13 Fun Spring Lesson Topics to Fill Your Teacher Plan Book Fast

Spring is in the air! It’s always fun compiling my favorite teaching themes and topics for classroom activities each month. When I sat down to make a list of April topics and May themes, I realized that there was so much overlap! Since spring tends to be such a busy time for teachers and families, I thought I’d sum up favorite spring themes here which would be great for either March or April! I love that thematic units give us, as teachers, a way to engage our students in high interest lessons, projects, activities, and even purposeful play! Check out […]

5 Quick & Easy Life Cycle Activities for Elementary School

One of my favorite science units has always been learning about life cycles. Learning about life cycles is so engaging to students because they  are using their observational skills to notice and comment on what happens… and the changes sometimes seem magical! I usually teach about life cycles in springtime, but I’ve come to learn that there are animals around all year long that students are excited to learn about. The thing I love about life cycles is that when we are talking about animals (and even plants!) students get really excited. Since these concepts are so engaging you can […]

How to Make Report Writing Fun and Easy for Your Elementary Students

As your kindergarten, first graders, or second graders (and beyond) begin navigating reading informational text, you unlock a great opportunity to connect reading and research writing. I find that my students love researching and learning about animals. A research companion can be just what your students need to scaffold them as they organize the information they read, and begin to write informational and “All About” type explanatory texts. So what is a Research Companion? A Research companion is a set of materials that supports students as they read and learn about a certain topic. For me, it usually includes graphic […]

5 Simple Steps to Write the Perfect Summer Letter to Your Students

I LOVE writing summer introduction letters to my elementary students! At first I was so overwhelmed by all of the possibilities. I wondered… Should my letter be addressed to the student, the parents, both? Should I spend time writing about my background as a teacher? Should I include anything about my family? Now more than ever there are questions like:  Should I send the letter digitally, or in the mail (in my experience kids REALLY REALLY love getting mail). One thing is for certain building those school-home relationships is invaluable and you’ll want and need families as your partners in […]

5 Fantastic Tips for Starting the School Year with Strong School-Home Partnerships

Back to school time is full of fun, excitement, and nerves for students, parents and teachers. We all get a little bit of the jitters! The beginning of the year is a wonderful time to establish warm and connected relationships with the families of your students. I was surprised to recently read in a social media group I am part of that teachers were encouraging each other to have the least amount of communication as possible with parents because it was easier. I was so disheartened, but I just know if teachers and parents both want the best for children, […]

21 Basic Literacy Terms Every Teacher Needs to Know : Free Printable Guide

With the rise of the Science of Reading and the increased testing in many states for new teachers, reading terminology is as important as ever. These important words are like a vocabulary bank for teachers and the knowledge and use of them can help you to: *Communicate effectively with colleagues about students and programs *Identify components of your literacy instruction *Report on student progress and goals on reports, 504s & IEPs *Understand the research surrounding early literacy *Help you to pass tests for educators Here are 21 Literacy Based Terms You Should Know If you want a handy dandy printable […]

How to Plan for Small Group Reading Instruction : An Easy to Follow Formula

At the start of the school year there seem to be so many assessments. It feels like a relief when your students are ready for small group instruction. I remember my very first year teaching wondering what in the world I was supposed to do during that time. My school district used a guided reading approach, but I noticed that many teachers spent an entire session doing picture walks and guessing about what was happening in the story. I also noticed that there was very little phonics instruction during the reading process. I had a feeling I could organize my […]