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Meet Beth Newingham

Scholastic  

I’m looking forward to another great year with Scholastic! My name is Beth Newingham, and this is my 11th year of teaching. I worked as the Scholastic Grades 3-5 Teacher Mentor two years ago and then maintained a bi-monthly blog on Top Teaching last year. Being a part of the Scholastic online family has given me such a wonderful opportunity to connect with teachers around the world, share teaching tips, and keep you up to date with what is going on in my own classroom. 

 

I have lived my entire life in Michigan and currently teach in Troy, Michigan at Hill Elementary School. The City of Troy is a suburban community located approximately 30 minutes from downtown Detroit. Troy is rich in cultural diversity, and that is certainly reflected in our student population. Of the 350 students in my building, over thirty different languages are spoken in students’ homes. Teachers, parents, and students celebrate this diversity and take great pride in the unique differences we all bring to our school and our community.

 

Education has always been a very important part of my life. I guess that was inevitable being the child of two teachers. I earned my undergraduate degree from Albion College, a small liberal arts school, in May of 2000 and went on to earn a Masters degree in the Art of Teaching. Since then I have focused a majority of my professional studies on the teaching of reading and writing.  After spending time in both 5th and 2nd grades, this is now my eighth year as a 3rd grade teacher. I have found that teaching a variety of grades has helped me to better understand and appreciate the full spectrum of learning that takes place in elementary school.

 

My classroom is one in which reading, writing, and math workshops are at the heart of the learning that takes place every day. I also strive to weave technology into my curriculum and work hard to make my lessons applicable to the real world. Whether we are traveling around the United States on our region tour or examining economic principles through our classroom economy, I try hard to make learning in my classroom purposeful and authentic. 

 

I see education as the main tool that we have to prepare children for their futures. Since it is our students who will become the future leaders and citizens of this world, I see nothing more important than a quality education. Teachers have a unique and daunting responsibility to shape the future through their students. Because of this responsibility, I try to take each opportunity I can to shape the world around me for the better and to instill the same desire in the children I teach. 

 

I have been married for seven years and give much credit to my husband who has learned that being married to a teacher sometimes calls for the additional tasks of cutting, pasting, and labeling supplies for student projects and lessons. I have a 2-year-old son named Luke, and I also welcomed my second wonderful son Evan into the world this past March. My boys have certainly changed my outlook on life and have strengthened my will to make each child who enters my classroom feel safe and special.

 

Although teaching is not an easy job, I feel lucky to admit that there is nothing I would rather do.  Making learning both engaging and purposeful for my students is my ultimate goal when creating the monthly ideas and activities I have chosen to share with you.  

 

Click HERE to follow me on Top Teaching this school Year!

Comments

  • #21 Beth Newingham

    Sunday, October 03, 2010 at 07:43 AM

    Lisa (comment #47),

    You asked if I use many worksheets in my classroom. The answer, for the most part, is no. In math, my students do use a math journal that is part of our program, but in reading and writing workshops I tend to stay away from worksheets. I feel like they often limit students' creativity and restrict their personal thoughts. Completing "fill in the blank" answers keeps students from truly elaborating on their thoughts and makes my teaching feel too prescribed.

    I do, however, use graphic organizers in reading workshop at times. There are days when I want to assess my students' work, and a bunch of sticky notes in their books is not always a useful way to see if they understood a concept I taught in reading workshop. Perhaps you could use some generic types of worksheets like t-charts, Venn diagrams, etc. that students would be able to complete but would still allow them to record own ideas (not worksheets where there is one right answer).

    I hope I've been of some help!

    -Beth

  • #22 Beth Newingham

    Sunday, October 03, 2010 at 07:43 AM

    Lisa (comment #47),

    You asked if I use many worksheets in my classroom. The answer, for the most part, is no. In math, my students do use a math journal that is part of our program, but in reading and writing workshops I tend to stay away from worksheets. I feel like they often limit students' creativity and restrict their personal thoughts. Completing "fill in the blank" answers keeps students from truly elaborating on their thoughts and makes my teaching feel too prescribed.

    I do, however, use graphic organizers in reading workshop at times. There are days when I want to assess my students' work, and a bunch of sticky notes in their books is not always a useful way to see if they understood a concept I taught in reading workshop. Perhaps you could use some generic types of worksheets like t-charts, Venn diagrams, etc. that students would be able to complete but would still allow them to record own ideas (not worksheets where there is one right answer).

    I hope I've been of some help!

    -Beth

  • #23 Beth Newingham

    Sunday, October 03, 2010 at 07:31 AM

    Sharon (comment #45),

    You asked about the spelling/word study program in my classroom. I am currently working on a post that will describe my word study program in detail. It will be posted at the end of the month! Hopefully your questions will be answered in that post!

    -Beth

  • #24 Beth Newingham

    Sunday, October 03, 2010 at 07:30 AM

    Amy, Julie, Kristin, Shauna, & Lili,

    Thanks so much for all of your thoughtful comments. It is always exciting to hear from teachers who are finding my resources to be useful in their own classrooms! I hope your school years are off to a great start!

    -Beth

  • #25 Cindy

    Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 07:12 PM

    Hi Beth,

    Once again, thank you for all of your wonderful ideas and resources. Do you have a basic lesson plan that you use when planning guided reading lessons?

    Thank you
    cindy

  • #26 Lisa

    Saturday, September 25, 2010 at 06:13 AM

    Do you use many worksheets in your room? I have reading, math and writings workshops in my room. We use a district wide spelling book and use science kits. for social studies I use the districts text and supplement with my own things. I very rarely use worksheets but I'm getting some negative feedback form other teachers. "When they get to fourth grade they can't keep up" or "they have so many missing assignments!" Just yesterday I was told "we have to get them ready for the work they do in the higher grades. Any feedback?

