Spelling in the Writer's Workshop

"Teacher, how do you spell ______?"

Is it just me, or is that question like nails on a chalkboard to you? How do we deal with this age-old question our students ask us a million times every day? As teachers, we know that spelling isn't our main focus during writing time. We know the importance of invented spelling, students applying what they know about letter sounds and spelling patterns, and stretching words out.

However, instead of simply telling students to "stretch it out and write what you hear" and sending them back to their seats, we need to give our students more concrete resources and tools so that they don't feel like we've just rejected them. I want to empower my students by giving them the tools and the resources they need so that they can be independent writers.
Instead of simply telling students to "stretch it out and write what you hear" and sending them back to their seats, we need to empower our students to be independent writers and spellers. Check out a few tools and resources you can use to ensure writing success!


Mass Made Easy: Strategies for Teaching Students to Find Mass

One of the third grade Common Core math standards asks students to estimate and measure the masses of objects. Our kiddos have a hard time relating to weight, and now we have to teach mass?

What Exactly is Mass?!

Mass is how much matter is in an object. Mass never changes, whereas weight can change depending on how much gravity there is. This distinction can be a little high-level for third graders, so I say "how much stuff is inside an object." We typically use grams and kilograms to measure mass. Here are some of strategies I use to help my students understand this tricky concept.
Mass Made Easy: Blog Post from Hippo Hooray for Second Grade.

Teach the Reader. Not the Book.

I was sitting in a professional development class this spring where we were watching a webinar previously recorded from the Heinemann Group, and one of the instructors made this statement:
Using knowledge of text bands of complexity, learn how you can "teach the reader and not the book."
Have you ever heard something and you thought, "Wow. Just WOW." That's what happened to me when I heard Dan Feigelson say, "Teach the reader, not the book." I felt like I was smacked in the face by a 20-ton truck. In a good way. If that's possible.
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