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30+ Things I Wish I Knew My First Years of Teaching

If you are like me, I wanted to be a ROCKSTAR in my first years of teaching, but got immediately overwhelmed. I wish I knew half of the teaching tips, advice, and strategies that I do now. I fumbled A LOT, yet learned from every trial and error. Through my 26 years in the classroom,…

How to Improve Student Writing With Writing Checklists

Checklists are used for many academic tasks, and writing is a common one. Are they really effective? Absolutely! This post will explore why checklists are used, research results, and how to use writing checklists to improve student writing in the classroom. Why Are Writing Checklists Used in the Classroom? When children have the opportunity to…

6 Successful Strategies for Teaching Colonization

Do you need ideas for teaching colonization? Here you will find book suggestions, comprehension ideas, projects, crafts, activities, and more. These lessons are also included in one of my best-selling social studies units! Mentor Text When I am teaching a social studies unit, I love to recommend some great books for my students to read…

What Happens When You Let Students Lead Your Conferences?

Are you looking for an effective way to conduct parent-teacher conferences? Why not have your students be in charge? Student-led conferences will not only strengthen an open communication between home and school, but the positive vibe will have everyone smiling. What will students gain from student-led conferences? Students will: gain ownership of their work. become…

How To Build Character in the Classroom Every Month

Are you looking for ways to build character in the classroom? Bringing character education into your classroom will give children a sense of community and teach them core values. It will help children identify and demonstrate positive ways of handling themselves and treating others. When a whole school focuses on character education, it brings an…

Step-By-Step Reading with Interactive Notebooks

Step-by-Step Reading is a series of effective reading units used in thousands of classrooms. It is full of engaging lessons and resources. A scaffolding approach helps students understand what they are reading. Research shows that building from a basic reading skill to a more complex one not only develops, but strengthens reading comprehension. Do your student(s) need…

Step-by-Step Writing Program with Interactive Notebooks

Step-by-Step Writing® is an effective writing program used in thousands of classrooms. It is a complete writing curriculum full of engaging lessons and resources for writer’s workshop. Using a scaffolding approach helps students understand how writing builds from basic sentence structure to a polished essay.  Do you have reluctant writers? No worries! They will beg you…

5 Essential Things Every Writing Center Needs

When setting up a classroom or homeschool writing center, there are five things that I found useful for writing success. These items provide your students with the necessary tools to get ready to write effectively throughout the year. Set it up once and start writing! 1.  Supplies Use a caddy to keep most of the…

How to Teach Theme

Are your students having trouble identifying theme within a story? This step-by-step process scaffolds through several reading comprehension skills to help students get a thorough understanding of theme. Students will be able to determine the theme of a story, poem, or drama from details in the text by first learning basic knowledge of story elements,…

Arctic Region Igloo Craft

Do your social studies standards include studying the indigenous peoples of the Arctic region? A fun way to celebrate their fascinating culture is to do an igloo craft. This post will take you step-by-step through a simple process in making marshmallow igloos. Enjoy! Materials Needed: 1 plate 1 popsicle stick tape scissors 1 disposable plastic…

Step-by-Step to Effective Poetry Analysis

Are you looking for ways to help students analyze poetry effectively? This post will share step-by-step ideas to help your students with poetry analysis. When you are finished, they will be analyzing poetry like rock stars! 1. Choose a Poem Have students read and choose meaningful poetry.  Classic poets like Emily Dickenson and Robert Frost are…

Teaching the Character Trait Honesty

Honesty is one of the most important character traits that children should learn and be able to grasp at an early age. Although any time is a good time to teach honesty, Presidents’ Day is a perfect opportunity since Abe Lincoln is best known for being an honest man. Abe lived his life by practicing…

A Series of Step-By-Step Writing Mini Lessons

Are you looking for ideas to help your students become successful writers? This post outlines the table of contents for  30+ writing mini lessons that has proven to help students write effectively. It will provide you with creative ideas to teach students sentence structure, paragraph writing, and narrative writing. It will walk you through the…

TEACHING THE CHARACTER TRAIT PERSEVERE

Although any time is a good time to teach children how to persevere, I think of this character trait at the beginning of The New Year. Character education can be taught alongside New Year’s resolutions so children can form a deeper meaning of their goals. This post will delve into the definition of PERSEVERANCE, setting…

Why Language Arts is the Art of Communication

Language arts is one of the most critical components in any youngster’s educational training. It encompasses the various ways that people communicate including speaking, writing, and reading. Although having many different facets, language arts is a holistic way of being able to effectively listen, communicate, and comprehend messages, which people send and receive. The goal…

How to Make Poster-Size Anchor Charts from a PDF

Are you lacking the creative skills to draw your own anchor charts? Don’t stress over having a perfectly drawn, colorful anchor chart. This post will show you how to take a PDF anchor chart and make it poster size! It is easy and just as effective! STEPS TO MAKING A POSTER-SIZE ANCHOR CHART 1. Make…

17 Ways Kids Can Be Thankful

The holiday season is a time people reflect on gratitude and giving. November especially is the month that many teachers introduce the character trait of thankfulness for their character education curriculum. Do you need ideas to help your students brainstorm ways to be thankful? You are in the right place! This post provides 17 ways…

Why Language Arts is Integral to STEM

Every generation has its own idea about how to educate children and prepare them for the future. The newest trend in educational theory is something called STEM. STEM is a response to the changing needs of the workforce regarding technology. An entire reorganization of the way that children are instructed, it integrates learning with real-life…

Writing Mini Lesson #38 on Final Copies

Are your students ready to write a final copy? It is the step following peer reflections in the writing process. This writing mini lesson is part of a series of lessons designed for instructional scaffolding in writer’s workshop. Read on for ideas for the last step in the writing process! What do students need for…

Writing Mini Lesson #37 on Peer Reflections

Do your students particpate in peer reflections? Peer reflection is a step in writing process after revising and editing a rough draft and before the final copy. It is one more way to give writers encouragement and advice to better their stories. This writing mini lesson is part of a series of lessons designed for instructional…