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ELA Blog - English Language Arts Resources for the Classroom

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 Summertime Professional Development Topics for Teachers & 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

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

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

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

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 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Four Books Effective Principals and Teachers Should Read this Summer

As you prepare for your summer break, I know many of you are thinking about what professional texts you might like to read. The possibilities are...

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

Effective Feedback for Students—A Powerful Tool to Enhance Performance!

This year, in the school where I work one of our school-wide goals is providing students with feedback. It is a well-known fact among educators that...

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

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

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

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

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

Grammar

Presentations: Tips for Improving Speaking and Listening Skills

I am a great admirer of eloquent speakers. I watch TED Talks in awe, closely examining the speaker’s wardrobe, hand motions, and movement across the...

Tiffany Rehbein

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

Vocabulary

5 Tips for Parent-Teacher Conferences

If there's one part of the school year that can give teachers bouts of anxiety– it's parent-teacher conference time. These tips for parent-teacher...

Vocab Gal

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

Reading Response Journal Organization Tips for the K–5 Classroom

Every year I try to find the best way for my students to organize their reading material. I have tried folders, binders, multiple journals for...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

3 Supplemental Programs That Support Language Arts Curriculum

As you prepare to head back into the classroom, you may be looking for programs that will suppot your language arts curriculum. Sadlier’s English...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

8 Books Educators & Students Should Add to Their Summer Reading Lists

When I first started teaching, the summer seemed to come and go and I would feel like I had accomplished nothing for school that I hoped to. Now I'm a...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Summer Reading Strategies Bookmark and Parent Handout, 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

Genrifying Your Classroom Library

I love a great library, whether it it’s my school library or my classroom library, and I have found that the best way to get students the books they...

Vocab Gal

Literacy

5 Tips for Selecting Nonfiction Texts (to help you comply with the Common Core State Standards requirements)

For many of us one of the greatest challenges the Common Core State Standards poses is the amount of nonfiction texts we need to now use with our...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Community Reading... A Home Run Idea!

The town that I work in promotes a community-wide reading program during the month of October. Every year an adult book is selected with three...

Keighley Fleming

Literacy

Using the Six Signposts from Notice and Note in Your Classroom

My school’s 4th and 5th grade students participate in book clubs each week. The signposts from Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading by Kylene...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Using Webb's DOK and Bloom's Taxonomy within Shared Reading & Reading Units

Last month, in my article about using the DOK and Bloom's Taxonomy within Balanced Literacy, I tried to provide the technical terms and explanations of...

Erin Lynch

Literacy

Connecting the Common Core Standards with Webb’s Depth of Knowledge & Bloom’s Taxonomy

In preparation for the Common Core State Standards I did a lot of research, and I started with the CCSS website.  I found this overview of the CCSS to...

Erin Lynch

Vocabulary

Top 5 Secrets to Making the Most of a Education Conference

I’m so excited to go to NCTE this year. As I began thinking both about my own preparations for NCTE and helping my mentee teacher Caitlin prepare for...

Vocab Gal

Vocabulary

Top 3 Mistakes (New) Teachers Make

A few weeks ago, I shared my favorite pieces of advice for new teachers, but my advice was applicable to all teachers, not just those starting out. In...

Vocab Gal

Vocabulary

Back-To-School: Advice To New Teachers

Another school year means new teachers, and we have many both at my school and in my district this year.  I am asked each year to mentor new...

Vocab Gal

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