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The Mini-Lesson in the Reading Workshop Model

The first component of the Reading Workshop Model is the Mini-Lesson. Mini-Lessons is where instruction begins! Check out our Mini-Lesson info and get ready to start implementing Mini-Lessons TODAY!

Reader's Workshop Mini-Lesson 101

What is a Mini-Lesson?

The mini-lesson is the direct instruction you provide your students. You introduce a strategy, skill, or behavior, and model using this concept through a read-aloud and think-aloud. Students are asked to share their findings and thoughts. Then students go and practice this concept with their own book during independent reading.

Why Mini-Lesson? 

Mini-lessons provide explicit and effective modeling of reading strategies, skills, or behaviors that help students become more component readers.

Where does a Mini-Lesson Happen?

Mini-lessons happen in the classroom. The whole class sits as a group.

When do Mini-Lessons Happen?

Mini-lessons are introduced at the beginning of workshop time. They should be short and to the point. They should last no longer than 10-15 minutes.

How do Mini-Lessons Happen?

Focus on students’ needs and your standards to drive instruction. As you start to pull small groups, have class discussions, and hold reading conferences, you will notice the needs of your students and plan future groups based on needs.

How to Implement Mini-Lessons Using the Reader's Workshop Model

Simple Steps to Implement Mini-Lessons TODAY!

A teaching model or idea always sounds great, but it is scary to give it a try! What does a lesson really look like? How do I plan for it? What materials will I use? Is there a sample lesson I can “see?” WE HAVE GOT YOU COVERED!

Reader's Workshop Mini-Lesson Editable Freebie!

Mini-Lesson Editable FREEBIE!

In this freebie, we have a sample mini-lesson planning page filled out for you to guide you through planning your own. We have included two types of planning pages. One type is printable for you to write on and the other is editable if you would like to type it. We have also included a Mini-Lesson Tracker that will help you see the mini-lessons that you have taught and it also provides a place for you to write notes and observations!

Want to grab these Editable Mini-Lesson Planning Pages? They are all available in our Growing Freebie Resource Library! If you’re already part of our newsletter, just enter the password. If you would like to become part of our newsletter, you can sign up on the same page!

What Mini-Lesson do I Teach First?

Start simple with teaching your students about CHARACTERS: Types of Characters, Analyzing Characters, Character Motivations, Character Change, etc. Grab our Character, Setting, Events Bundle that includes anchor chart style notes, practice, sentence frames, and writing ideas for each standard. This resource makes implementing mini-lessons a breeze and is the perfect place to start. Teaching Reading Strategies or Reading Skills? We have a bundle for that too!

Santa is Hiring! A Christmas Classroom Event

Merry Christmas! The holidays are one of the most memorable and busiest time in any classroom. There is a lot of pressure to do “all the things!” As teachers, we want our students to have fun with the holiday, but we also  know that they need to be learning. This is the reason why we decided to create our “Santa is Hiring Classroom Event!

The Idea Behind the Event

Santa is ready for a change! Over the years, the elves at the North Pole have gotten a little lazy and aren’t producing as many presents as they used to produce. Santa needs a new team, so he has opened up some very important positions at Santa’s Headquarters Inc. Will the students get the position? It’s up to them! Their objective is to answer as many questions as they can in the amount of time given. The team that answers the most questions gets to pick their job title from Santa’s Classifieds first at Santa’s Headquarters Inc.

Getting Ready for the Event

We love setting the stage for our students! We want them to walk into the classroom and be engaged from the beginning! Since students need to take the task cards at random, we love the idea of putting them in small gift bags with festive tissue paper! After printing, laminating and running copies, your job is done!

Setting up for the Santa's Hiring Christmas Classroom Event

Before the Event

Students get broken up into teams. We like teams of 4. We always have them come up with a festive team name, such as The Snowflakes or The Holly Jolly Jingle Bells. Students choose job titles to help the event run smoothly. There is a runner, a recorder, a decorator and a holiday spirit expert! We always sit down as a class and go over the directions page together. Students also read over Santa’s Classifieds and choose the job title they will be working for! 

Getting your students ready for the Santa's Hiring Christmas Classroom Event

Head Elves

Here is where the magic happens! For a class of 32, we use 2-3 Head Elves. The Head Elves are in charge of checking teams’ answers so that you can pop around and enjoy the event! We have been the Head Elf in the past, but we suggest getting a parent volunteer. You want at least two Head Elves so that a line doesn’t form. Before the festivities begin, Head Elves go over directions, sign a contract and are given a script. The script is our favorite! It gives them ideas of what to say for correct and incorrect answers, such as “Only coal for you!” or “You must be on the nice list!” We also love the idea of giving the Head Elves a bell so that every time a team gets a question correct, they ring the bell. A simple way to add to the fun!

The roles of the Head Elves for the Santa's Hiring Christmas Classroom Event

Ready, Set, Go!

Set a timer. We usually stick to 45 min. This gives them enough time to complete the majority of the task cards, but not all of them.  Runners race off to grab task cards, bring them back to their team to solve, take to the Head Elves, and then repeat! Teams have 2 chances to get a task card correct. If a team gets stuck on a task card, they have two tokens that they can use. There’s a “Peek at the Cheat Sheet” token and “Ditch a Present” token!

