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The Engaging Classroom

    • In Other Words

    Develop a New Attitude about PD

    In schools around the world, teachers and administrators are participating in professional development. It is a term beginning to be thrown around lightly. “I think I am going to take off Friday so I can skip PD.” “The students have the day off so we can attend yet another pointless professional development.” Although professional development is aimed towards improving teaching practices, some teachers see PD as a common time where teachers can catch up on grading papers, check their emails, or use the time to scroll their cell phones to see the latest trends in social media.
    • Putting Books to Work

    Putting Books to Work: 'Superworm'

    "Superworm" is the story of an ordinary worm who chooses to use his talents in unusual ways. The book has a wonderful sense of rhyme and plays well into repeated reading for the children to join in. The lively, moving story will capture children's attention as the summer time gets closer and help pull them in to reading and activities.
    • Teaching Tips

    Kindergarten Strategies to Meet Everyone's Standards

    I would like to address how all kindergartners can learn the alphabetic principle (sound to letter correspondences and vice versa) in the easiest (developmentally appropriate) manner, so it will transfer to writing and reading. The alphabetic principle is a critical important reading standard and foundational skill kindergartners must learn if they are to be writers and readers.
    • In Other Words

    Because Pictures Say a Thousand Words: The Value of Wordless Books

    Wordless picture books are great for English language learning classrooms. Those with a limited grasp of the language can create their own stories using the images on the page. The books promote storytelling as everyone can add to the illustrations they see.
    • In Other Words

    Growing a Love for Reading: It's Never Too Early

    Last week, the American Academy of Pediatrics released an important policy statement, "Literacy Promotion: An Essential Component of Primary Care Pediatric Practice," reiterating what reading teachers have known for a long time: Reading regularly with young children builds language, literacy, and social-emotional skills that last a lifetime.

    • Teaching Tips

    Six-Word Memoirs in the Classroom

    Together, we came up with a list of how they might use six-word memoirs with the students they came to know and care about over the course of the semester, and how they imagine using six-word memoirs with students they have not yet encountered.

    • Teaching Tips

    Don't Tell Me Kindergartners Can't Do That!

    In today’s era of pacing guides and continuums developed to complete a set number of skills in a set number of meetings—regardless of developmental milestones—kindergarten teachers are faced with the ongoing internal debate of what is appropriate for 5-year-olds and what is expected.
    • Teaching Tips

    The Why and How of Writing Groups

    Each semester, when I announce to my students that they will be in writing groups, I see the same fearful eyes and frustrated faces.
    • In Other Words

    Motivation, Gratitude, Interventions, and a Yellow Lab

    I will be forever grateful to Danny Dog for motivating many of my first grade friends to want to read and write. The Danny series was one of the best investments our district purchased as an intervention/motivating choice for my first grade classroom library.
    • Teaching Tips

    Keeping Those Creative Juices Flowing

    After recently finishing another round of standardized testing, as well as too many district-required assessments that mimic the standardized tests, I am inclined to look for additional ways to make assessments more meaningful and engaging for my students.
    • In Other Words

    Alpha Upsilon Alpha: Cultivating Scholars and Developing Leaders

    Four inspiring educators show how an IRA Alpha Upsilon Alpha chapter enriches their doctoral candidate experience with opportunities for scholarship, leadership, and service.
    • In Other Words

    Dyslexia: An Ounce of Prevention...

    I recently read an article that suggested that children are not learning disabled until they attend school and fail to adequately learn to read and write. The author referred to this as "school-induced learning disabilities."
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