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5 Favorite Poems to Teach Growth Mindset



Robert Frost once said “There are three things, after all, that a poem must reach: the eye, the ear, and what we may call the heart or the mind. It is most important of all to reach the heart of the reader.” Anyone who has read a poem and felt the words deep within themselves knows this assertion to be true. Poetry is uniquely capable of touching the hearts of readers.  That's why it lends itself perfectly to the underlying messages of growth mindset.
Poetry can be engaging when relatable, and it also makes for an easy way to reinforce skills that students have already learned while reading longer works such as interpreting figurative language, citing evidence within ...
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3 Fun and Educational Thanksgiving Lessons


I love infusing holiday-themed lessons into ELA instruction. Since students are naturally excited about holidays like Thanksgiving, it's easy to capitalize on their enthusiasm while still teaching critical skills.  That's the key part, right?  I love lessons that keep students learning while adding a Thanksgiving-twist to the lessons.  
Here are a few of my favorite Thanksgiving lessons that are not only fun, but super educational, too!

This FREE lesson combines listening comprehension and art!  It's a collaboration between Art with Jenny K. and I.  During the Thanksgiving lesson, students will practice the critical skill of listening comprehension while they learn about the origin of Thanksgiving as a national holiday.  After a ...
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9 Fun Book Projects

The days of dioramas and book reports may be long gone. (Is it wrong that I’m a little sad about that?) Yet the expectation that students read and express their understanding of what they’ve read remains as strong as ever.
So what’s a teacher to do? More specifically, what’s a creative teacher to do, when she doesn’t want to rely on worksheets? Get creative, of course!
I’ve compiled 9 Fun Book Projects for you. They’re quick and easy to prepare, and best of all, they’re engaging – for both your students andyou. No more slogging through piles of “Why I Liked This Book!”




Take a look:

Write a different ending -- What ...
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9 Ways to Develop Growth Mindset in the Classroom All Year Long


Dr. Carol Dweck researched thousands of students. Her discoveries about growth mindset have had a direct impact on classrooms everywhere! That's because her work found that students with a growth mindset achieved more than those with a fixed mindset. Of course, teachers took action! Teaching lessons that help students develop a growth mindset became just as important as the other lessons teachers teach...and that's a good thing!

Like many lessons that help students develop as learners, growth mindset is one of those concepts that lends itself to teaching many times throughout the year.  It's not a "one and done" concept. That's why I thought that it would be fun to compile a bunch of ways ...
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3 Easy Ways to Turn a Drab Bulletin Board into a Fab Bulletin Board


When I started my teaching career there was no such thing as Pinterest (gasp)!  So, my bulletin boards were not as “pin-worthy” as the ones that teachers create today.  However, these days, I’m so inspired by what teachers are creating in their classrooms.  While many of the designs might feel out of our league, I’ve found that with a few simple tips, we all can turn drab bulletin boards into fab bulletin boards.  Of course, to illustrate some of the ideas, I’m sharing some images from Pinterest!  I hope that you’ll find that with very little creativity even the most drab bulletin boards can turn into fab displays in the classroom ...
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Free Classroom Resources to Save the Day



Let's face it, teaching brings about new challenges every single day! That's why I thought I'd compile 3 freebies that you can use to make some of those days in your classroom a little easier!  I'm sharing free print-and-use resources to help you create a teacher vision, free resources to save derailed lessons, and even a substitute feedback form.  They're all about helping you survive in the classroom! You can check out this quick video where Jenny from Art with Jenny K. and I are discussing the ideas if you'd like:
And...if you find something you like, just download it for FREE!

Here's a freebie that is perfect any day of the ...
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Creating a Colorful Classroom with Mood Boards


I don't know about you, but I just love a styled classroom!  You know the classroom I'm talking about, right?  It's the kind of classroom that seems to have it all pulled together.  Sometimes in our quest to have a visually appealing classroom, it can hard to know where to begin.  That's why I've put together a set of Classroom Design Mood Boards to provide a little inspiration.  
Speaking of inspiration, all of the mood boards in this post are based on a color of the rainbow.  Why?  Because one of the easiest ways to put together a styled classroom is by sticking with a single color.  This makes gathering design elements for the ...
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Classroom Sweet Classroom: Designing a Classroom that Feels Like Home

For many teachers, our classrooms are our home away from home. That's why I thought it would be fun to put together some classroom mood boards that are inspired by home decor styles. After all, what's the easiest way to make a classroom feel cozy and welcoming? Making it feel like home, of course!  I've put together a few inspirational mood boards for doing just that! Just imagine if your classroom could take on a mid-century modern vibe or a hip urban loft.  What about a boho chic classroom or a modern classroom?  Ever dream of a cottage themed classroom, well, I've got some ideas for that, too!
For the most part, each of the ...
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Classroom Design for the Little Ones

