Encouraging Reading at Home

Posted by Kristie J. on Oct 25, 2016 12:00:00 PM

Sometimes, it can be like pulling teeth to get students engaged in reading. Any teacher that has set foot in a classroom knows exactly what I’m talking about. We don’t always understand a child’s reluctance to reading. It is an important skill and it can be a great leisure activity. The reality is that not all students will read for pleasure, but every one of them will read to gather information. How do teachers encourage students to read at home then?

Read More

Topics: Classroom Ideas, Reading Lists, Literacy

ESSA: Special Education Guideline Changes

Posted by Reine L. on Oct 24, 2016 12:00:00 PM

"With this bill, we reaffirm that fundamentally American ideal—that every child, regardless of race, income, background, the zip code where they live, deserves the chance to make of their lives, what they will." — President Barack Obama

Read More

Topics: Classroom Ideas, Common Core, Differentiation

Getting Focused: Mindfulness in the Reading Classroom

Posted by Rashawnda Atkinson on Oct 21, 2016 12:19:00 PM

With many things to distract student's attention throughout the day, it can be challenging to capture and maintain students' interests in learning. Whether it's texting on the cell phone, wondering about private family issues, or physically going to and from work each day after school, our students are increasingly facing challenges that can supercede their learning experiences. If not managed properly, these challenges lead to academic, behavioral, and social problems within the classroom.  Lessons slow or stop, classroom management challenges rise, and overall productivity decreases. This is where mindfulness comes in, a strategy where students learn how to unclutter their minds and concentrate on a specific, relaxing topic--which could be nothing at all.

Read More

Topics: Classroom Ideas, Literacy

Minecraft, Memes & Microfiction- 3 Ideas for High-Interest Writing

Posted by Rachel Tapling on Oct 20, 2016 11:57:00 AM

Kim Kardashian’s Stolen Jewelry.

Tom Brady’s Suspension from the NFL


If you asked your students what they have been writing about, what would they say? Ignore the blank stares at first….

Your students ARE writing.

Read More

Topics: Classroom Ideas, Writing, Technology, Literacy

Engaging Reading Activities: Classroom Elections

Posted by Teresa Marchant on Oct 19, 2016 12:04:00 PM

Have you considered holding your own 2016 Election in your classroom, but don't know where to start? You will be pleased how the upcoming elections can motivate learning in your classroom. 

First, find resources on Big Universe to help provide background knowledge on the United States Government and the Election process. Then, have them discover past presidents. As a final activity, hold your own classroom elections!

Read More

Topics: Classroom Ideas, Common Core, Reading Lists, Writing, Technology

Reading Flourishes in a Digital Learning Environment

Posted by Big Universe on Oct 18, 2016 1:17:53 PM

The library at Red Cedar Elementary School is a hive of activity. But you won’t find a librarian or teacher shushing students as they excitedly share ideas with each other. Red Cedar is participating in a Beaufort County School District program called Media Center 2.0 that has transformed the library into a high tech makerspace. “Three years ago we moved all of the physical books out of the library to other areas around the school,” shares Instructional Coach Cynthia Laizer.“We were left with a big empty space that we filled with Promethean tables, electronic whiteboards, and other tools students can use to explore and create. The library is always full of students and energy.” Even though there are no longer bookshelves in the library, students and teachers still have plenty of access to books thanks to the Big Universe eBook library.

Read More

Topics: Success Stories

Motivating Reluctant Readers

Posted by Kristie J. on Oct 18, 2016 11:25:00 AM

We have all encountered students that proclaim they hate reading. Sometimes, students will even act out behaviorally to resist reading. Many teachers become distressed over this issue. You have to understand that it is not personal. It is not necessarily your teaching that causes them to be unengaged with the reading.  Many teachers read for pleasure. It is difficult to grasp how someone could not enjoy reading. I was surprised the first time a student described that they did not see stories become “alive” while they read. It has been just words to them. I think this is an important difference in how people perceive reading. Some of us do enjoy reading for pleasure, but not all.  Everyone does, however, read for information. It is a critical skill to have as an adult. I teach my students that knowledge is power. I would love for them to be experts in their choice of matter, but more importantly, they need to know to read and understand application procedures, legal documents, and other materials required to become a productive citizen of society. How do you solve that problem?  

Read More

Topics: Classroom Ideas, Differentiation, Reading Lists, Literacy

Critical Thinking Strategies for Practical Writing Ideas

Posted by Reine L. on Oct 17, 2016 11:35:00 AM

Writing Workshop is a strategic approach that provides students opportunities to use critical thinking through the steps in the writing process. Expressly, students think critically about what they are actually writing through a planned process. Big Universe offers a variety of lesson plans that include a story from the library, and a plan for writing with a critical thinking component.

Read More

Topics: Classroom Ideas, Writing

Celebrate Make a Difference Day!

Posted by Rashawnda Atkinson on Oct 14, 2016 11:26:00 AM

As a classroom teacher, I often shared with the children one of the biggest things I enjoy the most--making a difference in the lives of others.  This was central to my teaching philosophy, and when schools foster the spirit of servant leadership within their students--whether they are in school, home, or the community, they become productive citizens who make positive and meaningful contributions.  Although Make a Difference Day is typically celebrated on the fourth Saturday of October, here are several ways to connect your curriculum and servant leadership in a meaningful way for your students:

Read More

Topics: Classroom Ideas

#teacherlifehack: The New Cross Level Grouping

Posted by Rachel Tapling on Oct 13, 2016 12:00:00 PM

When you hear “Cross-Level Grouping”, are you thinking what I’m thinking? And by that, I mean, did you also say to yourself….

Read More

Topics: Classroom Ideas, Differentiation

Thank you for taking the time to read the Big Universe blog. We hope that you find the information of value as you create a reading culture within your classrooms and schools. If you would you like more information regarding how you can utilize the Big Universe cloud-based literacy solution in your school, please contact one of our Literacy Consultants to learn more.