I have never been the type to do things for the sake of doing them.  Not just with teaching, but with everything.  It is important that I see the value in what I do, and I get the most value possible.  Basically, I always want to make sure I'm getting the most "bang for my buck".  This same mentality follows me into the classroom.  One area, in particular, is independent reading time. In my classroom, my students read daily, usually during guided reading time.  There is at least a 45-minute block where students are reading or writing about their reading.  This time in my room is not for games, centers, or anything else.  It is just about reading! Over the years, I have found a few simple activities that I incorporate into my students' reading time to make it more meaningful.  Don't let the word "simple" throw you off.  By "simple", I do not mean easy or tedious.  These activities are simple for the teacher to implement, yet require the...
When our students hear the word "test" they cringe and you can see the fear on their face. When we start to talk about the standardized test, that fear turns to panic and sheer horror. Thoughts flood their minds,  "I'm going to have to repeat 5th grade! My parents are going to ground me forever if I don't pass this test. Maybe I can pretend I'm sick and get out of the whole test. I wonder if I broke my writing arm if I would have to do it?" After 40 years of combined teaching at grade levels where standardized tests are administered, we have developed a TOP 10 LIST that we think will help not only your students, but yourself cope with the "stress of the test." #1: Treats! What student, or teacher for that matter, doesn't love treats? About a week before the test begins we read a letter to our students about how their parents can bring in healthy snacks and healthy drinks on the days of the test. This gets the students excited....
Often, graphic organizers are simply   viewed as a glorified worksheet, but ask any teachers who use them yearly, and you may find that graphic organizers are much, much more.   In my own experience, I have witnessed graphic organizers improving comprehension and understanding of the text, improving student engagement with the text, helping students develop vocabulary skills, as well as helping students better understand text structure. 1. Improves Comprehension When students write about the text that they are reading, comprehension improves. Graphic organizers can be a key component in students organizing their thoughts and writing about the text. Rather than assigning students an essay about a text that they have read, a graphic organizer can enable students to break apart and write about the main elements of a story. Graphic organizers also help guide a young learner to organize his/her   thinking. By having this visual guide, learners are less likely to become...