Infusing Creativity in the Classroom: The Teacher’s Role
The Teacher Studio: Learning, Thinking, Creating
by M Anderson
2d ago
What is creativity in the classroom? I think this is a question well worth pondering.  For me, a creative classroom is a place where teachers support and nurture interesting ideas.  This can involve lots of student choice, opportunities for varied strategies, and a climate for risk taking.  Today I’d like to talk a little more about  this.  We spend SO much time talking about standards and learning targets and data.  Shouldn’t we spend AT LEAST that much time exploring how we meet those standards? I could write an entire series of blog posts about creativity–and ..read more
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The Importance of Teaching Geography in Elementary School
The Teacher Studio: Learning, Thinking, Creating
by M Anderson
1w ago
In an increasingly interconnected world, understanding geography is more important than ever. Teaching geography in elementary school lays a crucial foundation for students, helping them develop a sense of place, culture, and global awareness. Not only that, but students truly LOVE to learn about their world–and we can make it super fun for them.  Let’s check out a few reasons why teaching geography and mapping skills should be more than just something we squeeze in. Building “Spatial” or World Awareness Elementary students are naturally curious about the world around them. Introducing t ..read more
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Scaffolded Low Floor, High Ceiling Math Tasks
The Teacher Studio: Learning, Thinking, Creating
by M Anderson
1w ago
Finding the right balance between challenge and accessibility in math education can be a daunting task. This is where low floor, high ceiling math tasks come into play. I design tasks like this to be accessible to all students (low floor) while providing opportunities for deep and extended thinking (high ceiling). Let’s explore how these tasks, combined with scaffolded learning, can enhance problem-solving skills in young learners. Incorporating these into my planning has been a passion of mine for years–and I LOVE the opportunity to help other teachers see their power as well! Over the years ..read more
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Teaching Test Prep Strategies
The Teacher Studio: Learning, Thinking, Creating
by M Anderson
2M ago
Teaching test prep strategies and mindset should be a key part of upper elementary teachers’ “repertoire” if they teach a testing grade.  That being said, we need to keep our test prep in perspective. Although the tests DO have purposes (no, folks, they aren’t ALL bad), many schools and districts go a little over the top. The Emotional Side of Test Prep for Students Prepare Students Mentally: Educate students about the purpose of standardized tests to help reduce anxiety. Remind them that these tests only measure a small part of being a student. Many students also don’t understand that ..read more
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Teaching Historical Fiction
The Teacher Studio: Learning, Thinking, Creating
by M Anderson
5M ago
If you have been a follower of mine for a while, you know that teaching historical fiction is one of my favorites!  Exposing students to different genres is a passion of mine, but historical fiction has a special place in my heart, mostly because I am a bit of a history lover.  I love the chance to help my students make better sense of the world and the past. Today I thought I’d present you with a few reasons why teaching historical fiction should be on your list of things to do with YOUR elementary students as well!  Here goes! Six Amazing Reasons for Teaching Historical Ficti ..read more
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Classroom Library Organization
The Teacher Studio: Learning, Thinking, Creating
by M Anderson
11M ago
Well, it’s back to school time for me, and a big part of my classroom preparations involved “tidying up” my classroom library.  I always have lots of good questions about how I organize my somewhat ridiculous collection of books. I thought I’d share a little bit about how I get my library ready so that my students can really dig into their reading from that first week of school! Getting your classroom library ready! If you are a teacher, you can help to make your classroom library more effective by: Keeping it well-stocked. Make sure that your classroom library has a variety of ..read more
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Student Self-Assessment Tips and Tricks
The Teacher Studio: Learning, Thinking, Creating
by M Anderson
11M ago
We know that “assessment” is a buzz word that we can’t get away from…we talk about standardized testing.  About rubrics.  About standards-based assessment tasks.  About–YOU fill in the blank.  One of the often under-used assessment strategies is SELF-assessment. This can be something as simple as a “thumbs up” if a student understands but can be far more involved and useful.  Interested in some of the brain research on this?  Check out this GREAT article by Jo Boaler!  Today I want to talk about some of the issues related to self-assessment–and to give you s ..read more
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Creating a culture for successful independent reading
The Teacher Studio: Learning, Thinking, Creating
by M Anderson
1y ago
I highly doubt there are many teachers out there who debate the value of independent reading for elementary students.  The NCTE has created a statement on independent reading that states the following: Independent reading leads to an increased volume of reading. The more one reads, the better one reads. The more one reads, the more knowledge of words and language one acquires. (See where this is going?) The more one reads, the more fluent one becomes as a reader. The more one reads, the easier it becomes to sustain the mental effort necessary to comprehend complex texts. And the more one ..read more
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Growth Mindset Activities: Back to School and Beyond
The Teacher Studio: Learning, Thinking, Creating
by M Anderson
1y ago
Teaching Growth Mindset in the First Weeks of School The first weeks of school are a critical time for setting the tone for the rest of the year. This is the time when students are forming their impressions of their teachers, their classmates, and their school. It is also the time when they are starting to develop their mindsets about learning. Just to clarify, a growth mindset is the belief that intelligence and abilities can be developed through hard work and effort. A fixed mindset, on the other hand, is the belief that intelligence and abilities are fixed and cannot be changed. With young ..read more
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The Benefits of Starting Your Day with Math Warm-Ups
The Teacher Studio: Learning, Thinking, Creating
by M Anderson
1y ago
Routines are an essential part of effective mathematics classrooms because they give structure to time and interactions.  Students crave structure, and giving students clarity in terms of participation expectations and measures of success is one of the most powerful things we can do as teachers. Instructional routines are specific, repeatable activities or tasks that support both the teacher and students in the classroom. They give all students the opportunity to engage more fully in learning opportunities while building crucial mathematical thinking habits. (Kelemanik, Lucenta, & C ..read more
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