This year, you and your students will spend A LOT of time in your classroom!  So, why not make it super fun?  I love the idea of pulling together design elements to turn a drab classroom into a fab classroom.  That's why I've put together a series of classroom mood boards to provide a little inspiration for setting up a fantastic classroom. The mood boards in this collection are designed with young students in mind. You'll find themed classrooms with a bit of whimsy and ton of fun!
For the most part, each of the mood boards have common elements in them like a...
A classroom rug - No matter what age group of students you teach ...
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Classroom Decor with a Theme


We all want our classrooms to be special places for students to learn, but sometimes it's hard to know where to begin...especially when it comes to setting up our classrooms.  Over the years, I've found that a great starting point for designing and decorating the classroom is to choose a theme. This tip actually sparked a whole bunch of classroom design mood boards based on...you guessed it...themes!  I've compiled a whole bunch of mood boards for a variety of themes to provide a little inspiration and maybe spark some creative decor ideas for your classroom!
You'll notice that the mood boards have some common elements.  For instance, most of the mood boards include ...
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Middle School Classroom Design Ideas


When it comes to decorating the middle school classroom, it's not always easy.  That's because middle schoolers themselves aren't always easy.  They're in flux!  Their needs are unique!  Their opinions are strong!  So, it's important to find just the right balance of whimsy and maturity when it comes to setting up a middle school classroom.  Since this balance isn't always easily achieved, I thought I'd put together some classroom mood boards with middle schoolers in mind.  (Of course, these ideas could work in any setting.)  
Each mood board is meant to appeal to middle school students.  You'll even notice that the mood boards have some common elements.  For instance, most ...
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Bright and Bold Classroom Decor Ideas


Don't you just love a bright and happy classroom?  I do!  I love a classroom that is filled with colors! There's just something so engaging about a bright space!  I'm so in love with colorful classrooms, that I thought it would be fun to put together some bright and bold classroom mood boards.  Although each mood board is full of color, you'll note that there's still a theme that unifies them all together.  Or, if you'd like, you can always mix and match ideas!  I hope you like them!
For the most part, each of the mood boards have common elements in them like a...A classroom rug - No matter what age group ...
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Classroom Design Inspired by the Times


One of the best parts about decorating a classroom, is that you can be really creative!  You can fill your classroom with whimsical items or bold furniture pieces.  The options are endless!  In fact, it was just this mentality that inspired me to dream up some classroom designs inspired by different decades.  That's right, imagine a retro classroom or an 80's classroom.  How fun!  Check out the classroom mood boards for a bunch of decades-inspired ideas!
Wait, before we get started, I thought I'd fill you in on some of the common elements in most of the mood boards...A classroom rug - No matter what age group of students you teach, a rug is one of ...
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Growth Mindset Open House Projects



Spoiler Alert:  There's a free Open House Activity in this blog post! It's a free growth mindset activity that aligns with the Open House project ideas I'm discussing today.

Are you overwhelmed by Open House?  I know I've spent many years in absolute panic about what projects and student work to put on display for children and their families during Open House and/or Parent Night events.  That's why I'm always on the hunt for Open House activities that check all my Open House "boxes."  In my quest for the perfect Open House project, I'm always looking for ideas that are...
  1. EDUCATIONAL - I don't like open house projects that are just "fillers ...
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10 Great Reasons to Teach Poetry

As you may know, April is National Poetry Month, and as good a time as any for some reminders on why it’s so important to teach poetry. Too often, poetry instruction is seen as frivolous, or worse, dull, when really, the exact opposite is true. Need proof? Check out these 10 reasons to teach poetry…
1.  It can connect with larger instructional themes. Poems can beautifully complement themes of every topic – from aging to rebirth. A poem can help you take a different angle on a complex historical period, like the Civil Rights Movement, and make it more personal.  For instance, you could easily link poetry to Black History Month with a Poet and Poem study on Langston ...
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No-Prep, No-Excuses, No-Hassle Vocabulary Games

As the old adage goes, if you teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime. It turns out the same can be said about a student’s vocabulary: Teach her what a word means, and she’ll become a stronger reader.
Even better, say researchers, teach your students what eight to 10 words mean, over the course of 37 to 50 weeks, and even your lowest readers could experience a 30 percent increase in word knowledge… And the more words your students know, the more likely they are to comprehend what they read.
But as any of us who has memorized lists of vocabulary words knows, it can be – well, boring. As with many things school-related, the key ...
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5 Favorite Behavior Management Techniques


As teachers, we're always on the hunt for behavior management techniques that work.  That's because we all know that if students aren't behaving, they're definitely not learning.  Today, I thought I'd share some techniques that have worked successfully in my classroom.  You can read all about them, or you can check out this FREE video where I explain them all:I also have a ton of FREE bonus resources in the download for the video, so checking it out is totally worth your while!
Technique #1:  Behavior ChartThe first technique is one that I learned about when I was student teaching.  It's a BEHAVIOR CHART.  The set-up is easy.  You just place ...
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3 Fun Ways to Teach Irony

