Departmentalized or Not?: 5 Questions to Consider

In upper elementary grade levels, departmentalizing has been a huge trend. In Facebook groups, I often see questions asked about the advantages and disadvantages to embarking on a departmentalized system in your grade level or school.  I taught fifth grade in both a departmentalized and un-departmentalized setting. To be honest, I loved them both! So, I wanted to share my take on it to spark a discussion between you, your teammates, and your administration.  Will you miss teaching a particular subject? For me, I loved teaching reading. You know I discovered how much I loved teaching reading? By teaching math…

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Why do special education teachers need to progress monitor?

When I first started teaching, there was a new requirement from the director to progress monitor once every three weeks. Teachers were furious and overwhelmed. They thought that it was such a waste of time. To be honest, I don’t blame them. It can be time consuming and a daunting task. Despite the time commitment and requirement to be organized, good progress monitoring practices are critical for student success. Determine if an Intervention is Successful Whether you are monitoring students who are already identified or students who are in the Response to Intervention process, frequent monitoring is essential for determining…

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6 Easy Test Taking Skills You THINK Your Students Know

When it comes to test taking, there are so many skills that our students need to master in order to do well and show their true abilities. So many times, I’ve found that many of the simple things that we expect our students to know are not instinctively done by our students.  Below are a few test taking skills that I believe you should be spending time teaching to your students between now and the time that you begin testing.  Previewing Questions When your students are taking a test, they NEED a purpose. When we are reading a novel at…

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4th & 5th Grade Math: 5 Things My Kids ALWAYS Struggle to Master

Today’s post is fairly simple, yet is written for a few very specific reasons.  1. To let you know that you are not alone! There will be days where you are seriously wondering if you should even be allowed to teach anymore. Or at least, I know I’ve been there! I’ve thought to myself, on many occasions, “Goodness gracious, Amanda! Why can’t you teach kids to divide?!” Please know, you are not alone. So many kids in these upper elementary years seem to struggle with the concepts in this blog post. 2. To tell you that you NEED to plan accordingly…

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Math Benchmarks: What are they and how do I use them?

I absolutely love using a benchmark assessment throughout the school year. I love being able to show growth, identify troublesome areas, and get to know my students’ math abilities right away. Now, I know that giving assessments is the last thing that we want to do in our classrooms, but assessments are essential for quality, targeted instruction. So, although I don’t love to test my kids to death, I do make time for a benchmark assessment. What is a benchmark assessment? A benchmark assessment is an assessment that is given multiple times during the school year to all students in…

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