Top Teaching > Beth Newingham

Comments: 63

Planning a Productive Summer for You and Your Students

IMG_4263 As a teacher, I am fully aware of the summer reading decline that affects so many students. In his article "Bridging the Summer Reading Gap," Richard Allington states, "Regardless of other activities, the best predictor of summer loss or summer gain is whether or not a child reads during the summer." In this post I will share the ways I encourage my students to reflect on the year's reading achievements and then to use their reflections as motivation to continue reading over the summer.   

But this post is not just about students. Teachers need motivation too!  Every year there are things that I want to change in my classroom or ways that I want to alter my curriculum. The summer is the perfect time to reenergize and make concrete plans for next year. In this post I will offer specific tips and suggestions for making this your most productive summer yet! 


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Comments: 25

My April Top Ten List: Going Green at School

FourthWhile it's certainly worthwhile to use Earth Day to help students understand the importance of “going green,” it’s also crucial to encourage students to be environmentally conscious throughout the year. In this post, I will share a variety of projects and activities that my own school has implemented to become an official “green school” in Michigan. I hope you can use these ideas to help your school go green, but I am also looking forward to reading your comments and seeing how schools around the world are helping to save our planet.   

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Comments: 47

My March Top Ten List: Nonfiction Reading Resources

IMG_0029Last month I shared my favorite resources for teaching fiction reading, and this month I'm focusing on nonfiction. Students (and teachers) often choose to read fiction texts in the classroom, but it is crucial that we expose our students to nonfiction texts as often as possible.

Nonfiction texts allow children to experience the wonder of the world. Facts come alive when books about animals, people, or objects are read to children. Nonfiction texts build on children's interests and increase vocabulary and background knowledge. When we help our students become proficient readers of nonfiction texts, we help them become successful at school and in the “real world.” Research shows that about 85% of what adults read on a daily basis is nonfiction. Teachers have a great responsibility in teaching students to tackle this genre.

READ ON to check out resources for teaching nonfiction reading concepts, including posters, links to great Web sites and articles, printables, an exciting new way to make current events interactive, and much more!

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Comments: 34

My February Top Ten List: Resources and Lessons for Fiction Reading

IMG_0061 While nonfiction, poetry, and author studies are very important components of my curriculum, my 3rd graders still get totally excited about fiction texts. However, as students mature as readers, it is important to move beyond reading fiction just for fun and really encourage them to think more deeply about their fiction texts. Focusing on character development, building comprehension through reading partnerships and book clubs, and weaving in technology can make your fiction genre study very powerful for your students.

READ ON to see highlights of my fiction genre study and to look at reading partnerships and mystery detective clubs. You will find lots of printables, links to useful Web sites, lesson plans, and photos.

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Comments: 53

My January Top Ten List: Writing Lessons and Resources

OliviaWriting Workshop is something my students can count on nearly every day. It is a time when they can develop important ideas and relive small, memorable moments from their lives. It is also a time when there are not a lot of rules, as writing is the most open-ended subject I teach. While my students are asked to write within a specific genre, the freedom to express themselves in their own creative way is often liberating. However, there are always those students who find it difficult to perform when they are not given prescribed directions and are instead asked to come up with ideas on their own. This month’s top ten list includes a variety of writing lessons and resources that will challenge your top writers and motivate your reluctant writers as well.

READ ON to find creative mini-lessons, useful printables and posters, interactive whiteboard resources, ideas for incorporating technology into your Writing Workshop, and links to cool Web sites where students can publish their work and receive tips from published authors.

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Comments: 36

My December Top Ten List — 'Tis the Season!

Final Christmas Card Happy holidays! With the jam-packed curriculum we all face every day, taking time to celebrate the holidays in the classroom can be challenging. However, in this season of giving, it is important that we do take time out to teach our students about the real meaning of the season. It’s also a great time to purposefully integrate curriculum requirements with holiday activities.  

This post features ideas for creative holiday gifts, meaningful ways to help your students “give back,” awesome holiday resources on the Web, cool holiday activities I do in my own classroom, and a memorable way to ring in the New Year with your students. I have included some ideas from previous years' posts, but you will also find resources and ideas I have never shared before, innovative ideas from my Top Teaching colleagues, and links to useful online holiday resources.

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Comments: 247

My November Top Ten List: Word Study in Action

Word RaceI’ve had many teachers ask about the word study program in my classroom, but have been hesitant to share until now because it is still a work in progress. My teaching partner and I evaluated many different spelling programs and resources looking for the "perfect" model, but nothing provided us with a totally comprehensive word study curriculum. And so we decided to create our own word study program that would incorporate word recognition, vocabulary, and phonics, as well as spelling.

READ ON to find out how students are introduced to new spelling patterns each week, take part in literacy activities in which they gain more exposure to the patterns, and practice making and sorting words. You will find word study games and activities to download, resources and templates for creating your own word lists, and a video that provides a detailed look at our word study program in action.

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Comments: 56

My October Top Ten List of Classroom Ideas

Class Rock

In my second top ten list of the school year, I am revealing my new class theme and taking you on a virtual tour of my 2010 classroom makeover.  As the craziness of the first month of school settles down, I like to look carefully at my teaching and determine how I can improve what I am already doing.  This post will focus on effective ways to maintain parent communication throughout the school year, use an interactive whiteboard to enhance your current lesson plans, highlight students in special ways each week, implement an effective Reader's Notebook for your Reading Workshop, raise money for your school, celebrate Halloween in a purposeful way, and more.

READ ON to check out tons of photos, download useful printables, visit cool Web sites, and watch a video tour of my "new and improved" classroom.

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Comments: 53

My September Top Ten List: Back to School We Go!


I am so excited to be blogging for Scholastic again this school year!  While I will continue to share my ideas with all of you, my role will be a bit different this year. I will be creating a "Top 10" list at the beginning of each month for my readers to enjoy.  It will include timely lesson ideas, instructional videos, technology tips, management tools, links to cool Web sites, and, of course, a window into my own classroom so that you can see what I am doing with my students each month. 

READ ON to check out my first "Top 10" list of the year and discover the things I am most excited about this month. Printables and links to useful Web sites are included.

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Comments: 72

Meet Beth Newingham


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. 


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The opinions expressed in Top Teaching are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic Inc.