I received free products from Oriental Trading Company in exchange for sharing my thoughts on this blog.
Close reading is all the rage right now. My team and I have read several books about how to make it happen effectively. We specifically focused on the sign posts for close reading book. I recommend this book for 4-6 grade teacher. After reading about how powerful close reading can be, I wanted to have my students mark up their pages with questions, comments, and symbols. I wasn’t very successful though because writing in textbooks is a big no no! People suggested sheet protectors and all kinds of things, but they don’t work with textbooks unless you rip out the pages.
I have finally found a solution! (Que the applause!!)
SIDE LOADING dry erase sleeves!I found these horizontal sleeves from Oriental Trading Company that slide on SIDEWAYS onto the page. This is perfect because the kids can do all the marking with a dry erase marker, and then turn in the sleeve so I can look at it later. It also leaves the textbook in tact and bound. I think this is a major win-win! Click here to check them out.
Please comment below if you’ve got other close reading tips! I’m always on the lookout!
Birthdays can be distracting at school. But if you play your cards right, you can use birthdays to create a positive classroom culture. By focusing on positive characteristics of the birthday kid, you can allow for natural discussions on topics such as friendship, being polite, following directions, etc. I’ve got a simple page we use to acknowledge a birthday kid’s positive traits. I start by writing mine for the whole class to see (using the document camera). I talk about something the child does well, and praise them for it (subtly reminding the rest of the class of that expectation). Then I have each student complete the page for that student as well. I challenge them to use a vocab word (from the current week or past) in their writing and only let them do the picture AFTER they’re done writing.
Confession… I’m not crazy about poetry. I usually prefer stories. Sometimes I feel like teachers go way overboard in dissecting poetry. This graphic organizer guides my poetry reviews. We go over enough that the kids think about the poem, but we’re not beating a dead horse. Maybe you’ll find it useful too. Enjoy!
Sight words are key. Colors are usually some of the first sight words taught because they are are in so many worksheet directions! “Color this thing red if it blah blah blah” or “circle all of the blah blah blahs with green.” This page is just for learning those color names sight words. Easy-peasy worksheet, and kids will be able to do so much more when they know color words by sight! Click here to download the full-size PDF: color-word-butterflies
Prepositions are really tough for English Language Learners. And sometimes you just don’t have time to prep or do the fun manipulative ideas you see on Pinterest. Here’s a quick (super self-explanatory) page that asks kids which preposition makes sense with the picture. On the key (page 2), the answers are in bold.
Also consider choosing pictures from a story book, newspaper or magazine and ask questions about the pictures. Or, grab a small object and a student volunteer and create the Pinterest idea on the spot! Both are super easy to do off the top of your head and will continue to strengthen English language skills of all your students.
Kids crack me up. They say, write and do the silliest things! Here’s another opportunity to capture all that creativity. This writing activity asks kids to apply to be one of Santa’s elves. Be sure to give kids an opportunity to share their application with other students. Maybe have the kids collect “endorsements” from classmates (Have students write their name on the back of a classmate’s paper to indicate that the student shared it with them). Merry Christmas!
When I was in elementary school, my class was always partnered with another class so we could do “Reading Buddies.” My school always partnered a younger grade class with an upper grade class so we could get together and read each month. This provided us a unique opportunity to read to/listen to another student. Each kid was assigned a kid from the other class and we were partners the whole year. We occasionally did a craft or something with our reading buddies as well. Anyway, it was fun to get to know my partner as the year went on.
This inspired me to make 2 little “get to know you” pages that teachers can use within their own classroom or between classrooms of students in an arrangement like “Reading Buddies.