Top Teaching > 94 posts categorized "Books"

What Can You Do to Nurture a Classroom of Readers?

IMG_2098Kids have to be allowed to read just for the pleasure of reading. Let them make their own choices on what they want to read as much as you can.

As I began moving my classroom to its new location, I found myself wondering how in the world I had amassed so much "stuff." I have a penchant for borders, colorful objects, and an interesting assortment of things I collected because "I might be able to use them sometime." However, my largest load, by far, was the books I have amassed over the years. It helped me realize what, in teaching, is closest to my heart: reading!

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Comments: 8

The Power of Playing with Words

WhatsInTheBag Welcome to my blog! I am so glad you stopped by! I am privileged to share with you some ideas and strategies about literacy which I have used in my own class, focusing on those that are easy to prep, readily available, and customizable. The topics come directly from the 1st and 2nd grade language arts standards and include Fluency & Word Recognition, Vocabulary/Concept Development, and Reading Comprehension. In addition, I also want to know what your needs are. Please post your comments and questions - if I don’t know the answer, I’ll find someone who does and blog about it.

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Greetings From Top Teaching Advisor Kristy

Mall_Kristy_p_xlg I believe that teachers are some of the most important people in the world! We have the awesome responsibility of shaping the future with every interaction that we have with our students! That, and the fact that I love learning and kids, is what helped me choose to become a teacher. I wanted to leave a “positive footprint” in the world, and what better way to do that than to teach?

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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: 7

Your Kids Can Do It: Quick, Free, and Easy Stop-Motion Videos

Stop_legoToday is not only my last day of teaching, but also my last day posting on Top Teaching for this school year. For my last post, I would like to share a fun classroom activity. As our year wrapped up, my students took some time to become more familiar with stop-motion animation. Using a free program, we were able to create stop-motion videos from start to finish in fewer than thirty minutes — and jazzed-up versions in less than an hour. With videos featuring Mother's Day messages, Harry Potter in LEGOs, and a demonstration of a llama's digestive system, this post will help wrap up the year in a fun and engaging manner. 

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Redwall Day!

IMG_6858On the first day of school, eager 2nd graders ask, "Are we reading Redwall this year?" and beg, “When can we start Redwall?"

Throughout the year, my students continually bring up Redwall by Brian Jacques (pronounced Jakes). I explain they'll need to build listening stamina for long books before we can read Redwall. I want to give my students most of the year to mature. From past experience, I know Redwall will work best with 2nd graders who have become strong listeners and thinkers. I usually start this read-aloud in mid-March, hoping to complete the 300+ page book by the end of the school year. More than just a book, Redwall Day has become part of 2nd grade mythology.

Read on to find out about this book and  celebrating Redwall Day.

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Comments: 3

Finish Off the Year With Amazing Summer Reading Plans

CamilaplansWow! It’s hard to believe that it’s just about time to wrap up the year with summer reading plans. You've taught your students a ton of reading strategies this year and showed them what it means to be a good reader. You'll want to ensure that they keep up their reading stamina by making summer reading plans. With your help, they'll be excited to grab a new book along with their snacks and sunscreen and hit the beach. Let the summer reading plans begin!

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Comments: 23

Effective Classroom Management: Drop the Tokens, Stickers, Stars, and Prizes

KohnWith the year winding down, your thoughts may already be moving forward to changes you'd like to make next year. What worked? What didn't? If you struggled with classroom management, you might be considering a new management system that involves extrinsic rewards — to start the year off on the right foot, you hope. If that is the case, I urge you to reflect on the role of extrinsic rewards in your classroom. In this post, I am including portions of two previous posts on extrinsic rewards, which I hope will help you decide what will work in YOUR classroom. 

 

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Comments: 14

The Power of a Student-Made Magazine

Magazine_mixThis week we begin the publication cycle for our class memoirs. It's always a delight to see the finished products, and students love to receive a copy of their writing, published along with that of their peers. I enjoy using resources such as Studentreasures for publication, but there are other great resources that can take the look of your students' writing to a whole new level. In this post I'll share some of these resources — and the power of creating high-quality classroom magazines — with you. 

