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ELA Blog - English Language Arts Resources for the Classroom

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Literacy

Annotating Text Strategies That Will Enhance Close Reading

One of the most important skills I teach my students as we begin to work on close reading is how to annotate texts. Teaching annotation strategies will...

Erin Lynch

Vocabulary

Power Word of the Week: Brackish

Vocabulary development is a vital component of learning across all subject areas. It doesn't matter if a student is learning a new grammar rule or...

Vocab Gal

Grammar

Nature-themed Homophone Activity, Grades 5–8

Emily Dickinson referred to nature as “the gentlest mother.” This image of ushering out one season and kindly welcoming in another, reminds me of the...

Tiffany Rehbein

Vocabulary

Thanksgiving Vocabulary Worksheets Your Students Will Love

Celebrate the Thanksgiving season in the classroom with vocabulary words! Like most holidays, the festivities surrounding Thanksgiving give teachers an...

Vocab Gal

Vocabulary

Power Word of the Week: Supine

Vocabulary development is a vital component of learning across all subject areas. It doesn't matter if a student is learning a new grammar rule or...

Vocab Gal

Literacy

How Self-monitoring Strategies Support Students When Reading Closely

One of the greatest gifts a reading teacher can give their students is the ability to read and comprehend a challenging text independently. It can be a...

Erin Lynch

Vocabulary

11 Vocabulary Homework Ideas And How To Motivate Students To Do It!

As a teacher, I try to concentrate students’ learning on activities done in class, because asking some students to complete work at home can be...

Vocab Gal

Vocabulary

Power Word of the Week: Attainment

Vocabulary development is a vital component of learning across all subject areas. It doesn't matter if a student is learning a new grammar rule or...

Vocab Gal

Literacy

Free Thanksgiving Reading Activities Elementary Students Will Love

The downloads that are available with this post are a few of my favorite Thanksgiving reading activities. Print these free worksheets for your...

Erin Lynch

Grammar

Using Classroom Centers for Writing in the Middle- and Upper-Level Classroom

This school year, I did something different in my tenth grade classroom. Rather than repetitively stating classroom routines and procedures during the...

Tiffany Rehbein

Vocabulary

Power Word of the Week: Stark

Vocabulary development is a vital component of learning across all subject areas. It doesn't matter if a student is learning a new grammar rule or...

Vocab Gal

Vocabulary

How to Be Successful Mentoring New Teachers

As the "mentor coordinator" for my entire district, I have learned much by observing and working alongside mentors and beginning teachers. My role as...

Vocab Gal

Literacy

Halloween Reading Comprehension Worksheets and Graphic Organizers

Add some spooktacular elements to your classroom curriculum with my free Halloween reading comprehension worksheets, book suggestions, and interactive...

Erin Lynch

Vocabulary

Power Word of the Week: Paragon

Vocabulary development is a vital component of learning across all subject areas. It doesn't matter if a student is learning a new grammar rule or...

Vocab Gal

Vocabulary

Fall-Inspired Haiku Poetry Worksheet

When the weather starts to turn chilly, I want to grab a mug of hot apple cider and go on a hayride. I also want to play in the leaves. While I do not...

Vocab Gal

Literacy

Top 10 Halloween Series Books for Kids in Grades 1–4 (Graphic Organizers Included)

As a literacy specialist, I'm often asked for advice on how teachers and parents can get students to read more. Although I have a number of activities...

Erin Lynch

Grammar

29 Printable Grammar Worksheets That Will Improve Students' Writing

Teachers, literacy coaches, principals, and administrators all want to improve the writing of students. The ability to write effectively and...

Tiffany Rehbein

Vocabulary

Power Word of the Week: Impair

Vocabulary development is a vital component of learning across all subject areas. It doesn't matter if a student is learning a new grammar rule or...

Vocab Gal

Vocabulary

8 Printable Halloween Language Arts Worksheets!

Download eight free Halloween language arts worksheets that will engage students in learning and make your classroom feel truly spooktacular! The...

Vocab Gal

Literacy

How to Use the Circle of Viewpoints Routine with Students

Circle of viewpoints is a “thinking routine” protocol featured in the book, Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding and...

