Teaching Deep Thinking and Emotions

Feb 20, 2020

Emotional Charades

 How does the character feel in this story?  How do you know?

These are comprehension questions that we ask our very youngest readers.  Many times the answer to the first question is "good" or "bad."  And to the second question, students have a difficult time explaining how they know that a character is feeling that way.  Reading facial expressions, restating evidence in text, and (in more complex texts) inferring are skills that require prior experience, practice, and (for some) explicit teaching.

To help students think deeply about the characters in the books read, they need the vocabulary to do so.  Let's look at one way to do this.

Cultivating Genius

Jan 13, 2020

Scholastic recently asked if I would like to read and review the new book "Cultivating Genius" by Gholdy Muhammad.  The back of the book explained that Dr. Muhammad would offer an approach to address the students who have been traditionally "marginalized by learning standards, government policies, and school practices."  I knew this was a book for me to dig into.


In her book, Gholdy Muhammad sends out an urgent call to educators for action. We need to make a change or the shift.  She says we need to have...

Pigeon Math Story Problems-FREEBIE

Jan 4, 2020

I am all about themed story problem units!  They engage students and keep them invested in the story being told.  So when I read Pigeon Math by Asia Citro, I knew that it was a great springboard for a new themed unit.

pigeon math story problems

The book introduces story problems by adding and subtracting pigeons in and out of the story.  The characters have silly faces and funny situations, so it will get students invested and interested.  Once this is read, I would dive right into students solving problems with birds on and off a telephone wire.

Shift: One Little Word

Jan 1, 2020

For the past few years I have strayed away from New Year's Resolutions and picked one word to focus on.  This has led to more personal growth than I ever saw with a resolution.

2019 was by no means a rough year; however, each age brings its own set of new challenges.  And 2019 was no different.  I now have an 11 year old and a 9 1/2 year old that have their own interests: volleyball, piano, baking, sewing...
And their own opinions about books, politics, movies, food...
And then there are the hormones...

With their older age has come later bedtimes.  I have found that this means less time for me to complete school work, blog, and create.  Mostly because I am exhausted by that time of the night. 

I try hard to meet the girls needs of playing with friends, indulging in creative ideas they have, providing opportunities for physical activity, weekly family dinners...
I try hard to meet my own needs of yoga, reading, water aerobics, time with friends...

But what I have found out in 2019 is that I am struggling with their shift in age.  My shift from blogging to not blogging.  Creating a lot to not creating much.  Shifting from a huge focus on my career to focusing on families interests.  The list could really go on. 

Basically, I am struggling with the shift in time.  The changes that time brings. I will be 40 this year.  And I want to focus on growing with these shifts in time instead of resisting these shifts in time.

So my word this year...shift.