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Comments: 14

Planning for Next Year — Hogwarts' Houses

Hogwarts%202[1] Right now we’re immersed in state tests that will run through the end of May, leaving just enough time for field days, class plays, and an all-school meeting before students board their buses for the last time. Many of us are thinking ahead to next year as we discuss class lists, consider groupings, and receive room assignments. Some of us will move to a new grade or school.

So now seems like an ideal time to share an idea about setting up small groups for next year. Keep reading to find out more. . . .

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Comments: 3

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo!

MEXC0001[1] Cinco de Mayo, May 5th, is a Mexican-American holiday celebrated in the southwestern states and in U.S. cities with large Mexican-American populations. It's a much bigger holiday in the United States than in Mexico. Cinco de Mayo commemorates a surprise victory of the Mexican Army led by Benito Juárez over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Sometimes we confuse this special day with Mexican Independence Day, which is celebrated throughout Mexico on September 16.

Read on for easy ways to celebrate Cinco de Mayo at your school.

 

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Comments: 4

Explore Poetry That Turns the Ordinary Into the Extraordinary — Write an Ode!

LenaandgenessiswriteodesDuring the last week of Poetry Month, have some fun creating odes with your students. Take the time to assess, use a mentor text you love, and invite your students to notice strategies poets use. Then it's on to the writing and to providing feedback. Your students will enjoy the revising, editing, and publishing phases and finish up with a powerful poetry reading. Let's get busy turning the ordinary into something extraordinary by writing fantastic odes!

 

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Using Video Clips to Build Bridges and Activate Schema

Clifford 
Students' prior knowledge can help or hinder learning.

Carnegie Mellon’s Learning Principles

When you want to learn how to do something new, where do you go? Chances are you head right for the Internet. More specifically, to videos. There is something about watching a video that explains things better than just reading. The visuals combined with the information, either told or written, helps many people to grasp the concept they need to learn.

Well . . .

Your students are the same! Read on to see how one- to three-minute video clips can assist your students in building the background knowledge necessary for them to learn the content you're teaching.

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Comments: 10

Striving and Thriving Through Autism

Lord_cynthia_vp_xlgApril is Autism Awareness Month, and I, like many other teachers, have a student with autism/Asperger's in my classroom. This week I would like to introduce you to a guest writer from my school, Kristy Mall, who teaches autistic children and has an autistic son. My hope is that she will help you better understand how to work with this growing population. 

Photo: From this post, you can link to a video interview with Cynthia Lord, author of Rules, which deals with autism. 

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A Visit to Bronx Arts

P4130042 This week I visited Bronx Charter School for the Arts in Hunts Point, a Bronx, NY, neighborhood. I was there to attend their Arts Education Conference, which coincided with the school's Arts Week. During our visit, the other conference attendees and I got to see the arts in action.

In this post, read about a few of the discoveries I made at the Arts Education Conference that might interest you, whether you're an arts educator or a classroom teacher. I’ve also included links so you can find out more. 

Photo: Art gallery with aboriginal-style paintings.

 

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Comments: 8

Gifted and Talented Students — Don't Let Them Fall Short of Their Potential!

Gifted  Because of NCLB and initiatives like First to the Top, there is a heavy focus on raising standardized test scores. And with this focus, much of our funds, energy, and time are directed at our lowest performing students, often ELL and low socioeconomic students. So, what happens to our very brightest students, the ones with the most potential? Or, to put it a better way, what would our very brightest students look like if they became the primary focus? With one in five high school dropouts testing in the gifted range, and only two cents of every 100 federal education dollars aimed at the gifted, I can't help but worry that we are leaving out an entire population. The truth is, we often deny students the opportunity to reach their full potential. Read on to see how you can help make a change.

Image: Did you know that gifted programming and funding is not mandated in many states? How does your state rank on gifted rights and opportunities? Find out with the interactive version of the map above at DavidsonGifted.org. Copyright © 2011 Davidson Institute for Talent Development.

