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ELA Blog - English Language Arts Resources for the Classroom

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Literacy

The Principal's Role in Effective Literacy Instruction

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

Erin Lynch

Vocabulary

Summer Vocabulary Games for Learners and Caregivers

Summer is long, and learners need to practice their vocabulary or they lose much of the knowledge they’ve gained during the school year. A great way to...

Vocab Gal

Vocabulary

7 Fun Summer Vocabulary Worksheets for Students

I wanted to highlight a few ways students can continuing engaging with words during summer break. The summer vocabulary worksheets included in this...

Vocab Gal

Literacy

Summer Professional Growth Plan for Teachers and Principals

The summer is a great time to enhance skills, improve units and add to professional knowledge. During the school year, teachers and principals are...

Erin Lynch

Vocabulary

7 Fun Professional Development Ideas for Teachers

During summer break, teachers should take advantage of their slower schedules to complete professional development hours.  In this article, we'll...

Vocab Gal

Literacy

Summer Reading Strategies Bookmark for Elementary Students, Grades 2–5

I am a huge fan of bookmarks because they can be a great tool for students to use during independent reading. Every June, I share a special bookmark...

Erin Lynch

Vocabulary

QUICK Vocabulary Review & Practice Activities for Students (Handouts Included)

As I prepare my students for their semester exam that will include 80-100 vocabulary words, I feel the need to insert little vocabulary activities to...

Vocab Gal

Text-Dependent Questions for Close Reading of Paired Texts – 5 Day Lesson Plan

In close reading, it is important to compare texts with similar purpose, point of view, or other specific aspects. The more specific the comparison...

Erin Lynch

Grammar

Teaching Persuasive Writing in the Classroom [Free Kit for Grades 3–12]

This article focuses on persuasive writing and how educators can help students use it to improve their critical writing and thinking skills. The...

Tiffany Rehbein

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

Grammar

Run-on Sentence Practice Activity for Students, Grades 3–8

Run-on sentences is one the most common errors students make in their writing. In this article, you'll find a printable run-on sentence practice...

Tiffany Rehbein

Vocabulary

Vocabulary Scavenger Hunt Activity, Grades 1–12 (FREE Worksheets Included)

Send your students off on a scavenger hunt to discover vocabulary words with my free worksheets. The Vocabulary Scavenger Hunt Activity challenges...

Vocab Gal

Literacy

How Principals and Specialists Can Get Feedback from Teachers

This post explores what effective feedback in education looks like and why principals and specialists should seek it out rather than be afraid of...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Memorial Day Worksheets for the K–5 Classroom

The week before Memorial Day, I always spend some time discussing this symbolic holiday with my students. My mini Memorial Day lesson is simple and yet...

Erin Lynch

Vocabulary

The BIG THREE of Teacher Feedback

In this article, you'll learn how teachers can seek out feedback from their three primary groups of stakeholders: students,...

Vocab Gal

Literacy

Printable End of Year Activities for Elementary Students!

As the school year comes to a close, it is important to honor our students' hard work and accomplishments. Here are a few of the end of year activities...

Erin Lynch

Grammar

Mother's Day Revision Lesson, Grades 3–5

Teaching revision is crucial to the development of all students’ writing abilities. Revision is the stage in which students grow as writers, readers,...

Tiffany Rehbein

Grammar

A Fun Proofreading Activity for Students in Grades 3–5

We all have had those moments. We have just hit the Send button on our email, and we see that one word. That one that is misspelled. That one that...

Tiffany Rehbein

Vocabulary

Wacky Word Toss — A Vocabulary Review Activity Students Will Love

My children love to toss water balloons, and I couldn’t help but think that combining a favorite pastime with word learning would make for an awesome...

Vocab Gal

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

Grammar

Diary of Anne Frank Activities That Will Strengthen Descriptive Writing, Grades 3–8

“When I write I can shake off all my cares. My sorrow disappears, my spirits are revived!” Anne Frank wrote those words in her work: The Diary of a...

Tiffany Rehbein

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

Learning Transformed: 8 Keys to a NEW 21st Century School Design [Free Graphic Organizer]

Learning Transformed: 8 Keys to Designing Tomorrow's Schools Today by Eric C. Sheninger and Thomas C. Murray is a MUST READ for educators. In this...

Erin Lynch

Vocabulary

A Guide to Reviewing Vocabulary Terms Before High-Stakes Testing

In this article, you'll explore the benefits and rationale for teaching and reviewing vocabulary strategies as part of high-stakes test preparation!...

Vocab Gal

Literacy

Writing a Short Story Lesson Plan for Elementary Students –National Tell A Story Day

National Tell a Story Day is celebrated on April 27th. This is a day for people to get together to tell all kinds of different stories. These stories...

Erin Lynch

Grammar

3 Printable Earth Day Writing Activities, Grades 1–12

April 22 is Earth Day, and this provides teachers with an opportunity to encourage students to get involved in persevering their own communities! With...

Tiffany Rehbein

Literacy

How to Use Text-Dependent Questions to Engage Students in Close Reading, Grades 2–5

In this article, you'll discover how to use text-dependent questions to engage students in close reading. I share text-dependent questions and passage...

Erin Lynch

Vocabulary

Fun Vocabulary Activities for End of the School Year

As the school year comes to a close, I find myself on the struggle bus right alongside my students. While they are anxious for summer, I am anxious to...

