Here is a quick tip using a simple tool, the 100 grid. My grid size is one full page and then part of a second page cut and taped in the back. (I laminated.) It created an oversized grid, which I liked. There are tips for logistics, assessment, initial EXPLORATION (which is key), and scaffolding ideas. Difficult teen recognition is addressed and more importantly, it offers opportunities for students to explore patterns on the grid, which develops natural mathematical thinking. Each student needs a grid and transparent marker. This can be done with small group interventions or whole group. Go mathematicians!
Here is a fun and easy idea to get students to use academic vocabulary in any content area. The students would USE THE MEGAPHONE when they talked. PS I had wipes next to me to wipe the mouth end.
Do you have a student whose mind wanders? They may have difficulty focusing. Maybe they miss the directions. Here is an easy tip for this type of inattentive student.
This small 10 X 12 bedroom has a rich 28-year history in my home. I can chronicle its colors by looking at spots inside the closet that I missed when painting. A nursery turned into a bedroom. Floors once covered in carpets, now have warm colored wooden boards. It has housed party guests and been a respite for women who have needed a place to live for a while. Now it is empty. I selfishly grieve that the years with little children living home are over. I walk around in it like a ghost from Christmas past. So, to battle this kind of thinking, I will set my mind on something creative. I will transform this space once again, but into a new place. My place. Somewhere to pray, work, write, read, goal set, create, journal, meditate, listen to music, or anything I want. I get an uneasy feeling putting my needs first. But there is a time to give and a time to receive. There is hope growing in my heart as I anticipate the next phase for this room. My Room. First I need to give My Room a name. Will you offer me some suggestions?
This simple activity I created aids students in developing their ability to self-monitor for comprehension. They learn to practice the skill of asking themselves, "Does this make sense?" It is a fun intervention that provides skills, review, laughter, physical movement, socialization, and classroom culture! Let me know how it goes!
When buying a house, the most important thing is LOCATION. In education, for me, it's passion. I love my sand collection and brought it into our learning in as many ways as I could. This summer, think of ways to bring what you are passionate about into your class! Have fun!
Shame. Yep, it’s a five letter word for me...far worse than any “four letter word.” What’s my current trigger? If I am being honest, I feel shame while I am on this writing journey and not yet published. It’s sometimes a battle in my mind to pursue this dream. Can you relate? Have you ever pursued a goal and heard the shaming voice that says, “Who do you think you are to go for this?” Or maybe, “You don’t really believe you will achieve this, do you?”
These thoughts are “lies” that can be hard to battle. But they only have power over us when we are acting as if we believe the lies. One lie that many of us fall for is that success only happens when we land at our destination, and I know that is not truth! How do I know? Because I have experienced firsthand how people have blessed me throughout their journey to their dream destination.
For example, I am inspired when collaborating with a teacher to improve student learning or their own instruction. The end goal of student improvement isn’t the only satisfying achievement. For a teacher, everyday steps toward the end goal can be gratifying as well. I am encouraged by others starting a new garden, degree, house project, weight loss program, vacation plan, or anything! It’s your courage and bravery that is noteworthy. Will I toast and celebrate your “destination?” Of course! But I am motivated by your fortitude while you dream and struggle.
So, let’s all remember to resist listening to the shame filled voice that keeps us from our dreams and instead let’s encourage each other to listen to the voice that is leading us in love. What’s your loving voice asking you to do? Rest? Build? Create? Restore? I’d love to hear about it!
One teacher wants very little noise in her room, but the student the aide is supporting is far from quiet! Here are a few ideas for an aide going in between different kinds of environments with different students' needs.
We have all had the student who loves to share their answers...A LOT! Their ability to self advocate comes at the expense, at times, of others having the opportunity to contribute. Here is a tip to deal with our over zealous students!
Explicit instruction of BICS language (words we use in basic conversation) is imperative in any early literacy classroom. Along with clear instruction, students need to practice using the BICS words. Here is one easy tool to help you address any EL students (and all students) in the primary grades.
This useful visual works for teaching initial sounds, first, last, and ordinal numbers. Please offer your ideas on how you might use this tool!
There’s magic in the air when a child learns to read. Those of us who teach early literacy or are parents helping their child learn, all marvel when a child actually “cracks the code” and realizes the letter symbols become words. When it happens the child often looks up at you surprised and then you get to say it, finally, “Yes, you are reading. You are now a reader!” It’s magical and of course there are tears in your eyes and chills down your arms. That profound instant when those symbols are transformed into meaningful words never ceases to amaze me. The written word is astounding in every regard, not only to educate, enlighten, and entertain, but also in its incredible ability to transform us and offer the powerful opportunity to reason together.
This blog will now be REFORGED (my word for the year, see my New Year’s blog entry) with a very strong early literacy focus. I feel very right about this goal. My books and my passion surround early literacy and quality instruction. So…here’s to the next step in the journey.
