Practice Determining the Theme – Slideshow

3rd grade, 4th grade, and 5th grade students can practice determining the theme with this free slideshow

The free slideshow above can help you teach your 3rd grade, 4th grade, or 5th grade students how to determine the theme of a story.  It includes short reading passages where students have to choose the best theme, activities to help students practice distinguishing between the theme and main idea, and writing activities to reinforce what students have learned. This …

Test Prep and Motivation – Advice from Real Teachers

Advice from real teachers on how to prepare 3rd grade, 4th grade, and 5th grade students for testing

In this era of high stakes testing, preparing students for state testing has become a necessity.  Gone are the days where preparing students for a test simply meant meant teaching the content well.  Now test prep could include everything from teaching test strategies, making sure kids get enough sleep and eat a healthy breakfast, motivating them to do their best …

Preparing for State Testing – Activities and Review Games

State testing activities and games to help your 3rd grade, 4th grade, and 5th grade students stay engaged as they prepare for testing

Ahhhh….state tasting.  A teacher’s unavoidable nemesis.  Teachers are constantly looking for ways to make learning fun and engaging, but testing is just plain boring.  And while teachers don’t have the power to change the rules of testing to make it more fun (or to just stop it from happening altogether), we can make sure testing review is fun and engaging …

Teaching Rounding So Students Actually Understand

Teaching rounding with open number lines and place value skills so 3rd grade and 4th grade students actually understand

Teachers use all sorts of tricks to teach students how to round – tricks like rollercoasters, chants, step-by-step anchor chart instructions, underlining digits, and more. Teaching rounding using tricks is a short term solution, though.  If you are having to use tricks in order for students to understand rounding, then your students are showing you that they have some gaps …

Teaching Theme So Students Actually Understand

Teaching theme to 3rd grade, 4th grade, or 5th grade students is just plain HARD. Theme is an abstract idea, making it really difficult for teachers to put into words and really hard for students to grasp.  If your students are struggling with understanding theme, rest assured that they are not alone!  Teachers all over the world have this same …

Wordless Picture Books for Upper Elementary Classrooms

Sometimes I recommend products using affiliate links. If you click through and buy, I may be compensated at no cost to you. Wordless books are an underused resource in upper elementary classrooms.  There are so many ways to use them with your students to teach a variety of skills, from making predictions, to story elements, to writing dialogue. If you …

Free Cut and Paste Resource for Teaching Theme

Use this free cut and paste resource to help introduce theme to your students.  It has 6 paragraphs, each with one of two themes.  Students must sort the 6 paragraphs based on the theme. This makes a great center activity! To download this free resource: You can find the Members Area here. When you subscribe to my newsletter below, I’ll …

20 Ways to Use Wordless Books in the Upper Elementary Classroom

Wordless books are often overlooked in 3rd grade, 4th grade, and 5th grade classrooms, and understandably so.  We need our students to be reading as much as possible, so taking the time to have students “read” wordless books can feel like a waste. However, wordless books can be used effectively in upper elementary to practice a variety of ELA skills. …

Engage and Assess Your Students with a Snowball Fight

If you haven’t had a snowball fight in your 3rd grade, 4th grade, or 5th grade classroom, then you should – and soon!  This was one of my students’ favorite activities.  They enjoyed it so much that they didn’t realize they were learning and being assessed! I’ve talked before about how to use snowball fights to practicing comparing and contrasting, …

Strategy Games for the Upper Elementary Classroom

Sometimes I recommend products using affiliate links. If you click through and buy, I may be compensated at no cost to you. When I got my first teaching job, I had high hopes for integrating a strategy game like chess into my 4th grade classroom. However, I soon became overwhelmed with the daily demands of classroom management, standards based teaching, …