Vocab Gal

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

Vocabulary

April Poetry Month – Fun Poetry Activities & Resources for Teachers

These fun poetry activities will make it easy to celebrate April’s National Poetry Month in your classroom. All month, students and teachers across the...

Vocab Gal

Vocabulary

Power Word of the Week: Barrage

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

5 Fun Grammar Worksheets to Use This Spring!

Spring brings with it both pleasant weather and the interesting dynamic of nearing the end of the school year – which can be exhausting – as well as...

Tiffany Rehbein

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

Vocabulary

Simple Direct Vocabulary Instruction Strategies that Work (Proven Tips/Techniques by Vocab Gal)

In this post, readers will form a true understanding of how to successfully integrate all of the important aspects of direct vocabulary instruction...

Vocab Gal

Literacy

Leprechaun Activities to Improve Students' Writing, Grades 1–5

Over the years I have created and acquired many St. Patrick's Day lessons and activities. Today I am sharing some of my favorite leprechaun activities...

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

Vocabulary

Vocabulary Lesson Plan: March Madness Competition, Grades 2–12

Have students fill out brackets for vocabulary words and let them decide the "ultimate vocabulary word" in the categories of nouns, verbs, and...

Vocab Gal

Literacy

Classroom Debate Lesson Plan Inspired by March Madness, Grades 5+

Debates are a fun activity that demand students use a variety of literacy skills. Today I'm sharing a classroom debate lesson plan that is inspired by...

Erin Lynch

Vocabulary

How Word Parts and Context Clues Strategies Can Help Students Become Better Test Takers

So often, teachers tell students to figure out what a word means based on its word parts or on surrounding context clues, but I rarely know how to...

Vocab Gal

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

Grammar

Informative/Explanatory Writing in the Classroom, Grades 3–12

Lets explore the importance of teaching informative/explanatory writing in the classroom. Students need to have the ability to clearly convey concepts...

Tiffany Rehbein

Literacy

National Anthem Close Reading Activities for Grades 3–8

In this article, you will learn how to use national anthems to engage students in a variety of close reading activities!

Erin Lynch

Vocabulary

ESL Valentine's Day Lesson for Vocabulary Learning, Grades 1–12

Valentine's Day is approaching and offers teachers with the opportunity to link ESL students' interest in the calendar holiday with vocabulary...

Vocab Gal

Grammar

Teaching Grammar Creatively; Seven Worksheets To Get You Started

It can be a struggle to keep students interested in learning about the more technical side of language. One way that teachers can enhance grammar...

Tiffany Rehbein

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

Super Bowl Commercials! Persuasive Writing Lesson for Grades 5+

The day after the Super Bowl, many of my students are tired from staying up to watch the big game, so I try to make my lessons for that day to be as...

Erin Lynch

Vocabulary

2018 Olympic Activities for Students That Will Strengthen Vocabulary

Are you and your students excited for the XXIII Olympic Winter Games? The Winter Olympics are especially exciting for me because they take place when...

Vocab Gal

Literacy

Model Close Reading Annotation Using "I Have a Dream" by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Every year in January, I take time to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with students by: reading about his life, listening to his speeches, and...

Erin Lynch

Vocabulary

Meaningful Vocabulary Instruction and How to Get the Words to Stick!

Quality vocabulary instruction is a goal for all teachers at the beginning of the school year, but it can quickly become lost in the midst of all the...

Vocab Gal

Vocabulary

8 Strategies for Teaching ELL Students Vocabulary Words

I have been friends with each of the three English Language Learner (ELL) teachers that have served my district since I began teaching, but I...

Vocab Gal

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

Free Printable New Year Activities for Students, Grades 1–5

The beginning of a New Year is a great time for reflecting and goal setting. Taking time to “reflect” on their experiences of the previous year gives...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

The Purposes for Multiple Reads in Close Reading Lessons

Having your students do multiple reads of a text (that is, re-reading more closely with a specific purpose for each read) is an excellent way to deepen...

Erin Lynch

Grammar

4 Tips to Successfully Begin a New Semester After Winter Break

Resolutions abound in the new year, and the beginning of a new semester can represent a clean slate, as well. A new year naturally lends itself to...

Tiffany Rehbein

Vocabulary

8 Ways to Integrate Greek/Latin Roots into Vocabulary Routines

I often get asked about how best to teach Greek and Latin Roots, Prefixes and Suffixes. Today I will share ways I integrate teaching Greek/Latin Roots...

Vocab Gal

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

Holiday Close Reading Lessons

The holidays can be a challenging time to keep students focused. They are usually thinking about anything other than school. This is why I embrace the...

Erin Lynch

Vocabulary

Winter & Holiday-Themed Activities Students Can Use to Review Vocabulary and Improve Writing

Get students back on task and engaged in learning with these winter and holiday-themed activities! Below are six printable worksheets students can use...

Vocab Gal

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

Literacy

10 Ways Teachers/Principals Can Celebrate Student Success

Most education professionals would agree that the job of “teacher” includes many other roles and responsibilities in addition to that of “instructor.”...

Erin Lynch

Grammar

3 Easy Ways to Support Grammar Instruction School-wide

Recently, I had a hallway conversation with colleague who asked me, "Does grammar even matter anymore?" My initial reaction was, "Of course, grammar...

Tiffany Rehbein

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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