Erin Lynch

Vocabulary

Power Word of the Week: Capsize

Vocabulary development is a vital component of learning across all subject areas. It doesn't matter if a student is learning a new grammar rule or...

Vocab Gal

Grammar

Halloween Grammar Parts of Speech Worksheets for Grades 3–5

October is the time to year that welcomes the ghosts and goblins associated with Halloween. The end of the month usually signifies the end of a term or...

Tiffany Rehbein

Vocabulary

Power Word of the Week: Fend

Vocabulary development is a vital component of learning across all subject areas. It doesn't matter if a student is learning a new grammar rule or...

Vocab Gal

Vocabulary

6 Things to Include in a Substitute Teacher Binder

One of the hardest things a teacher has to do is plan for a substitute. Likewise, one of the hardest jobs a person can have is to be a substitute...

Vocab Gal

Vocabulary

Power Word of the Week: Memorandum

Vocabulary development is a vital component of learning across all subject areas. It doesn't matter if a student is learning a new grammar rule or...

Vocab Gal

Vocabulary

Power Word of the Week: Oust

Vocabulary development is a vital component of learning across all subject areas. It doesn't matter if a student is learning a new grammar rule or...

Vocab Gal

Literacy

Explore Emerging Themes with Pax by Sara Pennypacker, Grades 3–6

I love to share books that get even the most reluctant reader to start reading. Outside of sharing my recommendations with colleagues, I've also...

Erin Lynch

Vocabulary

Vocabulary Assessment and Inventory

One of the most important aspects of vocabulary instruction is vocabulary assessment. Without knowing how many words your students already know, and to...

Vocab Gal

Grammar

The Power of Journal Writing in the Classroom

Last year, a student spoke to me about missing class for one week due to a family trip. What could she do to make up the work? After conferencing with...

Tiffany Rehbein

Literacy

Elements of a Literacy-Rich 21st Century Classroom

Do you want to bring a 21st century classroom design into your classroom? This guide will assist you in setting up a literacy-rich environment in a...

Erin Lynch

Grammar

Back-To-School Writing Prompts [Includes Printable Worksheets]

With today’s technology, there are many ways to get information about your students. There are also many events going on in a young person’s life that...

Tiffany Rehbein

Literacy

How to Assess Reading Levels of Elementary Students Throughout the Year

Balanced Literacy is a curricular methodology that integrates various modalities of literacy instruction, which are aimed at guiding students towards...

Erin Lynch

Vocabulary

14 Free Back-to-School Printables for Teachers

Although I have been working all summer long, the inevitable school year start date suddenly looms up before me, scary and overwhelming. To honor...

Vocab Gal

Literacy

Interactive Read Aloud Strategies—23 Lessons to Get You Started!

Every pair of eyes in your classroom is looking in your direction, there is almost no restless movement, because almost all of your students are...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

First Day of School Icebreakers for the K–5 Classroom

The start of a new school year stirs up many emotions within teachers and students often including excitement, anticipation and nervousness. My number...

Erin Lynch

Vocabulary

3 Vocabulary Activities to Use with In-Class Texts

I make it a priority to integrate vocabulary into every aspect of my English class. I really enjoy having students use their vocabulary to discuss the...

Vocab Gal

Vocabulary

An Awesome SAT and ACT Comparison for Teachers and Students

I will never forget driving to my SAT exam early one Saturday morning; I had the radio blaring classical music while I crunched peppermints and...

Vocab Gal

Literacy

Elementary STEM Unit Your Students Will Love– Includes Shared Reading

Cross-curriculum work is an area that often receives a big push in school districts. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics,...

Erin Lynch

Grammar

Practice Combining Adjectives and Action Words This Summer, Grades 3–5

Last week I took my sons on a hike in a national park. The summery sunshine encouraged us to hike a couple of miles on the trails. Listening to my...

Tiffany Rehbein

Vocabulary

Power Word of the Week: Extemporaneous

Vocabulary development is a vital component of learning across all subject areas. It doesn't matter if a student is learning a new grammar rule or...

Vocab Gal

Grammar

How to Design Lessons for Teaching Story Structure with the CCSS

The organizer of the Boston Marathon designed the course with a starting line, middle course design, and finish line. The craft behind a story can be...

