Hi! I'm Kelly from Teaching Fourth, and I am thrilled and honored to be a part of this amazing group of teachers that make up Upper Elementary Snapshots! Today I'm excited to share with you one of my favorite tools to use in my classroom. Fifteen or so years ago I attended one of the best workshops of my teaching career.  The ideas presented actually changed my teaching from that moment forward.  This workshop introduced me to flipbooks.  I loved all of the possibilities of using this simple tool in my classroom, and I was amazed at the versatility this tool offered.  I was hooked, and I have been using flipbooks ever since! Flipbooks are interactive graphic organizers that help students write, organize, and retain information. They can be used with any subject and just about any topic! The possibilities are endless!  From science to math or reading to grammar, these easy flipbooks can help students organize the information that they have learned, record thei...
If you've been a teacher any length of time, you know that reading standards come and go. Sure, the important ones hang around, like main idea, finding inferences, and cause and effect, but much more important to me as a teacher is to get kids to LOVE to read (yes, I said love, not like, and not even to tolerate it!). The thing is, when kids enjoy reading, they read a lot and when they read a lot, they become even better readers, and can do all of those reading skills that we so desire. It's almost like magic! So, how do we capture the hearts of those little video game, TV watching, texters? We do it by showing them how much fun reading can be.  10 Ways to Inspire a Love of Reading 1. Do Book Talks A book talk is when you pick up a book and give the kids a summary of it but present it in such a way that every single kid raises his/her hand to ask you if he/she might be able to read that book next. It's like a mini-advertisement for the book. Do a few a week...
This Friday is the end of the first nine weeks of school!  I have been teaching through a math workshop model and am loving it!  Until now, I have had a very simple, predictable routine during our math workshop.  I am now ready to start introducing math games into my math stations.  In this post, I will share with you how I have started to organize my math games, task cards, and interactive notebook pages.   I am sure you are just like me - You have tons of resources, but need an easy, simple way to organize it all.  I will be specifically talking about how I organize the activities my students complete during 'independent practice'.  The first thing I did was narrow it down to three main items that I have my students complete: Math Games Math Task Cards Interactive Math Notebook Pages I bought the following   3-Drawer Organizers from Amazon a few years ago on Amazon.  I've decided to use these as my main organizing item.  You can purchase them in sets of 3 - ...
Participating in Parent Teacher Conferences can be a stressful part of being a teacher.  You want what is best for your students.  Sharing areas of strength and other positives is the easy part.  Presenting concerns can be uncomfortable for both you and parents.  I am approaching my twelfth year of parent teacher conferences.  There are times that I am nervous, but by now I have a routine and things that I do to every year that help to make them successful. Prior to Conferences Send out your sign-up sheet a few weeks ahead of time.   Have parents mark their 3 most preferable times, ordering them from 1 to 3. For those that you know or suspect will need extra, leave the time slot immediately after theirs free. If you don’t get a conference slip back from a student’s parents, make a phone call or send an email to try to set one up. Send home a survey for parents to fill out.   Questions they may have for you and/or concerns about their child.   Have them return it to you pr...
In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Yeah, that's probably what you might hear walking past the kindergarten or first grade classes in your building.  Columbus discovered America.  He traded resources with the Native Americans.  Let's celebrate him for his perseverance, courageousness, and leadership. Ok, maybe not so much.  There comes a point in education where educators should reveal what really happened when Columbus arrived to America.  Teaching third grade, I felt as if this was the appropriate time to make the shift. I think the easiest way of introducing this topic to students is through the book, Encounter , by Jane Yolen.  She does a phenomenal job using illustrations and evoking feelings to subtly shifting the reader's viewpoint on Columbus.  What I especially love about this book is that it is written from the Native American's point of view, giving you a different persecutive of the events that took place. To assist you in the reading of this boo...
If you are like me, starting a big writing project is always a little daunting.  Students come in at such different levels, with such different skills and interests, and big writing projects are REALLY a lot to manage. Over the years, I have found that two things have really helped me manage these bigger projects: 1.  Tons and tons of planning and prewriting 2.  Tons and tons of teacher modeling So, as we dug into our "realistic fiction" writing unit, I thought I'd share how we got started in case any of these ideas might help you as well!  To begin, we went back and studied some of the text we had read and I posed the question, "What do we know about good stories?".  We had a great discussion and I recorded some of our ideas on the Smartboard. After this, I worked with my students to create a meaningful character.  We talked about remembering to remain "experts" in our writing so we all created characters that we could relate to--...
Most of us probably start off with the same few examples when we are describing to our students what it means to "make inferences"...or "to infer" something... If Johnny walks inside with a heavy coat on...what can you infer? Kids: "It's cold outside!" If Jane has chocolate between her teeth...what can you infer? Kids: "She just ate something chocolatey!" Then we move on and ask our kids to infer on a deeper level...but what text should we use? Most stories or reading passages do not require kids to infer very much, if at all. Details are usually given away in the setting or the things the characters say/do. This is where poetry becomes my favorite way to teach inferences!  WHOLE GROUP ACTIVITY: I start with the poem called "January" by John Updike. Click the photo below to download the PDF version of the poem . To begin, I cover each stanza of the poem separately with a post-it note. I do this b...