Win a Custom-Stamped Teacher Necklace!

My gift from April
I first met April Smith (Performing in 5th Grade) at the Teacher's Pay Teachers conference in Las Vegas last summer. I had just finished presenting my session when she presented me with a gift. I wasn't able to open it until I got back to my hotel room after the conference, and when I did I was absolutely charmed. I love my Mrs. Lynette necklace! It took me awhile to realize that she had not just purchased the gift - April had made it herself, which of course makes it even more special.

Now April is paying it forward again by giving you a chance to win one of three hand-stamped necklaces! Read April's story below to find out how she started making these little treasures. I'm sure that many of use can relate!
April hand-stamps each one
When my husband I were first married, we had a lot of debt (mostly student loans). We had to cut back on everything, including gifts. For the first couple of years we simply didn't buy any gifts at all. After our finances got a little more under control, we were able to afford handmade gifts.

I was looking for something personal to create when I stumbled upon a blog about stamping metal jewelry to make customized necklaces. The first necklace I made used a metal washer from the hardware store.

Friends and family began sharing their necklaces with other people, and I started receiving messages on Facebook asking if I could make custom necklaces for gifts. I invested the money I made off of these necklaces into buying new supplies and opened an Etsy store one year after making my first necklace! I love seeing my necklaces shared on Facebook (my customers often tag me), and the nice little notes I get saying how the necklace made their day. It's an awesome feeling when people love something YOU made!

Today I run my Etsy shop and make my necklaces whenever I'm not working on lesson plans, grading, etc. I enjoy how relaxing it is to hand stamp each character and "build" each necklace!
Of course a necklace would make a wonderful holiday gift for a teacher - one of your teammates or maybe your own child's teacher. But you might just want to keep it for yourself, and that is fine too - you certainly deserve it! As you can see from the picture below, April has added to the design. Be sure to check out her Etsy shop to see more of her work.

Just fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter. Here are the official rules:

  • This contest is open to all currently working teachers and tutors living in the United States (due to shipping costs)
  • Three winners will be randomly selected on December 1. Winners will be announced on this post and notified by email. 
  • Winners will receive their prizes within three weeks (in time for Christmas!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rachel Lynette on Inspiration for Entrepreneurs Podcast!

I am delighted to be this week's guest on Kimberly Geswein's Inspiration for Entrepreneurs Podcast! The interview was really fun and Kimberly did a terrific job.

I hope this podcast will be helpful to other people running their own businesses. While it does focus on TpT to some extent, I tried to give advice that others could use as well. If you want to listen, here is the link!


I would love to hear what you think. Please consider leaving a comment!


Positive News: A Simple, Effective Way to Bring the Positive Back to Your Classroom.

Minds in Bloom presents this inspiring post by Jennifer Martinez on using a positive news board in the classroom. Let us know in the comments if you give it a try!

Remember Stella? You know, from that movie a few years ago? She had lost her groove and took a trip to Jamaica in hopes of finding it again. Ever feel like you've lost your groove? As a teacher, of course.

A few years ago, I found myself stuck in a rut. I had one of those classes who tried your patience in every way imaginable. Being off task, bullying, always tattling on one another; anything they shouldn’t be doing - they were doing. I was giving a ridiculous number of tallies each day and had gotten in the habit of noticing only what was going wrong in my room. There were several students, of course, who were wonderful and many days were all that pulled me through. However, I can’t count the number of times I left the building feeling like a failure as I realized I hadn’t once pointed out what they were doing well.

My groove was definitely gone. I didn’t get to that place over night and it was a rude awakening once I realized I had arrived there. But when I did, I knew that I needed a change and one that would be immediate. I was on a mission to get my positive back - and find it for the students as well. I needed a fix that was engaging for students and one that took little time to complete. And if I could get some of my most difficult students to buy in, then I knew our little community could change.

The Form

The next day, I cleared a section of a bulletin board, made a quick header, and called it, “We Have Positive News.” I created a short form, made a stack of colored copies, and put them in a bin along with pushpins ready for students to use. After completing a couple of examples myself, I modeled the process for my class.

During our discussion, I was honest and explained why I felt we needed this new board and its form. We talked about our bucket filling activities at the beginning of the year and how we somehow became bucket dippers rather than fillers. My hope was that this board and the reports would begin to change that!