Beverly Ann Chin, Ph.D.

Vocabulary

Power Word of the Week: Queue

Vocabulary development is a vital component of learning across all subject areas. It doesn't matter if a student is learning a new grammar rule or...

Vocab Gal

Literacy

A Guide to Getting Feedback from Students and Using It to Improve Your Teaching

The end of the school year and the summer time is a reflective time for me, as I am sure it is for most educators. An important part of my reflection...

Erin Lynch

Grammar

How Professional Development Can Support Writing Communities in Schools

Professional development days are my favorite! How often do school leaders hear teachers in their schools say this? In this blog post, you will learn...

Tiffany Rehbein

Vocabulary

Team-Building Activities for High School Students

Over the last two years, my colleagues and I have started playing board games during lunch. Not only does this provide us with much needed stress...

Vocab Gal

Literacy

How to Use the Generate-Sort-Connect-Elaborate Thinking Routine

Attention all principals and teachers! Today I'm highlighting another 'thinking routine' from the book Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Analyze the Setting with the I Survived Collection by Lauren Tarshis, Grades 3–6

If you are familiar with my blog, you know I am always on the lookout for books that get reluctant readers (you know, those kids that would rather be...

Erin Lynch

Grammar

Writing Thank You Messages to Teachers; A Teacher Appreciation Week Activity

I fondly remember my favorite teachers. How one instilled a love of reading. How another used humor. How another truly cared about me. Today, I love...

Tiffany Rehbein

Vocabulary

Power Word of the Week: Inimitable

Vocabulary development is a vital component of learning across all subject areas. It doesn't matter if a student is learning a new grammar rule or...

Vocab Gal

Literacy

How to Get Struggling Readers to Fall in Love with Reading

After 17 years of teaching and more than 20 years of having been a student, one thing that never seems to change is that students love to get their...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

How To Teach Reading Comprehension Strategies In Your School

Hanging on the door in my classroom is a hand-written poster that I made over 10 years ago. It reads, “Reading Comprehension Strategies will help you →...

Erin Lynch

Vocabulary

Free Earth Day Vocabulary Activity for All Grade Levels

The Earth Day Vocabulary Activity is a great way to connect vocabulary instruction, art, and the environment. 

Vocab Gal

Vocabulary

Power Word of the Week: Gossamer

Vocabulary development is a vital component of learning across all subject areas. It doesn't matter if a student is learning a new grammar rule or...

Vocab Gal

Literacy

Earth Day Project: Growing Grassy Heads in the Elementary Classroom

Spring is a wonderful time to teach students about plants and what they need to survive. Use the Growing Grassy Heads Activity to explore plants in...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

How to Pair Books for Comparing and Contrasting Practice

I can feel the enthusiasm among my students when I am sharing a book with them that I love. I guess my passion and excitement are that contagious!

Erin Lynch

Vocabulary

Power Word of the Week: Brandish

Vocabulary development is a vital component of learning across all subject areas. It doesn't matter if a student is learning a new grammar rule or...

Vocab Gal

Literacy

How To Effectively Use Picture Books In Literacy Centers

Students love choice and variety! A great way to incorporate both into your literacy instruction is with centers. Literacy centers are a small area...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

How to Use a Dr. Seuss Book to Promote STEAM in the Classroom

STEM units and lessons are gaining popularity in many districts across the country. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics....

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Content-Rich Curriculum is the Best Preparation for High-Stakes Reading Tests

High-stakes testing puts an incredible amount of pressure on teachers and students. Teachers are evaluated based on their students' performance on...

Erin Lynch

Vocabulary

Power Word of the Week: Quirk

Vocabulary development is a vital component of learning across all subject areas. It doesn't matter if a student is learning a new grammar rule or...

Vocab Gal

Literacy

How Literacy Coaches Can Help Teachers Use Picture Books Across Subject Areas

Most school districts are pushing to have a topic that is covered across the curriculum. When you are able to work on a topic in reading, writing,...

Erin Lynch

Grammar

How to Build a School Writing Community Around Shared Values–A FREE Step-by-Step Guide

In my post "Writing Communities in Schools: School-wide Literacy Action Plans," I wrote that shared value systems must be one of the first elements in...

