Let's face it.  We all want engaging ideas for teaching elementary math and reinforcing numeracy, but students come to us in so many different ways that it can be hard to meet all of their needs at the same time.  But what if I told you that meeting those diverse student needs and getting them engaged isn't as tall of an order as you think?  (And no, the solution here isn't to clone yourself a few times so you can sit with all of your students and give simultaneous one-on-one instruction...even though that sounds pretty cool.) The solution is math centers ! Let me read your mind for a second and recite some of the common gripes about centers: they're a time sink, they can be super frustrating to organize and do, students constantly interrupt your teacher led group  I know exactly how you feel, because I've had some of those gripes too! Sure, everyone would love to have fun, math-tastic centers that make even the most number-phobic students engaged, but ...
It's raining outside (cause). I used an umbrella. (effect). Cause and effect, particularly in upper elementary, is a text structure riddled with opportunity for our reading instruction. BUT we must be careful about whittling down cause and effect to only basic, isolated examples that ignore the complicated and nuanced reality of the concept, because if we do, we can quickly cover up a meaningful angle into understanding a text. Take the raining/umbrella example above. This morning, as my oldest daughter was walking out the door to her bus stop, I say, "Hey, it's raining. Why don't you get your umbrella out of your backpack?" She stands on the porch and claims it's not raining that hard. "I'll be fine," she says. I insist. "You have a soccer tournament this weekend. We don't need you getting sick." Daughter, with attitude, proceeds to take out umbrella, grumbling, "Dad, nobody else at the bus stop has an umbrella. I lo...
One of my favorite times every day is my read aloud time.  I read aloud picture books.  Articles.  Poems.  But my favorite of all is the novels I choose to share with my class.  I choose them for a variety of reasons...but I always like to keep in mind that read alouds are a powerful teaching tool where ALL students can have access to rich and meaningful texts--even if they are far above their reading level. ...