Have you ever been faced with a classroom full of blank or even confused faces when you ask students to find, discuss, or analyze the irony in a piece of literature?  I know I have!  Irony seems to be one of the concepts that students struggle with year-after-year.  That's why I thought it was time to develop some hands-on and engaging lessons to get students mastering situational, verbal, and dramatic irony!  I thought I'd share some of the ideas with you today. I hope they'll help your students get excited about irony, too!
IDEA #1:  Irony HuntSend students on a search for irony with this fun activity.  First, you'll need to create a set of ...
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Free Stackable Classroom Posters!

You know how they say that "necessity is the mother of invention?"  Well, that was definitely the case when I was faced with a super narrow bulletin board in the classroom.  I was perplexed about how to use the space.  Then, I remembered how much I love displaying motivational quotes in the classroom and the idea of the stackable poster was born. I decided to create a long, narrow poster with an inspirational quote.  

Then...I couldn't stop creating them!  Seriously...it's becoming an obsession! That's actually a good thing for you, because I have a bunch that you can download for FREE!  

They're super simple to install.  First, just cut out each of ...
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How to Create a Positive Classroom Culture with S.T.A.R.


I'm super psyched to be linking up with the Secondary Smorgasbord (thanks ELA Buffet and Desktop Learning Adventures for getting this blog linky started) today!  We're all discussing ways to create a positive classroom culture.  
As teachers we all strive to create a classroom that brings the very best out of our students.  We all want our classrooms to be a place where students feel safe and encouraged.  Here's the thing though, a positive classroom culture is not something that happens by accident.  It's something that needs to be nurtured and built throughout the school year.  
Today, I thought I'd share four really easy ways to do just that.  Each technique works together ...
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Nonfiction Text Features Bulletin Board


Don't you love a bulletin board that is happy and bright...and educational?  

I know I do! Unfortunately, my husband (also a teacher), did not have the same standards for bulletin boards. In fact, take a look at the bulletin board that I'm pretty sure he had in his classroom for at least five years! Yes, five years! 

Every summer as the new school year was approaching, I would beg him to let me change it for him...and each year he politely refused my help...until this year. Yes, miracle of miracles, my husband agreed to let me change up his bulletin board! 

I didn't waste any time gathering materials for a bulletin ...
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15 More Ways to Make Learning Fun!

Are you looking for ways to amp up the fun factor in your classroom?  If so, then you're going to love this list of 15 easy ways to make learning FUN!  


1.  Set up stations of food like grapes, carrots, and graham crackers and task students to write a five senses poem describing how each food looks, tastes, feels, smells, and sounds.

2.  Play music in your classroom while students work.  Or, have students rewrite music lyrics in response to a reading passage.  You could even have students design playlists for characters or novels.

3.  Tap into the sense of touch with shaving cream.  Have students spread out some foam shaving cream on their desks and then challenge ...
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15 Easy Ways to Make Learning Fun!


The truth is learning AND teaching are way more enjoyable when the FUN factor is turned up!  Check out some super easy ways to make learning fun!



1.  Get out the crayons and colored pencils and let students draw to show their understanding.  Have students sketch the main events of a reading passage.  Or, challenge students to draw a comic to showcase a concept they're learning, like theme.

2.  Create hands-on learning experiences for your kinesthetic and naturalistic learners.  Take students on a walk and have them write descriptively about what they see, hear, and feel. 

3.  Design group activities for students with strong interpersonal intelligence.  Have students work together to give powerful feedback during peer conferencing ...
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Tip #10 for Making Your Next School Year Easier




With the dog days of summer nearly behind us, it’s time to start thinking in earnest about the coming school year – and the students with whom we get to spend the next 10 months. So without further ado, here’s my final word on the 10 Things To Do This Summer To Make Next Year Easier.

A few weeks before school starts, I like to send a letter to my students. It can be fairly simple – just a note that demonstrates how excited I am about the year ahead, and how seriously I take learning. In my letter, I try to give students some insight into what they’ll be learning and how my classroom is structured. I also ...
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Tip #9 For Making Your Next School Year Easier



Welcome to Day 9 of 10 Things To Do This Summer To Make Next Year Easier!
As a parent and educator, I can attest to the many benefits of early, frequent communication. Even if you don’t yet know who will be in your class, you can start drafting a letter to parents now. Post it on your classroom website, mail it home, or hold onto to it until Curriculum Night.  You see where I'm going here, right?  Tip #9 for making your next school year easier is to
This is the perfect opportunity to create a positive first – and lasting – impression on parents. Who doesn’t want to be in the know about the teachers who will be ...
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