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11
September
2018

How to Support Effective and Engaging Structured Independent Reading Time in Your Classroom

Independent reading is a student’s reading of a text on his or her own. It can occur anywhere- as part of an activity in a school classroom or at home and includes books that are appropriate for the student’s reading level. Independent reading has shown to be an effective complement to other reading programs in school, not only in helping students practice and develop reading skills but in fostering a greater love for reading that may carry through at home. This article discusses how to foster reading skills and strategies through independent reading.

Written by: Shayna Pond

21
August
2018

The San Diego Quick Assessment

Readers will understand the purpose of the San Diego Quick Assessment and when it is appropriate to use to help determine a student’s reading level.

If you are looking for a quick way to get a general idea of a new student’s reading level, the San Diego Quick Assessment may be the right tool for you!

Some educational diagnostic tools truly stand the test of time! The San Diego Quick Assessment is certainly one of those tools. In 1969, Margaret La Pray and Ramon Ross created 13 lists of 10 words each based on grade level. These lists range from pre-primer and primer through eleventh grade. Originally published in Journal of Reading, these word lists are now available online and can be used by educators as a method to determine a student’s reading level.

Written by: Wendy Lipe

10
October
2017

Exploring Literature Genres in the Elementary Classroom

Exposure to texts from a wide variety of genres opens up new worlds to readers! Encourage your students to expand their reading habits, as well as recognize the importance of each genre, with these practical tips you can implement today!

Often, students will find one type of story they enjoy reading, and never take a chance to break out of their reading rut. By exposing your students to different genres of texts, you can open so many new worlds of reading! If that alone is not reason enough to begin a genre study in your classroom, consider how every genre has its own purpose and set of features. If your students are never exposed to traditional literature such as fables and myths, they may never know the wonder of oral storytelling and passing stories on from generation to generation. If they never read biographies, they may not understand the value of telling a story in chronological order. If they don’t read informational texts from an early age, they may struggle later on with research skills and understanding content-specific vocabulary. These are just a few examples of why understanding genre is so important.

Written by: Wendy Lipe

24
September
2017

Achieve Purposeful Classroom Dialogue with Turn and Talk

Many students fall into one of two categories: the chatty ones that need to socialize frequently, or the shy and quiet students that don’t speak up. Turn and Talk is a strategy that benefits both types of learners, and can be adapted for any content area and grade level. When students turn and talk, you are providing the naturally talkative ones with content-based purpose, and you are providing the quieter kids the scaffolding and confidence they need to have a thoughtful two-way conversation with a fellow student. Turn and Talk is a tool every teacher needs!

Written by: Wendy Lipe

12
September
2017

Improving Parent Involvement With Consistent Communication Through Phone Calls

Strategies For Improving Parent-Teacher Communication With a Phone-Call Plan of Action

Imagine This:  You have a student in your classroom that consistently cannot or does not meet classroom expectations.  You have tried implementing the right responses to her misbehaviors in class, and you have worked diligently to correct behavioral concerns so that she can be successful within your class.  You have referred her to an administrator, and you have called her parents a few times.  After your third phone call to her parents, her mother begins to defend her child’s behaviors, and comments that you never have anything nice to say about her child.  Or, maybe her mother is simply exasperated with her child and is communicating her own frustration about her child to you.  This negative response (often cultivated in families by phone calls bearing bad news) don’t do anything to support or help the child.

Written by: Shayna Pond

10
September
2017

How To Analyze The STAAR Reading Test Using Lexile or ATOS

Methods for Analyzing Text Complexity of the STAAR and other Reading Passages Using Lexile or ATOS

How To Analyze The STAAR Reading Test Using Lexile or ATOS

Have you chosen a passage for your students to read in class but weren’t sure whether the level of complexity was right?  Do you wonder about the real Lexile® level of STAAR passages or other standardized tests?  Or, perhaps you’d like to type up your own sample passages for students, but want to make sure you are writing text at the appropriate level for your students.

This post will review two sources to help you analyze texts more deeply, so that you can provide your students the right level of texts to help move them towards mastery of their grade level standards.

06
July
2017

Analyzing The Rigor of Your Math or Science Lesson

Revise and Refine your Math & Science Lesson Plans to Increase Rigor in the Classroom

This summer, take a look back at the way you structured your lesson content and analyzed word problems in math and science.  We’ll review a few areas you should consider when selecting problems for your students and determining how to deliver the lesson content in an appropriate way, aligned to the required depth for the standards.   This content corresponds to page one of our math & Science Lesson Analyzer and Lesson Plan.  Continue reading to download the Lesson Analyzer & Lesson Plan.

15
November
2016

SAT vs. ACT - Which One Should You Take

SAT vs. ACT - Which One Should You Take

With the recent changes made to the SAT®, the ACT and SAT are now quite similar.  Despite this, there are still some major differences to consider.  Students who are getting started with the college admission process may be considering which test makes the most sense for them based on their individual skills and comfort level.  To help these students make this critical decision, we have assembled a list of factors every student should consider when deciding if they should take the ACT, SAT or both.  Use the following criteria to help you decide as you prepare for the college admission process.  Getting started on the right foot by choosing a test that works best for you, may make the difference between getting that scholarship or getting into your top-choice school.

25
October
2016

Reading Comprehension Strategy Tools

A Comprehensive Set of Graphic Organizers & Reading Comprehension Tools For Educators & Parents

Reading Comprehension Strategy Tools

Use these 7 reading comprehension strategy tools and graphic organizers to guide reading lessons and tutoring sessions with your student(s).  Designed for teachers, parents or students, these tools help build reading comprehension by allowing students to more effectively organize information found within reading passages, in books or on exams.  Feel free to download, print, or share!  If you are interested in more free reading tools, please let us know in the comments section below.

Written by: Shayna Pond

27
September
2016

How to Make a Non-Newtonian Fluid

Make a Non-Newtonian Fluid Using Cornstarch & Water!

How to Make a Non-Newtonian Fluid

Here we demonstrate how to make a non-Newtonian fluid using everyday cornstarch and water.  We also explain the science behind non-Newtonian fluids and propose some experiments for you to try at home!

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