Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Help Your Students Set Goals

Print Student Goals in PDF

Setting goals both inside and outside of the classroom is important. However, all too often a goal is set without support and help to determine the strategies that will help realize the goal.

When you help a student set a goal, limit it to no more than three and perhaps just one depending on the type of student you are working with. The student needs to take ownership and help identify the goal that would be suitable.

Look at the goals in the sample on the left. Review with your students and ask them to prioritize the top three goals according to what they feel their needs are. Once they've identified their top three goals, it's time to think about what those goals look like when they are implemented.

For instance, let's take "I will remain on task". What does that look like? Student should be able to determine a few strategies that make be something like:

  • When my teacher is talking, I will always make eye contact
  • When I am working with a group, I will be responsible for doing my part
  • When I am completing work at my desk, I will not daydream or talk to my friends
Let's take another example: "I will use my indoor voice"
  • I will not blurt out, instead, I will put my hand out and wait my turn
  • I will speak softly 
  • I will not speak out of turn
Once the goal(s) have been set and the strategies discussed, it's time to follow through. Remind the students daily of their selected goals, help them to realize those goals with positive reinforcement. Do not leave a goal until the student has realized the goal to the best of their ability. Sometimes it's helpful to use tracking sheets over a period of time.

See the worksheets and printables on SMART goals as well.

If you have strategies that have worked for you, be sure to share.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Adjective Worksheets and Teaching Ideas

Adjective Worksheets
Adjectives are taught as early as grade 2 and for many grades beyond that. Adjectives are one of the parts of speech. An easy way to remember adjectives is to think of them as describing words, words that describe people, places, things, and feelings.

Here's my top ten list of how to help with the understanding of adjectives:
  1. The Adjective Bag: Fill a plastic bag full of sensory items (cotton, putty, chalk, string, putty...) and take turns describing what the items feel like. Record this on chart paper or in notebooks.
  2. Taste Tests:  Using 10 or so paper plates, put different foods on each plate, enough pieces for each child to try (celery, smarties, parsnips, licorice, rice cracker etc.) For each paper plate item, place a pencil and notepaper to allow each student to print an adjective about each item tasted. Students should be encouraged to print describing words about taste and / or texture.
  3. My Family: Students make a list of their family members, under each member they will print describing words about their personality and looks.
  4. Circle of Students: The students stand in a circle, the teacher or selected student begins by describing the person next to them with an adjective. For instance, student A says polite, the student who was described as polite says a word about the student beside them.....athletic, pleasant, nice, smart, funny, until the students run out of ideas.
  5. Scavenger Hunt: The students go through newspapers and magazines to record as many adjectives as they can within a specific time period.
  6. Nature Walk for Adjectives: Students take their clip boards and notebooks/pencils outside. They print the noun with an adjective or 2. For instance: sky - cloudy, temperature - warm, grass - wilted, bug - ugly. Come in after the nature walk and share as a group all the adjectives they came up with on the nature walk.
  7. Adjectives in the Class: Much similar to the nature walk, students take 15 minutes to come up with nouns from the classroom and adjectives. For instance - books - many, chalkboard - dusty,  chairs - brown, blocks - broken.
  8. Partner Brainstorm: Students work in pairs. One student states a noun and the partner students provides the adjective and then they trade after 10. For instance, partner 1 says apple, partner 2 says red, partner 1 says teacher, partner 2 says nice.
  9.  Adjective Centres: Have a music centre where the students listen and describe the music, have centre with a variety of pictures of landscapes and have students describe them, have a center with a variety of movie titles and have students describe the movie and the characters, have a centre with pictures of cartoon characters and have students describe them.
  10. Stretch the Sentence with Adjectives: The teacher provides a sentence and the students write it using an adjective. (Teacher: I saw a bird. Student: I saw a big, noisy bird.)
If you have other great ideas for helping with adjectives, please share. And be sure to check out all the adjective worksheets here.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Me and You

Have you read a book lately? Can you relate to one of the characters in the story? In what way? Do you think alike? Do you think alike? Do you dress alike? Do you act alike?

