Teaching Reading Strategies When Students or Parents Aren't on Board

Teaching reading strategies is hard enough. But when parents or students aren't on board, it's doubly hard.
My daughter LOVED the Mercer Mayer books when she was little. At age 4, she would "read" them to herself every night in her bed -pointing to the words and repeating the stories to herself from memory. The ENTIRE stack. EVERY night. She literally memorized ALL those words and could apply them anywhere. So she accidentally learned read and that sounds great, RIGHT?!
Here's the PROBLEM with that method. She had NO decoding skills for new words. I had the hardest time teaching her to decode when she had such a large memorized vocabulary and felt she already KNEW how to read just fine. Ugh!
Over the years, I've encountered students like this as well. They've memorized their way into reading but struggle when they encounter unknown words and sometimes don't have any comprehension skills either. But, they [and their parents] feel they can read just fine. Helping...
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How to Incorporate Writing Across the Curriculum [Free Printable]

Writing every day is one of my non-negotiable items for students no matter their grade level. I know when teachers hear me say that, one of the things they [guiltily] imagine is MORE grading and planning in an already busy life.  Adding more writing can certainly turn into that if we let it, but it doesn't have to be that way.

My purpose for more writing isn't to have more grades in a grade book. I rarely grade this extra practice...
...and I don't think you should either.

Writing more frequently is an opportunity for students to practice, and I don't grade practice work. Why? It stifles creativity and student's willingness to take risks in their writing and thinking. In short, my purpose is to give students a chance to play with writing, thinking in new ways, get more comfortable with writing and challenge themselves.

It's much EASIER than it sounds.

The answer is Quick Writes - short, fast moments to try something new, think deeply or offer their thoughts and opinions on all...

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Are Worksheets Effective Teaching Tools?

effective teaching Nov 07, 2019
If you've followed me for awhile, you probably know I'm not a fan of worksheets most of the time.

I'm going to jump all the way into the deep end here and offend quite a few people on BOTH sides of the issue. Guess what?! I'm here to tell you the truth, not be popular.

So here goes...

There are a few instances in which worksheets are effective. However, most of the time, relying on worksheets on a regular basis in all subjects is a way we mask problems and struggles in our teaching. 

Please know...

I do not jump on bandwagons, and I try very hard to NOT throw out great resources and teaching practices when trying something new. So, I have to say sometimes worksheets, when used correctly, ARE appropriate. I know that's not the current rhetoric in education, but it's true. When we think of worksheets as supports or guideposts we can put into place to help students become independent (and not need them), they are very appropriate. 

Here are some appropriate uses of...
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The 15 Secret Rules of Highly Successful Teachers

effective teaching May 29, 2019

Here's the rules...

  • Take care of yourself first. This means you MUST guard your personal time.
  • Pre-determine how much time you’ll work outside school hours. Make a schedule of time/day and what you’ll accomplish. Stick to it. Walk away when time is up. Remember, weekends are sacred. You NEED a physical and mental break to be a good teacher.
  • Show up mentally and emotionally. Be invested. Be real about the days you're worn out or struggling. You students will notice, so ask for their help in winning the day.
  • Master your classroom management. If this is working, everything else will be so much easier.
  • Commit to being consistent in all you do so your students will feel safe.
  • Don’t judge other teachers or parents. Life is hard enough. We all have our journey and need support to grow from who we are today to whom we’ll be tomorrow.
  • Budget, budget, budget. Spend as little money on your classroom as you possibly, reasonably can. Less is more. 
  • No...
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What to Do Instead of Summer Homework and My End-of-Year Readiness Guide

This is the time of year where we're not only prepping for the end of school but thinking of what we'll do the same and differently next year. It's funny how those things are intricately tied together. 

I've got a few things for you for end-of-year, summer boosts and gathering all those thoughts and ideas for next year as well. Wow! That's a lot of stuff, right?! No worries, I'll make it as simple and easy as I can.

End of the School Year Organization

As we near the end of the year, it can be difficult to keep track of all the moving parts to get things wrapped up, packed up and ready for summer. Here's my [free] End-of-Year Checklist to help you with that. 

Summer Boosts

While you probably know I'm NOT a fan of summer homework, you might not know this bit. I'm a HUGE fan of sneaky ways to get kids learning and reading without even knowing it's the dreaded "practice" they want to avoid. So here's two items to help you support parents in this quest.

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