Organizing for the Common Core K-4th Toolkits

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Teaching with confidence includes effective organization of all the wonderful resources we've collected. As teachers we are notorious for collecting ideas. It doesn't take long for our files to be filled with potential learning activities. The problem is after all these years, it is hard to separate the good from the clutter.  I knew it was time to revamp my files and what better way than to design attractive labels that also correspond to the Common Core Standards! Aren't they cute? … [Read more...]

Organizing Classroom Libraries

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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

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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

DONOVAN'S WORD JAR cover

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...]

Guiding Young Readers to Books

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Finding the right book to match with a child is a lot like buying a pair of shoes. You want a good-fit. In my classroom, I spend a great deal of time getting to know each child and assessing their reading comprehension to figure out what their "size" is.  According to researcher Richard Allington (2005) a good-fit book is a child's independent reading level. An independent level book is one that the child can read with 99 percent accuracy. That may seem high, but when children are reading by … [Read more...]

Children’s Books Kids Love and Remember

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Today I wanted to spotlight some of my class favorite read alouds. I like my students to hear stories that engage their minds and emotions, make them laugh, or touch their heart. They will often refer to these stories and characters throughout the year as we make connections to other stories they read in class. One of our beloved characters is Strega Nona created by Tomie dePaola. Each year, I launch our first author study about Tomie. While many of his books are autobiographical in … [Read more...]

Spelling Practice for Any Word List

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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...]

Fun with Beginning Readers

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Today I am thrilled to be part of  The Reading Crew's Weekly Literacy Blog Party. Each week, we will share tips and ideas in the area of literacy. So what is the difference between phonics and phonemic awareness? Phonemic awareness is the foundation of our written language. Beginning readers learn that each letter has a sound associated with it. By combining individual letter sounds (phonemes) children are able to hear, identify, and manipulate individual sounds in words. For example, the … [Read more...]

Tuesday Treasure: Notebook Labels

Writing Notebook Labels 2x4 v2

      It's time for your TUESDAY TREASURE! This week I am excited to share these kid friendly labels that you can use on your student notebooks. The labels are sized for 2" x 4" labels. Each sheet contains 10 of the same labels. Simply click on the image you want, and it will take you to the document. PRINTING INSTRUCTIONS: You must download the document first before printing. This is extremely important for proper alignment! Also, you must make … [Read more...]

Empowering Your Students for Success

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What's the difference between enabling our students versus empowering them? It was a thought provoking question asked at a conference I attended. For some, the words are synonymous. For those with a background in psychology, there were clear differences. To be an enabler means you are providing support to another person who is unable to function successfully on their own. It is a co-dependent relationship. It is the enabler who knows what to do. Someone who is empowered has the skills and … [Read more...]