The top part of the form asks for their name and the date. The bottom section is where students fill out their “reports” of the positive actions spotted in the room. It is important students understand that “She was nice” or “He was helpful” isn’t a positive news report. They’re simply short sentences. Rather, reports are specific and full of details. I encourage students to behave like reporters while writing their posts. Explain the “why” and “how” behind the action they’re writing about. Help us to understand why their post is report worthy!

To show them the difference, I pulled out my two sets of examples and explained how to turn short sentences into newsworthy reports. Example one - instead of writing, “Sarah finished her chapter book today,” I could write “Today Sarah finished her chapter book. I’m proud of her because she has been working on that book for two weeks. She wasn’t sure she could finish it, but she did! I can’t wait to ask her about it!” The sentence tells me nothing about why finishing a book is newsworthy. The report, however shows that I have been paying attention to Sarah and care about her goals.

Another example would be to turn, “I saw Ben helping Logan today,” into “I saw Ben helping Logan today. Logan wasn’t sure how to find “good fit” books and Ben taught him how using the anchor chart. Then Ben showed Logan some of his own favorite books.” Not only is this action a great one to notice and praise, but telling us how Ben was helpful might also encourage someone else to be helpful in the same way. I wanted students to understand that the point of the board is not just to praise the positive in the room, but also to leave examples and models for others to follow.

A couple of “rules” and we’re ready to start reporting! First, you only can write about others. The point is to look for ways others are doing well, not to promote yourself. Want to see your name on the board? Then model great behavior and surely it will be noticed!

Second, choose different people to feature in your posts. I challenged students to write about people they aren’t best friends with or don’t know well. They had to be on the lookout for the good in everyone, not just a select few.


The first few posts, in fact, were written by some of my most difficult students. Though this was my hope all along, to be honest, I was shocked at first! The posts were short and didn’t quite show the description I was hoping for, but they showed true thought and consideration for what was happening in the room. So rather than having the students stretch their sentences into detailed summaries, I praised them for noticing the positive and sharing it with our class. After all, the "rules" were intended to help students take posting seriously, not take away from the spirit of spreading positivity!

Soon our board was covered with posts!

  
Sharing

At the end of the day (or at least at the end of every week), I have students share their reports. This is the part I absolutely love! Most of the time, the person being complimented doesn’t even know it’s coming! Students are completely surprised and filled with such joy that someone noticed their hard work and that it was recognized by the class. This typically encourages that child to write a positive news report of his own.

When the board becomes full, I take down the old reports and give each to the student about whom it was written. Oftentimes I see students hold on to their forms for weeks, if not the rest of the rest of the year. I find them attached to notebooks or taped to cubbies for everyone to see.

Not only did the tattling come to an end, but I also saw the amount of bullying and off task behavior drastically reduce. Students took pride in helping others and the climate shifted from negative and self-centered to positive and collaborative. We got our positive back - all by using a simple form!


Want to try a Positive News board in your room? Download this free resource from my TPT store. I’d love to hear how it works in your classroom! 
Thank you, Rachel, for allowing me to guest blog today! It has been an honor!


Jennifer Martinez, of everything just so, is a former teacher from Columbus, Ohio. After teaching for nine years and spending a year writing curriculum for the NEA Master Teacher Project, she decided to make the jump into designing curriculum full time. Updates on her language arts and classroom management resources can be found through her Teachers Pay Teachers store, her blog, and on tsu

Art Integration for Classroom Teachers

Minds in Bloom welcomes Jenny, the owner of Art with Jenny K. ,with her post on art integration. We know you'll find it useful!


“The creative adult is the child that survived.” 
I came across this quote by author Ursala Le Guin a few months ago, and it has stuck with me ever since. It encapsulates why it is so important to integrate creative arts into the learning process. It is motivation for everything I do as an art educator and as a Teachers Pay Teachers resource developer. Art integration can be your best “tool” for engaging, motivating and inspiring your students, and, most importantly, keeping creativity alive. And it’s easier than you think! 
Before we can talk about what art integration is, why it’s important and how to use it, we must first talk about the most important part—the students it serves. Imagine in front of you is a 5 year old. You hand him or her a marker and he immediately takes it and begins to use it. He doesn't need instructions. He is not apologetic about their work. He doesn't look at you and say, “I’m sorry, I can only draw stick people.” He hardly cares what you think about his work. This is creativity and problem solving in its purest form. 
Art integration is the tool we need in education to help us preserve the inate creativity of a child. Children come to us bursting at the seams with energy, creativity and the desire to learn. English author and art education advocate Sir Ken Robinson is famous for saying that we actually teach creativity out of children. His TED talk on “How Schools Kill Creativity” is exceptional. His stories will make you laugh out loud (LOL!)—and who doesn’t need that!

