I had a BIG teaching dilemma last year.
My teaching partner was new to first grade and didn’t know ANYTHING about teaching math at this level. I needed to keep my math lessons organized through the school year, and I was worried our math lessons would fall behind or not be as effective when I wasn’t there.
So the question was…. How could I make sure that my new partner stayed on track without spending HOURS on the phone talking about math lessons, [Read More…]
Welcome to the Social Skills Ideas Bank!
The Social Skills Idea Bank is a series of related posts, each dedicated to sharing strategies for teaching a particular social skill.
As teachers, our strength lies in sharing our ideas, experiences and strategies!
This is a growing list, and you are invited to contribute in the comments section. We hope you will, because there’s nothing like a good idea shared between teachers to make our jobs easier.
In this post you will find lots of simple ways to encourage students [Read More…]
WHY USE BOOK COMPANIONS?
Book companions allow teachers to use one story to practice a number of core reading and writing skills.
In my classroom, it ensures that I continue to use literature to explore things like story structure, sequencing, character traits, letter writing formats, comprehension and more. We can also have fun with stories using partner plays, comic book writing, and art projects.
Using book companions keeps all the lessons focused and organized, makes my planning easier, and makes assessment simple because [Read More…]
My students LOVE doing STEM Challenges. We began the year working on Fairy Tale Challenges from THIS resource, and it was a big hit!
Now, we have added more fun by adding SEASONAL STEM projects!
The first ones we tried were all about Santa!
Each challenge is introduced with a partner play. This means we can integrate some literacy skills into the lessons. I have found that using partner plays give the STEM challenges context, and makes the building task much more [Read More…]
I strive to make my classroom a place where students feel safe, appreciated and respected just as they are.
My classroom banner says simply: “Be Kind. Work Hard.”
These ideas are reinforced all year long, but there are some special ways that we spread kindness in December for Christmas.
RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS
Each year we take the month of December to really focus on Random Acts of Kindness and caring for each other. If possible, I enjoy getting families involved. A few years ago [Read More…]
Do your students love animal research projects?
It’s a great way to introduce non-fiction writing, and it can be a source of pride for students who feel very “grown up” because they are doing research! However, this enthusiasm can be dampened if emergent writers are not supported with reading materials at their level, and so long as the information sources are not too overwhelming.
This is why differentiating your non-fiction materials for emergent writers is so important.
Here are some tips for implementing your [Read More…]
Teaching phonics can become a bit monotonous day after day, but there are lots of ways to keep it engaging!
Here are a few examples of the ways I’ve tried to keep phonics lessons interactive, hands on, and FUN!
Phonics instruction can also be differentiated with a little creativity.
BUILDING WORDS & SENTENCES
This activity allows for differentiation because the tasks get more complex as you work down the page. Some students will only be required to print the letters and build the [Read More…]
When do you start teaching phonics?
There are so many things going on at the start of a new school year!
We are getting to know new personalities, watching them interact with each other, and at the same time, we are taking notes and assessing abilities.
One of the first things I set up are my EASY and independent literacy centers.
These take very little explanation, and students can happily work on literacy skills while I use valuable time to assess their abilities before moving [Read More…]
One of the most engaging activities in my classroom over the last 20+ year has been Secret Sentences. Students LOVE to solve a secret mystery, and even better when they are practicing their letter sound knowledge at the same time!
WHERE TO BEGIN: SIMPLE WORDS
We begin with simple words. We use word tiles, scrabble tiles, or homemade tiles with n
As shown, student place tiles to match the FIRST SOUND of each little picture. They can also use dry erase marker on [Read More…]
Directed Drawing is a fun and engaging way to integrate art and writing.
Here are some ways that I use art in my classroom to encourage more writing!
After your whole class directed drawing lessons, invite students to do a “gallery walk” around the room to see other students’ work. Then, leave a post-it note beside each picture and assign secret partners. Students study their partner’s drawing and write a compliment on the post-it note. Students love to return to their [Read More…]