Tiffany Rehbein

Vocabulary

Compose Love Notes to Words with a Valentines Day Vocabulary Activity

Valentine’s Day is approaching and you know how much I LOVE words, so I thought it would be fun to compose valentines to vocabulary words!

Vocab Gal

Literacy

Prepare for Standardized Tests Using Books about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

With the second half of the school year in full-swing, many educators are starting to think about preparing their students for standardized testing.

Erin Lynch

Vocabulary

How to Make Vocabulary Improvement and Instruction a Whole-School Endeavor

Students attend multiple classes every day and often don’t connect ideas or concepts from one class to another. By bringing students’ attention to...

Vocab Gal

Grammar

Writing Communities in School; Creating a School-wide Literacy Action Plan

In this article, we'll explore the benefits of building a school-wide community of writers and literacy action plan. With the strategies outlined in...

Tiffany Rehbein

Literacy

How to Use the CSI– Color, Symbol, Image Thinking Routine

Today I’m continuing the Professional Development series I started last January about how principals, school leaders, and teachers can implement...

Erin Lynch

Vocabulary

How to Balance Being a Teacher and a Parent: Top 5 Survival Tips

Many of us struggle to balance our personal and professional lives, and I found that for me it only got harder once I had children. I knew I was going...

Vocab Gal

Literacy

Literature Awards and School Book Clubs, Grades 1–8

Recently some of the mothers at the preschool where my own children attend started a book club. Our first book was Pulitzer Prize winner, The Goldfinch...

Erin Lynch

Grammar

Snowflake Adjectives Activity, Grades 3–8

Winter is a special time to enjoy the outdoors. Children like to frolic in the snow, build snowmen, go sledding, and after getting rosy cheeks, come...

Tiffany Rehbein

Literacy

My New Year’s Resolution Worksheet for Educators

As an educator, I’ve always appreciated that the second semester of school kicks off right after the New Year’s celebrations. It inspires me to reflect...

Erin Lynch

Vocabulary

Vocab Gal Top 10 Best of 2016

As 2016 comes to a close, I find myself reflecting over the best new ideas from the Vocab Gal blog. I love challenging myself to think critically about...

Vocab Gal

Grammar

The "Grammar Fir Tree" Holiday Writing Activity, Grades 3–8

The rich history and fun celebrations of holidays make students extra lively during the month of December. Although this extra energy can be hard to...

Tiffany Rehbein

Vocabulary

8 Gifts to Thank Your School Employees

I find that thanking the school staff who often get overlooked, is one of the best ways to show appreciation. However, it can be a tricky and costly...

Vocab Gal

Literacy

Inspiring Young Readers; Download Your Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library PDF

I mentioned in a previous post that through my blog I would be sharing with you 'inspiring reads.' These are books that 'inspire' my students that...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Headlines Thinking Routine; A Professional Development Series

Today I’m continuing the Professional Development series about how principals, school leaders, and teachers can implement thinking routines in schools....

Erin Lynch

Grammar

Capitalizing Proper Nouns and Adjectives, Grades 3–5

While reading students’ work, teachers at every grade level are reminded about the importance of capitalization. A proper noun names a specific person,...

Tiffany Rehbein

Vocabulary

Top 3 Best Traits Vocabulary Activity, Grades 3–12

It’s so easy to put ourselves down and give up when challenges arise; I know, I sometimes feel defeated by the innumerable ways that I could be a...

Vocab Gal

Grammar

Awesome Anchor Chart to Teach Homophones, Grades 2–12

Homophone anchor charts are a great way to place the words in the classroom and provide a resource for students as they learn homophones.

Tiffany Rehbein

Vocabulary

Top 5 Tips for Meeting an Author at a Conference

One of my favorite parts of being an English teacher/librarian is going to conferences and meeting authors. Over the years, I have honed my “author...

Vocab Gal

Grammar

Get Shakin' with Adverbs; A Fun Revision Activity for Students

I love the idea of combining writing with speaking as much as possible. Speaking what you have written is a great revision strategy. In addition,...

Tiffany Rehbein

Literacy

Interactive Read Aloud Template: Miracle Mud By David A. Kelly

Interactive read alouds are an important component of a balanced literacy classroom. Research proves the value of reading aloud to students of all...