Collaboration and Teamwork during Santa's Hiring Christmas Classroom Event

The Task Cards

Here’s the part that we love! The task cards are content driven! There are 8 math, 8 language, 8 vocabulary and 8 Christmas trivia task cards. All of the task cards are Christmas themed for more engagement and fun! Mission accomplished: Students are having fun while still learning!

Ending the Event

Be sure to watch the clock. Give a five minute warning and have a timer go off to end the event. Have teams count up how many task cards they got correct. Have the recorder share out for each team. Start with 1st place and have them choose their job title. That job title is now off limits. Move to the rest of the teams in order. At the very end, give each student a contract with Santa’s Headquarters Inc. The Head Elves also get a contract for rehire. We love that they get something to remember all of the fun!

Santa's Hiring Christmas Classroom Event

Looking to add some holiday fun to your classroom?

We are going to give away our Santa is Hiring Classroom Event!

Enter below!

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Want to add more holiday fun into your school year? We have a classroom event for Halloween and Thanksgiving!

Halloween Classroom Event: Haunted House Incorporated is HIRING!

Thanksgiving Classroom Event… The Turkey Takeover Team is HIRING!

Need more Christmas Resources?

Christmas Brochure Tri-fold Bundle

Christmas Writing Activity and Prompts

Christmas Writing Pennants

Top 15 Teacher Favorites on Amazon

Top 15 Teacher Favorites on Amazon

Calling All Teachers!!!!

We’ve got your Teacher Favorites on Amazon Wish List ready for YOU! Teachers are busy! We don’t have time to go to a million different stores looking for each of our Favorite Classroom Supplies! We are smarter than that! Get it shipped in 2 days with 1 click! Check out our TOP 15 list below!

InkJoy Gel Pens

Recently, we bought a wide variety assortment of pens. InkJoy is BY FAR our top pen choice! We grab our InkJoys before any other pen out there!

Dry Erase Pockets

We cannot count how many times we have used our dry erase pockets or how many copies they have saved us! We use dry erase pockets for centers NONSTOP! One example of how we use dry erase pockets is with our Punctuating Dialogue Practice. Dry Erase Pockets add INSTANT student engagement! They are way more fun than a boring old worksheet!

Dry Erase Pockets on Amazon


Okay, how many times have you needed to just laminate one small paper? It’s not worth turning on that huge laminator in the workroom… not to mention the line, hassle, or if the laminator is even working! We use our personal laminator all the time! Keep laminating pouches on hand and you’re ready to go! Quick, easy and DONE! Now, if the cutting was only that easy too!

Laminator and laminating pouches on Amazon

Tabletop Easel Pad

Small group instruction heaven! These tabletop easel pads are PERFECT! One side has a dry erase board to use again and again and the other side holds chart paper! Anchor charts made easy and small group instruction made engaging!

Tabletop Easel Pads from Amazon

Post-It Notes

Speaking of Post-Its, you can NEVER have too many! We use boxes of Post-Its each year! Meeting reminders, parent notes, exit tickets… you name it! Oh, the possibilities!

Post-Its on Amazon

Pencil Sharpener

Pencil Sharpeners. Just the thought of pencil sharpeners leave teachers pulling out their hair! The noise… usually in the middle of a lesson! We have tried many, but once we tried the Bostitch Quiet Sharp, we were hooked! We have 2… each! Great quality and quiet. You can’t beat that!

Ticonderoga Pencils

…and while we’re on the topic of pencils, you can NEVER have too many Ticonderoga pencils! Ticonderoga pencils are the best out there, and they come sharpened! If this makes us a pencil snob, we are totally okay with that!

Ticonderoga Pencils on Amazon

Expo Dry Erase Markers

We all know that Expo Dry Erase Markers are the best! We love all of the colors that they come in! Expo dry erase markers are the perfect way to dress up your whiteboard. Give us all the color!

Desktop Hole Punch

I bought this Desktop Hole Punch my first year of teaching and it’s still going strong! We love that it’s super easy to use and the quality is amazing! We love finding any way to help our students organize their papers!

Desktop Hole Punch on Amazon


Astrobrights… every teacher’s favorite way to spruce up ANYTHING! We love using Astrobrights for our Standards Based Brochures, Flexible Seating Brochures, Back to School Meet the Teacher Brochure, and Parent Teacher Conferences Brochures! Did we mention we like using Astrobrights for our brochures?????

Astrobrights on Amazon

Single Cup Coffee Maker

NO COFFEE, NO TEACHY! Ever have those days where you NEED a cup of coffee? We keep our single cup coffee maker in our cupboard and bring it out for emergencies (okay, that’s a little dramatic… more like daily). A single cup coffee maker is the perfect way to turn your day into an AMAZING day!

Single Serving Coffee Maker on Amazon

Mr. Sketch Markers

Anchor chart HEAVEN! Is there any other marker that you use on Anchor Charts besides Mr. Sketch? We honestly couldn’t tell you. Mr. Sketch is our GO-TO! The color and smell are our favorite!

