Saturday, October 25, 2014

Interactive Science Notebooks

The newest interactive journal for science has just been released.  I really had a great time putting it together.  Students absolutely love them because they make learning about different topics fun.Click Here To Access It.

This journal covers the rock cycle, atoms, magnets, and more topics.  There is a reading passage for each topic that can be directly placed inside of each student journal.  

Friday, October 24, 2014

Integrating Art

This is a picture from a recent artist reception that I attended.

Color is powerful.  Utilizing art together with reading and math produces powerful results.

This picture is a sample of my close reading task cards.

Even if you are a true Picasso, there are several ways to incorporate art and color in daily lessons.(Art skills are not required). When students closely read text, they highlight information that they find important, have a question about, or want to clarify. The brightly colored lines serve as a visual cue to remind students to defend their answers and think about their own thinking (metacognition).

Highlighting text is just a small step when it relates to adding color or integrating something "art related" into lessons.  Colorful, detailed notes are an even farther step.  This is an example from a math notebook that I am using with students.  Each student keeps their own notebook.

Visual representations, diagrams, and colored blocks are used throughout the journal to represent what we are learning in math. Students not only take written notes, they also draw what the math concepts means to them. This is has been a powerful tool for my students.  The lower, middle, and upper grade level students that I work with all respond positively to this.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Weird and Gross: High-Interest Informational Text Passages

Getting students to read more informational text is so important.  These high-interest passages are designed to help students develop a greater interest in informational text and gain practice with close reading.  It contains strange and unusual facts about plants and animals.  The document includes four passages, bonus graphic organizers, and sample written responses.Click Here To Access Them.  It is great for guided reading, state assessment prep and Common Core.

Weird and Gross Informational Text Passages Coming Soon

Coming soon!  Students love learning about unusual things.  Learning about strange animal facts and odd plants is a great way to expose students to informational text.  Within the next 24 hours, I will release a set of four, high-interest informational text passages that will both interest readers and provide useful information about animal adaptations, history, and more.

My previous blog post talked about how I do field work to study animals and investigate the past with my trusty sketch journal and Nikon camera.  

I love blending my experience as a teacher and writing.  My goal is to provide reading materials that are both relevant and high-interest.  The informational text passages will be released very soon, so check back.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Dividing Fractions: Going Beyond Procedures and Learning for Deep Understanding

Having a firm understanding of what a math concept means is just as important if not more than knowing the steps that should be followed in order to solve a math problem.

By drawing step-by-step diagrams in math that show the progression of how numbers or fractional parts change, students are better able to understand math concepts.  Let us look at an example.

Megan read 3/5 of her book in 6 days.  If she read the same number of pages each day, what fraction of the book did she read each day?

For Task Cards That Teach And Review How To Divide Fractions Click Here

To Access Math Task Cards That Teach And Review A Variety Of Math Concepts Click Here

Being able to visualize math concepts helps students understand word problems, and it also helps students have the needed skills in order to solve math problems that are worded in different ways.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Grade 5 Common Core Task Card Bundle

It started out with math.  One group of students was working with me.  Another group was working in a small group with task cards. Then, it happened.  I noticed that  some of the students were doing the task cards, but they were being done all wrong.  The thought came to my mind.  SOMEBODY should make task cards that teach and review.  I thought this would make my life so much easier as a teacher.  Instead of hoping that this would one day happen, I began to create them for both reading and math.Click Here To Access Them

145 Topical Common Core Reading Task Cards That Cover 9 Different Standards for $10 as a Complete Bundle


  • It is like having an extra teacher in the classroom.  Each set of task cards comes with a printable box.  This helps with individualizing instruction.  A box can be placed in a center station or sent home with a student that needs extra review.

  • Each set of task cards teaches students how to reason and interpret information. Examples, modeled responses, and even more are included to help students deeply understand information.

  • Questions are written at multiple levels of Bloom's Taxonomy.  This helps students deeply understand text.

  • Each box of task cards provides topical Common Core review.  This makes differentiating instruction so much easier. Print out as many boxes that are needed for classroom review.  Students record their information on recording forms. Answer keys are also included.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Behind the Scenes with Literacy and Math Ideas

Many people ask me who writes Literacy and Math Ideas' stories and informational text passages.

The passages are created by Literacy and Math Ideas.   My academic background includes both education and writing.  My experience as a teacher really guides what I write and how I would like ideas to be presented. Often, the process of writing informational text begins with field work. 

This picture is from a visit to a tide pool.  I studied the creatures and plants that live there.  The image became part of my Daily Common Core Practice product.

Observing nature is important. This toad jumped right in front of me as I was walking around in my backyard one day.

Role playing events that occurred in the past is also helpful.  I love both science and history.  To better understand what daily life was like during the 1800s for the pioneers, I did many of the same tasks that they did such as washing clothes.  This role playing was done before a passage was written about the pioneers.

This is a picture of some sketches that I drew during a nature walk.  Keeping a sketch journal with you at all times is helpful. Observing, jotting down ideas, taking pictures, and sketching are all done during my prewriting stage. 

After many drafts and revisions, stories and informational text passages are born.