Erin Lynch

Vocabulary

10 High Stakes Assessment Terms Students Need to Know

If you read last week’s post, you know that your vocabulary instruction is most critical to your students’ success on high-stakes testing. Unfamiliar...

Vocab Gal

Grammar

How to Teach Grammar Effectively; 8 "Do's" and "Don'ts" To Keep In Mind

There is a strong relationship between grammar, writing instruction, and student achievement. Effective grammar instruction across grade levels and...

Tiffany Rehbein

Vocabulary

Increase High-Stakes Standardized Testing Success with Vocabulary

High-stakes standardized testing is not going away. With the newly redesigned SAT® and the fact that many states’ are focusing on both the ACT® and...

Vocab Gal

Literacy

Compass Points Thinking Routine; A Professional Development Series

Today I’m continuing the Professional Development series about how principals, school leaders, and teachers can implement thinking routines in schools....

Erin Lynch

Grammar

5 Tips That Will Get Students Revising Wordy Sentences

Helping your students learn to write clear, concise sentences using fewer words is an important part of grammar instruction! Wordiness not only...

Tiffany Rehbein

Grammar

Printable Halloween Writing Activity & Grammar Terms Crossword Puzzle

For many of us, the onset of Halloween means an end to the first quarter of school. Students might be finishing up projects or taking those first...

Tiffany Rehbein

Grammar

A Principal's Role in the Professional Development of Teachers

Every Sunday, I participate in professional development on Twitter. It’s not sponsored by my school. I didn’t have to sign-up early. My principal...

Tiffany Rehbein

Vocabulary

3rd Grade Vocabulary Worksheets, Printables, and Resources

Today I'm sharing 3rd grade vocabulary worksheets and printables that will make the word building process more exciting for students! These free...

Vocab Gal

Literacy

Portfolios in the Classroom: Digital and Traditional

One constant for me—no matter what grade level I am teaching—is having my students create portfolios for themselves. There is nothing more rewarding...

Erin Lynch

Vocabulary

Differentiated Vocabulary Assessment Handout

Now that we've all gotten through the crazy back-to-school season and have established our classroom routines, I thought I'd take the opportunity to...

Vocab Gal

Literacy

How to Successfully Select CCSS Literacy Strands to Focus On

It can be overwhelming trying to figure out which Common Core State Standard literacy strands your students need the most work with. There are so many...

Erin Lynch

Vocabulary

Using Learning Centers to Enhance Vocabulary Instruction

I often find that students need variety and a short time frame to keep them focused on learning; therefore, I really love setting up vocabulary...

Vocab Gal

Grammar

11 Elementary Grammar Worksheets That Will Improve Students' Writing

Practice is the key to mastering and improving grammar skills! Here are eleven elementary grammar worksheets teachers can use in the classroom to...

Tiffany Rehbein

Literacy

The Brain and Learning– What Educators Need to Know

I have always been fascinated with brain research. What helps to stimulate a brain? How and why do the two sides of our brain work independently of...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Focus on a Standard; Describing Characters in a Story (RL.3.3)

If you happened to have read my last post you know I gave some tips and tricks for goal setting and professional planning. I mentioned this follow-up...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Sticking to a Plan: Planning and Preparing for Literacy and Learning Centers

If you’re like me, I learned how to plan lessons using a day-to-day, period-by-period schedule. Lessons were chunked into 40-50-minute segments on...

Guest Blogger

Literacy

Teacher Goal Setting and Professional Planning for the New Year

The start of the school year in most school districts means it is that time of year to set teacher professional goals again. Ugh! I used to find this a...

Erin Lynch

Grammar

How Sentence Stems Support Middle School Students in their Writing

By the time students are in middle school, if they are writing an argument then they are expected to include words, phrases, and clauses that create...

Tiffany Rehbein

Literacy

The Explanation Game Visible Thinking Routine; A Professional Development Series

In January, I began an ongoing monthly post describing a “thinking routine” Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding and...

Erin Lynch

Vocabulary

Setting Instructional Goals and Objectives; 6 Key Points Teachers Should Remember

At the beginning of each school year, it is critical to set instructional goals and objectives for our classes. These goals need to work for ourselves,...

Vocab Gal

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