Empowering Your Students for Success


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...]

Wampanoag Daily Life in the 1600’s

Wamp Promo slide

The Wampanoag people lived, hunted, and farmed the area we call Plymouth long before the Pilgrims arrived. I wanted to provide my students with background about this tribe that went deeper than the stereotypical "they helped the Pilgrims survive". By combining the amazing artwork of Sarah at Educlips Designs I was able to create 4 powerful teaching tools about the Wampanoag. First is a colorful, detailed PowerPoint show complete with sound clips and animation. It makes a great teaching … [Read more...]

Daily Morning Work for November

NOVEMBER Common Core & More 1st Grade COVER

  Are you looking for solid grade level Morning Work? Would quick assessment checks help you design future lessons? Then Daily Common Core and More is for you! This is a monthly series of daily math, reading, and writing  activities. Every month provides 4 weeks worth of review and practice in  math and language arts that are on a 5 day rotation. Click on the picture to learn more!     Each page is identified with a letter of the alphabet. This way, no matter what … [Read more...]

Pumpkin Math & Literacy Ideas

Create Your Own PUMPKINS cover

It's that time of year again! Our local farms are busy with families looking for that "perfect" pumpkin. It is also a great theme for reading, writing, and creating! So here are some ideas for the rest of the month. This is a FREE downloadable resource that children can use to create their own informational book about pumpkins. All you need are some nonfiction texts like Pumpkins by Gail Gibbons, and your young writers will be well on their way. For more on this idea, CLICK HERE. For a quick, … [Read more...]

Batty for Bats Scavenger Hunt

Bat cover

I like to teach the difference between facts and fable. Young students have many preconceived ideas along with misconceptions. It can be amusing at times to hear their explanations. In October, a great theme for fact and fable is bats. So many people fear these mammals without understanding their importance to controlling the insect population; especially mosquitoes. A fun way to have your students learn more about a topic is through the use of a scavenger hunt! I created a series of fact … [Read more...]

Interactive MYSTERY Unit


It was time to move my growing readers into another genre; one that few them had spent much time with: mysteries! As I was planning this genre study, it became clear that the skills they would be using complimented the reading skills of making inferences and drawing conclusions. While planning a unit, I not only think about the objectives, but also think about ways to make it interesting for the students. I want to create  high-interest, interactive  activities that will captivate them and … [Read more...]

Using Mentor Texts to Teach

The Pumpkin Book

I'm thrilled to share with you one of my favorite children's author / illustrator: Gail Gibbons. Today we are going to examine nonfiction text features through her book titled The Pumpkin Book.   Identifying Nonfiction Text Features Gail Gibbons is a prolific author of informational texts for elementary readers. She is a master at weaving text and nonfiction elements with detailed illustrations and diagrams. That is why Gail Gibbons' books are perfect to use as mentor texts for … [Read more...]

The Candy Corn Contest


Learning Through Literature is a series designed to help you and your students get the most out of a popular children’s book. Whether you are using this title for guided reading, small group instruction, or as a whole-group read aloud to your class, you will find plenty of ideas and resources to support your literacy program. THIS UNIT INCLUDES: * comprehension questions for each chapter * vocabulary and word work lessons * extension activities to provide additional engagement with … [Read more...]

Children’s Books Kids Love and Remember


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...]

Apple Trivia Hunt

APPLE TRIVIA hunt carda

 It is almost autumn! Time to think about apples, Johnny Appleseed, and fresh cider. Are you looking for a fun way to launch this year's apple theme? Then get your class up and about on an apple trivia hunt!         Print and cut apart the 12 fact cards. You can post them around your classroom, or out in a hallway.         Then print a question page for each student. Your students will love walking around searching for … [Read more...]