Mr. Sketch Markers on Amazon

Drawer Organizing Carts

These beautiful drawer organizing carts are the perfect way to organize your week! Check out how we label them with our Editable Labels! We love how they come in so many different colors! Perfect for any classroom theme!

Drawer Organizing Carts

Flair Pens

Teachers have FLAIR! Who doesn’t love Flair Pens? These are our favorite way to make grading papers bearable! It’s the little things, like Flair Pens, that get us through that never-ending pile!

Flair Pens on Amazon

3 Tier Rolling Carts

Moving around the room a lot? Need supplies at small group instruction tables? The 3 tier rolling cart has been a life-saver in our classrooms! These carts are the perfect way to add organization to any classroom (and they’re super cute)!

3 Tier Rolling Cart on Amazon

Classroom Delivery!

NEED some TEACHER FAVORITES, but you don’t have Amazon Prime? Sign up for a FREE 30 Day Trial HERE!

We want to hear from YOU! Out of our list, what are your top 2 teacher favorites? Have something that we need to add to this list? Tell us below!


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How to Teach Grammar and Language Effectively

How to Teach Grammar and Language Effectively

Do you know how you’re teaching grammar and language this year? Is your strategy effective? Grammar and Language is one area that we NEVER have to worry about! We have a formula for how to teach grammar and language effectively!

The Magical Grammar and Language FORMULA

With 30+ years of 4th grade experience between the two of us, we know how to teach grammar and language effectively! We used to struggle with how to teach grammar and language. Our curriculum would mention certain standard here and there, but it never gave adequate exposure for students to really master the content. We found ourselves creating what we need daily until we finally got together and strategized. We looked at what worked for our students and created, what we like to call, a “formula,” to teach grammar and language effectively.

The Grammar and Language Magical Formula

The Philosophy Behind the “Formula”

As we sat down together to discuss what worked for us in our classrooms, we kept coming back to the fact that students learn in different ways. We needed instruction that would match this fact. Different forms of instruction was at the forefront of our minds when creating our lessons. Creating content that students could interact with throughout their learning was crucial. We also wanted to create a way for students to spiral the content throughout the year. We wanted to avoid the whole “give them a worksheet and you’re done” mentality. Check out what we created!

1. Lesson Notes and Practice

Students usually will not take the time to read notes, but if they are fill in the blank style, it gives them a little motivation! First, we let them pair up and see if they can guess what fills in the blanks. Some of the time they get the correct answers and sometimes not so much. The key is that they are reading the information and processing it! After they give an attempt, we give them the answers and they fill in their notes correctly. Another part of the Lesson Notes is a type of anchor chart with all the pieces that they will need for accessing the standard. This version is great for gluing into their interactive notebook so that they can reference their notes throughout the year. Finally, the Lesson Notes page has ten practice problems so that students can start practicing the standard right away!

grammar and language fill in the blank lesson notes and practice

2. Practice Page

Exposure is everything! Students need multiple ways to practice a standard. If there are multiple steps or ides to a standard, this Practice Page is where we break down each part. They will do one step at a time and then combine the steps during the application step. Not all standards lend itself to this process, but frequently you will find this thought process on each Practice Page.

grammar practice

3. Engaging Practice Page

Once the steps have been broken down and students have had time to practice the standard, it’s time to have some fun! The Engaging Practice Page is always themed and has some type of activity that students need to complete. It’s more than a boring worksheet! Some of our favorite activities are tic-tac-toe, mazes, and matching. Students always enjoy this page!

Teach grammar and language effectively with engaging practice

4. Sentence Frames

We simply could not live without Sentences Frames! Sentence Frames are a great way to spiral the standards throughout the year. We use the large version when we are teaching the unit and then have students glue the small version into their notebooks. Throughout the year, they go back and practice the standard with the book they are reading! Other uses for Sentence Frames are pair share, exit tickets, small groups, reading conferences and journal writing! Having 10 ready to use Sentence Frames for each standard means we never have to come up with something on the spot and it means that we use them more often! Students love the choice!

Teach grammar and language effectively with sentence frames

5. Foldables

Foldables are such a fun way to practice a standard! We usually use foldables as a center. Students think they are doing a craft, while we know they are really practicing the standard! This is such an easy center that we always have in our pocket to use! There is a foldable, and sometimes two, in every bundle!

Foldables for language

6. Art Activities

Anyone out there a visual learner? Do you have artistic students that would benefit from an artistic way to interact with the standard? Students are learning when they are engaged! We have found that visuals are the KEY to our students retaining the information. Our students draw these pictures in their notebooks to look back on throughout the year. We love seeing our students take our idea and make it their own. A lot of their drawings end up being so much better than ours! We have two ideas just like this for every grammar and language standard.

art activities

7. Leveled Questioning Exit Tickets

These are not your typical Exit Tickets! These Exit Tickets use DOK Levels of Questioning. They start at a Level 1 and progress to a Level 4. We also love that Exit Tickets are an easy way to check for understanding. We form small groups throughout the week based on the results. Instead of waiting for the assessment, you have a way to catch common misunderstandings right away! Exit Tickets are such a quick and easy way to practice the standard!

