Analyzing Author's Craft with In November by Cynthia Rylant

Need teaching ideas to spice up your fall comprehension lessons? This post features the book In November and how it's used for author's craft and writing.

Here in Virginia, the leaves are falling quickly. Signs of fall are all around Virginia as well as in my book.  Cynthia Rylant describes fall so eloquently in her book, In November.  Here's one example. Can you picture this?
In November, the trees are standing all sticks and bones.
Without their leaves, how lovely they are, spreading 
their arms like dancers.  They know it is time to be still.

20+ Ways to Keep Vocabulary Fresh and Fun

Vocabulary lessons feeling hoe-hum? Check out this blog post for 20+ teaching ideas you can use to give your lessons a little pizzazz.
Let's face it. Teaching vocabulary can be just plain redundent and boring unless you have a deep repertoire of teaching options. As teachers, we have to mix things up and keep learning fresh and fun. But how??  Certainly, it's not by having kids look up definitions in the dictionary, so let's talk about the options.

Teaching Cause and Effect Relationships with A Turkey for Thanksgiving

Teach your students cause and effect relationships using A Turkey for Thanksgiving by Eve Bunting with the freebie in this post.
Nearly every teacher teaches cause and effect relationships in reading, yet for some reason, children struggle with this skill. Well, one of my favorite ways to help my students make the cause/effect connection is to use mentor texts to discuss "Why" questions. After all, if we can get our kids to come up with the because, then they begin to get it. 

Honoring Students by Selecting Books that Reflect Them

If you're looking for mentor text ideas that celebrate diversity, check out this post for a list of titles and how they're used. This post focuses on books that Hispanic and African American characters.
No matter whether you are teaching a diverse population or not, there is a great need to incorporate literature into your teaching that reflects people from all parts of our world. We live in a multicultural society, and sadly, the books we tend to choose may not include characters from all cultures. There are often lots of misconceptions made out of a lack of experiences and knowledge about other people. In this post, I'll be sharing is share book titles and resource options I've found to help teachers quickly plan ways to work these books into their lessons.

Hands-on Alphabet Activities for Emergent Readers

Looking for hands-on alphabet activities to support your PK-K classroom? This post includes a great variety of options and links to other great alphabet learning posts.
As we are introducing the alphabet letters and sounds to our kindergarten students, we are setting the stage for beginning reading. Instruction on alphabet formation and sounds needs to move along, but as we're moving toward reading, we certainly want to spiral back to continually review letter identification and sounds. In order for children to begin reading, we know they need these pre-reading skills:
  • Alphabet Knowledge
  • A Concept of Word or Print Awareness
  • Phonological Awareness (Ability to hear and identify individual sounds in spoken words)
  • Motivation and Interest in Reading
  • and General Language Skills (Listening comprehension, Oral vocabulary)
In this post, I'm going to share with you a collection of alphabet activities that you can use with small group instruction, in your workstations/centers, and with RTI tutoring. These activities also work well in the home too. 😊

Teaching Context Clues with Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by

Vocabulary knowledge is one of the biggest indicators to reading success. How do we as educators support vocabulary growth? One of the best ways to build vocabulary is through literature that provides exemplars AND carefully constructed writing that includes context clues. Crown: Ode to the Fresh Cut is the perfect book due to the rich vocabluary embedded within it as well as the real life connections and experiences of getting the perfect barbershop cut.

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