Tips, Activity Ideas, and Resources for Virtual Learning

As you make the transition to online teaching, here are some tips, activity ideas, and resources to support your virtual classroom: Communicate to parents the supplies their children will need for at-home learning. Set up your digital classroom rules or at-home learning rules: send students home with the rules for online or at-home learning and Read More »
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Making Test Prep Engaging and Stress Free

When we think of spring, we imagine birds chirping, leaves turning green, flowers blooming, and the sun shining its warmth over everything. If you are an educator, spring has a second meaning:…
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Building a Positive Community Through Reflection

As the year draws to an end, we find ourselves reflecting on the past 12 months. New Year’s Eve in 2019 also marks the end of the decade! Reflection can be a…
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Stop and Think: Teaching Students to Reflect

As educators, we all want to help our students develop valuable life-long skills, including the ability to think critically about their own work, truly know themselves and their learning styles, reflect on…
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Developing Intrinsic Motivation with Choice

According to Vocabulary.com, the word “intrinsic” is an adjective that means “belonging to a thing by its very nature.” Some synonyms for intrinsic are: essential, built-in, constitutional, inherent, integral, inner, internal. This…
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Using Observation to Enhance Learning

This time of year, it can be easy to begin thinking that we’ve got students all figured out. We’ve had them in our classrooms for a couple of months, refreshed our knowledge…
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Igniting the Fires of Learning

By the time the school year reaches November, students feel a familiarity with the rhythm of the school day that leads to more intensified learning. This increase in academic challenges can be…
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Highlighting Academics with Belonging, Significance and Fun

“When we start the day with everyone together, face to face, welcoming each person, sharing news, listening to individual voices, and communicating as a caring group, we make several powerful statements. We…
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Teaching Students to Speak Confidently

“As their teachers, we hold in our hearts our own hopes and dreams for [our students]. We want them to engage in academic rigor and to be ideamongers who contribute to classroom…
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Bring Social Studies Into Morning Meeting

Morning Meeting is a chance for teachers to introduce and reinforce critical academic and social-emotional skills for students of any age. Bringing social studies into Morning Meeting can give students extra opportunities…
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Spring Rejuvenation

No matter what the weather is like where you are, it can be challenging for both students and teachers to maintain enthusiasm at this point in the school year. The beginning-of-school energy…
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Breathe Life into Learning with Engaging Academics

Building the characteristics of engaging academics into lessons helps students do rigorous learning in a dynamic way. Students not only engage with and enjoy their learning, but are more willing to tackle…
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Making Learning Meaningful: It’s All About the Why

A few years ago, as I looked around the fourth/fifth grade combination class I taught, I saw a student staring at her math notebook and slowly shaking her head. I wandered over…
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A Teacher Shares

Get Moving! It’s 1:30 in the afternoon, and our class is preparing for language arts block. Recess and lunch seem like hours ago, and we still have an entire content area to…
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The Building Blocks of Collaboration: Partner and Small-Group Chats (Grades 5–6)

Children learn a great deal, academically and socially, by collaborating—working together toward common goals. A good way to help students begin developing collaboration skills is by teaching them how to exchange ideas,…
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Doing Language Arts in Morning Meeting

Responsive Classroom Morning Meeting is a great way to set a positive tone for the day of learning ahead while also having fun and building community. It’s also a great way to…
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Active, Engaging Test Prep: The Walking Quiz

In my previous post, I talked about the importance of incorporating movement into classroom work and gave an example of one way to do that with an editing activity. In this post,…
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Pen Pals With a Twist

Not long ago, my second grade classes started pen pal projects. These weren't your usual pen pal ventures where children write to students in another state or country. These had a twist. 
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Test Prep with Less Stress

As we approached testing season, the already anxiety-prone fourth graders I teach began asking questions about test dates, format, and content. These signs of stress, combined with antsiness brought on by the…
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Teaching Skillful Communication

Ryan holds up the book so all his classmates can see the cover and begins: "Reptile Facts is my favorite first grade book. Every first grader should read this book because it…
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The Hot Seat

Are you looking for interactive learning structures that will help your students gain a deeper understanding of content while also developing and practicing higher level thinking skills? The Hot Seat is a…
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Choices Choices

When I look around my classroom, I see students making choices. The first graders I teach make choices all through the day, from the time they arrive until Closing Circle.
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Asking Strategic Questions

Adapted from the new book The Language of Learning: Teaching Students Core Thinking, Listening, & Speaking Skills 
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Teaching Students to Stay Focused

Welcome to Room 327! Here, on a warm day in May, you'll find thirty third graders reading independently. The room is silent, save for the occasional chuckle or sound of disbelief you…
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Teaching Love

I recently had the pleasure of spending two full days at Garfield Elementary School in Springfield, Virginia, a school that has been using the Responsive Classroom approach for close to ten years.…
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Challenges Are Fun!

Recently I've been thinking about how enthusiastically the students in my class take on challenges, and how challenging them has helped us build a more positive community and made learning more fun…
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When Learning Is Fun

If your classroom life is like mine these days, it's gotten harder to make learning fun. This year in my district we have a new teacher evaluation system, new report cards, new…
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