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ELA Blog - English Language Arts Resources for the Classroom

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Literacy

Teaching Point of View; An Overview for Grades 3–5

Most state standards for English Language Arts require that students analyze the impact the point of view has on a text. Download a Point of View ...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Mother's Day-Inspired Compare and Contrast Lesson, Grades 3–5

Review reading comprehension strategies with my Mother's Day-inspired compare and contrast lesson. Although this compare and contrast lesson was...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Reading Practice Prompts for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC)

Like many of you, my students will be taking the SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium) for the first time this spring. In my reading and...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

3 Test-Taking Strategies for Elementary Students (Includes 10+ Printables)

Recently I've had a lot of teachers come to me asking about standardized test preparation. While I hope the majority of my instruction prepares my kids...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Note-Taking Strategies for Elementary Students— Texts and Multimedia Formats

Teaching students how to take notes is extremely important, and it needs to be taught across all grades. Most students do not know how to take...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Women's History Month Research Activity, Grades 3–8

Every March, I make it a point to celebrate Women's History Month with my students. Instead of assigning a typical biography report, I make it a point...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Components of Balanced Literacy and Strategies for the Classroom

The methodology that I use to teach reading is "Balanced Literacy." Many of my blog posts refer to "Balanced Literacy" as I share units, lessons, and...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Printable Reading Activities for Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month, I wanted to highlight previous posts and printable reading activities that you may want to try with your students.

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Winter Olympics 5-Day Nonfiction Reading Strategy Lesson Plan, Grades 3–8

Use the 2018 Winter Olympics to engage students in a series of nonfiction reading strategy lessons! Use the lessons and printables below to teach (or...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Teach Sequence of Events– Free Sequencing Worksheets for Kindergarten and Grade 1

Sequencing is the skill that is used when a reader lists the events of a story in the order that they occurred in, from first to last. For a student to...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Fun Winter Holiday Writing Activities Elementary Students Will Love

 Two of my favorite books to read in December are The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg and The Gingerbread Man by Jim Aylesworth. I love to use...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Winter Holidays Around the World– Lesson Plans for Elementary Students

Early in my teaching career, I taught third grade in Maryland for two years. The teachers I taught with were fantastic! In those two short years I...

Erin Lynch

Vocabulary

Help Struggling Readers Build Vocabulary; 10+ Printables to Get You Started

I love working with our district’s literacy coaches and reading specialists, and I have a special place in my heart for Ms. Long, the reading...

Vocab Gal

Literacy

Thanksgiving Reading Comprehension Lesson Guide– Milly and the Macy's Parade

If you have visited my blog before you know that I try to incorporate my students' current interests into my lesson plans. I believe students learn...

Erin Lynch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Literacy

8 Ways to Become a Literacy-Savvy Principal

Principals are the pillars of schools. Teachers, students, parents, custodians, paraprofessionals, and the lunch staff turn to principals for guidance...

Erin Lynch

Vocabulary

7 Teacher PD Opportunities to Take Advantage of this Summer

I can still remember the summer after my first year of teaching. My roommate, a fellow high school English teacher, and I literally sat on the couch...

Vocab Gal

Vocabulary

The BIG THREE of Teacher Feedback

Every year I like to take a moment, usually during the last week of school when I just can’t grade another paper, to reflect on what worked and didn’t...

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.

Literacy

How Principals and Specialists Can Get Feedback from Teachers

Let's be honest, asking for feedback from colleagues is not the easiest thing to do. I find myself to be my own worst critic, so I do not know why I am...

Erin Lynch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Literacy

A Reading Activity to Include in Disability Units—Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

The New York Times Best Seller Fish in a Tree, by Lynda Mullaly Hunt, is a book that students love, but every teacher should read also to remind us why...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Back-to-School Elementary Activity: Book Jacket & Table of Contents

A fun way for you to get to know your elementary students better and help them get to know each other is by having them create a book jacket cover and...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Reading Survey for Students; Getting to Know your New Class of Readers

The start of a new school year brings excitement and anticipation to teachers and students alike. Each party to the relationship is wondering about the...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Encourage More Students to Read with Movie-Inspired Book Clubs!

