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My Quest for a Treat-Free/Trinket-Free Christmas Advent Calendar

Every year I craft a Christmas advent calendar for my three daughters.  I first came up with this idea a few years ago through Parents Magazine.  They included a very clever idea for an advent calendar in their December issue. I have included a link at the bottom of this post to a video on …

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6 Tips for a Successful Field Trip

There is little that is more exciting to school children than a field trip!  They can’t wait for a change of pace outside the classroom walls.  However, the same can’t always be said for their teachers!  Noisy buses and what seems like a never ending number of unforeseen management crises have, in the past, left …

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Scared of the NGSS? Build Your Students’ Schema Before You Jump In

It is time for a moment of honesty.  The Next Generation Science Standards scare me!  That is not to say that I don’t think the standards are innovative and very necessary.  They are.  Brett Moulding, NGSS Writing Team Leader, states that “The NGSS shift expectations of students from memorization to understanding, and from recitation to …

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Looking for a Way to Inspire Life Long Learners?

Of all the new words I introduce and discuss with my students over the course of a school year, the word schema proves to be one of the most powerful and life-changing for my students.  As mentioned in previous posts, schema is everything we have inside our heads.  To further explain… it is all of …

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Failure: The Key to Student Success

“I can’t!”  As of yesterday, this little phrase joined a list of words and/or phrases that are off-limits in our household.  It joined the ranks of “I’m bored” and a few other taboo utterances that I cannot appropriately mention here.   Here is how the story goes… “I can’t!”  my three year old whined as …

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The One Most Powerful Tool to Increase Student Writing Stamina and Enjoyment

    The fourth graders in my classroom participate in a classroom economy.  Students have checkbooks and receive a weekly salary for different classroom jobs.  While this, in itself, might be an interesting blog post it isn’t my chosen topic today.  I bring it up because last week, as the class discussed possible ways to …

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The One Thing I Wish Someone had Taught Me in Fourth Grade

  An interesting thought slowly crept into my mind mid mini-lesson last Tuesday. “Goodness,” I thought to myself.  “I sure wish somebody had taught me this in fourth grade… or fifth grade… or sixth grade… or ever, for that matter!”  I was sharing with my students the seemingly blaringly obvious idea that reading is thinking. …

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Schema: Why It Matters- Using Schema to Deepen Understanding

It was my favorite time of the school day.  I had called my students to join me on the classroom meeting rug and we were about to embark on our first reading mini lesson of the school year!  While I was looking forward to this cozy time with my students, it was obvious, after three inquiries …

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