Teach grammar and language effectively with leveled questioning exit tickets

8. Study Cards

We love using Study Cards to communicate with parents what we are learning in the classroom. Our students always say they feel so grown up using Study Cards. We love that! Creating little scholars! Study Cards are also amazing for those 5 min time-fillers we sometimes need! Students love pairing up around the room and quizzing each other! All of our Study Cards relate to the assessment. Study Cards give students the tools they will need in order to score Proficient or Advanced!

study cards

9. Assessment

We always end our unit with a Formal Assessment. These Assessments are ready to use and an easy way to get a grade for the standard. All Assessments are easy to grade and very kid friendly!

formal assessment

10. Answer Keys

Needless to say, Answer Keys make our life that much easier. We love leaving an answer key for parents or aids that may run groups in our classrooms. We will also leave an Answer Key in a folder at a center for students to check their work. There is an Answer Key for every page in each bundle.

answer keys

The Magical Formula’s Effects

The greatest effect of our grammar and language lessons has been on students’ learning. Our students understand grammar and language better than they ever have before. We see our students transferring what they are learning in the lesson into their daily writing! They are engaged throughout the units and hardly realize how much work they are really doing.

Another major effect of our grammar and language lessons has been on us, as teachers. We are no longer struggling to find something to use to teach the standard that was briefly mentioned in our curriculum. Having the confidence and knowing that we teach grammar and language effectively is EVERYTHING! We also find ourselves enjoying the content more! Hey, if we are having fun, they are having fun, right?

Teaching grammar effectively plus a 20 page freebie!

Did we mention that we have a FREEBIE JUST FOR YOU?

We believe in our Grammar and Language Formula so much that we want you to try it for FREE! Do you want to teach grammar and language effectively? Of course you do! Do you teach capitalization? Of course you do! We have a 20 page freebie just for YOU! Watch the magic happen and if you LOVE it (like we know you will), we have a bundle just like it for EVERY grammar and language standard! Click HERE or on the image below to grab your freebie! Want the whole bundle? Click HERE for 4th grade and HERE for 5th grade!

20 page capitalization freebie

15 Flexible Seating Finds on Amazon

Top 15 Flexible Seating Finds on Amazon

Are you looking for some student tested and teacher approved Flexible Seating Finds? As teachers of a Flexible Seating classroom, we know that we need to provide multiple seating options for our students, but we often don’t have the time to research seating options or to find what actually works for students. We are here to provide a list of 15 tried and true Flexible Seating Finds that you can find on Amazon! There’s nothing better than finding great seating options, getting it without spending hours in stores, and better yet, when you can get it in two days! You and your students will have a smile as big as the smile on the box you get your “finds” in!

Top 15 Flexible Seating Finds on Amazon

Deserae’ and I have both been a Flexible Seating classroom for many years now and have gone through many different types of seating and resources. We have seen what students like and what they gravitate towards year after year. We have also troubleshooted many problems that happen in a Flexible Seating classroom. After all of these years, we have created a list of our top 15 Flexible Seating finds on Amazon, so let’s get started!

Top 15 Flexible Seating Finds on Amazon
Bistro Table and Chairs for the Flexible Seating Classroom

Bistro Table and Chairs

What’s not to love about this “Bistro” set up? You feel like you’re sitting at a coffee shop, but you’re in school! Students love grabbing this Flexible Seating option with a friend. We absolutely love the look of this seating option and find ourselves sitting there when the students are at recess!

Tractor Seats for the Flexible Seating Classroom

Tractor Seats

Tractor seats are the perfect stools to roll around the classroom and use at any type of seating! We love that these stools can be used at desks, tables or any other type of work space! The fact that they are so beautiful doesn’t hurt either!

Wobble Stools for the Flexible Seating Classroom

Wobble Stools

Wobble stools are so much fun! We love the fact that they can be used two ways. One side has a wobble side and allows students to move around while working. If they get tired of “wobbling,” they can flip it over and use the sturdy side! Perfect for any type of work space!

Foldable Lap Desks for the Flexible Seating Classroom

Foldable Lap Desk

Foldable lap desks are one of our students’ top picks! They love setting them up together to create their own work space! We love that they are collapsible! These folding lap desks work great with scoop rockers or just for sitting on the floor! They can also be used on top of tables to make a standing desk! If you have Chromebooks or laptops, these are a must!

Futon for the Flexible Seating Classroom


Are you looking to create a comfortable home-y vibe? Futons are a top pick! The futons are usually one of the first types of seating to be picked in our classrooms. Students love grabbing a clipboard and getting to work. We love getting two of them to create a collaborative space where students feel comfortable working!

Clipboards for the Flexible Seating Classroom

Dry Erase Clipboards

With all the flexible seating options in your classroom, students don’t always have a hard surface to work at.  Our solution has been these dry erase clipboards! WE LOVE THEM! The clipboards are low profile, so they fit easily in the students’ book bins. We love that they have two purposes and that they are a quality product. We also love giving our students a dry erase eraser too!

Book Bins for the Flexible Seating Classroom

Book Bins

Everyone always asks, “Where do your students keeps their books in a Flexible Seating Classroom?” Book bins are the answer! These bright and colorful book bins from Really Good Stuff are quality! We love that our students can grab their bin and take it to their seats too!

