4 Simple Daily Routines that Will Ease Test Prep Stress

4 Simple Daily Routines that Will Ease Test Prep Stress Testing season is always stressful.  I don’t know about you, but it seems that statewide testing always makes me doubt everything I’ve taught all year.  Please tell me I’m not the only one!  That being said, I feel like I’ve had a certain peace with the readiness of my students this year.  After thinking about it, I really think that it stems from great routines that require my students to demonstrate their ability to complete various skills all year rather than cram them in right before testing. Mentor Sentences Each…

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7 Fun Ways to Study the States and Capitals

1. Introduce States & Capitals by Region of the Country When I first began teaching fifth grade, I made many mistakes when teaching the states, capitals, and their locations on a map.  I threw all fifty states at them.  I gave a specific deadline and somehow expected them to memorize them all.  After many trials and even more errors, I have found that it is best to introduce the states and capitals one region at a time.  I really like having them work to memorize 8-12 states and capitals at once, rather than 50.  We can also really focus on…

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Differentiation vs. Intervention: What is the difference?

Differentiation and Intervention are two very different things, yet I often see them used almost synonymously.  Funny story—Our school was audited by an outside company several years ago.  During their debriefing, they expressed that they weren’t seeing much differentiation happening in grade level classrooms.  I heard one teacher say, “Well we send our kids to Title?!”  Although this is seriously a laughable story, when you understand the difference, it was sad that the two words were being confused. What is differentiation? Differentiation is part of the planning process where classroom teachers tailor instruction to meet the needs of all learners. …

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Book Clubs: 10 Books That Your Upper Elementary Students Will LOVE

Throughout the school year, we cover reading skills through a hardcore Guided Reading set up.  However, during this time of year, we are knee deep in statewide testing.  I like to make this week special and low pressure.  One of the ways that I do this is to by doing Book Clubs.  It is something that I look forward to every year, and my students always seem to enjoy the week! I begin by showing book trailers for each of the books I have selected.  My principal generously allows me to spend a little money each testing season to grow…

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Evidence Board FREEBIE: Help Your Students Easily Cite Evidence

In my opinion, citing evidence is one of the biggest standards in upper elementary.  I would even assume, that regardless of what state you are teaching in, citing evidence is a core part of your upper elementary curriculum.  Over the last few years, I have felt that my students are typically doing well with restating and answering a question, but they struggle to cite evidence in a way that flows and makes sense. This summer, I was extremely bored with my bulletin boards, and I wanted something that would be utilized on a regular basis with my students.  I decided…

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