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

Screen-Shot-2014-01-29-at-5.50.00-PMSometimes 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 visual support. Initially, I used regular white paper but it just didn’t do it for me! I felt like the flip book was okay, but it needed something else to really grab my students.

Read More … “Bright Ideas: Just Add Color (When Making Your Next Flip Book)”

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 engage in the active process of searching, comparing, contrasting, and analyzing. Word sorts help students organize what they know about words and form generalizations that they can apply to new words they encounter in their reading or spelling. Read More … “Word Solving Strategies: As It Relates to Word Study”

End of the Year Hack (Writing Picture Prompts)

Screen-Shot-2014-01-29-at-5.50.00-PMI 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. Read More … “End of the Year Hack (Writing Picture Prompts)”

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!

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Enjoy : )

Happy Birthday Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr!

This past week I had the opportunity to have some serious conversations with my students regarding the history of African Americans in the United States. I teach third grade this year- I looped with my second graders from last year. What I appreciate most about looping is seeing their academic and social growth from last year up to this point. Last year we talked about Dr. King but I didn’t get “too deep” because my students just weren’t ready yet. This year, I am able to take things a step further because I’ve been working them all year on how to have “class discussions”. Read More … “Happy Birthday Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr!”

Understanding Differentiated Instruction

I’ve noticed in the last few years that some teachers sometimes struggle with the concept of differentiated instruction. It is a skill I believe I’ve mastered early on and I credit this to my experience in the School District of Philadelphia. For several years I would receive students at the beginning of the year with very diverse academic abilities. When I taught 4th grade, I remember my lowest group would be made up of beginner readers and my highest group could range from 4th to 6th grade. I truly wanted all of my students to succeed. Additionally, I was haunted by the inevitable standardized tests that would be administered to every student in the early part of spring. It was my professional obligation to make sure that my students not only made adequate progress, but that they could maneuver these standardized tests and score at least a basic (for my lowest students). Read More … “Understanding Differentiated Instruction”