Side Tables for the Flexible Seating Classroom

Side Tables

Side tables are one of the most used options in our classrooms. We love that these are lightweight. Students move them around the room throughout the day. They work great next to a couch, with beanbags, or just a quick place to work! If we need to change up the seating or create another space, these side tables are our answer!

Scoop Rockers for the Flexible Seating Classroom

Scoop Rockers

We often get questions if these seats are suitable for our fourth graders. Yes! Students love grabbing these and setting up their own work spaces. They usually grab these and use the foldable lap desks as their hard surface.

Stadium Chairs for the Flexible Seating Classroom

Stadium Chairs

How fun are these stadium seats? Students love working on the floor and grabbing a foldable lap desk to work at. These stadium seats are also great for a low table option. We love that they fold up, so they don’t take up much space. Students just grab and go!

Attendance Board for the Flexible Seating Classroom

Attendance Board

Another question we get often is, “How do you take attendance in a Flexible Seating Classroom?” We use a magnetic board and magnets! We simply number the magnets with student numbers and have students move their magnet as they enter the room. If the number is not moved, we know they’re absent! This is also how we take lunch count and how we know where students are throughout the day. Students simply move their magnets to the different sections that we create on the board.

Brochure Holders for the Flexible Seating Classroom

Brochure Display

Flexible Seating Classrooms get lots of questions. Instead of repeating yourself over and over, we love having Flexible Seating Brochures ready to grab to explain our classroom! We have Flexible Seating Brochures for parents, substitutes and classroom guests ready to grab in this display!

Bean Bags in the Flexible Seating Classroom

Bean Bag Chairs

Who doesn’t love a comfy bean bag? Students love using bean bags at low tales or just grabbing their clipboards and getting to work! They are the perfect spot to curl up and get lost in a book too! We love that this is another movable seating option that students can get creative with and create a space that works best for them!

Convert-a-Bench for the Flexible Seating Classroom


Is this not the coolest thing you have ever seen? This Convert-a-Bench goes from a bench to a table in seconds! This is perfect for the Flexible Seating Classroom! If you get two, put them side by side to create a picnic table! The possibilities are endless!

Adjustable Desk on Wheels for the Flexible Seating Classroom

Adjustable Desk on Wheels

Anything on wheels is a win in our book! We love moving these tables around for different collaboration purposes. Small group instruction, computer work or just changing up seating options are all reasons to move these tables around!

15 Flexible Seating Amazon Finds

An Exciting and Engaging Classroom Means Fun for Your Students… and YOU!

What are you waiting for?

Shop now to have a transformed classroom in just 2 days!

Click the image below NOW!

Amazon Finds for the Classroom

Want to find out more about Flexible Seating?

We have a blog post for that! Click HERE!

How to End the Year Like a Boss

End the Year Like a Boss!

The end is near… can you feel it? What does it feel like to you? Is it your toes in the sand? Is it a margarita in your hand? Is it turning off your alarm clock? Is it losing track of the days? Oh yes… the end is near!

5 Steps to End the School Year

Now, back to the current task at hand: finishing the year. The End of the Year can be one of the craziest times for a teacher. Our To-Do List goes on and on! We have state testing, end of the year assessments, report cards, class placements, cleaning your classroom, packing up, and don’t forget that small task of providing your students with memorable activities that you want them to remember you for! We are here to give you advice on how we End the Year LIKE A BOSS!

1. What are You Waiting For? Get Going!

Step 1: Make a To Do List and Get Started!

As mentioned before, a teacher’s To-Do List is a mile long! Make a list of all of the things that you need to do before that glorious day when you get into your car and pull out of the parking lot. (By the way, is there any better moment?)

Sort your To-Do List into tasks that you can get done now and tasks that have to wait. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you when to get the next task done. Getting your end of the year tasks done early will help you feel less stressed and less overwhelmed!

End of Year Resources for Teachers

Editable End of the Year Checklist

End of the Year Teacher Reflection and Surveys

2. Give Your Students What They Want… YOU!

Step 2: Give your students YOU!

Getting your To-Do List in order will help you focus on the most important aspect of teaching… your students! Take your time to enjoy your students! You worked so hard with them all year, so enjoy them! Make the time to do some fun activities that you normally don’t have time for in your regular school day. Build those relationships! Smile with them! Is there a time that you could play kickball? What about grabbing a blanket and reading outside under a tree? Take the time to create special moments with your students that they will remember forever!

3. Reminisce

Step 3: Reminisce about your year!

Look back at your year with your students. Take a morning and have your students fill out a memory from your year together on a slip of paper and have them add it to a jar. Whenever you have a spare moment, pull out a memory and read it to your class!

Create a Memory Jar!

Here’s why we love this activity:

  1. Memories build relationships. Relationships are the most important part of teaching!
  2. These memories are a feedback tool for you! If your students enjoyed a particular activity, be sure you repeat it with your students next year! Take note of common responses! Notice what your students value and build on that for the following year!

4. No Prep Fun

Step 4: No prep End of the Year FUN!

Just because you made a To-Do List doesn’t mean that you checked everything off already! Trust us, we get it! You need time to get things done, but your students also need to be provided with some quality “End of the Year Fun!” Grab some No Prep End of the Year resources to keep your students busy, while you keep checking off that mile long list of things to do!

