Back-to-School Picture Books


Starting school can be an emotional time for students as well as teachers. Whether you are beginning kindergarten, or having been attending school for years, it is natural to have mixed feelings. Here are some books that can help ease the anxiety and get everyone off to a good start. If you want to know more about these books, CLICK HERE.   … [Read more...]

{Printable Freebie} Notebook Labels

Writing Notebook Labels 2x4 v2

Part of my getting ready for the first day of school includes deciding what types of notebooks or learning logs I want to use with this class. I can't tell you how much I go back and forth between should I use a spiral notebook, composition notebook, a pocket folder, or a binder. Each one has pros and cons. Once I've decided, I like to put kid friendly labels on them that identify their purpose. Below I am sharing some that you can use on your student notebooks. The labels are sized for 2" x … [Read more...]

Frog and Toad: Facts and Fiction

frog and toad characters

Arnold Lobel's beloved characters Frog and Toad are popular stories with developing readers. The characters in this series  provide a great opportunity to practice the skills of compare and contrast. I like to use this story as a launching opportunity to read and write about factual information about frogs and toads. We continue the skill of comparing and contrasting by having the  students analyze a table of data that I created about frogs and toads. Did you know that toads don't have … [Read more...]

Morning Work for ELA & Math Skills

2nd grade morning work bundle cover

Have you been wondering how to incorporate the Common Core Standards into your classroom? Are you worried that it is "one more thing" you have to cram into your already busy schedule? Well, I am happy to share with you a simple, yet effective way to make sure you are addressing Common Core objectives. I created Daily Common Core & More. Each month provides review and practice in the areas of math, reading,  and language arts. I designed the program around a 5 day rotation of … [Read more...]

Spelling Practice for Any Word List


Oh what a treasure I have for you today!  This week's freebie is an assortment of  NO PREP printables that you can use with any spelling list. They are perfect for homework or in class practice.  Do you have differentiated lists? No problem! The children use their own spelling list. Also, there is flexibility in the number of words; 10, 15, or 20. So let's take a look at what is inside your Tuesday Treasure: First let's set sail with one of my favorite ways to practice correct letter … [Read more...]

Identifying Character Traits in Literature

Character Traits rev 2014

Readers learn about a character  through their actions and words. Rarely does an author directly say the character is curious or hardworking. Instead, the reader is actually using the skill of making inferences to figure this out. For developing readers, identifying character traits can be a challenge. When I introduce this skill, I like to read aloud a story that has a very strong character such as the little wolf in The Wolf Who Cried Boy.   After reading and discussing the … [Read more...]

5 Great Reasons to Use Task Cards


Task cards are sets of individual cards organized by a skill or concept. Each card contains a question or a response from the student. They are best used for practice, review, and reinforcing a skill. 1) Students love task cards because there is only one task per card. This format is less overwhelming that a worksheet. Also, there is an element of choice with task cards. Each card is numbered, and the child can often choose the sequence they want to complete them. 2) Task cards make … [Read more...]

Organizing Classroom Libraries

painted book shelves

Research has proven that exemplary classrooms have an extensive collection of books for their students to read independently each day. The challenge is how to manage and organize all those books.  An efficient classroom library is one that is easy for children to find the books they are looking for, plus empowers them to return the books to the proper place when they are finished. Here are some ideas to consider: Many teachers use baskets to sort their books by categories or reading … [Read more...]

Spice Up Their Words


One growth area my students usually need is a wider vocabulary. Frequently,  they get stuck using dull adjectives and boring verbs. So I began thinking of a creative way to get them to spice up their writing. I quickly latched onto the word "spicier" and images of cooking, recipes, and mixing up a tastier paragraph whisked in my brain. Below is an interactive word wall that I created. The bowls are glued onto envelopes to create pouches. The spoons contain synonyms for the overused words. The … [Read more...]

Donavan’s Word Jar Unit


When it comes to instilling a love for reading, there is nothing better than using "real" books. My students love to be read to and constantly adjust their heads trying to get a better look at the illustrations. I'll pause at suspenseful moments and ask them to predict what might happen next. Eagerly we hold our breath as I turn the page. Were we right? Did the characters respond as we had thought? The children cheer at the end and beg for more. It doesn't get much better than that. Research … [Read more...]