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Reflect and Plan: Routines and Procedures for the School Year

One of my favorite things about teaching is that every year is a fresh start. Whether you are new to teaching, or someone who has been teaching for many years, we all can admit that we have plenty of room to grow. After 13 years of teaching, I am still making changes each year in how I run my classroom. Summer is the perfect time to reflect on the previous school year and to plan and make changes for the next.

Every year I spend a lot of time in those first weeks of school establishing routines and procedures. I set aside a great deal of time to teach, practice, and reinforce them. Doing so sets the foundation for a smooth and productive school year. With that being said, it is important to go into each year with a solid plan. You should definitely know what those routines and procedures will be before students step foot in your classroom.

Martin's BIG Words for BIG Kids!!

Picture books aren't just for little kids!! As an upper grade teacher, I love to incorporate picture books into our literacy block, especially as a way to encourage my students to think, discuss, and reflect.

To celebrate the extraordinary life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I love using the book Martin's Big Words by Doreen Rappaport. Martin's words were so powerful and this book weaves them in with a short biography of his life. Along with the beautiful illustrations by Bryan Collier, this story is a favorite of my students each and every year.

Smashing Strategies for Guided Math: Daily Reflections

This is our final week of sharing Smashing Strategies for Guided Math!! In my previous two posts, I discussed different options for Math Warm-Ups and Incorporating Interactive Notebooks into Guided Math. Today I am excited to share how you can use Daily Reflections to wrap up your math block!!

Smashing Strategies for Guided Math: Incorporating Interactive Notebooks

We are back this week to bring you more Smashing Strategies for Guided Math!! In my last post I discussed different options for Math Warm-Ups. Today I am excited to share how you can incorporate Interactive Notebooks into your math block!!

Smashing Strategies for Guided Math: Starting the Day With Math Warm-Ups

I am thrilled to be joining a wonderful group of teacher bloggers to share a variety of ideas related to Guided Math!! This is my first post in our Smashing Strategies for Guided Math series, and I thought I would start off by sharing ideas for starting the day with Math Warm-Ups!!

A New Favorite: We're All Wonders

This little gem was just delivered this morning and I am already in love!! This newest addition to the Wonder collection is a picture book called We're All Wonders by R.J. Palacio, featuring everybody's favorite inspirational 5th grader. I can hardly wait to share this with my own 5th grade class after Spring Break!!

7 Ways to Celebrate Poetry in the Classroom

April is National Poetry Month, and what better time is there to teach our students all about poetry?! There are so many ways to celebrate poetry in your classroom, and today I thought I would share some of my favorite ways to teach and explore this fascinating genre!!

Character is Key: Promoting Character in the Classroom

As teachers, we are tasked with teaching so many different concepts and skills. We spend countless hours planning and implementing academic lessons that will prepare our students for the lives ahead of them. But for me personally, there is no task more important than teaching my students to be good people.

Setting the Tone with Scary Stories

I love a good scary story!! Especially during this time of year. The weather is starting to cool down, leaves are falling from the trees, and the days are getting a bit gloomier!! With Halloween upon us, it's the perfect time to break out those scary stories in the classroom. I am thrilled to share with you some favorites from my 5th grade classroom!!

Exploring Non-Fiction in the Elementary Classroom

I had the great honor and pleasure to write a blog post for the Teachers Pay Teachers Blog. I chose to write all about how I use and teach non-fiction in my upper grade classroom!! Click HERE to learn about how I make non-fiction come to life for my students!!

Classroom Must-Haves That I Can't "Picture" Myself Teaching Without

Every teacher has those few supplies, books, and resources that they couldn't possibly teach without! Along with my fellow bloggers over at Upper Elementary Snapshots, we decided to share all about our Classroom Must Haves. We are sharing the things that we simply could not "Picture" ourselves teaching without! Before you go today, be sure to also check out the "Must Haves" of the fabulous bloggers below, and enter our Giveaway at Upper Elementary Snapshots!!

Reinventing Reading Response Journals

As teachers we are constantly REINVENTING THE WHEEL!! Although it can be time consuming, one thing I love about my job, is that I get the opportunity to learn, grow, create, and RECREATE year after year!! I have been using Reading Response Journals in my classroom for over 10 years, and each year I make slight changes in the process, style, and implementation. The Reading Response Journals that I am about to share are a culmination of ideas from the past 10 years!!