No Prep End of the Year FUN!

Click the Image Above or the Individual Links Below to Check out some No Prep End of the Year Activities!

30 No Prep End of the Year Activities

End of the Year Packin’ My Bags File Folder Activity

End of the Year Brochures

End of the Year Bingo

5. Look Ahead

Step 5: Look ahead to NEXT year!

If there’s anything more crazy than the End of the Year, it’s the Beginning of the Year! Are we right?! Ask yourself: “What can I do THIS year that will help me NEXT year?”

Here’s what we ALWAYS make sure we do before leaving for summer vacation:

  1. Give next year’s students a welcoming letter, a summer challenge, and a school supply list! This might seem a little overwhelming, but it’s not! How do you know which students you will get? You don’t! Get with your whole grade level and make a common supply list! Then, pass these things out to the ENTIRE grade level below you that will enter your grade next year! Click HERE!
  2. Bulletin Boards! Plan and prep your bulletin boards for Back to School! Can you leave your boards up? Great! Get them all ready so you are ready to roll! Have to take them down? Plan your boards out and have everything ready to put up when you get back!
  3. Plan! Get with your team and plan the first few weeks of school. How will you start the year off? Get your lesson plans done so that when you get back, you will have one less thing to do! Want to see how we plan for our whole year and teach every standard? We have a blog post just for you! CLICK HERE!
  4. Copies! Want to know when the copy room is empty? The end of the year! Everyone is so focused on short activities for their students and finishing up things they didn’t get to throughout the year that the copy room is a ghost town! Get in there and prep the first few weeks of school! You will thank yourself next year! We promise!
Welcoming Letter for Next Year's Students
End Your Year Like a Boss!



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How to Upload Digital Resources to Google Classroom

How to Upload Digital Resources to Google Classroom

Hello! We are so happy that you are here to learn something new! Did you just get Chromebooks, laptops or other forms of technology? Are you making the switch to go digital? Are you new to using Google Classroom? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are in the right place! We are going to take you through the process of uploading and assigning a digital resource to Google Classroom! Let’s get started!

Uploading to Google Classroom Steps 1-3

*Before we begin, please make sure that you are already signed into your Google Account*

Step 1: Go into Teachers Pay Teachers and got to “My Purchases.” Find the resource you would like to assign to your class and click “Download Now.”

Step 2: Click the PDF in the bottom left hand corner of your screen.

Step 3: Click the link to open the resource.

Uploading to Google Classroom Steps 4-5

Step 4: Click “Make a Copy.”

Step 5: A copy of the resource has now been saved to your Google Drive. The resource will appear. You can exit out at this point and head on over to Google.

Step 6: Go to Google. Click on the waffle. Click on “Google Classroom.”

Step 7: Click the class that you would like to complete the activity.

Uploading to Google Classroom Step 8-9

Step 8: Click “Classwork” at the top and then click “Create”

Step 9: Click “Assignment”

Uploading to Google Classroom Step 10-12

Step 10: Title the assignment, give instructions, assign a point value and topic if necessary.

Step 11: Click on the Google Drive icon on the bottom left of your screen

Step 12: Find the resource you would like to assign. Click on that resource.

Uploading to Google Classroom The Final Step!

The LAST STEP: Click “Assign”


That’s it! You’re DONE!

Sometimes, seeing the process in action can help! We have uploaded a video to help!

Click HERE to Watch a Video Tutorial!

You have successfully uploaded a digital resource to Google Classroom!

Are you looking for some digital resources to get you started? Check out these resources below! Click on the Images!

Check out these resources below! Click on the Images!

Simile and Metaphor Digital Task Cards


Punctuating Dialogue Digital Task Cards

Vocabulary Digital Task Card Bundle

Looking for other resources? We have Digital Task Cards for every Vocabulary Standard and every Grammar and Language Standard individually and even bundled in one ready to use resource! Hop on over to our store and take a browse! Click HERE!

Want to grab our Grammar and Language Digital Task Card Bundle for FREE? Enter our raffle below!

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Standards Based Brochures in the Classroom

Why We Created Standards Based Brochures

Why We Created Standards Based Brochures

You know that stress that you have every single year? You know, the yearly question: “What grade level will you teach next school year?” Well, one year, Deserae got handed a 4/5 combo class! Yikes! As the year progressed, she started making one brochure at a time just to keep students in one grade level busy while she finished up a lesson with the other grade level. I remember walking in and picking up a brochure and quickly said, “Ummm, hello! I NEED these!” Standards Based Brochures were not just for a combo class. Standards Based Brochures are a necessity for every classroom!

Spiral Your Standards Through Reading With Standards Based Brochures!

What are Standards Based Brochures?

Standards Based Brochures are a ready to use resource that will have students applying what they are learning to the books that they are reading. Each Standards Based Brochure lists the standard, gives a place for students to write a definition, provides a place to list examples, and lists questions for students to consider as they are reading. Standards Based Brochures then provide students with five opportunities for practice using the standard chosen. Brochures can be used with class read aloud books, independent reading books or picture books. Students find the standard they are practicing in the books they are reading. Then, students prove their findings in the frames provided. Each Standards Based Brochure walks students through the standard so that they are able to do the brochure independently.