What is art integration?

Art integration is hands-on, project-based learning, using art materials, songs, poetry, plays, dance, etc., to make students learn in ways that connect to prior learning and make their learning relevant to their lives through engagement. 
In 2010, I was making a presentation to the National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE) conference in Florida describing an art integration lesson, Trading Pages, that I had published in SchoolARTS. At the end of the session, teachers flooded my desk to see some of the art techniques I had mentioned in my presentation. 
I realized that classroom teachers were hungry for this information and wanted desperately to use the arts in their classrooms but fear was holding them back. In talking with them, I learned why the idea was so scary. But it shouldn’t be. So let’s clear up some of those things here, and dispense with that silly notion once and for all!

Misconceptions about Art Integration
  1. “I’m not talented.”
Art integration has nothing to do with talent on the part of the teacher or the child. I’m not a talented singer (in fact I’m quite terrible) but my students don’t care, when I sing the steps to our drawing lessons they are completely engaged and they sing along with me. I’d be embarrassed if my principal walked in, but the kids are forgiving and pay close attention! The students do most of the work anyway, you just need to provide them the means and opportunity.
  1. “I’ll have to teach everything with a messy art project.”
Art integration does not replace the importance of teaching reading, writing, math and science in traditional ways, it simply provides a tool to make that teaching more engaging to the child when it is appropriate—and it doesn’t have to be messy!
  1. “Art isn’t important.”
In his popular book, The Arts and the Creation of Mind, Elliot Eisner is famous for his list of the 10 reasons the arts are so important. His No. 1 reason is, The arts teach children to make good judgments about qualitative relationships. Unlike much of the curriculum in which correct answers and rules prevail, in the arts, it is judgment rather than rules that prevail.” Imagination sparks inspiration and inspiration leads to success. Eisner’s other nine reasons why the arts are so important build on this idea further and are worth exploring.
  1. “I don’t have time to let my kids color.”
This is about integrating to make all learning more meaningful. It is a tool to help you, not to make more work for you. The best resource is your kids—let them dream up the projects to guide their learning.

Why is art integration so important?

Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime.

Think of art integration as the same sort of approach. We don’t know what the world has in store for our children but we know that they must be ready to face the challenges as creative thinkers and problem solvers, they must be able to think (fish) for themselves. They must also have the confidence that comes with experience so they know that they can take risks, and investigate ideas they have. Children who are only required to take tests and be either right or wrong learn to fear mistakes, which translates to fear of learning. Use art integration to engage your students again and excite them about the process of learning, not the answers or end results. Art integration is so much easier than you think because it requires that the teacher simply facilitate the experience—the children themselves create and design the experience.

Ways to use art integration in your classroomart integration_minds in bloom image.017-001
You can…
  • Use choice-based learning so students have the opportunity to experiment with various mediums like clay and paint (the messy stuff you don’t want to do with the entire class).
  • Learn about different cultures by making the art that is popular from that region; for example, Aboriginal art from Australia or masks from Africa.
  • Let students listen to music that is related to whatever unit you are teaching. They will fight you (because initially they think that your music isn’t "hip") but do it anyway—it sinks in in the end.
  • Use artists like Monet to teach symmetry, Dali to teach telling time, Mondrian to teach math, or Escher to teach tessellations.
  • Create monsters and robots using only the geometric shapes you are studying.
  • Make up songs about what you are learning.
  • Let students illustrate and write a sequal to their favorite book, or an alternate ending to their favorite story.
  • Let students create plays about their learning.
  • Sing to your children—instead of giving your students instructions in your normal voice—try singing to them—you’ll get their attention!
  • Let your students take a dance breaks when they are getting restless.
  • Have your students invent games based on the learning they have done in class.
Just let their imaginations stir yours... M.C Escher and Leonardo Da Vinci were great mathematicians, scientist and artists. But mostly they were great thinkers! With the permission of Art Education Professor Dr. Craig Roland, I have adapted his list, "Learning to think like an artist" into a kid-friendly poster. Download it for FREE by clicking on the image below.

