Winter Storm Jonas left us here in NYC huddled up for the weekend, baking cookies, snuggling on the couch, and watching Alan Rickman movies in memoriam. But schools were back in session again on Monday, despite sometimes impassible sidewalks and questionably plowed roads in some of the outer-lying neighborhoods. So since the snow is everywhere, … More Bring the Snow Inside – 7 Ways to Incorporate the Blizzard Into Your Classroom
Last week I wrote about using food to build vocabulary, especially descriptive language. Another good way to get your kids talking in more than monosyllabic grunts is to make use of a mystery box. I’m pretty sure I first found this idea in Fountas and Pinnell as a possible literacy center. It works excellently … More 5 Literacy Uses for a Mystery Box
For 13 years, I taught in the “hard-to-staff” neighborhoods of the Bronx. My students were hungry, traumatized, and VERY under-exposed to language and language-building experiences. How do you have a conversation about adjectives with students whose only real exposure to them is “bad” and “good,” and maybe “hot” and “cold”? But even if your kids … More 5 Ways to Integrate Food In the Classroom.
Fall, fall, wonderful fall. The time for field trips to the farm (for us city folk at least) and lots of hard work for kids actually growing up in farm country. But with fewer and fewer kids growing up with access to the growing process, many in the new generation are experiencing a serious disconnect … More Food Doesn’t Grow In Grocery Stores: A Harvest Lesson
Halloween is nearly upon us! How did that happen?! I’m usually much better prepared – I haven’t even started costume shopping yet! Fortunately this Halloween-themed sequencing lesson takes next to zero ahead-of-time prep. That’s what I love about dance-integrated lessons. You don’t have to cut anything out. For this lesson, I’ve always used Inside a … More A Halloween Sequencing Lesson in Dance.
Fall is my favorite season. Gorgeous temperatures (usually), gorgeous foliage (almost always), crunchy leaves underfoot (I don’t have to rake them), cozy sweaters, the beginning of hot chocolate season, and pumpkin everything! There are a gazillion great fall lesson compilations out there, like here, and here, and here (especially love the one at that last link … More Seasons, Cycles, and Worms: A Less Obvious Fall Science Unit
Transitions. Done poorly, they can break down classroom order faster than you can say “Sit down, please.” Done well, they become an important educational tool. Here are 20 transition games to improve early literacy learning. Rhyming 1. If your name rhymes with Bichael, Bessica, or Bestiny, you may go back to your seat. (Use whatever … More 20 Transition Mini-Games for Literacy
So far on this (very young) blog, I’ve focused mostly on listicles, but this week I want to zoom in and focus on doing one idea very thoroughly. This is the very definition of rigor, and it’s something an arts-integrated unit is very good for. So here’s an All About Me unit incorporating poetry, drawing, … More An All About Me Unit
It’s back to school time, which, for early elementary teachers, and sometimes for upper elementary teachers, means back to the ABCs. That’s 26 letters times 2 (for upper and lower case), to be matched in various combinations with 44 separate phonemes. That’s 96 distinct factoids necessary for reading, not counting the skills needed to put … More Arts Integration & the ABCs – 6 Ways to Make the ABCs Artistic, Beautiful, & Creative
School is just around the corner, and what better way to wade into a new year (and start a new blog!) than with an armful of great read-alouds. Here are some old and new to launch those important conversations about school, rules, community, respect, and inspiration. And some craft and writing suggestions to kick-start those … More 21 Great Picture Books to Open the School Year (With Bulletin Board Ideas).