Smarter, Not Harder Solutions


Here are some smart solutions for classroom chaos! BINDER CLIP LABELS: Take some of these:  and tape onto these: and you can make these! You can easily create these using double-sided tape. I made 60 labels for a variety of topics and teacher tasks. You can download the labels for FREE  STUDENT NOTEBOOK MANAGEMENT TIP: This next smart idea comes from Angie of Lucky Little Learners. Like many of you, I love using interactive notebooks with my students. However, one of the first … [Read more...]

Martin Luther King DREAM Quilt

I Have a Dream QUILT cover

Celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King with your students by creating a "I Have a Dream" quilt. Each student will write about two ways  their school, community, or town could improve to make the world a better place. My second graders were passionate about ending bullying, no more people killing each other, and protecting animals from extinction. The children then chose two different thematic squares to color. They had 16 different choices. The four squares were glued onto … [Read more...]

Classroom Organization Ideas

shoe rack shelving

The start of a new year is a great time for renewal and freshening up. If you are getting the itch to clean, purge, and reorganize your work spaces, here are some of my favorite tips. SHOE SHELVES for ADDITIONAL STORAGE Utilize the space above counters and tables by adding low shelving designed for shoe storage. MAXIMIZE FILE CABINET SPACE The sides of your file cabinet are prime real estate when it comes to organizing your class room. The magnetic surface is ideal for use as a … [Read more...]

Guiding Young Readers to Books


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...]

Wolves – Facts or Fables?

WOLF   Afarusi119 Stock Free Images

Wolves ~ does the word conjure up fear, awe, or curiosity? Well known stories such as Little Red Riding Hood portray the wolf character as scheming, deceitful, and blood thirsty. Then there is the story of The Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf. The huffing and puffing character is determined to have his ham dinner. Hollywood has scared audiences with the murderous werewolf whose haunting howls in the night are intended to bring fear and trembling to those who hear it. In Native American … [Read more...]

Character Traits with Anchor Texts

Character Traits rev 2014

While discussing with my young students different character traits, it became clear that there were many terms that they were not familiar with. So this year I decided to pair some traits with characters in our read aloud stories. After reading and discussing the story, I ask the children to give me two or three words that describe the character on the inside. Then I print a copy of the book cover and add the terms to a bulletin board. I've created a list of 135 character traits in … [Read more...]

Winter Writing Collection

Winter Writing Cover

Poetry is an easy way to incorporate writing into your weekly plans. Once I teach a style of poetry, my students are able to choose it during Work on Writing time. Last week they couldn't wait to write acrostic poems about topics of their choice. This week they will be learning how to write cinquains. This is a template I created to help them create their cinquains. It is just one activity in my Winter Writing Activities … [Read more...]

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...]