The buttery popcorn, the delicious candy, the big screen... who doesn't love a movie? The answer used to be, “I don’t!”, when one of my favorite...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Beyond the Foundational Four: Additional Content-Focused Centers for Mathematics and Science

As previously discussed, the four foundational centers (Teacher Led Center, Vocabulary, Reading Together and Writer’s Craft) are appropriate for any...

Guest Blogger

Literacy

Using Webb's DOK and Bloom's Taxonomy During Teacher/Student Conferences and Small Group Work

In a previous post, I have shared how I incorporate the DOK and Revised Bloom's Taxonomy into my 'shared reading lesson plans' and my 'unit plans.' In...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Classroom Library Organization Tips for K–5 Teachers

Last year I wrote a blog post about creating a classroom environment where students can be immersed in literacy experiences. One of the elements I...

Erin Lynch

Grammar

Recharge and Refresh: 5 Ways Teachers Can Stay Motivated

July is the month that marks the middle of summer for many teachers. Last month school had just ended and next month school will begin again. Before...

Tiffany Rehbein

Literacy

Beyond the Foundational Four: Additional Content-Focused Centers for English Language Arts and Social Studies

As previously discussed, the four foundational centers (Teacher Led Center, Vocabulary, Reading Together and Writer’s Craft) are appropriate for any...

Guest Blogger

Literacy

5th Grade Summer Reading List

While it may be tempting to spend all summer at the beach or by the pool, it's important that emerging readers practice their reading skills over the...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

4th Grade Summer Reading List

While it may be tempting to spend all summer at the beach or by the pool, it's important that emerging readers practice their reading skills over the...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

3rd Grade Summer Reading List

While it may be tempting to spend all summer at the beach or by the pool, it's important that emerging readers practice their reading skills over the...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

2nd Grade Summer Reading List

While it may be tempting to spend all summer at the beach or by the pool, it's important that emerging readers practice their reading skills over the...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

1st Grade Summer Reading List

While it may be tempting to spend the summer at the beach or by the pool, it's important that emerging readers practice their reading skills over the...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

How Parents Can Help Kids Fight Summer Reading Loss

Children that don’t read during their summer vacation can lose up to three months of reading achievement. Summer learning loss impacts reading fluency,...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

The Four Foundational Centers: Teacher Led, Vocabulary, Read Together & Writer’s Craft

In the previous blog, “Learning and Literacy Centers: An Effective Instructional Model for Meeting the Needs of All Students”, we examined why this...

Guest Blogger

Literacy

3-2-1 Bridge 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

Literacy

Connecting Reading and Math with Greg Tang Books

When I was a classroom teacher, I tried to make my lesson plans and units cross-curricular whenever possible. I found that my students were able to...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Chalk Talk 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

Literacy

Learning and Literacy Centers: An Effective Instructional Model for Meeting the Needs of All Students

Today I'm excited to have Dr. Katherine McKnight sharing her expertise on implementing Literacy Centers into classroom instruction. Give my guest...

Guest Blogger

Literacy

“The Isle of the Lost” – Compare and Contrast Characters Activity

A unit that focuses on studying characters is one of my favorites. I enjoying teaching characters because it always seems to build my students’ love...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Think–Puzzle–Explore Visible Thinking Routine; A Professional Development Series

Attention all principals and teachers! Today is the third post in my ongoing professional development series that highlights the 'thinking routines'...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

SBAC Sample Questions for the English Language Arts/Literacy Sections

Last spring, my students took the SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium) for the first time. To prepare my students for this rigorous assessment...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Teaching Historical Fiction: Using Time Periods to Support Understanding, Grades 3–8 [Graphic Organizer]

As I have mentioned in several posts last month, one of my favorite genres to use with my students is historical fiction. There are many interesting...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Symbolism Lesson Plan Using Multiple Texts, Grades 3+

One of the benefits of being a literacy specialist is that I am able to work with several different grade levels. This gives me the opportunity to see...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Make Thinking Visible with the Zoom In Thinking Routine; A Professional Development Series

In January, I began what will be an ongoing monthly post describing a 'thinking routine' from the book Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Character Development Activity: Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood, Grades 4–6

As you may have noticed I love historical fiction! In my opinion, it is the genre that gives the gift of both fiction and nonfiction reading....

