I am truly passionate about teaching vocabulary in my classroom. I know that my students need a good grasp of tier two words to improve their reading comprehension, word choice in their writing and increase their performance on standardized tests. All of that is important. But the reason that I really enjoy teaching vocabulary is that I love to see my kids get excited about words. Playing with words is actually fun! I have a vocabulary routine in my classroom that takes ten minutes per day. We never take out the dictionary during our vocabulary time. I do not give students a list of words and ask them to look them up during centers. NEVER. I am required to teach students how to use the dictionary. It is our language lesson one week. And then we put those books away.  I don't believe that dictionaries should be used for vocabulary and here is why... 1. Words have multiple definitions.  Students can look up one word and be bombarded with a dozen definitions. Some ...
In my last post, which you can read HERE , I talked a lot about why I believe that test prep is necessary. It can help to increase student confidence and relieve some of their test taking anxiety. However, only quality test prep will help! If you are not using test prep time to review important skills and strategies while building your students up- you are wasting valuable time.  I have compiled some test prep dos and don't to help guide you as you plan for your class test prep.  Test Prep Dos 1. DO plan fun review activities. Test prep should NOT be boring! Test days are boring enough. Let's keep the days leading up to testing engaging. Get kids out of their seats. Play games and rotate through centers . Creating a fun test prep environment will help to alleviate some student test taking pressure and decrease the negative connotations associated with testing. You can read more about this FREE vocabulary game by clicking HERE . You can read about ho...
I don't love standardized testing, but it is a necessary evil. I don't agree with judging schools, teachers or students on the results of one test. I don't believe that money should be handed out or taken away based on test scores. I am certainly not a fan of schools being graded on test scores alone. That being said... testing isn't going away anytime soon. Please don't kill the messenger! I think we had best look at the bright side of testing, even if we have to dig a bit to find it. Testing teaches our kids to persevere. It shows them that they can do hard things. Students will eventually need to take exams such as the SAT, ACT, college blue book exams and career certification exams. Many jobs even require on-the-job performance evaluations. Sadly, testing is part of life. So we may as well show kids now that they CAN do it and give them strategies they can use for years to come.  Testing is a necessary evil, but should we bother with test prep? Thro...
I have been using Stitch Fix for almost all of my clothing purchases for the past five months. I have been posting some pictures on my Instagram and have had several requests to see a full reveal. Ask and you shall receive!!! I get a Stitch once a month and so I will share my reveal with you each month. If you are not familiar with Stitch Fix here are the details: It is a personalized styling service and it is amazing. You simply fill out a style profile with sizing and preferences. Then, your very own stylist selects five pieces to send to you to try on at home. I love being able to try the clothes on with my accessories and shoes! You can keep what you love and return what you do not want in a prepaid envelope. You are charged a $20 styling fee, but the fee goes towards any of the clothes that you keep. I am always keeping something, so I never really pay that fee! Plus, if you keep all five pieces, you get 25% off of the entire order. And you never pay for shipping!  Clic...
Innovative classroom resources won't mask poor teaching, but fantastic classroom resources can magnify great teaching. Having quality resources to teach reading, math and writing can help you to be a more creative teacher who is able to meet your students' various needs. Having great materials can also help to save you loads of time when planning and prepping your weekly lessons!  I have used countless resources in my third grade classroom. It is difficult to choose my favorites! However, I have compiled a list of five resources that I could not live without. 1. Math Centers I have been using math centers since my very first year of teaching. I found that I was spending hours each week prepping new centers. I was also using a lot of valuable class time teaching students how to complete these centers. I decided that there had to be a better way to conduct a meaningful math center time. So I created math centers for every third grade skill and kept t...