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Comments: 14

Writing List Poems That Are Better Than OK

JustinbahbinokbookFor the second week of Poetry Month, I’ve got a plan for creating list poems that will allow your students to showcase their creativity as well as the qualities that make them unique. This week's activities involve writing, editing, revising, publishing, and some watercolor painting, so get ready for a busy classroom filled with lots of fun. With the help of one of my favorite authors, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, we’ll get our writers creating poems that are "better than OK”! 

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Big Ideas and New Books! Highlights From the ASCD Conference

ASCD At the ASCD Annual Conference last week in San Francisco, I gained new perspectives on education from educators all over the U.S. and the world — and discovered big ideas and new books. Here are four samples of my newfound knowledge. I hope you’ll read on, post your thoughts, and share your insights.

 

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Comments: 4

April Book Picks!

SpringbooksApril is finally here! We’ve had a cold and snowy winter in NYC, so we are welcoming the spring weather with open arms — April showers and all.

This month’s booklist will help you explore all this month has to offer. We’ll kick off Poetry Month and plan Earth Day activities. Did you know that April is also National Humor Month? Many of my picks will keep your students laughing right along with you. Click on the links to find out more about the authors and illustrators featured this month, and be sure to grab some free resources from their sites. Happy spring! 

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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: 2

Does Professional Development Work?

Lead_teacher2 This year for the first time I’ve been on the planning side of professional development (PD) events. As I plan and attend events, I see PD with new eyes. I wonder to what extent professional development is effective, and what types of PD work best. We all accept that a knowing-doing gap exists between what we learn is the best practice and what we are able to implement, but how much PD is useful? I’m interested in what you think. What works for you? What's effective? Is it easy to put in-service training into action? Keep reading and voice your opinions.

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March Book Picks!

MarchbooksMarch is a busy month filled with many special dates. This month's booklist will help you collect resources to plan lots of fantastic activities. We kicked off Women's History Month with Ruby Bridges last week and will continue to teach our students what it takes to be successful in the face of adversity. We'll also look at the Mardi Gras celebrations and learn about the Irish traditions we can all participate in on St. Patrick's Day.

Click on the links to find out more about the incredible authors featured this month and to gather downloadable resources to learn what makes March such a special month. We'll look at poetry, nonfiction texts, legends, folktales, and interactive whiteboard activities that will get your students excited about learning and on the search for their very own pot of gold! 

 

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Comments: 2

March Is Women's History Month! Celebrate With Art, Literature and Ruby Bridges

ArttiashaMake the transition from Black History Month to Women’s History Month smooth by revisiting your lessons on Ruby Bridges to learn more about her courage, strength, and impact on education at such a young age. With the teachings from last month set as the groundwork for this lesson, ask your students to step into Ruby's shoes as they paint a scene from her life and give her a voice. Get out the watercolor paints and celebrate this great woman in history!

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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: 12

Inspire Families to Read Together — Host a Pajama Party!

YasminsfamilyChildren love being read to, especially right before bedtime. There’s something really special about cuddling up in bed under the covers with a great book. Why not motivate your students to read by creating a class celebration that promotes literacy? Read Across America Day on March 2nd is the perfect date to invite families into your classroom for a reading celebration. Take a look at photos from the last pajama party at my school, and read about sure ways to make your party a hit. Grab a comfortable pair of pj's, and let the reading begin!

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Comments: 9

Finding THE MEssage: Grasping Themes in Literature

IMG_2230With state testing fast approaching, I have found myself carefully analyzing our benchmark assessments for instructional focus. One of our identified areas to address includes identifying the theme of a passage. Being new to the grade level, I wasn't sure if this went beyond my familiar 3rd grade goal of understanding a fable. After some work and research, I'm ready to share how you can teach theme in the upper grades. This post includes SMART Notebook files (also in PDF form), a project idea, and printable graphic organizers and posters.

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Comments: 8

Iditarod Excitement Is Building!

