As educators, our mission extends far beyond the confines of textbooks and classroom walls. We are tasked with nurturing young minds, fostering empathy, and instilling a deep sense of civic responsibility in the next generation. That's not always an easy task! One crucial aspect of this duty is teaching our students about the significance of Veterans Day. (Click here for ready-made lessons.)
We all know that Veterans Day is not just another holiday on the calendar. It is a powerful opportunity to instill values of gratitude, respect, and pride in students. In this blog post, I'm sharing essential facts about Veterans Day that you may want to share with your students. You'll also find practical strategies to make this holiday ...
Have you ever walked into a classroom that was so visually overwhelming it made your head spin? From bright colors to busy patterns, classroom decorations can either enhance or hinder student learning. But did you know that a calming environment can actually have a positive impact on academic performance? Studies have shown that the right classroom decorations can reduce stress, improve focus, and even encourage creativity.
SPOILER: I've included a link to a set of FREE calming classroom posters at the end of this post!
Let's delve into the science behind calming classroom decorations, see how to create a calming environment, and explore the benefits of incorporating natural elements into your classroom décor.
AND HOW TO AVOID THEM!
Weak or Lacking Classroom Management Skills:
Adolescents often face self-doubt and uncertainty about their abilities. Self-esteem tends to fluctuate during adolescence. Early adolescence (ages 10-14) often shows a decline in self-esteem as individuals navigate physical ...
If you're curious about what is included in the beginning of the school year pack, see what's inside below.
First of all, there's a get to know you activity that you can share with students on the first day of school. I'm a big fan of placing an activity on students' desks to complete independently when they arrive to your classroom ...
Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) is a crucial component of education that goes beyond academic achievement. It equips students with the necessary skills to understand and manage their emotions, build positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.
Social-Emotional Learning refers to the process of acquiring and applying knowledge, attitudes, and skills related to recognizing and managing emotions, developing empathy, establishing positive relationships, making responsible decisions, and engaging in effective communication. SEL cultivates a safe and nurturing environment that enhances students' overall well-being, academic success, and long-term success in life.
In upper elementary and middle school classrooms, SEL activities play a pivotal role in fostering a supportive and inclusive classroom community. Let's explore the significance of SEL and discover engaging activities that can promote ...
Starting a new school year signals the beginning of a great deal of curriculum planning. Determining what to teach in what order can be overwhelming especially since effective long-range planning is the cornerstone of a successful middle school English Language Arts (ELA) classroom. It allows teachers to set clear goals, create engaging lessons, and ensure a coherent and well-structured curriculum throughout the year. In this blog post, I'm sharing a step-by-step guide on how to complete long-range planning for your middle school ELA curriculum.
Here's the best news, though! ⤋ ⤋ ⤋
Managing challenging student behavior is an ongoing concern for teachers. I've had my fair share of difficult students and even classes. Over the years, I found that adopting proactive strategies and maintaining a positive classroom environment, helped me to effectively address and promote positive behavior among my students. Today I'm sharing some strategies to promote positive behavior before, during, and after students misbehave.
|FIND READY-MADE MANAGEMENT RESOURCES HERE.|
One of the best ways ...
As the school year draws to a close, it's fun to celebrate and acknowledge the hard work and achievements of your students. Not only does it provide a sense of accomplishment, but it also creates lasting memories and fosters a positive classroom environment. To help you make the end of the school year memorable, here are eight fun and easy ways to celebrate and honor your students.
Personalized Notes or Letters: Write personalized notes or letters to each of your students, expressing your appreciation for their growth, effort, and positive attitude throughout the year. Highlight specific achievements, moments of resilience, and personal growth that you have observed in them. These heartfelt messages will make each student feel valued and recognized ...
Reflect on the past year: Take some time to reflect on the successes and challenges of the previous year. Identify areas for improvement and set goals for the upcoming year.
Some questions you might think about include...
--- What key lessons did you learn about yourself this year?
--- What was one of the greatest things you accomplished this school year?
--- List 3 successful lesson, projects, or activities that you implemented this year.
--- What challenges did you overcome this past school year?
--- Are there any areas ...
Don't worry, you can print a downloadable FREE version of the checklist right here. (BONUS! I've included a personal reflection and letter to parents inside the freebie, too).
