Have you ever had a student ace a spelling test, but misspell those same words the very next week? This happens all too frequently, and the reason may be the focus of spelling instruction. In traditional spelling, students are given a list of words to practice throughout the week. They're tested on those words at the end of the week. The focus is on learning to spell those specific words. Word study is different. What is Word Study? The key to word study is focusing on word patterns, rather than memorization of a list of words. When kids learn word patterns, they're able to construct and deconstruct words based on their parts. They can apply this knowledge to many new words, not only a specific list of words. A spelling list can be used to teach a word pattern, but a student is expected to not only spell the words on the list correctly, but similar words as well. Because of this, spelling tests aren't necessarily limited to the ... read more
Motivating Reluctant Learners
Johnny looooved math. He'd come every day to our math lesson with enthusiasm, ready to take on any numerical challenges I had for him.Then it would be reading time. Johnny's face and demeanor immediately changed. He pretended to look for his reader's notebook in his desk, then went to the bathroom for 10 minutes, followed by a trip to the water fountain. By the time he got to work, the period was over. Do you have a 'Johnny' in your class? Maybe you have a student who just puts her head down when it’s math or writing time. I had a student who groaned when she heard the words ‘Writer’s workshop.’ When students refuse to put effort into something they find difficult, it can be so challenging and frustrating. We want to help them, but we need them to put in some work too. I feel your pain. It’s Normal! It’s normal to avoid tasks that ‘hurt.’ I can’t count how many times I’ve passed by my ever-overstuffed pantry and told myself I’d ... read more
Mini-Lessons for Mañana Iguana
I love when I find a great book that I can use for multiple Writer's Workshop mini-lessons! Mañana Iguana by Ann Whitford Paul is one of these books. It's a version of The Little Red Hen with a Mexican twist. The main character is an iguana and she wants to throw a fiesta, but the Conejo, Tortuga, and Culebra (Rabbit, Turtle, Snake) are too lazy to help. After they aren't invited to the party as a consequence, they decide to clean up for the iguana while she sleeps, and the next day they're repaid by having the leftovers. It's such a cute book, and the kids love it. In fact, it's my daughter's current favorite book and I probably have it memorized from all the times I've read it over the past 2 weeks! Besides being a fun story to read, there are so many skills you can teach from it! Here are a few: Compare and Contrast- the obvious skill to practice with this book, as it's a version of a classic! I included a Venn diagram with ... read more
End of Year Class Management: Engaged till the Last Day!
Are your kids extra fidgety, tattly, or just not putting any effort into their work anymore? The energy of summer approaching can make end of year class management challenging at times. Some can't wait for it, and some don't want it to come. Well, I want to share what I do every year that can help you maintain (or regain) your students' behavior, effort, and your sanity! Have a..... GARAGE SALE! Our last month of school here in NY is June, so on the last day of May, I let kids know they will earn Tejeda Bucks throughout the month of June. On the last week of school, I have a garage sale where they can use their hard-earned bucks. They're really motivated to earn these fancy bucks- behavior and effort get right back on track! Want to see my Tejeda Bucks? Have fun with these! I included dollar bill templates you can use in your freebie (scroll down)! Just add a picture of your face, print on green paper, and try all the hairstyles you've ... read more