Classroom & Instruction 101

ELAR Resources

Classroom Management Strategies

  • Bell to Bell instruction
  • Have the lesson/assignment listed on the board along with objective
  • Require expected behaviors the minute they walk in your room - even if you have to line them up in the hallway and have them to walk in together
  • Assign students jobs to hand out journals and papers
  • Always face the class when giving instruction
  • Come up with a verbal signal for your class: Examples include:(1) "clap 3 times when you hear my voice, clap 2 times when you hear my voice, clap once when you hear my voice" or (2) "I say peanut butter" you say "jelly" or "I say class, class" you say "yes ma'am I'm ready to learn"

Lesson Planning Resources & Tools



CommonLit delivers high-quality, free instructional materials to support literacy development for students in grades 5-12. Our resources are:

  • Flexible;

  • Research-Based;

  • Aligned to the Common Core State Standards;

  • Created by teachers, for teachers.

We believe in the transformative power of a great text, and a great question. That’s why we are committed to keeping CommonLit completely free, forever.

When you create a free account, you can...

  • Have students create a free account and register as a student or print PDF documents for them
  • Create one class for each period or block you teach
  • Create assignments
  • Collect and analyze student data
  • Search and filter our collection by lexile, grade, theme, genre, literary device, or TEKS
  • There are text helps in a toolbar on the right hand side of the document for each that allow for the document to be read aloud, definitions given, words to be highlighted and translated into spanish, entire selection to be read at your designated speed, and students can highlight as they read.
  • There is a teacher guide to each selection and related media links.
  • Each selection generates TEKS related questions and writing prompts.

Differentiate Text with Newsela


Differentiate Text with Newsela

Find current news articles for your students grades 2-12 and differentiate by lexile level!

  • Cross curricular: Science, Social Studies, Literature, State, Election Issues
  • Spanish/English
  • Paired Text Sets


Resources for Writing

Ways to Incorporate Technology

Padlet Ideas and Instructional Video

  • Works across devices
  • Ideas: summaries, check in, share resources, "parking lot" of questions, class resources, department collaboration, exit ticket
  • Embed: links, files, camera

Getting Started: Padlet got a beautiful redesign this summer. Here's a 3 min screencast of Laura walking you through creating your own:

Shout out to Michelle Kortan at Presidio HS for the cool preposition padlet image here!

Word Cloud Generators to use in your classroom

Like this tool? It's Answer Garden and it's crazy easy to use! (here's a quick screencast video of Laura showing how to set one up:

If you like Word Cloud generators, try Wordle, Tagxedo, orTagul

(protip: Tagul works across devices and is good for Chromebooks)

A word about THIS tool, SMORE...

  • It's free...ish (only 5 free smores)
  • New: Educator Hive AND Smore for Classrooms
  • Check for Educator Discount deals in September

Ideas: newsletters, class resources, presentation tool

Enrichment & Extra Activities

Ideas when you need activities for early finishers or sponge activities.
  • Students should always have a library book and an assign reading log with activities. Remember, always read with a purpose. You could have assigned topics per week requiring entries, so that when a student finishes his or her classwork they can work quietly in their library book. If they don't finish the assignment in class, they would need to do it for homework.

Teachers Pay Teachers Free Activities:
  • Veterans Coloring Pages to give to veterans in November
  • Comic Strip Template pages
  • Journal Prompts
  • Would You Rather Prompts

Gamify your classroom with Kahoot!

Engage your students with an interactive and competitive review!

  • Use Kahoot! to review and interact with your students.
  • Ideas: review concepts, vocabulary, test prep, classroom rules
  • Enrich: have students create their own Kahoots! to play as a class
  • Utilize the repository of already created kahoots online

NEW updates: team mode, optional award points, podium, blind kahoot


Student Video Creation (why it works: easy to use & acclimate, quick process [one class period])

  • Students create videos to explain any concept, visually depict vocabulary words, visually explain an analogy, create book trailers, create end of year videos, or use in real life!
  • See student sample here
  • See Laura's shameless #BestAuntEver video here (it's exactly what you expect)

Get Started:

  1. Create an account:
  2. Apply for an Animoto for Education Pro account:
  3. Check your email for your educator code to share with (50) students [check your spam folder]

  • Pro tip: make sure the computers you're working with have updated flash players; be sure your students use your educator code to give them the free pro version.
  • How to have students use your educator code: watch HERE

Google Expeditions App

We Live in the Future: Google Expeditions

Random Resources

Random Resources:

Jennifer Timme- ELAR Educational Consultant

Please email if you have any questions.