Standards Based Brochures Connect Reading to Learning

Why Use Standards Based Brochures?

In our classrooms, we want our students to take the standards that they are learning out of a superficial context and into an authentic one. Standards Based Brochures are a way for students to connect what they read to what they are learning. Our ultimate goal is to have our students read with binoculars on that zoom in and find how the author is using the standard in the book.

Standards Based Brochures Zoom in on Learning!

Standards Based Brochures are a Opportunity for Application!

Why Teachers LOVE Standards Based Brochures

Standards Based Brochures hit so many “checks” for teachers! Spiral Review… CHECK! Independent Practice… CHECK! No Prep… CHECK! We love using Standards Based Brochures in our classrooms! We use them for Small Group Instruction, Early Finishers, Intervention Groups, and ways for parents to help their child at home! Want to find out more about each of these? Click the image below or HERE Standards Based Brochures are a Ready to Use Resource!

What Standards are Covered in the Standards Based Brochure Bundles?

Cover Your Standards Using Standards Based Brochures!

3rd Grade:

Character Traits, Making Inferences, Theme, Character Motivation, Character Change, Character Analysis, Plot, Mood, Types of Conflict, Tone, Types of Characters, Compound Sentences and Conjunctions, Punctuating Dialogue, Prepositions and Prepositional Phrases, Parts of Speech, Poetry, Point of View, Author’s Purpose, Drama

3rd Grade Standards Based Brochure Bundle

4th Grade:

Character Traits, Making Inferences, Theme, Character Motivation, Character Change, Character Analysis, Plot, Mood, Types of Conflict, Tone, Types of Characters, Compound Sentences and Conjunctions, Punctuating Dialogue, Prepositions and Prepositional Phrases, Ordering Adjectives, Relative Adverbs, Relative Pronouns, Formal and Informal Language, Progressive Tense Verbs, Modal Auxiliaries, Subjects and Predicates, Homophones, Capitalization, Similes and Metaphors, Context Clues, Proverbs and Adages, Prefixes, Suffixes, Idioms, Synonyms and Antonyms, Poetry, Point of View, Allusions, Comparing Themes Across Cultures, Author’s Purpose, Perspective, Drama 4th Grade Standards Based Brochure Bundle

5th Grade:

Character Traits, Making Inferences, Theme, Character Motivation, Character Change, Character Analysis, Plot, Mood, Types of Conflict, Tone, Types of Characters, Compound Sentences and Conjunctions, Punctuating Dialogue, Prepositions and Prepositional Phrases, Expand, Combine and Reduce Sentences, Interjections, Perfect Tense Verbs, Verb Tenses, Verb Shifts, Correlative Conjunctions, Commas, Punctuation in a Series, Capitalization, Similes and Metaphors, Context Clues, Proverbs and Adages, Prefixes, Suffixes, Idioms, Synonyms and Antonyms, Homographs, Poetry, Point of View, Author’s Purpose, Perspective, Drama 5th Grade Standards Based Brochure Bundle

Want to Try a Brochure for FREE?

We have one just for you! Click HERE or the image below!

GIVEAWAY! Enter NOW! 3 Lucky Winners!

We are raffling off:

One 3rd Grade Standards Based Brochure Bundle

One 4th Grade Standards Based Brochure Bundle

One 5th Grade Standards Based Brochure Bundle

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Reading Strategies… REAL vs. FAKE Reading

Calling All Reading Teachers!

Raise your hand if you think that reading is important! Of course it is!

Is there anything more important than teaching your students how to read? We can’t think of anything!

Let us tell you a little story about something that Deserae recently experienced (although both of us have experienced it… many times). One of the parents in Deserae’s class stated that she “misdiagnosed” her son’s reading abilities. She disagreed that one of her son’s goals should be a reading goal. She stated that her son read beautifully (which he did) and that he did not need help reading.

Reading Strategies Lead to Reading Comprehension

Deserae explained that her son did not need help with the ability to read, but with his understanding of what he is reading. Deserae handed the parent a list of basic comprehension questions and told the mom to go home and have her son read to her, and then to ask him some of the questions on the list. The mom later stated that she had an eye-opening moment when her son had no idea what he was reading and was unable to answer the questions. She thanked Deserae for helping her son.

As teachers, we know that this happens way too often. There are many kids who read beautifully, but when it comes to comprehension, they are clueless. These students often slip through the cracks and go undetected because they “read beautifully.” So, what do we do for these students? We are so glad you asked! We have the answer!

Reading Strategies Create REAL Readers


Reading Strategies are what makes the difference between a REAL READER and a fraud. All teachers know about reading strategies, but surprisingly, not all teachers teach them. Reading Strategies sound like a huge task (which they are) that we, as teachers, simply don’t have time for in our day. Sound familiar? Keep reading!

Who Needs Reading Strategies?

ALL READERS NEED READING STRATEGIES! Every student at every level of reading needs to be taught reading strategies. Every students needs to add to their reading toolbox and develop and perfect their use of these strategies. All students can become better readers!

All Readers Need to be Taught Reading Strategies

Why Do Students Need Reading Strategies?