Think like an artist poster_smaller.001-001

Want a lesson you can use right now? Among the most useful (and most popular) art integrations lessons I have created for classroom teachers are my “Pop Art”-style interactive coloring sheets. All students—kindergarten to high school—love to color, so I designed coloring sheets that require a lot of thinking on the part of the student and little to no prep on the part of the teacher (a great combination, no?!). No two end results ever turn out same and all the skills of a creative thinker are necessary to complete them.

 interactive coloring sheet example_minds in bloom.018-001 
My interactive coloring sheets work like this: I have created a collection of outlines/shapes of symbols associated with holidays, seasons and other topics related to what you may be teaching. All the shapes are broken up by black lines to create smaller shapes—which gives the images their “Pop Art” feel. At the bottom of each page are boxes with patterns in them. The students are asked to fill the shapes with these patterns. It takes a great deal of thought to decide which patterns to put where, what colors to use and even when a space should be left without patterns. The great news is that there is no right or wrong answer to these coloring sheets...and the more students work on them the more confident they become in making decisions. I often include some writing prompts as many of the teachers that use my coloring sheets pair them with writing assignments. Here is what one teacher said about using these coloring sheets:
I found that my 5th/6th graders come to me and because of the focus on testing, never played with color or design or patterns. Your coloring sheets give them that opportunity and I’ve seen so much improvement in their attention to detail as well as noticing patterns, lines, etc. It’s so much more than “just coloring.” ~E.D.”
You can try one of my coloring sheets now by clicking HERE to download my FREE apple coloring sheet that is part of the "Meet and Teach" free ebook series.

Final Thoughts

The pendulum will swing toward testing, away from testing and back again. Anyone in education for many years can tell you they have seen it all. Things come in, then they go out and the cycle repeats. However, one thing will never change and that is that children need to be able to safely and confidently make decisions on their own. In a testing saturated world students are used to being identified with a score, grade or quantitative assessment of some kind. His or her "ideas" are not necessarily important to anyone. Let’s change that by providing more creative moments for our children and let’s watch our children change along. Thanks for reading!

picture and name logo.001-001Jenny Knappenberger is an award-winning educator who has taught art to middle school, elementary and gifted children in Virginia and in Arizona. Jenny is also a professional ballroom dancer and instructed for over 8 years in Virginia before committing full-time as an art teacher in Arizona. Her favorite little artist is her 2-year-old daughter who gets to try out mommy’s never ending list of ideas! Jenny is the owner of “Art with Jenny K.” and is dedicated to making art integration easy and exciting for classroom teachers and is the author of www.jennyknappenberger.com.

Fun Ways to Practice Multiplication

Minds in Bloom is happy to introduce Lauren from Mrs. Thompson's Treasures with her post on how to get students to have fun while practicing their multiplication. Enjoy!


Multiplication is one of those skills in math that kids really will use almost every day of their lives. Thankfully, it's also a skill that can be practiced in many fun ways. Here are some great ideas for learning about and practicing multiplication facts that will have your students engaged and having fun!
1) Picture Books - There are some great picture books available that can explain multiplication and show how it is useful in real life situations. Here are a few:
  •  Amanda Bean's Amazing Dream By: Cindy Neuschwander
  •  Breakfast at Danny's Diner By: Judith Stamper
  •  Minnie's Diner: A Multiplying Menu By: Dayle Ann Dodds

2) Multiplication War - Get a deck of cards (you can take out kings, queens, and jacks, or use them for #s 11-13 if you want) and split the deck between two people. Each person turns over a card at the same time. The first person to correctly say the product of the two numbers gets to keep the cards.

3) Roll, Multiply, & Color - Anything you can do with dice is always a hit! Click HERE to get this free worksheet to have students roll two dice, find the product, and color in the number on the page. My kids love using dot markers, but crayons or regular markers work great too!

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5dsPzSlPOCeTWtFSU5PZU8ybGs/view?usp=sharing


4) Domino Game - For 2-4 players. Turn a set of dominoes face down. Each person draws one domino and multiplies the 2 sides together. The person with the highest number gets to keep all the dominoes. If there is a tie, draw again. Keep going until all the dominoes have been drawn! The winner is the person with the most dominoes.

5) Mystery Pictures - Kids LOVE mystery pictures! So I've created some super fun multiplication mystery pictures that kids always enjoy completing! Click HERE to get this cute Superhero Freebie!

FREE Superhero Multiplication Mystery Picture

6) Multiplication Basketball - In real basketball, baskets are 2 points each, so try playing by 3s, 4s, 5s, or whatever number you are working on.

