#102: Tips for How to Organize Your Classroom Library

We’ve all asked that question at some point in our teaching careers...how do you organize your classroom library? 

Honestly, it's not always a one-and-done situation. We may organize our classroom library differently depending on the grade level we are teaching, our goals for our students, the skills we want them to learn, and more. In fact, there are so many ways to organize your classroom library that it can get confusing and overwhelming. 

So, if you're pondering reorganizing your library, setting up a classroom library for the first time, or just want to be able to use and manage your classroom library better, this episode is for you!


Classroom library organization is more than just how you group and store the books. 

Sometimes I think teachers get caught up in sorting, cataloging, and creating organization for the books. All the while, the other pieces that go with managing a...

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#101: 9 Types of Scaffolding When Teaching

effective teaching Jun 23, 2022

I am sure you already use scaffolding strategies to help each of your students learn.

Let’s face it, a classroom of students [just like any workplace] is really a hodgepodge of readiness, abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. In order to help all of our students learn, we have to be able to scaffold instruction in more than one way.

Today, I have the skinny 9 ways to scaffold instruction.


Before we begin, I just want to say thank you to everyone who entered the gift card drawing to celebrate the 100th episode of the podcast. The winner of the $100 TeachersPayTeachers Gift Card is Aimee Dunford. Congratulations, Aimee!

What is scaffolding instruction? Let's begin with a definition:

According to EdGlossary, "Scaffolding refers to a variety of instructional techniques used to move students progressively toward stronger understanding and, ultimately, greater independence in the learning...

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#100: How to Use Task Cards in Your Classroom

effective teaching Jun 16, 2022

You have probably heard of task cards or even tried them in your classroom. But, do you honestly know a lot about the best ways to use task cards in your classroom?

Not to worry! Today, the 100th episode of The Teach Joyully Podcast is all about how to use task cards. 

To celebrate to 100th episode of The Teach Joyfully Podcast I'm giving away a $100 TeachersPayTeachers gift card. Down below  are the all details to enter the drawing.


Teaching with task cards might seem like it just makes things more complicated or maybe task cards feel like one more thing to do. 

I get that. I do think task cards make formative assessments so much easier though. So it might be more work upfront until you get the hang of creating task cards, but in the long run, those task cards will pay off big time.

Like anything, learning something new or adding in a new piece takes practice. This piece gets...

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#092: Teaching Poetry in Elementary Grades

effective teaching poetry Apr 21, 2022

Do you love teaching poetry to your students? Being a poetry lover sure helps in this endeavor.

Or maybe, just maybe, you're not a "poetry person". I get it. We didn't all learn to love poetry and how to teach poetry is a skill that doesn't always come naturally. But, there's so much you can teach about reading when you are teaching students poetry. It's worth the effort to hone your skills. I promise!


Before you dive into learning about poetry with your students, there are some essential pieces that your students should have been introduced to. I call them "pre-poetry prep".

Many of these items you have probably already taught, but a little refresher is always good. So, give a little time to teaching or reviewing alliteration, inferencing, figurative language, rhyming, and syllabication. 

Next, get ready to read a lot of poetry. Give your students lots of experience and exposure to all kinds of...

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#090: Teaching Genre in Primary Grades

Teaching genre in primary grades is more important than you think. Do you have students that read the same book over and over again?

It can be worrisome since students may start to think reading is boring. And once something becomes boring, good luck convincing them otherwise.

Today is all about teaching genre. Young children love books. They love books, "reading" and being read to. Once they start the hard work of actually reading though, finding interesting books is an added challenge. This can be where students get so discouraged that they lose their love of reading. We can't have that!


Genre is more than just fiction versus nonfiction.

We teach students authors and illustrators to help them narrow down books they might like--if they like one book by an author, they may like other books by the author, too. Maybe you even compare authors to each other. How are two alike? How are they different?...

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#087: How to Use Technology in the Classroom Effectively

effective teaching Mar 17, 2022

Sometimes I feel like technology has taken over classrooms and inhibits what teachers are able to teach or inhibits their students learning deeply. I know those are fighting words in our tech-savvy [and tech-addicted] world.

But, I stand behind it. Listen in to hear why and how to change your teaching to use technology as an effective tool, and bonus, grab back more teaching time.


Do you ever feel like all the programs and required technology application minutes your students have are stealing your teaching time?

You're NOT alone! Between students' required minutes on programs like i-Ready and all of the programs your district has paid good money for and wants you to use, it can feel like there is almost no time left to teach! What's a dedicated teacher like you got to do around here to get in more than little snippets of teaching time?!

There's more requirements every month in education and...

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#082: Why Teaching Letter Writing is Still Important

Do you remember the last time you got a real piece of mail? Not the junk mail that fills up the mailbox (not to mention the shredder), but real someone-put-a-stamp-on-an-envelope mail. Do you remember how exciting that is? Even if it's a birthday card, it means someone took the time to remember you. Letter writing isn't a lost art. Think about how important a well-crafted email is (there's another place that junks up quickly). Teaching students to communicate through writing is a timeless skill.

Today, I have some tips and resources to teach your students the art of letter writing.


Don't limit your students to just letter writing! They can practice writing cards, postcards, or party invitations. No, the recipients don't have to be real (my students love writing letters to my dog!) and that's a great opportunity to connect with book characters.

Resources mentioned:

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#081: How and Why to Teach Your Students to Compare and Contrast

When’s the last time you talked about comparing and contrasting and didn’t use a Venn diagram? Venn diagrams and comparing and contrasting seem to just go together, don’t they? It’s not the only way…


Did you know there are many benefits of being able to compare and contrast? Here's a few...

Comparing and contrasting is a strategy that helps us evaluate various aspects of a text. It prepares your students for higher-level analysis of texts. When your students compare and contrast, they are improving their comprehension of the text by drawing their attention to important details. Students are clarifying their thinking and looking deeper at a text. This improves their memory of the text as well. And that's just the beginning...

There's lots of activities we can use for teaching comparing and contrasting. It's a simple reading comprehension strategy to teach and to use with...

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#080: Tips for Teaching Summarizing in Elementary Grades

Do your students struggle with writing a summary?

That's actually very common. [‍Who knew?] Summarizing is quite difficult when you’re first learning how. It seems so simple to us on the other side with all the knowledge, doesn’t it?! Even though it’s tricky, stick with it! This comprehension strategy is an important one for your students' long-term learning success. 

In case you haven't figured it out yet, today's episode of The Teach Joyfully Podcast is all about teaching the summarizing comprehension strategy.


So what exactly is summarizing? 

Well...according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, "a summary is a restating of a text in your own words which gives the meaning of the original text in a condensed format". We do NOT add our thoughts or opinions in a summary. That can be tricky for some students. Also, a summary is not the same thing as a retelling. They are related...

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#079: Why Making Predictions is an Important Reading Comprehension Strategy

Do you ever skip making predictions or just have your students make them before you read but not during or even after? If that’s you, it’s ok. You’re probably not alone.

This little strategy can seem silly or not as important as other comprehension strategies. In fact, teaching your students to make predictions might seem like a basic thing they should already know. But…do they?


In this episode of the Teach Joyfully Podcast, I’m making a case for teaching your students about making predictions. We’ll talk about the how, the why, and great books to use as mentor texts for this important reading comprehension strategy.

Listen in to the full episode to find out:

  • Why the making predictions strategy is so important.
  • How to go about teaching this comprehension strategy
  • some of my favorite mentor texts for teaching students to make predictions as they read.

Listen to...

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