Would you share a magical moment when you were teaching a child to read or YOUR magical moment when you cracked the code?
Love you all…and I hope you enjoy the Reforged early literacy focus coming this year.
Thank you Tayce, 2nd Grade teacher, for sharing your tips about how you manage your class using a Classroom Economy! If anyone wants Tayce's documents, please email me. Thanks Tayce for sharing your ideas and resources!
Teachers can use this easy modification when using exit slips. Great for any age!
Hello and Happy New Year Friends!
I love the excitement that comes with the start of each new year: a blank page filled with promise. For me, early mornings offer this same feeling of anticipation, much like the excitement before you jump off the low diving board. Well, New Year’s Eve is the high dive! Although I love the hope of New Year’s Eve, I don’t do resolutions. Instead, for years I have selected a word to focus on for the coming year. There seems to be a growing trend of this practice, which I love. Some of my words have lasted for more than one year. The word wouldn’t release me. Each word has had a positive impact on me, by bringing clarity to some area of my life. I focused on hope for two years when my circumstances were grim during my divorce. As I have focused on a word, I have found myself reading literature through that lens and then journaling about it. It has often led me to the next step in my journey. I share this with you in the hope that some of you might want to pause and consider selecting a word for yourself this year. I recently asked a newcomer to my annual neighborhood New Year’s Eve party what his word could be for 2018. I watched him pause, and then it seemed as if his word quite naturally floated to the surface, and he responded: “courage.” I saw in him, and have seen in many others, the same kind of response. It’s as if their hearts know deep down what is best for their minds to be exploring in the coming year. This year my word is reforged. One reason for this focus is a desire to use what I have learned and to strengthen, rebuild and create something new. So, dear friends, will you pause and listen to what your word could be? I would love to hear your word if you would like to share…
When my children were little I told them we were the richest people I knew. I stand by that comment today. In this season of gift giving, may we all remember the amazing gift of life and the many gifts we take for granted each day. Enjoy the video!
We all know someone who has a story about themselves or their parents and how they MISSED an opportunity to live out their dream. Perhaps it was to invest in a stock, patent an idea, go for the girl, or open a car wash. For them, the unlived dream came and went. For some who didn’t take the step, it might be filled with deep regret. Still others are ok with how things have landed.
For me, I feel compelled to dream and driven to pursue the same, but let me say it is not without cost. Creating my Facebook page and sharing my dream of being an author left me feeling exposed and nervous. Even writing this post leaves me feeling vulnerable. But maybe THIS transparency is the exact point of it all. Maybe I can encourage you to take a first step in your dream. This is a dreamer’s journey. But how could I be so bold as to post my dream for everyone to see? I mean some people knew, but now everyone knows. I put it on social media for heaven’s sake! Who am I to say I am an author? Am I a fake? So I looked for some honest answers. I asked other writers and artists and they told me they have had similar struggles. I looked to my old, reliable red covered Webster’s Dictionary for a definition of author, and found the first definition: the writer of a book, article, etc.
OK, according to Webster I am not a fake. So why this inner struggle? I mean, who am I to believe that my dream will become a reality? So, after two sleepless nights and lots of prayers, I have found I am more grounded with some answers and am reminded that the very question of “Who am I, Lord?” has been asked before. I am amongst a long list of people who believed they were doing something which they felt was bigger than they believed they could do. Yes, God works through uneventful people. But we are promised to be instructed and equipped until the work is complete. So, who will listen to the dream seed that was placed in them and press on through the growing process and run the race set before themselves? Will you dare to dream with me? What’s your dream? Volunteering for a worthy cause? Creating the worthy cause? Opening a business? Opening a restaurant? Attending the Olympics? Participating in the Olympics? Learning to golf? Hosting an event? Changing careers? Moving to a new location? Building a tree house? Going on a date? Post a dream if you dare…and expect a mental fight about why it is impossible; but be reminded, that He who began a work in you will carry it on until it is completed!
WHACK! Have you ever been hit in the head and it hurts…a lot? How about when it hits you in the heart? It’s the kind of “hit” deep down inside that SHOUTS that this is something you need to do or think about. You know it is somehow bigger than the actual thought itself. Well, today I had a rather healthy dose of WHACK to my heart. I won’t go into the details, but am here to encourage us all. If you have a thought that is whispering or whacking in your heart, it may be time to listen. If this post resonates, you know you have something to add to your to do list. Whack!
Danielle, a K-5 music teacher, offers a fast and easy tip to encourage students to keep trying! She also adds a heart warming teacher story about 2 students who persevered! Thanks Danielle!
Even beginning authors can reflect on their writing! This 3 minute clip shows Kalissa teaching a practical strategy for early writers to use as they analyze their work for the day.