The Learning Letter

May 6th, 2016

Classroom Lessons for K-8

There are a wide range of classroom math lessons here from Math Solutions, many of which incorporate literature!

3 BIG NONFICTION Questions to Ask Every Time

What Surprised You?

What Did the Author Think YOU Already Knew?

What Challenged, Changed, or Confirmed Your Thinking?

Take a look at how these 3 simple questions transformed thinking in a social studies classroom.

Dan Meyer: Beyond Relevance and Real World

[NCTM16] Beyond Relevance & Real World: Stronger Strategies for Student Engagement

The Lesson of Grace in Teaching

This is a lengthy read, but so worth it.

"Sure, good instructional techniques are necessary for good teaching. But they are not sufficient. They are NOT the foundation. Grace-filled relationships with your students are the foundation for good teaching, because it gives you freedom to explore, freedom to fail. Freedom to let students take control of their own learning, freedom to affirm the struggling student by your own weakness. Grace amplifies the teacher-student relationship to one of greater trust in which a student can thrive."

Around Shields...

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Interactive Bulletin Boards

Turn your walls into places for students to react, think, wonder, extend, apply, question, make claims. Take a look!

Dot Image Download

On his website, Steve Wyborney offers free downloads of dot images and a video of how to easily create your own!

Bringing STEM into Stories

Jennifer Shettel and Carolyn Angus report,

"Literature is an important component in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs that meet the Next Generation Science Standards and the Common Core State Standards. We have selected nonfiction and fiction titles that are good choices for introducing lessons and opening discussions on STEM topics. Some of the books suggest hands-on activities, and all are good for independent reading in the STEM disciplines."

Check out these read alouds to address STEM topics.

What Turns Kids On to Reading?

  • Frequent opportunities to read for pleasure in school (D.E.A.R., etc.)
  • Teacher reading to the class
  • Access to “good books” in the classroom
  • Teachers giving an interest inventory and then matching kids to books
  • Early (preschool) exposure to good books
  • Book clubs (recommendations from friends)
  • Reading a book in anticipation of the movie
  • Books based on TV series
  • Choice (This is an important one—research indicates that children who have choices for in-school reading generally are motivated to read more and have more positive attitudes toward reading)

Rochelle Gutierriz: Stand Up For Students

Rochelle does a beautiful job in this ShadowCon speech.


“Standing up for students” means holding a higher ethical standard for your work than others may hold for you. It means being able to confront a colleague, an administrator, or a school policy when they stand in the way of students learning rigorous mathematics and developing robust mathematical identities. Ultimately, standing up for students means putting the best interest of students first (ahead of what’s the easiest thing to do or the most popular thing to do). It means being able to look yourself in the mirror each day and say, “I’m doing what I said I was going to do when I went into this profession.” And, if you’re not, asking yourself: “What am I going to do about that?
Maths Ability Grouping: Setting Ability Groups
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3rd Grade ELA Learning Lab

Structure & Organization- What impact do these have on the reader and writer? Does it matter more to the reader than the writer?

Third graders took a closer look at how authors share a message/information on a similar topic. Many noticed signal words, details, rhyme. Next steps- How does the information the author presents build? How does one event lead to another? Why is that important?

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