Before learning about drama circles, we weren’t sure how we could incorporate drama into our classroom in a meaningful way that didn’t take away from all the work we needed to do. Putting on a play just didn’t seem like a good use of our learning time, but we knew our students enjoyed acting. That is when we considered some of the benefits of drama circles in our upper elementary classroom.[Read more…] about Are You Missing Out on the Love of Drama Circles?
We don’t assign formal homework to our students. It’s actually a district policy, but we also don’t believe that homework serves any real purpose other than causing frustration at home and making work for students. Instead, we assign a list of activities students can do at home instead of homework. We get WAY more engagement and everyone loves it.[Read more…] about Amazing Activities Students Can Do Instead of Homework
If you are struggling with reading instruction in your classroom, you’re not alone. Upper elementary teachers are often not trained in how to teach students to read, despite the fact all the students in their classroom are unlikely to be reading at grade level. Setting up a reading comprehension schedule is one way to get on track.
We designed our Weekly Reading Comprehension Skills specifically for our students. We needed reading material for science and social studies that were at the right reading level and needed to teach grammar and reading skills. You might want to read this post about how we came up with them: Add Great Content to Your Literacy Lessons.[Read more…] about How to Set Up Your Reading Comprehension Schedule
It took fifteen years of teaching and professional development before we felt confident teaching reading to students in upper elementary. Reading is one of the most important skills any teacher is responsible for, but it is often taught by stabbing at strategies until something works-only to find it doesn’t work for the next student. Literacy lessons were hard to design and we didn’t really know where to start.
The most important thing we’ve learned is that reading comprehension skills are also skills related to grammar, word parts, word families and patterns, and writing. The same skills are used in a variety of ways.
If a student missed one of these skills, they trip over it in everything other subject. By the time students get to the end of Grade Three, if they aren’t reading at grade level, they are statistically unlikely to catch up. So, what is a teacher to do?[Read more…] about Add Great Content to Your Literacy Lessons
You’re giving Guided Reading instruction a try. Great! Do you know what you should be doing with your Guided Reading groups and reading instruction? You’re going to teach students to read. But what does that mean?
We teach in upper elementary (usually Grade four or five) which means we have readers in our classroom reading from Grade one through to Grade six. We have English Language Readers, students with learning difficulties, avid readers and all the ones in between. This means we often need to use more than one strategy to teach reading.[Read more…] about How to Run Your Guided Reading Instruction
Hands down, this is the biggest question we get asked on a regular basis when working with teachers in the classroom. In fact, this is a question we ask ourselves daily. What will the other students be doing while I meet with my Guided Reading groups?
First of all, before you can make your time with your Guided Reading groups count, you need to establish the routines in your classroom. If you don’t have your classroom management down pat, your small group instruction time will be constantly interrupted and your students won’t progress. Nothing good will come from everyone being frustrated.[Read more…] about Help! What Do the Other Kids Do During Guided Reading?