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How to Use Book Talks



I love to read and I love helping to teach children a love of reading. I've found that just putting a good book in a student's hands is not always enough for all kids.  Some kids need a little more encouragement to pick up a good book and book talks are a great way to help kids find a book they will love to read!

Customize Your Google Classroom!



Wow. So much has changed in the course of just a few short weeks. Like most of you, I'm now trying to figure out how to teach my class remotely. Fortunately, I am beginning Spring Break right now so I have some time to work on it.

Like many people, when I have too much time on my hands, I tend to want to play and not work. I decided to make an effort to be somewhat productive and began to organize my Google Classroom.  While doing that, I thought it would be fun to create my own Google Classroom header images.  This caused me to have to research images sizes, converting pixels to inches, and playing around in PowerPoint. I love to create things in PowerPoint since I can use any fonts that I want, unlike Google where I'm restricted to using just Google fonts. (Google has many great font options, I just like to be different!).

Leap Day Fun!



Leap Day only comes around every four years so I like to give February 29th some special recognition in my classroom! We have some Leap Day Fun and my students read about it, write about it, math about it, and just have some fun with it too.

Four years ago, I created a reading passage with questions and a math activity all about Leap Day and Leap Year.  I've recently added some math questions, a writing activity, and a fun brainstorm activity of 29 "extra" things that students could do on the "extra" day this year.

What is Leap Day? First, I have my students read about why we have a leap day every four years. The reason ties in well with what we're learning about the relationship between the sun and the Earth in fourth grade too.

Classroom Management Makeover

At the end of each school year, I reflect back and choose one thing I really want to change and improve upon and I make that my own mini-professional development for the summer. This past summer, I chose classroom management. I've always been known for good classroom management and I've always had the ability to build good relationships with challenging students. However, in the past few years, this was getting more challenging. It could be that my patience was wearing thin (I was going through some personal challenges myself), the number of challenging students was increasing each year, the challenges were changing.  All of the above? None of the above? I couldn't put my finger on it but the reason didn't matter, if I wanted to be better at it, would have to change.

Book vs. Movie Ideas For You

In Language Arts, my students recently completed a novel unit using Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson.  I used the 5th-grade novel unit from ReadWorks.org and it was fantastic!  The unit is broken down into 22 days with lessons on genre, predictions, plot conflicts, theme, relationships, gender roles textual analysis and a ton of vocabulary resources.  It was jam-packed with great lessons and student pages and best of all, it was FREE.  I use ReadWorks.org quite frequently as a source for close reading passages but have never tried their novel units.  I highly recommend that you try it out!  They also have a nice collection of paired texts and poetry!  It's an amazing resource!

How to Use Google Forms to Make Your Teaching Life Easier!



I LOVE using Google in my classroom and over the last few years, I've found ways to use Google Forms that really help make my teaching life easier.  No matter what, I'm always overwhelmed with piles of papers to grade or to hand out - aren't we all?  Pushing out some activities, assignments, and forms to Google Forms helps me manage that overload.  I can easily pull up what I need digitally with a few clicks and it never gets LOST - I always know where to find it!

My class is not 1:1 with computers but we do have 6 desktops in the classroom that my students can use.  We also have Computer Lab as a weekly special PLUS I can reserve a lab or a class set of laptops during the school day if I want my whole class to complete a Google Form all at the same time. I usually just use Forms in my classroom and rotate my students to a computer station in groups of 6.

Here are just some of the ways I use Google Forms in my classroom.

Two Easy Tips to Prepare Your Class for a Sub


Do you dread writing sub plans?  I know Ido! Do you dread coming back from a day out of your classroom and reading the note from the sub about your students' behavior?  Yup, I did.  I can't help you with sub plans today but I can help you with ways to help your students behave better for a guest teacher in your classroom.

I have TWO easy tips for you!
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