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

Preparing for State Testing – Activities and Review Games

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

Teaching Rounding So 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 …

Free Cut and Paste Resource for Teaching Theme

Teaching theme to upper elementary students can be incredibly difficult. It is such an abstract idea, so 3rd grade, 4th grade, and 5th grade students need a lot of practice in order to truly understand it. Use this free cut and paste resource to help introduce theme to your students.  It has 6 paragraphs, each with one of two themes.  …

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, …

Encourage reluctant readers with engaging nonfiction books about animals for 3rd grade, 4th grade, and 5th grade students.

Nonfiction Books for Students That Love Animals

Sometimes I recommend products using affiliate links. If you click through and buy, I may be compensated at no cost to you. The books below tell true stories of animal friendships, loyalty, and adventures.  They will inspire and motivate even the most reluctant reader. Many of these books are written by the person who got to experience the inspiring animal …

3 ways to impress your principal during a surprise observation or walk through in 3rd grade, 4th grade, or 5th grade

3 Ways to Impress During a Surprise Classroom Observation

No matter how long you’ve been teaching, surprise class observations will always be a little nerve-racking. Having your teaching skills evaluated based on a 5 minute stretch of time in a room full of kids that are constantly doing the unpredictable is stressful. During a planned observation, we generally pull out all of the stops, making sure we have a …