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17
December
2018

The Value of Rubrics for Assessment

In what year did World War II begin? What type of energy is generated from the sun? How many cookies are in 15 boxes if there are 6 cookies in each box? These types of questions are easy to assess. The student response is either right, or it’s wrong. You can simply assign a point value to each question and easily determine a grade. But what about when your students are sharing an oral presentation and slideshow about an endangered animal they spent an entire week researching? Or if they are writing a personal narrative about a special moment in their life? How about if they are conducting a scientific investigation on the states of matter and submitting a detailed lab report? How do you assess these types of assignments fairly where there is so much room for variation in quality? In these cases, a rubric is exactly what you need.

Written by: Wendy Lipe

17
December
2018

Backwards Design in the Classroom: Planning with the End in Mind

Are you letting your favorite lessons design your unit instead of designing it around student goals?  Are you thinking more about what you want students to do rather than what you want them to learn?  In this article, we will take a look at what it means to plan with the end in mind and the steps needed to make your instruction more meaningful and focused for your students.

Written by: Natalie Brown

13
December
2018

Pre-Reading Strategies: Setting the Stage for Successful Reading

What is done before a student begins to read a new text is critical to their reading and comprehension success. This article will describe important pre-reading strategies you can use in your classroom to ensure the success of your readers. In reading this article, you will learn how you can you ensure that your students get the most out of their independent reading time. Set the stage for success with practical pre-reading strategies you and your students can implement right away!

Written by: Wendy Lipe

13
December
2018

A Glimpse at Project Based Learning in the Classroom

As an educator, you have probably heard of Project Based Learning, or PBL, but might have been overwhelmed by all it seems to encompass. Take a close glimpse of an actual PBL project in action in the classroom to see that it is completely manageable!  After reading this article, you will have a basic understanding of Project Based Learning and what it looks like in the classroom.

Written by: Wendy Lipe

30
October
2018

Choosing a Skill for Explicit Instruction in Reading

Feeling overwhelmed by all of the reading standards you need to teach? Learn how to narrow your instructional focus based on the specific needs of your students!

As a classroom teacher, it can be overwhelming to see all of the curriculum standards we are responsible for teaching. Reading instruction in particular ranges from the basics of decoding words to improving oral fluency to deeper comprehension. From time to time, it is critical that we take time to step back, look at the big picture based on data and observations, and refocus our instruction on the skills that are most needed. There are often small groups of students who might not understand a concept when it is taught via whole group instruction, and those students would most likely benefit from explicit instruction that is focused on one particular skill.

Written by: Wendy Lipe

17
September
2018

Using Text Evidence to Respond to Questions

I regularly tell my students, “Reading tests are completely manageable. The evidence is right in front of you, you just have to take the time to find it.” So often, students rush through a multiple choice test, not giving much thought to each individual answer and just choosing one that sounds accurate. Or they may have to draft a written response to a short answer question, and instead of pulling specific details from the text, they write a too brief, generic response in very vague terms. If you find this is the case with some of your students, you can teach them specific strategies to use when they are tackling any reading assessment.

Written by: Wendy Lipe

11
September
2018

The Importance of a Growth Mindset for Students

We’ve all heard a student complain, “This is too hard, I’ll never understand.” Or maybe even, “I’m not a math person, I just don’t get it.” These statements both reflect a fixed mindset, and one of our responsibilities as educators is to encourage a shift in our students from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. According to Dr. Carol Dweck, a professor of psychology at Stanford University and a leading researcher in the field of motivation, a growth mindset is the “understanding that abilities and intelligence can be developed.” Once students have this mindset, watch their confidence soar! Even as they face academic struggles, they will understand that the struggle is part of the process of learning.

Written by: Wendy Lipe

29
August
2018

Learning Objectives: What Are They and How Do I Write Them?

Do you sometimes find yourself using the state standard as your learning objective because you are unsure of how to write one yourself? Or maybe you are just leaving them out all together? Find out what information you should be including in your student learning objectives, as well as how you should be using them in your classroom with this article.

Written by: Natalie Brown

14
August
2018

Building a Better Classroom One Strategy at a Time

Strategies that can help create a more efficient environment for student learning.

Do you find yourself exhausted at the end of every school day? Your throat hurts from all of the talking, and you never seem to make it through everything you had planned? If you are like most teachers, you have become accustomed to this feeling and can’t imagine anything different. But it CAN be different by effectively implementing just a few classroom strategies. In this article we will be looking at three strategies that can turn any classroom from total chaos to a more efficient, well-run learning environment.

Written by: Natalie Brown

10
October
2017

Exploring Literature Genres in the Elementary Classroom

Exposure to texts from a wide variety of genres opens up new worlds to readers! Encourage your students to expand their reading habits, as well as recognize the importance of each genre, with these practical tips you can implement today!

Often, students will find one type of story they enjoy reading, and never take a chance to break out of their reading rut. By exposing your students to different genres of texts, you can open so many new worlds of reading! If that alone is not reason enough to begin a genre study in your classroom, consider how every genre has its own purpose and set of features. If your students are never exposed to traditional literature such as fables and myths, they may never know the wonder of oral storytelling and passing stories on from generation to generation. If they never read biographies, they may not understand the value of telling a story in chronological order. If they don’t read informational texts from an early age, they may struggle later on with research skills and understanding content-specific vocabulary. These are just a few examples of why understanding genre is so important.

Written by: Wendy Lipe

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