Sketch Notes in the Elementary Classroom

So many things go beyond content in our classrooms.  Teachers model and teach habits of mind, character development, communication skills and study skills in their classrooms as they encourage creativity and provide opportunities for 21st century learning.  All this happens while teaching content and standards.  Finding a balance among all of this is close to [...]

The Hazards Of the Accelerated Reader System

I am so fed up with the way our school systems use, or, rather, misuse, the Accelerated Reader (AR) testing system. I work with struggling readers on a daily basis, kids who hate to read because it is difficult for them to do so. I view my job as a teacher to help ease the [...]

10 Steps to a Positive Classroom Culture

Creating a positive classroom culture is hard work. We are living in a time of high anxiety and our students can feel that tension. Many no longer feel safe or welcomed in their communities just as many no longer feel safe expressing themselves. As educators, it is our responsibility to create classroom environments that are [...]

The Whos, Whats, Wheres, and Whens of Teaching Grammar to Younger Children

I love to teach grammar to my second graders, and they are usually very eager learners when they figure out that the grammar they are learning ties in to the writing that they enjoy. I introduce grammar by engaging students in a ‘hunt.’ We are always searching for parts of speech, punctuation and proper sentence [...]

How To Teach Creativity In A Test Driven Culture

I am blessed to have what many other teachers don’t: autonomy.  A 2014 Forbes article listed the top 10 skills wanted by employers: ability to work in a team structure, the ability to make decisions and solve problems, the ability to communicate, the ability to plan, organize, and prioritize work; and the ability to obtain and process [...]