Since every classroom is different, some of these tasks may not apply to you and your students. ...
There's no doubt about it...a composition's lead is paramount! Would you read a book with a boring opening? Not me! A story's lead is its first impression, so it must be dynamite!
I've put together a FREE lesson for writing a lead that you can grab here. Be sure to download the freebie and then learn all about how I like to teach how to write a lead below.
STEP 1: Build Background
Reading comprehension skills like making inferences, finding the main idea, and recognizing cause and effect are critical curriculum elements in any ELA classroom. As our students build their reading skills, they need to develop their understanding of 12 different reading comprehension skills. One of my favorite ways to teach students about the reading skills is with doodle notes.
Don't worry...I've put together a 20+ page set of doodle notes that you can download for FREE! (Sign up at the bottom of this post!)
Have you tried doodle notes in your classroom? If so, you know that...
⭐ Doodle notes are a great way to introduce students to important information.
These doodle notes include definitions for 12 different reading skills. ...
I love celebrating holidays like Valentine's Day in the classroom. I also love encouraging students to read. So, what's better than a free Valentine's Day gift that combines a Valentine's Day message with a bookmark? Nothing!
If you agree, then you're going to love this FREE set of Valentine's Day cards that come in the form of bookmarks.
Here's why I'm crazy about them...
--- They are easy to make.
--- Their message is sweet.
--- They can be used immediately as a bookmark.
--- They are perfect to give to students or for students to make for others.
--- Oh, and best part? They are free and ready to print right here.
After you print the Valentine's Day ...
For many students writing can be intimidating and overwhelming. That's why it's essential to provide students with a variety of writing activities to make learning meaningful and rewarding. Here are a few of my favorite ways to make writing engaging for reluctant writers in your classroom.
TIMED WRITING ACTIVITIES
Timed writing activities challenge students to race the clock as they write as much as they can during a fixed time period. Students are encouraged to “just write.” There is no pressure for perfection. In fact, the only parameter is that they need to write for the entire time. The fun nature of timed writing activities help students develop confidence as they experiment with the writing craft. Here are a ...
December always marked five wonderful days of teaching "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens and dramatized by Frederick Gaines in my middle school classroom. The classic tale about choices and the way they impact those around us is meaningful and profound.
Since students must navigate through the elements of a drama, the challenging vocabulary, and the historical references in the play, I've created a unit that helps students successfully read and analyze the text. Here are a few of my favorite activities to accompany reading "A Christmas Carol."
"A Christmas Carol" was published in 1843 in England. Nearly one-third of Londoners were living in poverty at the time. The city of London was dirty and overpopulated as ...
Here’s a quick list of simple ways to positively manage behavior in the classroom. These tips are designed to be easy and quick. You’ll find ways to manage the entire class and individual students.Many of the ideas are things you probably do intuitively. However, this list provides a simple reminder of some effective ways to positively manage students’ behavior.
If a student is becoming distracted or talking too much, stand right by their desk. Continue your instruction as usual. Just moving closer to them is often enough to alleviate the distracting behavior.
Make it a practice to send out a set number of postcards (or even emails) a week celebrating students that made positive contributions to class.
TIP: Be sure to record your mailings in a communication log.
Searching for fun and meaningful back to school activities? Looking for easy ideas that introduce students to you, their classmates, and your classroom? Wish you could grab some FREE back to school activities to try at the start of the new school year? Well...then you're in the right place!
I've rounded up some of my favorite back to school ideas for grades 4-8. And...here's the best part...I've included 2 different freebies so that you can easily give some of them a try!
Plan an activity to get students sharing about themselves in a fun and easy way. I'm a fan of starting the first day of school off with letting students create name tags. Download this ...
Analyzing poetry is a skill all our students need to develop. While students are required to investigate poems often, poetry analysis is still something that many students struggle with. That's why I'm a big fan of practice! I love to give students lots of opportunities to closely read and analyze poetry.
(And I've put together a FREE one-pager that students can use with any poem!)
POETRY ANALYSIS TIPS
When putting together a poetry analysis lesson, here are some tips I follow:
✔ TIP 1: Select a poem that is long enough for students to adequately investigate, but not too long to make the process overwhelming.
✔ TIP 2: Provide students with background information about the author of ...