  • #27 Lili

    Wednesday, September 22, 2010 at 09:04 PM

    Dear Beth, I just want to let you know how much I admire your hardwork, and how much you have changed my way of teaching, thanks for everything you have shared!!!!!!!

  • #28 Sharon

    Monday, September 20, 2010 at 09:32 PM

    Beth,
    My colleague and I are trying to create an effective spelling program. We have given the assessments from Words Their Way and now I feel so overwhelmed with what to do. I look at the word lists in the back but I am at a loss for making this program effective and manageable on my part. Where do I begin with creating the word lists and meeting needs? Please help!

  • #29 Shauna Blair

    Friday, September 17, 2010 at 03:29 PM

    Beth,

    Thank you so much for posting such wonderful, useful information!! I am a college student in IL, finishing up my final set of courses and the 'Regional Tour of the US' lesson is absolutely amazing!!

    Thank you again!

  • #30 Kristin

    Thursday, September 16, 2010 at 05:35 PM

    Thank you so much for being willing to post a template! I really appreciate it and all you do to help us become better teachers and the kids learn even more. You're an inspiration!

    Kristin

  • #31 Julie

    Thursday, September 16, 2010 at 07:40 AM

    I am so grateful for all of the wonderful ideas that you share! Thank-you so much.

  • #32 Amy

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010 at 08:19 PM

    Beth, just wanted to say THANK YOU! for fixing the math workshop link. You rock!

  • #33 Beth Newingham

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010 at 02:35 PM

    Cindy,

    You asked about the rules for the Candy Land literacy center game on my website. The rules are very simple. A child draws a letter (or blend) from the pile and then moves to the first space on the board where he or she can make a "real" word by combining the letter (or blend) on the card with a word family on one of the game board spaces. The first student to get to the end of the game board wins! I hope this makes sense! If not, let me know.

    Check out my future posts this year on Top Teaching. I will be making a video and writing a post about what word study looks like in our classroom. In that post, I will include some additional game templates and resources.

    -Beth

  • #34 Beth Newingham

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010 at 02:29 PM

    Hannah,

    You asked about what I include on my "Math on the Water" board in my classroom. You can find more information about that topic by reading a post that I wrote last year about Math Workshop. Here is a link to that post: http://blogs.scholastic.com/top_teaching/2010/05/math-workshop.html

    Be sure to check out my October Top Ten list which will be posted on Top Teaching at the end of September. In that post I will share with teachers a way to do "Math on the Water" on a Smart Board.

    Thanks for reading my blog!

    -Beth

  • #35 Beth Newingham

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010 at 02:22 PM

    Lisa (Comment #32),

    I'm so glad to hear that math workshop is going well in your classroom. I remember the first year I switched to this method of teaching math and felt so excited about it! I finally felt like I was meeting all of my students' needs, and the kids were enjoying math more than ever.

    Thanks for your thoughtful comments about my reading and writing workshops as well. It is always exciting to hear that teachers are finding my posts and my website to be helpful.

    -Beth

  • #36 Beth Newingham

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010 at 02:17 PM

    Kristin,

    I will be working on updating my website this weekend and will add a template to the "Books With a Common Theme" section so that you can download the file and create theme posters of your own. Your idea to have students find positive "attitudes" (integrity, tolerance, etc.) in the books they read sounds great! I will let you know when I add the link.

    I'm so glad that you have found resources on my website and on this blog to be useful in your classroom. Thanks for posting your comments!

    -Beth

  • #37 Beth Newingham

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010 at 02:11 PM

    Elizabeth, Cathlin, Amy (and any other teachers who were wondering where my Math Workshop post went),

    The "Math Workshop: Using Developmental Grouping to Differentiate Your Instruction" post that I wrote last year can be accessed here: http://blogs.scholastic.com/top_teaching/2010/05/math-workshop.html

    I'm sorry the link was broken for a few weeks.

    You can also find great information about Math Workshop on Alice Murphy's website: http://alicesmathworkshop.weebly.com/

    -Beth

  • #38 Amy

    Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 07:25 PM

    Hi Beth,
    I have the exact same question/problem that Cathlin is having about math workshop and the link being broken. I know you're very, very busy, but please, please fix it because I need to look at it. Thank you so much! I really appreciate your website.

  • #39 Kristin

    Monday, September 13, 2010 at 06:48 PM

    Beth,

    I love your "Books with a Common Theme" posters. My school is currently on the journey of trying to become an accredited IB (International Baccalaureate) school. We have certain IB attitudes and a learner profile that the students have to learn. I was thinking of making the attitudes (for example: integrity, cooperative, tolerance, etc.) the themes to help the students learn them. I was wondering if there was anyway that you could e-mail me the template or post the template for your posters in Word or whatever you made them in so the theme could easily be changed. I love the font and the word art and am having trouble recreating it. My e-mail is taitkm@gmail.com.

    Your site is amazing! I love all of your ideas. I use all the items from your reader's notebook and have added a choice board response section based on different learning styles and comprehension strategies. The kids love their notebooks and take so much pride in them!

    Kristin

  • #40 Cindy

    Sunday, September 12, 2010 at 01:29 PM

    What a great time I have had today looking at your website and all the various information. Thank you for sharing! I had a questions regarding your candy land board which I loved and just printed. I unfortunately don't have Print shop but this I was able to download.. (YEAH) Of course I can figure out my own rules but do you by any chance have a copy of the rules? I'm assuming a child picks up a card and if they can make a word with the starting place they move their piece??? Anyway, thanks again and I look forward to seeing more great ideas that I can use in my literacy stations.

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