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Student Engagement Part I

12 20 photo collage.pngAre your students engaged or just entertained?  Wait, there’s a difference? Yes! Engagement is active learning where as entertainment is a passive activity.  With the end of the year weeks away, how can you eek out any sort of learning let alone engagement? There are many ideas educators can use to engage students. Today, I will focus on my top three ways to increase engagement anytime of year (especially at the end of the school year).

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Take Learning Outdoors

Who says that learning has to do be done inside a classroom?! There’s no reason learning the ABCs needs to be learned inside. In fact, there are lots of ways to encourage a love of reading and writing by spending time outdoors! Listed below are some of the ways that I have found to get kids outdoors and learning, some of which I have used with my own 10 and 7 year old kiddos.reading-outdoors-300x168.jpg

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Teaching the Tale: Language & Memory


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Fairy tales and Folktales are stories often told to children beginning at a young age through primary grades. There are significant points in stories where there are repetitive words and phrases which help readers understand the tale and build accuracy. Those repetitive phrases allow students to be more engaged in the story, build language skills, and benefit English Language Learners.

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Why They Work: Three Reasons for Using Word Walls and Spelling Dictionaries in the Classroom

education-390765_1920-1.jpgLots of things are different from the time I began teaching until now, but there are a few things that I clearly stand by, specifically word walls and spelling dictionaries. Word walls are often displays posted in the classroom of common words, content or unit-specific vocabulary, and easily misspelled words. They’ll look different depending on the classroom and grade, but they’re generally organized in alphabetical order, similarly to the spelling dictionary. Spelling dictionaries are portable word walls, where students have the correct spelling of various words at their seats, with many including blank lines where they can write other words they need to spell (e.g. proper nouns). These can be organized alphabetically or phonetically. What makes these tools so effective? Here are a few reasons why every teacher should continue or develop the regular practice of having students use these tools to strengthen their writing.

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Poem in your Pocket Day

writing-1149962_1920.jpgA New York City celebration is now nationwide! This event coincides with National Poetry month. Many people across American have started celebrating April 27th as “Poem in your Pocket Day”. Basically, you have a favorite poem on a slip of paper in your pocket to give away at a moments notice. Here my top ten ideas that require little planning to help you be prepared for this fun day.

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Being Bilingual: More than Just Head Knowledge

hello-1502369_1280.pngWhen I was younger, I was obsessed with learning Spanish and sign language. The former was because I loved the way it sounded in music and wanted to understand the words. The latter was because it was easy for me to understand and I loved being able to communicate with people with hearing difficulties. While I don’t remember as much as I did at the time, what I was doing–unbeknownst to me–was giving myself an advantage that would benefit me for many years to come. Below I share my experience as well as benefits to promoting this in the classroom and beyond.

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