Images[5]Every spring my group of excited 2nd graders and their enthusiastic parents prepare for the Iditarod, a 1,100 mile sled dog race from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska. There’s so much I want to share with you about the Iditarod and what we study and learn that I’m planning to write several posts about the race.

For ten years I've studied the Iditarod with my class as a way to teach standards for media literacy, language arts, and character education. Students learn how to navigate a complex Web site independently and follow links under my supervision. Students write musher profiles and sled dog poetry. Everyone picks a musher to root for and follow for the duration of the race. They graph Alaska’s daily temperature and wind speed and compare Alaska's weather to our own. As students follow mushers’ progress, they learn about perseverance, practice, courage, and hard work. They sing, dance, and shout about the Iditarod. Students even pull one another around the gym on carpet-square "sleds"!

Read on to find out more. . . .   

 

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Comments: 8

Differentiate Instruction With Paper Choice and Get Ready for President's Day

PresidentbooksPresident’s Day is less than a week away. Are you ready to teach your students about great leaders in history? Have you been looking for ways to talk to your students about the protests in Egypt? Let’s use this special day to inspire children to think about what it takes to be a great leader. I'll share my book choices here, as well as downloadable resources and links that will help you scaffold your students’ learning while differentiating instruction. If you think about it, we are educating future leaders! So make the time to plan for these lessons today.

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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: 9

Planning for Read Across America Day!

Julia Read Across America Day, March 2 (Dr. Seuss's birthday), is less than a month away, so now's a good time to start planning. In researching Read Across America Day I discovered wonderful ideas from dozens of creative teachers and numerous activities, printables, and certificates. Knowing how busy you are, I’ve gathered a bunch of the best resources below, to help you as you plan.

Read on to discover these resources and find out how my class celebrates Read Across America Day.

 

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Comments: 8

A Valentine for Savannah — Hope Is an Open Heart

HopeWith Valentine's Day approaching, we are all making plans to create heart-shaped cards, write thoughtful poems, and teach our students to send messages of love to friends and family. Before the glitter dries, I'm hoping to inspire all of you to send an extra special valentine to an amazing girl named Savannah who is fighting hard to beat a rare type of cancer. Click on the links below to find out more about her as you gather resources to help teach your students about love, understanding, and hope this Valentine's Day.

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Comments: 4

William Steig Author Study

Theamazingbone[1] When I was a kid, I loved William Steig’s cartoons and covers for the The New Yorker. Much later my own children loved Sylvester and the Magic Pebble and The Amazing Bone, books I read to them dozens of times.

Because I love Steig as an illustrator and author, I read his books with my class. Steig’s stories capture the imaginations of 2nd through 5th graders, who are old enough to appreciate his daffy sense of humor and rich use of language, but young enough to still get drawn into the fantasy adventures.

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Comments: 6

Having Fun With Fluency! Part 2 — Strategies Readers Will Enjoy

FluencystrategieschartLast week, we had the opportunity to learn more about the components of fluency instruction in our reading work, as we watched the replay of Teacher Talks Live Webcast Series: Tim Rasinski on Fluency. This week, I'm excited to share a few of my favorite fluency strategies with you. Download printable resources as well as a new bookmark I created, to help keep your students from sounding like robots! We'll build comprehension and teach our students to become fluent readers while we have some fun. 

 

 

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Teaching Tolerance Through Photographs — Black History Month

Remember"This book is about you." This is the simple, yet powerful introduction to Toni Morrison's Coretta Scott King Award-winning book Remember: The Journey to School Integration. It reminds me that we need to start with this connection when we begin to plan for February's Black History Month. It is about us: what happened before and what has happened since segregation is part of all of our lives. It also reminds me that as teachers we need to carefully consider how we observe and discuss the life and legacy of African Americans of the past and future. 

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Joy in Words – Writing Poetry


Index.2 Poetry is magical and memorable. The poetry we read, write, and hear in childhood stays with us throughout our lives.

