and motivated. I thought about the things that they enjoy. Aside from my choice board activities and center games, they just seem disinterested in everything. ...

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Helpful Tips When Teaching Using Nonfiction Text (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.3.2)

I purchased a Scholastic News subscription for each of my students in October to supplement my social studies curriculum and it was probably one of the best investments I've made this school year. As part of my subscription, I get about two Scholastic News magazines for each child a month. The articles are kid-friendly current events that use a variety of text features to engage students. My students enjoy receiving these monthly magazines because it makes them feel "grown up" and they enjoy flipping through the pages. I use it in a variety of ways in efforts to get ...

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Classroom Hack: Paperless Skill and Drills

  Today I am linking up with the Bright Ideas Blog Hop and sharing one of my most trusty classroom hacks: paperless skill and drills!   Ok- so my idea for a "paperless skill and drill" isn't totally paperless! However, once you make your initial copies for each student, you don't have to make them anymore! This is perfect for math and other important focus skills in literacy, social studies and science that should be reinforced and/or done repetitively to promote automaticity. Here is how it works. After making a copy of a designated skill and ...

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Classroom Tested Resources Blog Launch

I've been working with a small group of teacher bloggers these last couple of months on a huge project. It started as a small idea in one of collaborative Facebook groups. We all thought it would be a cool idea to create a new collaborative blog! This seedling of a thought grew into a much bigger concept over the last several weeks and now we are finally ready to LAUNCH! What is great about this blog is that, because it is a collaboration of 30 elementary teachers who teach all over the United States, there will be a new post everyday! Each post will share a new ...

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National Poetry Month is in April: Summer in the City

In February 2013, I published my very first children's book! It was probably one of the scariest, most rewarding...scariest (I am repeating that for emphasis) things I've ever done. I invested pretty much my life savings into not only taking my idea from a Microsoft Word document to print, but I also started my own publishing company, Willa's Tree Studios, LLC! I have to say, it has been quite a journey. You know the saying, "You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only option," well that pretty sums up my last two years. I was tested in so many ...

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President Report: A Ready-Made Assignment *Free

Even though we are on the eve of Presidents' Day, it is never too late to have your students do research and write a report about a president! Here is a ready-made biography project. Just print and pass out. This project includes directions, a rubric, and a writing template. Click HERE to download for free!                   Enjoy : )  

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Candy Crushin’ Homework: A Homework System that Works!

Hey, you wanna know a secret? I am not a fan of giving homework and I only assign it because parents expect it. Yes, I agree and support the fact that students must read every evening for a minimum of 25 minutes. In the perfect world- my homework assignments would be project based and only due once a month but....that works better in the upper grades and I don't think it would have the same impact with  my third graders. So.....with that said...homework has always been a thorn in my side and an area of constant reflection for me. Just about every year I change how I do ...

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