When I first started teaching, I used to take a few students' writing journals home to edit each night. I would spend my evenings marking up mistakes in my students' writing. I would then meet with them the next day to discuss what they needed to fix. I would do this every single night! When I did this, we mostly focused on spelling, grammar, and other mechanical errors. I made spelling very important because, at the time, I thought it was the most important skill. Well, I found that my students did not respond well to this type of editing (like they started to hate writing and were scared of the color red) and changes needed to be made. I made a big change. I decided to stop editing my students' work. Instead, I found ways to teach students to edit their own work. 5 Reasons I Don't Edit Student Writing It is too time consuming! Taking your students' writing home every single night is draining. You need time in the evenings to refresh and take ca...
Teachers in my Facebook groups are always asking for suggestions for what they should have their students write about. They always get a big list of ideas, but I am the crazy one who says: "Let them write about whatever they want to write about!" That scares the begeebers out of some teachers! I have to be real with you, it scared me too. It scared me real bad. I like having control. I like things to be just so. I didn't want to let go because I didn't know if my kids would come up with good topics or if I would be able to help them with their pieces when I knew nothing about the topic.  These are all very legitimate excuses. But they are just excuses. Once you take the leap and get out of your comfort zone, you and your writers will grow by leaps and bounds!  You can read my top three reasons for ditching the prompts and the questions I get asked most often, or you can listen to the same information on this podcast. 1. The Qualit...
As you may already know, I am a huge proponent of the writer's workshop model in the classroom. But finding time for writing workshop can be tricky. When I asked teachers in my Facebook groups what their biggest challenge was when teaching writing, most said it is finding the time to teach it.  I believe that you need at least 30 minutes  for  writing instruction, but  45 minutes is preferred. This can be tricky for some of us to fit in to our daily schedule! I totally get that. It’s easy to say, “I can’t come up with that time.” But are you willing to try? Are you willing to do something different? Are you ready to get creative?  All of these solutions will not work for all of you, but maybe you are able to find one or two that will help you  find the time needed for writing instruction. Let's jump in with an open mind. If you prefer to listen to my ideas, you can listen to my podcast. Otherwise, keep reading. Your first step... Write ou...
I LOVED teaching third grade math! If I could have found a way to teach nothing but third grade math- I would have been in heaven.  I did not like math as a child. I just couldn't understand WHY! I was THAT kid asking, "When will I use this?" "Why does that work?" My math teachers hated me. And because of that experience, I strive to give my third graders a better experience with math. In my classroom, we always talk about why they need to know it and why it works.  Third grade math is not easy though! They spend Kindergarten, 1st grade and 2nd grade working on addition and subtraction. Then in third grade, we are expected to teach multiplication and division to mastery. We double the number of operations that students have to be competent in and will see in word problems!  Using key words in word problems may have been a suitable strategy in previous years. However, students quickly realize that many of the addition key words can also be used...
Teaching grammar got so much easier when I implemented a daily routine! You can read more about my grammar instruction HERE . This is my basic routine: Monday: PowerPoint Tuesday: Notebook Activity Wednesday: Writing Thursday: Task Card Scoot Friday: Assessment I use THIS resource for all of my grammar instruction. Students have grown so much with their grammar skills. However, we all have a few students who just can't keep up and struggle with the activities. I love that my routine makes it easy to differentiate for my struggling learners.  If you prefer to listen to these ideas, enjoy this podcast. Here are some ways that you can support your students who need extra help in grammar: Print the PowerPoint. Sometimes our struggling learners do best when they have something right in front of them rather than focusing on the board. You can always print the Monday PowerPoint slides with six slides per page. Students can see ever...
Have you ever felt like you have no idea what to teach during your writing mini lessons? Do you read your students' writing samples and then still have no clue where to start with what lessons they need?  Mini lessons need to be short and meaningful. That can be very hard to do! It's pretty easy to get off track in a lesson, especially when ten students all have a story to share when you mention your dog as an example in your mini lesson, right?!  To help you keep your mini lessons focused, meaningful, and beneficial, I've compiled a FREEBIE with a list of skills I believe should be taught during this time.  This freebie includes a list of mini lessons that you should use when teacher four different types of writing: personal narratives, informational reports, opinion essays and fiction narratives.  Besides just listing the skills that you should teach, this free guide also gives you suggestions for teaching the mini lesson! I am so excited to get...
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 have written lots of articles that will help you to plan test prep activities that will help to prepare your students and still be super fun! Do we even need to bother with test prep? Through the years, I have heard many teachers say something like, "I don't do test prep because I teach quality lessons all year." Have you ever had a teacher tell you that? It sort of ruffles my feathers, because it makes it sound like teachers who bother with test prep are doing so because they weren't good educators the rest of the year.  This may be...
When I added math journaling to my math routine, I am not going to lie, it was PAINFUL! My students would often just write one word answers. And the ones who wrote a paragraph made NO sense. Reading them was my least favorite teacher task and always made me feel like my students just weren't getting it. And it dawned on me- I had been teaching math, but had failed to teach them how to explain their thinking! Fast forward a few years and lots of tears and tacos later- I think I have finally figured out how to teach my students to write about math. Let me share the step-by-step lessons that made a huge difference for my students. If you prefer listening to this content via podcast, I have that too! I elaborate on all five steps in my process below. I would also be happy to send you a little cheat sheet to help you to remember the process later when you're writing lesson plans. Just drop your name and email address below and I will send that right away. Da...