7) Beach Ball Toss - Get a big beach ball and use a sharpie to write numbers 1-10 (or 12 if you are learning those multiples) all over. Toss it to a student and have them multiply the numbers that are closest to their index fingers. Then they toss it to another person.

8) Popsicle Stick Multiples - Write the multiples of a number on popsicle sticks and have students put them in order. Put each group in baggie to keep them separate, and have one popsicle stick be the title, for example, "I Can Count By 3s."

9) Around the Room Multiples - Get in a circle and have students recite off the multiples of a number. Make it a competition by having several small circles and see who can do it the fastest.

10) Roll, Multiply, Graph - This is another fun dice activity that helps students see how different factors can multiply together to get the same product. You could even make this a fun class activity, where each student rolls the dice once and you graph the class results. Click HERE to get this free page!

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5dsPzSlPOCeTlZORVBzM0dUN2s/view?usp=sharing

11) Multiplication Memory Match - Make a memory game using index cards or construction paper. Cut small squares from the paper (laminate if you'd like) and write factors on half the cards (ex: 4 x 5) and products on the other half (ex: 20). You can do all the multiples of one number, or mix it up for review! Put all the cards face down and have partners play the game by turning two cards over to try and make a match.

I hope this list has given you some tools to use with your students and inspired you to get creative and make learning FUN!

About Me: Hi! I'm Lauren from Mrs. Thompson's Treasures! I currently stay home with my kids (ages 6, 4, 2, and 1) and homeschool. I have had 3 years of classroom experience as a 3rd grade teacher in a public school, and several years of teaching English overseas. I love finding and creating teaching treasures that are fun, engaging, and help all students feel successful!

www.mrsthompsonstreasures.com

Small Group Instruction

Minds in Bloom presents Laura of First Grade Spies, with her post on small group instruction.  Enjoy!


I love working with small groups of students! Working with small groups gives me the opportunity to really get to know my cutie pies, to gently guide them through their journey of discovery. It’s such a great feeling to be sitting in the “front row” and seeing that spark of true learning and understanding.

Of course the best part of working in small groups is not what we as teachers get out of it, but what our students get out of it. When students work in smaller groups they are able to pay attention and focus for longer periods of time.  Small group differentiation means their participation and collaboration with peers improves and with that their self-esteem grows stronger.

Sounds great, right? I think many of us believe in small group instruction but the struggle comes with managing the process. How do I manage where the small groups are going to work each day? How do I set up my small groups? What will other students be doing while I meet with small groups?

Managing The Process 

Before I had a classroom of my own, I was a substitute teacher for 6 years. One of the great things about substitute teaching was being able to step into so many different classrooms and really take a peek around at what different teachers were doing. I used to take notes and sometimes pictures of different ideas for when I finally got to have my own classroom. Over the years, I saw all sorts of cute pocket charts and magnetic center management techniques.

For me, pocket charts and magnetic center name holders work but take up space and need everyday maintenance. So, I came up with a way to use technology to do the work for me. I created a PowerPoint that automatically rotates my groups through their centers. The rotation shows my students where to go during my small group math and reading blocks.  

Once I enter my student names into each group and set the times to my reading or math block all I have to do is start the presentation and we are all set to go. Students rotate through the centers (or math stations) and into small group instruction. I use my interactive white board to display the automated presentation so all students can see at a glance exactly where they should be and what they should be working on. Don’t have an interactive white board? No problem, the presentation can be displayed on any computer, projector, or through the classroom TV.


Managing The Work

Of course, what students will be doing during small group instruction differs grade-to-grade as well as subject-to-subject but these structures can be applied to many grades. I relied on a few awesome resources to help me figure out the best way to set up my reading and math stations.

http://www.amazon.com/Making-Most-Small-Groups-Differentiation/dp/1571104313/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1413401942&sr=1-1&keywords=small+group+instruction+diller  http://www.amazon.com/Math-Work-Stations-Independent-Learning/dp/1571107932/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1413401973&sr=1-6&keywords=small+group+math
In reading, I have 5 center rotations with writing, word work, reading from class library, listening center, and guided reading with me.

