Blog - Markers & Minions
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Welcome to the Blog!

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Here’s where I share tips and ideas around literacy, math, small groups, and student collaboration.

Please feel free to leave comments or questions on any of my posts!

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Latest Posts

What is the Schwa, and How Do I Teach It?

What is the Schwa? “Schwa” is such a funny sounding word to describe what’s actually the most common vowel sound in the English language. It may be common, but it’s not always well understood by elementary teachers.  So what is it, anyway? According to the Oxford Language Dictionary, it’s “the

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Make Word Study Fun: Strategies For Playing With Words

Teaching children to read is perhaps the single most important job we have as elementary school teachers. Reading is the foundation for everything! There have been a lot of theories and much debate about the best strategies for teaching reading. I’ve spent a lot of time studying literacy—enough to know

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Unit 9 of Benchmark Advance

Now, I have to be honest with you. As much as I liked the unit concepts for Unit 9 of Benchmark Advance, I rarely ever made it through the whole unit with as much intention as I would have liked to. My class has done a project that ties into

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The Five-Day Week With Benchmark Advance

Have you ever taken more than one week to get to all the week’s lessons in a Benchmark Advance unit? Of course you have! There’s just SO MUCH. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard overwhelmed teachers wonder how we’re supposed to fit it all in. I can

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Why I Used to Suck at Teaching Phonics

I’m not too proud to admit it: I used to suck at teaching phonics. My less-than-effective strategies left me and my students frustrated more often than not. A lot of it came down to the typical learning curve felt by new teachers, but the more I’ve learned about literacy, the more I recognize the flaws in the old strategies I used. And I don’t think I’m alone in this, which is why I’m sharing a better way to teach phonics with you today.

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Unit 8 of Benchmark Advance

Let’s get started on Unit 8! Here, friends, is your home for all of my resources, tips, tricks, project ideas, and freebies on Benchmark Advance Unit 8, our Earth Science unit.

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Turn Your Students Into Expert Researchers

Turn Your Students Into Expert Researchers

There are of course positives and negatives that come with the sort of access we all have in the 21st century. We have to teach our students to tell the difference between good information and bad information. They need to learn how to pick out the important details as they read about the subject they’re researching, without getting bogged down with less-than-necessary details. Students also have to be able to think critically about what they discover, presenting it to others in an organized manner.

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How I Differentiate Guided Math Lessons

Meeting with each small group every day allows me to see exactly where my students need help. I can easily check in with each one individually and help them work through a misconception or a struggle as we work on the day’s math objective together.

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