Powered by Blogger.


Emily Calhoun (1998) developed the Picture Word Inductive Model based on strategies for language acquisition. It uses pictures containing familiar objects, actions and scenes to draw out words from children’s listening and speaking vocabularies. This model helps students add words to their reading vocabulary, as well as their writing vocabulary, and also discover phonetic and structural patterns present in those words. This strategy is very effective with students who are learning English or that are struggling readers and writers.

The instructional sequence is presented in a predictable way each time you use this strategy. I have modified it a bit to work with my students:

First, we observe the picture using the I see, I think, I wonder strategy. This can be done orally or with a graphic organizer:

I usually put the picture on chart paper. Then we label the nouns in the picture, and write adjectives and verbs about the picture. Then finally students use those words to write sentences about the picture.
I also have students follow along on their own paper with the picture at the top:

I have a fantastic resource that puts it altogether for you! There are whole page photos, student copies and graphic organizers!

I am always trying to find the best strategies in working with my English Language Learners. Today I am going to share with you why you should be using photos with your English Language Learners to improve oral and written language skills.

1. Activities can connect to multiple standards and integrates well with the content areas.
2. Strengthen oral language development.

3. It is an excellent way to provide differentiation for English-language learners.

4. It relieves pressure from reluctant students or striving readers and writers by providing the opportunity to read and analyze photographs along with traditional print texts.

5. It represents a culturally responsive teaching method as it demonstrates a way to welcome all voices in the classroom to be heard and valued.

There are so many websites that you can use to find good quality images to use with your English Language Learners, here are a few of my favorites. All of these offer free photos and images:

There are so many great activities you can do with photos, they can be used as activating strategies before a lesson, or integrated with your science and social studies units. I have a great guide to using photos with English Language Learners, and it is FREE for you. Just click the pic to get your copy. It is filled with ideas, sample activities and graphic organizers:

Do your students struggle with spelling? Writing is the time when I really want my students to use all their strategies to spell a word. Also they can use all their resources. This is one reason I love using personal dictionaries or word books. Students can look up a word to see if it is on the word list and if they can't find it, they can ask a friend to help them spell it. Lastly, they can bring me their book and I will write it in their book. I always ask my students, "Did you use all your resources first?" Then I will help them. Personal dictionaries can be a powerful tool to help your writers. I often see young writer's struggle because they don't know how to spell a word, this is just one tool that can help them over that block!

Word you love a copy of my Personal Word Books? I have two versions, full page format and half page format (you can print two to a page) Click the picture to get your copy:


Ready to jump into Literature Circles but don't know where to start? Check out this list of Do's and Don'ts to get you going! 

Do: Literature Circles should be reader response driven! Not teacher driven. With a little modeling and practice, students can meet and discuss their books without the teacher driving the discussion. The teacher can provide questioning stems and guidelines to help students. However, Literature Circle time should be structured for student independence, responsibility and ownership.

Don't: Literature Circle time is not unstructured, or "talk time" without holding students accountable for their work. Students should be prepared for their group before they meet.

Do: Give students choice in the books they are going to read. Pick 3 or 4 different titles, give a book talk to get students excited, and then let them choose which book they want to read!

Don't: So, don't always choose the books for the students. Also, this may go against conventional thinking but try not assigning roles. There is a model of Literature Circles, where each student in the group is assigned a role (Summarizer, Questioner, Vocabulary Person, etc.) This might help structure the groups but ultimately it could limit an organic and authentic conversation about the book. What if I am a student who has a question or inference about the story but my role is Summarizer? 

Do: Use the text as a basis for applying reading and writing skills in context. Give students a purpose for their discussion, are you studying character's actions? Setting? Point of view, all your required standards can be met during their Literature Circle discussions. 

Don't: Use literature circles to do skills work or unnecessary worksheets. Would you love to read a chapter book if you knew you were going to have to answer 10 questions about every chapter? Probably not! Use your literature circle time to foster the love of reading, making connections to the text and practicing discussion skills. You can have students work in a booklet to be accountable for their reading and I'll share an example at the end of the post! (And I'll share a great freebie!)

Do: Choose texts with a variety of levels to meet the needs of all your readers. It's OK to choose books all on one theme or idea, like Black History month. If you have trouble finding 5 or 6 copies of a book, ask your fellow teachers and pool your resources. Check out your local libraries and thrift stores like Good Will. I find tons of great chapter books at Good Will.

Don't: Be mindful of how long the chapter book is! Depending on the level of your students, really long chapter books may be hard for your groups to stay committed to.

Ready to get started? Download this free some free posters and a planning sheet:
How about another great resource to get you going? Literature Circles Made Easy might just be the thing you need! Click the picture to get started:

Spiral Review has been a critical part of my day. The very first reason why I love spiral review is purely management. I don't like a chaotic morning. I feel like it just starts the day off wrong. So math spiral review is my go-to morning work. It is predictable, students know what to do right away and it gets them "down to business" right from the start. But in case you're not sold on spiral review, I've get a few excellent reasons why it should be an important part of your day.
An important characteristic of spiral review is the frequency of exposure to skills. Research shows that  students with higher exposure to content, and the time to practice the content, understand the material better when compared to students who receive less exposure. 
Spiral review requires students to retrieve the skill from their long term memory which leads to a more complex thought process. Students move mathematical skills into their long term memory by repeatedly practicing those skills. They then have that knowledge and can build on it for more complex problems.
For spiral review to be effective it does not have to take a long amount of time. There should only be a few problems presented each day. I have my students write their answers on white boards, they do this as their morning work before the bell. You could also use spiral review questions as an activating strategy before your math block.  
By checking the spiral review problems altogether, it gives students time to reflect on mastery of the skill. Did they get the correct answer? What did they do wrong? How can they fix their work?
One important part of reviewing the math problems together is to address student misconceptions. I walk around as students are finishing up to observe who has the correct answers, who is struggling. I can make a mental note to go over that with the student in small group. Or if I see a pervasive error across many students, I address it as we are reviewing.

