I've been getting so many questions about how I use my math concept sorts in my class, so I thought I'd make it easy by sharing some of my thoughts with you here.
Using math concept sorts is a great way to incorporate standards for mathematical practice, deep math thinking, math talk, and conceptual understanding.  Learn how to use math sorts into your curriculum, learn how to guide instruction, and how to differentiate math instruction.  Geometry sorts, algebraic thinking sorts, fraction sorts, angle sorts, multiplication sorts, Grade 3 math activities, grade 4 math, grade 5 math, math activities, math lessons

 I often hear teachers stressing out about how they can get everything they need ready for all their book groups, standards-based grading, and so on.  Sometimes I think we work WAY too hard--and I always work to try to do best quality instruction without driving myself into the ground.  The easiest way I do this is that I have a bank of resources ready to go--and I use the gradual release of responsibility to do so.
Learning to write about characters is important and is a part of the Common Core and other state standards. Using a gradual release model helps show students how to think deeply about texts and how to write effectively. It helps students know what is expected as well. Third grade reading, fourth grade reading, fifth grade reading

 Every year I try to break us out of our long Wisconsin winters by taking an hour or so of class time to create a spring bulletin board that brightens our spirits!  Today I thought I'd share a little bit about what we do--and why we do it!  I so often hear people say, "We don't have time for cute projects anymore."  I certainly agree that I do LESS than I used to--but I definitely believe that fitting in meaningful projects can be an important part of our students' learning experience.

You CAN address standards when doing projects! 

One thing we have worked on ALL YEAR is defending our thinking and proving our ideas.  Whether we are writing about a text and need to support our ideas with evidence from the book or supporting opinions with clear reasons--this is, indeed, a huge part of our standards.  To piggyback on that, this project asks students to pick a book they truly love and state one or two reasons WHY.  As my students drafted, they had to check with a partner to see if, indeed, their reason was convincing others to read that book.  It was fun to see how they made suggestions to each other to improve word choice and so on.  Success!  We also made drafts first, then revised--another one of our standards.  It is ALWAYS good to work on that writing process...and it is so nice to easily be able to get to each student to do a "teacher edit" since the amount of writing is so small.
 Easy grass...take 12 x 18 paper, cut into four inch tall strips, then slice grass blades into them.  I gently curved every 2 or 3 blades to give it a little texture.  I made grass while the students grew flowers!
Creating a spring bulletin board can be fun--but when you can practice writing, stating opinions, and revising--it's a great use of time!  This book review bulletin project is perfect for spring!  Let students get creative!

Projects build classroom culture, creativity, and community

It has been a long winter, and our little family is ready for a spring break.  Doing projects like this can help remind students that learning is fun and that they can each contribute to something really beautiful. I did make tracers available for students who wanted them for their petals--but hardly anyone used them.  The creativity was flowing!  As we worked, I loved hearing students ask each other for help, compliment each other, and work collaboratively on their designs. 

"Can you help me with my petals?"
"Do you think these colors work together?"
"I love how you did your leaves!  Can you show me how?"

I also loved the BOOK discussions that were happening!  Students were checking out what books everyone selected and were having informal book talks WHILE they worked!  I loved it!

Creating a spring bulletin board can be fun--but when you can practice writing, stating opinions, and revising--it's a great use of time!  This book review bulletin project is perfect for spring!  Let students get creative!

Projects can help students shine

We all have those students who struggle academically--whether it be in one subject or many.  By giving students a variety of opportunities at school...in the sciences, in technology--AND IN ART, it allows students who might not get many opportunities to really shine to showcase talents they have.  

This year, one of my most struggling readers created the most beautiful flower and got SO many compliment from her classmates.  She almost floated out the door after school.  What a reminder to ALWAYS be looking for ways to help students to feel successful--inside our curriculum and outside.
Creating a spring bulletin board can be fun--but when you can practice writing, stating opinions, and revising--it's a great use of time!  This book review bulletin project is perfect for spring!  Let students get creative!
 So much creativity!
Creating a spring bulletin board can be fun--but when you can practice writing, stating opinions, and revising--it's a great use of time!  This book review bulletin project is perfect for spring!  Let students get creative!

Are you interested in this project?  I have a resource that has petal templates, the book review template and drafting page PLUS all the bulletin board letters for you to use--so it's seriously a print and go project.  Just CLICK BELOW to see more.
Creating a spring bulletin board can be fun--but when you can practice writing, stating opinions, and revising--it's a great use of time!  This book review bulletin project is perfect for spring!  Let students get creative!
 Want to pin this for later?  Here you go!
Creating a spring bulletin board can be fun--but when you can practice writing, stating opinions, and revising--it's a great use of time!  This book review bulletin project is perfect for spring!  Let students get creative!




One group of students who I think we often ignore is those students who are solid readers, are compliant--but aren't "engaged readers".  We know that students learn to read by READING, so if they aren't reading at home and aren't challenging themselves at school, their progress will be impacted.
Helping students find "just right" books and working to build reading habits, set reading goals, and build reading stamina are an important part of our literacy instruction.  This blog post shows how I did a reading intervention with a child who was struggling to pick and stick with books she loved.  Teaching reading, reading lessons, reading interventions, classroom library, just right books, third grade reading, fourth grade reading, second grade reading, fifth grade reading

Fourth grade reading is tough.  Many students have "unlocked" the key to reading...they can read most of the words and can track ever-increasing storylines.  As teachers, we can provide countless texts for them, coach them, model for them, and know that they will continue to become more sophisticated as readers. Unfortunately, there are still some students who haven't made this jump. It hasn't happened naturally--and the texts we want and need them to read are simply out of reach.
Reading chapter books can be a challenge for struggling readers.  Using Ready Freddy books as a reading intervention tool has been so suuccessful for my below grade level readers!  Reading interention lesson plans, reading intervention activities, second grade reading, third grade reading, fourth grade reading