Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Leveled Text Resources

One of the geekiest things that I get excited about as a teacher is finding new texts for my students to use! I feel like I struck gold when I find an appropriate text for the skill I'm teaching in my mini lessons that week. I pretty much stock pile and meticulously label both fiction and nonfiction texts for future use!

 I love differentiating for my kiddos and making sure that they are reading texts that challenge them and are also developmentally appropriate. But I sometimes struggled to manage multiple different texts being read in my class. The amazingly talented special education resource teacher in my building suggested a sneaky trick last year, and I've been obsessed with using it ever since! 

Her solution? Have my struggling readers pre-read a lower lexile version of the same text. Then, when we read the on grade level text as a whole class, my struggling readers are already familiar with the topic and are ready to be challenged with complex vocabulary and sentence structure. 

My struggling readers get a confidence boost, because comprehension is not as difficult in this second read and they are reading the same text as the rest of the class. Because, lets face it, my big kids are TOTALLY aware of who is reading what text and who is reading something different!

Want to try this out in your own class? 
Below are a list of sources I go to for free leveled texts!

{fabulous nonfiction articles PLUS multiple choice and written response questions!}

{brief nonfiction articles available in 3 levels of difficulty}

{great for middle schoolers- choose a themed topic & focus question}

{short stories organized by lexile level. my favorite is Fly Away Home}

{technically not free, but my PTA pays for my subscription & it's an invaluable resource!}

Do you have recommendations of text sources?! I'd LOVE to hear about them :)
XO Emily

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Turning Passion Into Profit

Today I'm over at Say Yes To Happy, guest blogging for Julie!

The thing is you don't need to be brave enough to start. START DESPITE HOW SCARED YOU ARE! JUST START.:

I'm sharing my Teachers Pay Teachers story & how I turned my passion into profit.
I'd love for you to check it out :)
XO Emily

Monday, October 5, 2015

Social Skills Problem Solving

"Mrs. G, can I ask you a question? I tried standing up for a friend when she told me that someone was being mean to her. I asked that person to stop talking about my friend, but now that person is mad at me. I just wanted to defend my friend! What do I do?"

As a 6th grade teacher, I have heard this question (and many just like it) time and time again. My heart aches for my preteen kiddos who are navigating these tricky social situations. I'm fortunate enough to have both male and female teachers on my team, so we'll sometimes split up our girls and boys and have family chats with them about appropriate social behavior. 

During one of these talks, my girls posed a couple of hypothetical situations, just like the one above, and asked how to handle them. It was then that I realized that I needed to give my students time to reflect on difficult situations before they occur so that they can talk it out and problem solve, removed from the emotions they feel in the moment.

The next time we met, I gave my kiddos these problem solving task cards. They pose hypothetical situations and ask students how they would feel in that situation and what they would do. 

Of course it didn't solve all petty arguing and gossip in my class, but it opened up the conversation to let students practice these crucial skills in a safe environment. 

Click the photos above to download the cards and try this out for yourself!

XO Emily

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