Are you already a fan of Spiral Review? I have done all the work for you! These monthly spiral review problems are perfect for 2nd or 3rd grades. They are completely editable! Yes, you can change the problems by changing the numbers or even deleting ones your students are not ready for. They come in Powerpoint and Google Slide formats. Everything you need to start your Daily Spiral Review routine.



Getting back to school this year is sure to be interesting. If you are going face to face or digital or a combination of the two, we are going to need to be prepared to be flexible! If last spring taught us anything is that our teaching situation can change over night. My district is going to start off digital then hopefully move to face to face. So building community over a virtual platform is going to be tricky. But it really should be our first priority. Our kids mental health is going to have to be number one. 

Keeping students engaged in the online curriculum and participating is going to be a challenge. Last spring, I saved Fridays for some fun activities and theme days were a super fun way to keep everyone engaged. 

Here is a quick little list of theme days for distance learning. Most of these require items that students will probably have around their house. The last thing you want is parents having to purchase anything special.

1) Beach Day or Luau Day:
2) Hat Day

3) Favorite Sports Jersey

4) PJ Day
5) Picnic Day

6) Pet Day
7) Camping Day

8) Pirate Day

9) Book Character Day

10) Grandparents Day (share about their grandparents or dressing up like old folks)

After my first week of teaching on-line with second graders, I was a complete wreck! I couldn't keep track of who finished the work I was assigning. I had some things posted in Google Classroom, other assignments in our learning management system. It was a mess, and y'all when I can't get organized I can get so stressed out!

So I made a decision to stick with only Google Classroom (this may be hard for some as your district does not provide this or you "have to" use what your district tells you) either way, these templates might help you out.

I started a template of assignments for students. It made it so much easier to see what they needed to complete and for me to check the work. Also it helped avoid that super long list that starts accumulating in your Classwork Feed. (Don't get me started on this!)

I made a template and when students turn it in, then I can see what they have completed. So I am sharing these with you. I have created 17 different styles to fit your needs. I am going with a daily template like this one:
But I have also included weekly ones as well. All you need to do is copy the slides you want to use and make a new presentation. Need help with that? Click here for some super easy directions: here
Then add your own links and text boxes.

You can get all the FREE templates right HERE! Make sure you are signed into your Google Drive and this will force a copy for you!
Did I mention they are free? I really hope this helps alleviate some stress for you!


Since everything has gone "digital" and "distance learning" overnight, teachers have had to learn different programs and technology faster than the speed of light! These times are pushing us out of our comfort zones and for many teachers we are trying new things. This may be the positive out of this whole situation. I use Google Slides quite a bit and I know many districts are using Google Classroom as a way of assigning work to students. So the one question I am hearing is this: I have a huge file of Google Slides that I created or purchased, how can I share one slide at a time with my students?

Let me help you out with some easy to follow steps:

1. First open the file you want to pull slides from.

2. Then go to file>new>presentation

3. In your new presentation, you may have to change the slide size or orientation. This can be done under file>page setup

4. Go back to original presentation. Right click on the slide you want to copy. You can copy more than one (if they are all in a row) by holding down the shift bar.

5. Then go back into the new presentation and right click paste.

6. That is it, just make sure you name your new presentation with a name you will remember so you won't forget what it is.

Are you in need of great Google Slides to integrate into your online instruction? Here are a few things I have that might help you out:

I hope your digital teaching is going well, prayers for everyone to stay safe and healthy!


I love teaching measurement! It's so hands on and practical for the real world. Let's face it, you use measurement in every day life. Trying to hang a picture on the wall? You need to measure to see if its centered. Buying a new couch, you need to measure to see if it will fit in the room. Second graders love measuring and using rulers.

I have a few tried and true hands on activities that I have my students work on. These are great for measuring stations or small groups.

The first one takes a little prep but can be used over and over again. I take strips of colored paper and measure them in different lengths. I make sure they measure exactly to the inch. Then I glue them down on cardstock and laminate. I number each piece of cardstock . Then on the recording sheet students write the card number they are working on and the measurement for each color. Easy!
After students can measure correctly then they need to work on comparing measurements. I collect a bunch of objects from around my kitchen and the classroom. Students then have to measure each one and decide how much longer one object is to another. For example, how much longer is the straw then the spoon? This makes a great little assessment grade:
The hardest skill in the measurement standard is solving measurement word problems. Students not only have to use their strategies to solve addition and subtraction problems but they need to be able to determine the correct operation. Lots of exposure to the different types of problems and repetition is the key to mastering this skill. 

I have all these units for you in my store! Low prep and easy to implement.

Back to Top