Tips For Making Reading Centers Easier To Manage
  1. Use computers as listening centers and have students go to reading sites such as Tumble Books, Star Fall and Storyline Online.
  2. Use your classroom library as a reading practice center.
  3. Use a monthly writing journal or daily writing center menus to manage your writing center.
  4. Use 5-6 word/spelling work practice activities and rotate them for different days of the week (stamp your words on Monday, rainbow write on Tuesday…) then simply change the practice words each week.
  5. Take sample pictures of students working productively and hang them in the designated center areas to remind them.



In math, I have 4 math stations with computer work, math practice games, follow up practice and guided math with me.

Tips For Making Math Centers Easier To Manage

Use the computers to have students practice math skills using sites such as ABCya, or SumDog.SumDog is a great customizable math practice that students can log into and practice skills that you assign them.
  1. Use Teacher Pay Teachers to find great small group games to compliment your curriculum goals or objectives.  I use math practice games to review previously taught skills as well as practicing newly taught skills.
  2. Make a box of math books for students to have access to in case they finish their station work before the time is up.
  3. Use an interactive notebook or monthly math journal as a practice station right before students come to the teacher station.  Students can bring their finished work to you and you can quickly access who needs re-teaching and who is ready to move on.
I hope some of my suggestions for maintaining, monitoring, and organizing small group instruction and rotations are helpful to you as you create your own style of small group instruction in reading and math.  So, join me and say goodbye to pocket charts and keeping your eye on the clock to make sure you have enough time to meet with each group!


Laura is a first grade teacher, and is lucky enough to teach in the same wonderful public school that her own children attended. In addition to her two children, she and her hubby have a sweet rescue mutt and two kitty cats. Her blog, First Grade Spies, is her little corner of the blog world where she likes to share her classroom adventures.

Tips to Make Reading Fluency Fun!




Here's a familiar scene: 

Your students are reading paragraphs out loud. 


The first student reads in a monotone voice, while there are no actual mistakes, she has less expression than Siri on your Iphone. 


Student number two sounds great, except that she has guessed (wrongly) at two of the words in the paragraph and skipped over two more completely. 


The third student to read has great expression, but she reads at the speed of light, as if reading out loud is some kind of a race she must win.


Student four ignores punctuation, student five reads so quietly that you can't hear her, student six pauses at the end of each line as if it is marked with a period, and on and on.


Clearly, these students need to work on their reading fluency. Lucky for them, and for you, there are many ways to do this and many of them are fun! Here are some suggestions to get you started.

Communicate Clearly
Make sure your students know exactly what you mean by fluency. Consider giving them a rubric, or use this free Fluency Four poster.


Read a few short passages with and without fluency to show them exactly what you mean.

Know the text
Students will have an easier time adding expression to their reading if they understand the text. Allow students to read the passage first and ask some comprehension and inference questions to check for understanding. This is also a good time for students to learn to read and pronounce challenging words that may appear in the text. You may also want to allow students to annotate the text - perhaps circling punctuation and underlining words that they want to emphasize while reading.

Practice in partners
Partners works well for fluency practice because one student can be the reader, while the other is the listener. Consider giving the listener a job, such as listening for expression or accuracy. You might also have the listener give the reader an informal evaluation. Consider having pairs practice the same short passage until each of them can read it perfectly.

Dialogue passages are another great way to practice fluency in pairs. You could use readers theater pieces, task cards, or you could even have students write their own.

Read and record
Have students record themselves while reading so that they can hear where there is room for improvement. Keep your room quiet, and keep your students from feeling embarrassed by using headphones for the playback.

Read to the right audience
While some students may benefit by reading to each other or to an adult helper, struggling readers may find this to be scary and intimidating. For these students, a nonjudgmental listener is more helpful. Studies have shown that reading to a dog can be tremendously beneficial. ESL students may find this especially helpful. Consider assigning reading to pets as homework. If you don't have a real dog, a stuffed could be an adequate substitute. Why not have your students read to Clifford the Big Red Dog or any other stuffed animal you might have in your classroom.

Celebrate improvement
Record students at the start of the year so that you can show them how far they have come. When all of your students are reading fluently, consider celebrating by holding a poetry reading for parents. Allow students to select their favorite poems for the event.

Try Task Cards
These high-interest, short paragraph task cards were written with fluency in mind. Sentence length and punctuation is varied and there are plenty of opportunities to read with expression. Each set includes 40 cards. The Fluency with Frogs cards are half dialogue, making them perfect for working in partners. There is also a primary version. You can also get fluency task cards for for informational text. 



How do you practice fluency with your students? Please tell us with a comment.






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