Last week I wrote about heart maps, a visual reminder of what matters, a beginning step in writing poetry. This week, I describe several of my favorite books about teaching students to write poetry. I like to give you resources to make it easier for you to plan lessons. I'm happy to discuss writing with you, so post a comment or question!

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Comments: 4

Having Fun With Fluency! Part I — A Bridge to Comprehension



Robotschart
If you missed out on watching Tim Rasinski's webcast on fluency this month, I strongly urge you to go back and watch the replay and visit the new Fluency page for strategies and teaching ideas that will get your students on the road to a deeper understanding of the stories they read with smooth and expressive reading.

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Comments: 2

January Book Picks!

JanuarybooksWe've seen quite a bit of snow here in New York City since winter officially began last month. As the temperatures continue to drop and the cold winds blow, we all secretly hope for a snow day. No snow in your area? No problem! You'll find plenty of snow-themed books right here. Grab a cup of hot chocolate and read about some fantastic read-alouds and lesson ideas with my January booklist. Click on the links to find out more about the authors and illustrators featured this month, and keep your fingers crossed for lots and lots of snow.  

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Comments: 7

Web Sites and Web 2.0 Tools You Can Use Instantly

IMG_0448 
This post is the beginning of a master list of free Web sites and Web 2.0 tools that teachers and students can use instantly for literacy projects focusing on word work, vocabulary, comprehension, reader response, and fluency. Come take a look at some really cool tools that are sure to make your reading skills come alive!

made on Wondersay - Animate text with style

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Comments: 14

Taking a Look at Nonfiction Conventions

Class_photos 017Nonfiction reading material can be a powerful tool in grabbing the attention and interest of otherwise reluctant readers. However, reading lessons often focus primarily on fiction features (plot, character development, etc.). With this in mind, I thought it might be useful to share some of the resources and materials I have used in my classroom to help readers learn to read, interpret, and eventually write nonfiction texts independently.

Photo: You can download four printables in this post, including the nonfiction conventions posters shown above.

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Comments: 6

Ruby's Courage

Ruby-thumb-400xauto-44001
With Martin Luther King Day just around the corner, share the true story of Ruby Bridges, a living hero of the Civil Rights Movement. Six-year-old Ruby Bridges was the first black student to attend all-white William Frantz Elementary School in 1960. She showed remarkable courage and maturity as she braved threatening crowds of white people to enter the school escorted by federal marshals. Because she was a young child when she helped integrate the schools in New Orleans, her story of courage is especially meaningful to children. Read on for teaching resources about Ruby Bridges.

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Comments: 6

Understanding Nonfiction Texts With Help From Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

MlkbulletinboarddisplayCelebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day by teaching your students how to become peacemakers by learning about his incredible life and really good readers as they navigate through nonfiction texts. Take a look at some of my downloadable resources and bulletin board ideas to get you excited about learning more about an amazing man who taught us all how to appreciate diversity and to fight hard for justice with lots of love. This unit on Martin Luther King incorporates strategies that can be transferred to any nonfiction topic you plan to explore in your classroom. 

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Comments: 7

Reading Book Projects With Flip Video, Digital Cameras, Web 2.0, and More

 IMG_0453
Because my kindergartners were making so much progress with their reading, I decided to introduce “book projects.” I wanted my students to have the opportunity to do something with a book they were reading independently. It turned out to be a dynamic learning activity in which students not only practiced reading skills they identified for themselves, taking charge of their own learning, but also had the chance to be creative, 21st century learners.

Comment to help create a master list of Web sites and Web 2.0 tools to use with literacy projects.

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Comments: 7

Favorite Professional Books from Scholastic Readers

Collins The results are in! Eleven lucky readers will be receiving a free professional book from my personal library. In the process more than sixty book recommendations were cited by readers as motivating and inspiring resources in the classroom. Rather than scroll through the comment section of my last post, I have created a master list for you to use here. 

Photo: One lucky reader won a signed copy of Growing Readers by Kathy Collins. 

Note: Top Teaching will resume Thursday, January 6, with a post from Christy Crawford. 