Readers need reading strategies in order to comprehend the text that they are reading. Students need to understand that they need to be thinking when they are reading. Being an active reader is the key to being a real reader. Reading strategies also lead to the enjoyment of a text, which only encourages a child to want to read more and therefore, become an even better reader.

Reading Strategies Encourage a Love for Reading

How Do I Teach Reading Strategies?

Reading strategies should be taught explicitly. The strategy should be modeled by the teacher and then practiced by the student. Take the time to draw attention to the strategies as you/ they are reading! Let them discuss the strategy with a friend and talk about how the strategy helped their understanding of the text!

Want Specifics? Check out our next blog post on Reading Strategies Coming Soon!


And Now For The Most Important Question… How Do I Fit Teaching Reading Strategies Into My Busy Day?

How to fit reading strategies into your busy day

Let us tell you how we fit teaching reading strategies in our classroom. During the first few weeks of school, we focus on reading strategies. We choose a reading strategy to spotlight, and we live, eat and breath it for a few days (depending on the students’ understanding and needs) during our class read aloud. That’s it! That’s the secret! During our Read Aloud! Your class read aloud is something that you are already doing! Teaching the reading strategy will probably add 5-10 min to your read aloud (pssst… it will also make your read aloud come to life!)

Reading Strategies Planning Page FREEBIE!

Reading Strategies Planning Page FREEBIE ALERT!

Once you have explicitly taught all of the Reading Strategies, you are ready to spiral them throughout the year! Use this FREEBIE to make it easy! This will work with a picture book or a chapter book. Look at your class read aloud and make a plan to stop and model, practice and review all of the reading strategies! Once you plan for the book, save it and use it again year after year! Click the image above or Here to grab this FREEBIE! This freebie is available if you are a subscriber to our newsletter in our growing “Resource Treasury!”

Interested in the specifics of how we teach each strategy and what we use?

Stay tuned for our next blog post!

Already teach reading strategies and ready to take it to the next level????? Have you heard of Reading Strategy Groups?? Check out this blog post! Reading Strategy Groups Blog Post!

Looking for Reading Strategy Resources?

Reading Strategy Resources

Click the images or HERE to grab some Reading Strategy Resources!

Reading Strategy Resources

Back to School FREEBIES to Start Your Year Off Right!

Back to School Freebies

Anyone interested in some

Back to School Freebies?


Back to School can be such a stressful time,

so we are hear to help you out!

Check out the Back to School Freebies below!

Back to School Freebies

Freebie #1: All About the Teacher Scavenger Hunt

We all have some common goals in the first few days of school… having our students get to know us and teaching our students about their new classroom. Why not check off both of these goals with one activity! This is a 40 page Back to School FREEBIE that can be used with parents at Back to School Night, the day before school starts or on the first day of school! Your new students will get to know you and their new classroom while going on a Scavenger Hunt! Click the image below to grab it!

All About My Teacher Classroom Scavenger Hunt Back to School Freebie

Freebie #2: Classroom Numbers

Are you ready to label “All the Things?” Back to School time is all about organizing. The possibilities for this Back to School FREEBIE are endless! Label pencil boxes, book bins, desks, books, etc… while adding those pops of color around your classroom! Beautiful and functional… there’s a freebie you can’t live without! Click the image below to grab it!

Classroom Numbers Back to School Freebie

Freebie #3: Birthday Bulletin Board Display and FREE Birthday Gift Idea

Are you ready to buy a birthday gift for every student every single year? Heck no! We aren’t either! We would be broke! Use this Back to School FREEBIE to give your students a free gift while still recognizing them on their special day. Have the class sing them “Happy Birthday,” have them come up to the front of the room to be recognized, and gift them with a Homework Pass that they can use when their parents take them out that night! Click the image below to grab it!

Birthday Display Back to School Freebie

Freebie #4: Flexible Seating First Choice Seating Poster

Do you use Flexible Seating in your classroom? Have your students ever said, “Hey, that’s not fair! I wanted that seat!” We have the solution for you!!!! We have been a Flexible Seating classroom for many years now, and we can honestly say that we have never heard, “That’s not fair!” (when it comes to seating, that is). We put a student in charge of this job. Every day, the “host” moves down the arrow to the next batch of numbers and calls the groups out in order. It’s as simple as that! If you want to see it for yourself, we have a video with our class entering! The video is in a blog post titled, “Be a Boss at Flexible Seating.” Check it out by clicking HERE! Click the image below to grab this Back to School FREEBIE!

Flexible Seating First Choice Seating Poster Back to School FREEBIE!

Freebie #5: Teacher Poster

This “Back to School Freebie” is not just for Back to School. This teacher poster is a great reminder all year long. Print it out at the beginning of the year and place it somewhere that you will constantly see. Another idea is to print it out and put it in the teacher workroom or staff lounge! This reminder is what makes all the difference in the world to your students throughout the year! Click the image below to grab this freebie!Back to School Freebie Teacher Poster

Back to School Freebies

Back to School Resources from The Rigorous Owl

Click the Image Above or HERE to check out more engaging resources!

Did you download one of our Back to School Freebies?

We would love to hear which one you are looking forward to using the most!

Also, we would love to see positive feedback on your download!