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Presidents' Day Compare and Contrast Activity, Grades 3–5

Particular Standards of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) that my students seem to struggle with across grade levels is Comparing and Contrasting ...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

The Year of the Dog; A Coming of Age Novel, Grades 4–6

The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin is a great book to use with upper elementary grade-level students. The main character, Pacy, is trying to "find...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

"Do a Good Deed" Summarizing Activities, Grades 4+

"Teachers make a difference." When I see or hear that statement, I feel proud to be an educator, because I believe teachers do make a difference. To...

Erin Lynch

Vocabulary

What Works? How to Motivate Students to Read

Whether you are a librarian or an English teacher, figuring out how to motivate students to read can often be difficult. Here are my top tips for...

Vocab Gal

Literacy

Chinese New Year Activities for Elementary Students

According to the Chinese zodiac calendar, 2016 is the Year of the Monkey. The Lunar New Year falls on February 8th. If you follow my blog, you know...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Using Visible Thinking Strategies in the Classroom; A Professional Development Series

Here is a post for all you teachers AND principals out there. Last June, you might have read a post where I shared a few books that I thought would...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Snowman Story Map: Show the Connection Between Reading and Writing

“Reading and writing go hand-in-hand,” is a phrase my students hear me constantly saying. “Good writers are usually avid readers,” is another of my...

Erin Lynch

Vocabulary

Read More By Listening: Audiobooks for You and Your Students

As an English teacher and a librarian, I am a huge proponent of audiobooks. I am often asked, “Is it really reading if you are listening to a book?”...

Vocab Gal

Literacy

Reading Engagement Inventory, Grades 1–8

If you have never completed a reading engagement inventory on your students, do it... I bet you will find the results fascinating! An engagement...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Molly's Pilgrim Mini-Unit: On, Between, & Beyond the Lines

Students will perform better if they are interested in what they are doing. This is a statement I think about every time I begin to work on my reading...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Book Talk Placemat: An Interactive Book Discussion for Kids

To ensure that thinking and understanding are taking place both during and after reading, a conversation about the book is critical. Conversations...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Celebrate the World Series with Baseball Printables, Books, & Read Alouds

A student staring out the window, imagining being anywhere else other than in your classroom... What a terrible feeling it is when you are in the...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Give Me Five! Reading Strategy for Grades K–2

A top priority in reading for my primary grade-level readers is to be able to retell a story and state its most important details. The details that I...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Part 4: Using the Text Rain Reign in a Disability Awareness Unit

This is the last post in my Disabilitiy Awareness Activities Unit series. Every day this week I've broken down how I use multiple texts, with...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Part 3: Teaching Students About Disabilities Using The Book Out of My Mind

It is important for classrooms to be an environment where students can openly speak and learn about disabilities and what it means to be...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Part 2: Wonder Lesson Plans That Teach Students About Acceptance

I have just read Wonder, by Raquel J. Palacio, again and I can easily understand why it remains on the New York Times Best Sellers List and a part of...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Part 1: Disability Awareness Activities Unit for Grades 4–8

What is a disability? According to Webster's Dictionary it is: a condition (such as an illness or an injury) that damages or limits a person's physical...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Printable Reading Comprehension Lesson Plans for Grades 3–6

Reading comprehension skills and strategies help students stay engaged and think about what they are reading. By explicitly teaching reading...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Patricia Polacco Continued... The Keeping Quilt Activities

You may have read a previous post of mine when I mentioned how much I enjoyed when Patricia Polacco came to visit my school. She spoke with grades K-1,...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Effective Classroom Management Strategies for the K–5 Classroom

Most teachers agree that the first few weeks of school set the tone for the rest of the school year. Having effective classroom management strategies...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Open House Presentation On Balanced Literacy, Grades K–5

The start of the school year means 'Open House' is right around the corner. For me, that 45 minute time period always flew by as I tried to summarize...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

3 Different Books: A Simple Reading Level Assessment for Teachers

As a reading teacher, each year I am excited to get to know my new group of reading students. I can't wait to see their unique personalities and get to...

Erin Lynch

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