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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Jumping into a new unit is fun and exciting for both you and your students. Follow these three tips to make the most of your new unit! Vocab Check – With Your Kid Glasses On One of the biggest hurdles in a new unit is vocabulary. Some of that is
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
It’s time to take back the classroom. Too often we hear of teachers that teach 90% of their day with their students staying in one spot. And we get it, the chaos that ensues from moving around can be overwhelming, to say the least. But we also know there is
The “three-reads” method is something that I started implementing while planning for my Benchmark Advance reading lessons. This method actually became an integral part of my planning templates. I have found great success with this method for a variety of reasons. Most importantly, I think it fosters a love of
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
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.
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.
After a few years of using close readings with my students, I’ve finally gotten to what I believe to be the optimal way to use this teaching strategy. I’m excited to share what’s worked for me and my students!
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.