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Comments: 2

Last-Minute Shopping — The 39 Clues

Images[6] If you’re like me, you’re in the middle of last-minute online holiday shopping. Right now I’m shopping for my ten-year-old nephew, who's not crazy about reading, but loves to play online games. I’ve found the perfect gift: The 39 Clues!

I heard about The 39 Clues on an NPR Morning Edition segment last week. The 39 Clues is a suspense-adventure series in which brother and sister Dan and Amy Cahill collect clues to solve the mystery of their family’s special powers. While Dan (age 11) and Amy (age 14) are collecting clues, so are Cahill relatives in other branches of the family. Each wants to be first to collect all 39 clues and a one million dollar inheritance.

The series is a combination of books, clue cards, and online game playing. And it's funny! The 39 Clues is like Magic Tree House, Nancy Drew, Boxcar Children, and Harry Potter all in one.

Read on to find out more about The 39 Clues.

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Comments: 6

Forget Resolutions! Set Twelve Goals for the New Year

ThinkgoalsThis week is sure to be filled with festive parties, holiday performances, end-of-the-year activities, and seasonal madness. So take a deep breath and spend some time reflecting on all that you've accomplished this year. What was your greatest achievement? Where would you like to go back for a "do-over"? What were your professional goals? Did you reach them? What helped you? What got in your way?

Since resolutions can be more like wishes that never come true, let's set some solid goals instead, by creating plans for the new year. Then, we can inspire our students to do the same. Use my downloadable template and a few of these tips to get on your way to a happy new year!

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Comments: 138

Win My Professional Books for Free Holiday Extravaganza!

IMG_2101[1] I am a fan of giveaway contests, but I always wonder why my name is NEVER pulled out of that hat. It made me think about the great feeling of winning something, however small it may be, and how I have the opportunity to give someone else that feeling through Top Teaching. This has resulted in my "Win some of Angela's professional books for free holiday extravaganza!" The concept is simple. I have books. I will send them to you for free. You simply contribute a good book suggestion in exchange. Read on for some professional book recommendations and a list of books that are being offered to you for free! 

Photo: Some of the titles I am offering to readers for free.

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Comments: 1

Peace on Earth


66501-Royalty-Free-RF-Clipart-Illustration-Of-A-Circle-Of-People-Holding-Hands-Around-A-World-Flag-Globe[1] In this season, students and teachers can bring peace to the world. School communities can foster the development of peace within each individual, promote an understanding of diverse cultures and languages, and create a Peace Place in the building or on the playground. We can all become heroes for peace.

Read on to find out more.

 

 

 

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Comments: 10

Christmas Makes Me Think . . . Celebrate Community!

InvitecoverGet inspired to celebrate your community with the help of author Tony Medina! When a read-aloud encourages children to wonder, ask questions, make connections, think about the world around them, and create plans that will have a huge impact on others, you know you've picked the right book to share with your students. And when you hear the excitement in their voices as they make plans that go beyond the walls of your classroom, you know in your heart that you're doing important work. Cue up the holiday music and teach your students how to connect to their community with the support of these lesson ideas and downloadable resources!

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Comments: 2

A December Celebration — Santa Lucia Day

PlacesToCelebrateChristmas-THAM.grid-6x2[1]Santa Lucia Day is a festival of light celebrated in Swedish homes and schools on one of the darkest days of the year.  This holiday, which honors Santa Lucia, patron saint of Sweden, takes place on December 13. A celebration of hospitality, Santa Lucia Day teaches the values of sharing and caring for others.  

Santa Lucia Day can be adapted for a school celebration. Read on to find out more about this holiday.

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Comments: 7

December Book Picks!

DecbooksThere is a buzz of seasonal celebration in the air! Get ready to plan for read-alouds and literacy activities that will match your students' holiday excitement. With so many great stories to share, this month's booklist has something for everybody. From Hanukkah to Christmas, we'll explore a wide range of holiday traditions, old and new. Take a look and gather new resources as you click on the links and find out more about these incredible authors and illustrators. Enjoy the wonders of the season!

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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.