Thank You Sarah! The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving by Laurie Halse Anderson is a book that I read every year to my third graders. It is a biography about Sarah Hale, the woman many call the “mother of Thanksgiving.” She was a writer and editor who lived in the 1800’s. She began a campaign to make Thanksgiving a national holiday. She wrote thousands of letters and did not give up until President Abraham Lincoln agreed to make Thanksgiving a holiday in 1863. One reason I enjoy this book so much is that the author turns what could be a rather dry subject into something humorous and entertaining. The illustrations provide extra details to the story and are guaranteed to make your students laugh out loud. The story also provides some historical context including talking about slavery and some of the other issues important during this time. Since I do
We all know how important it is to teach our students information literacy skills: how to access, analyze, evaluate, and communicate information. There are several different research or information gathering models available for teaching the research process including the Big 6 and the FINDS model from Florida. However, I do not think you need to use a “formal” model as long as your lesson plans cover these important skills. Teaching the Research Process Starts Here Something to keep in mind is that a research project is more about teaching students the process of finding information, not so much the finished product. While language arts teachers might disagree, there are many ways to teach and assess writing skills. But with a research project, our students need to understand how to find relevant and trustworthy sources, read the information, and analyze it for their purpose. If you look at this picture
I use picture books with all of my students grades K-5. There is so much that you can teach with a picture book and they can be used for almost any subject or topic. In this post I want to share with you some of my favorite picture books to use with upper elementary students as well as some of the benefits in using these books in your lessons. Discussion Starters By reading a picture book you can begin a discussion with your students about something that may not be easy to talk about. You can open up the lines of communication and start a dialogue. For example the book Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh can be used to discuss segregation and would be an informative lead-in to learning about Brown vs the Board of Education. One Green Apple
I will never forget the overwhelming feeling I had when I started my first job and realized I had no idea what to teach my students. The librarian I replaced left nothing behind—no lesson plans, no curriculum maps, not even a single worksheet. The office was completely empty, and I felt out of my depth. That first school year was filled with a lot of trial and error. Over the next few years, I developed a plan. I learned the curriculum for all grade levels and subjects, understanding what was being taught in the classrooms and identifying areas where students often struggled. I integrated this with the skills I wanted my students to learn. Eventually, I created a document that combined elements of a curriculum map and a scope and sequence. It wasn’t a formal document, nor was I required to submit anything to the administration. Although I wrote
As librarians, we might not give grades for our class, but we do teach valuable skills that help our students with their core subjects. After a class, it is always nice to have feedback to know whether our students understood the lesson, what questions they have, or how they can apply what they learned. Using exit tickets in the school library is a great way to do this and it has been a game-changer for me. Keep reading to find out how exit tickets can benefit you as a school librarian. Purposes of Exit Tickets in the School Library One of the easiest ways I have found to do informal assessments and checks for understanding is through exit tickets. These little slips of paper focus on just one skill or concept at a time. Quite often, it is one question that relates to our lesson. This makes them quick
Digital breakouts provide students a way to work collaboratively and use problem solving skills to open digital locks. A digital breakout or escape can be used to teach any concept or skill, and they are a wonderful way to promote 21st century skills like collaboration, communication and critical thinking. Below I’ll share my answers to digital breakouts frequently asked questions. How do I prepare a digital breakout? Very little prep is required to use a digital breakout with your students. They are completely technology based and paperless. You will not have to spend an hour at the copy machine getting all your materials ready. All this is required is access to an internet enabled device and a free Google account. If your students do not have their own accounts, you can create a shared account for your class. This will allow all your students to log-in to one account