Reintroducing Classroom Collaboration

Teaching Ideas to use when Reintroducing Classroom Collaboration

Teaching students classroom collaboration is such an important part of teaching. It doesn’t matter if teachers are trying to prepare students for today’s workplace or just how to get along with others; students need to be proficient collaborators. Educators recognize this skill as so important that the Common Core State Standards has a category under the Listening and Speaking section called “Comprehension and Collaboration” in every grade level from kindergarten through twelfth grades.

For nearly two years now this skill has been neglected. Whether students have been taught at home or in school with social distancing, it has not been safe for students to work closely together. As of November 10, 2021, the CDC reported that 14.7 million (59%) of adolescents aged 12-17 have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Now, with a safe vaccine for 5-11 year-olds, students will soon be able to work in small groups once again. Continue Reading

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Teaching Capitalization & Punctuation with Animated Shorts

Engage students by teaching capitalization and punctuation with animated shorts.

Let’s face it. Some lessons are just more fun for teachers as well as students than others. Students would rather read the next chapter of an exciting cliffhanger, than study skills. So, how do you make teaching capitalization and punctuation fun for students?  The answer is to use animated shorts and games.

Free Capitalization and Punctuation Activities

These animated short practice activities were created specifically for this blog post. They are similar to the ones found in my Teaching Capitalization and Punctuation with Animated Shorts unit. Check them out to see if teaching skills with this highly motivating method works for you and your students. Continue Reading

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Teaching Compare & Contrast with Christmas Stories

Teaching Compare and Contrast with Christmas Books

The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree and Silver Packages: An Appalachian Christmas Story are great Christmas stories for teaching compare and contrast. They have many commonalities. Both are a mid-third grade reading level; however, I have used them with students in 6th grade successfully.

Get all activities in printable format along with the link to the Google Slides version by clicking on this button. Continue Reading

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10 Christmas Compare and Contrast Writing Prompts

Engage students with these 10 Christmas Compare and Contrast Writing Prompts.


Are you looking for some new activities to add to your lesson plans? Check out these 10 Christmas compare and contrast writing prompts. Better yet, they come in both printable and Google slide versions. The paragraphs, as well as the responses, are short making these prompts great for morning review, an entry or exit activity, or learning center assignment.

Here is where you will find handouts for Christmas Compare and Contrast Writing Prompts.

GET ACTIVITIES HERE. Continue Reading

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Making Connections with Text Lessons

Making Connections with Text - Three Free Lessons

Teaching students to make connections between previous knowledge, experiences, and emotions and the text they are reading, will —

    • help the reader become more involved with the text
    • improve attention span when reading
    • enhance understanding of difficult material
    • help students retain information

     Before you read the post, you might wish to grab the printables. Everything is provided for 3 print-and-go lessons + links to the Google Slides. Continue Reading

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Song for a Whale Activities

Teaching Ideas to use with Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly

Song for a Whale is a terrific novel based on a real whale. The “world’s loneliest whale” sings at an unusual frequency of 52 Hz that can’t be heard by other whales. Author Lynne Kelly heard of this whale, paired it with her knowledge of sign language through her career as an interpreter, and this magical story was created.

Song for a Whale Book Summary

Ms. Alamilla shows her class a film about a whale called Blue 55 that sings out in frequencies around 55 hertz, not the typical 35 hertz of most whales, plus his sound patterns are different. Blue 55 doesn’t have any friends. He migrates in an unusual pattern all alone. Iris feels a connection to Blue 55 because she feels the same way he must feel. Continue Reading

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My Side of the Mountain Activities

Teaching Ideas to use with My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

Students have loved My Side of the Mountains for several generations. The story is timeless. Many tweens have wondered what it would be like to run away from home and live off the land. Sam does just that in this fantastic novel.

My Side of the Mountain Book Summary

My Side of the Mountain is written as a flashback. Sam often makes comments about how he felt or what he didn’t know back then that lets the reader know that Sam is telling about something that happened in his past. He also references notes that he wrote in a journal. Continue Reading

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