Distinguishing Fact from Opinion

The blog post offers helpful tips for teaching fact vs. opinion including a free foldable organizer going over rules and examples.

Teaching students to understand the differences between fact and opinion is essential. This is a tested skill. More importantly, helping students to correctly evaluate information will help them make informed life choices. For example, the news is full of campaign ads. Sorting facts from opinions helps people vote intelligently.

Also, the Internet has opened up vast sources of information. Learning to distinguish what is true is of vital importance. Studies show that teens are sharing more and more information about themselves online. This information can even lead to cyber bullying. Teens need to sort out what is true. Continue Reading

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Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson Teaching Ideas

Check out these free novel unit book samples and other teaching ideas for Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson.

Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson is an exceptional book about six students who are placed in an experimental class during their 5th/6th grade years. The teacher decides that the last hour of each Friday will be ‘talk time.’ She takes them to an empty classroom and leaves the six alone. Slowly the students open up and talk about their troubles. 


Authorities take Esteban’s father and move him to Florida where he will be deported. Continue Reading

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Writing Prompts for Upper Elementary

Ideas to Help Motivate Students to Write

Are you looking for some writing prompts for upper elementary students? Motivating students to write daily can be a real challenge. Changing up prompts may be one solution to keep students excited about putting a pencil to paper. Check out these ideas. 

#1 – Inspirational Quotes

Quotes are great for not only inspiring students to work harder but to also think at a deeper level. Quotes make great discussion starters for students to think critically. Remind students that quotes may have different meanings for different people depending on life experiences. There are no wrong or right answers to what a quote means. Writing a paragraph about what a quote means is a great journal activity. If you need inspiration about where to begin, check out 50 of Our All-Time Favorite Classroom Quotes from We are Teachers.

#2 – Writing a Letter to My Future Self

Have students write letters to their future selves. At futureme.org students type letters. They select when they will be delivered: 1 year, 3 years, 5 years, or a specific date. Students can select for their letters to be private or public. Be aware. Some of the public letters contain inappropriate material for students.  Continue Reading

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The Importance of Candles During the Holiday Season

Check out these great teaching ideas to use during the December holiday season.

Candles are important during the holiday season. They represent both religious and nonspiritual winter events. People interpret their meaning in many different ways. Some associate candles with the Yuletide. The winter solstice celebrations date back for centuries. Celebrators think the warm glow of candles shows spring is on its way. Others view candles as a family’s guiding light. This comes from several ancient traditions. Christians equate candles with the guiding star of Bethlehem. Jews light a Hanukiah during Hanukkah. During Kwanzaa, the central symbol is a candelabra of special colored candles.


For Christians, the star of Bethlehem guided the Three Wise Men from the East to baby Jesus. The Magi wanted to honor the newborn king of the Jews with gifts and prayers. Because of this, Christians use candles during Christmas services to remember Jesus is ‘the Light of the World.’ Continue Reading

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Teaching Problems and Solutions with a Winter Theme

Collect free winter teaching materials from The Reading Crew.

Welcome to the Reading Crew’s Link-up

Here in the mountains of North Carolina, winter came in with a vengeance. Students have missed several days of school. A fresh wave of 12 to 24 inches is predicted for this weekend. It seems fitting to load up on some great winter materials for the classroom during this snow event. Continue Reading

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Teaching Reading Skills with Animated Christmas Shorts

Teaching Reading and Writing Skills with Animated Short Films

If you are looking to add some high interest activities to your lessons this Christmas season, try using animated shorts to teach reading and writing skills. 

This post contains a sample of my new product “Using Animated Short Films to Teach Reading Skills Christmas.”  The product contains printable organizers with guiding questions to help students evaluate the short film and learn valuable reading skills. All short films will be added to a webpage on Book Units Teacher for easy access. The link to this webpage will be included in the purchased product. Continue Reading

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Activity 2 for Basic Plot Patterns in Literature

Basic Plot Patterns in Literature

If you are reaching this post without seeing the previous basic plot patterns posts, you might wish to start at the beginning. Be sure to download the handout in the Introduction post as it contains links to all the posts in this series. Continue Reading

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