What makes you think that you are different than the character in the story? What makes you think you are like the character in the story?

This graphic organizer requires you to compare yourself with a character. It could be a character from a book or a movie. However, be sure to think socially, physically, emotionally and intellectually when you are comparing yourself with another.

If you find this worksheet helpful, be sure to share with a fellow educator.

Spring is in the air and if you haven't checked out the spring worksheets, you'll find them all right here. 

I'm off to determine which actor or book character I'm most like. Have a great week educators!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Teaching and Learning About Nouns

Noun Poster
Nouns are taught as early as in kindergarten and typically not later than the 2nd grade. We teach children that nouns refer to people, places and things.  As they get a little older, it's important to teach them that nouns can also refer to ideas. Idea nouns things like: thoughts, dreams, courage, joy fantasy to name a few.  Personally, I like to break down nouns into each category when teaching children about nouns. For example:

Starting with people, I ask my students what they think their first words were. Of course they tell you Mom or Dad and then we start the discussion that nouns can name people. We then brainstorm all the people we know and come up with a list that looks something like:

People We Know
Mom,  dad, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, grandmother, grandfather, cousin, friends. From there, we make our own list of naming nouns that might include Sara, Jared, Sam etc.

After that, we talk about places we've been. Sometimes they'll name say Dallas, Elizabeth Street or Niagara Falls and they are correct, but there are places like the store, the library, the school. We then talk about common and proper nouns. However, for the introduction of nouns, both proper and common nouns for naming places just fall under the category of places.

Naming Nouns of Places
Students then begin to brainstorm places: their street, favorite park, movie theaters, zoo, streets they've been on, countries, states, lakes, cities and towns they've been to.

(When students understand the concepts of nouns, we do a few activities to distinguish the difference between proper and common nouns - see the worksheets.)

A quick look around stimulates the many different things.

Have your students go on a scavenger hunt to list as many nouns as they can. Once they have their list of nouns, it's time to classify them. You can list them as people, places, things and ideas or you can also list them as Common or Proper.

See all the worksheets on nouns here.
Stay tuned,  as we expand our categories of parts of speech to include adverbs, adjectives, preposition, verbs etc. 

Yours in learning....  Deb R

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Power of T Charts for Higher Level Thinking

T Chart Graphic Organizers
We've long known that graphic organizers are a great tool to promote both written work and higher level thinking. A simple T-Chart can be used with so many concepts and they are pretty easy for students to learn how to use them. A T Chart helps to organize to sides of thinking, they support making decisions, gathering facts, comparing and contrasting and analyze patterns to mention a few.

A T-Chart looks like it sounds, there is a topic and there is a left and right side to the T. Many different words can be used in the T-Chart headings. Here are just a few:
  • Advantages / Disadvantages
  • Pluses / Minuses
  • +  /  -
  • Pros / Cons
  • For  /  Against
  • Positive / Negative
  • Agree / Disagree
  • Favor / Oppose
  • Thumbs up /  Thumbs Down
The topics are endless to use with T-Charts, here are a few to get you started:
  • Homework
  • Owning a Pet
  • Longer Recess
  • A pool in the school
  • Uniforms at school
  • Tablets for all students
This week, I've created a variety of T-Chart graphic organizers.  For a variety of T-Chart graphic organizers and topic ideas, you'll find everything you need right here.

More from Deb R next week!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

How to Write a Sentence

Sentence Writing Worksheets
To a large extent, writing sentences are somewhat innate when a child is read to or when a child reads. The exposure to reading leads naturally to sentence writing. As children first begin to write sentences, they will take the form of initial and final consonants for words strung together is 3-4 word sentences:

i  wnt owtsid  (I went outside)
i lk flrs (I like flowers)

It's important not to over correct as the child is taking a risk in writing and if you really think about it, they are more right than they are wrong.  The letters are the sounds they hear, they are simply missing more often than not the vowels. Vowels are later in the developmental sequence. If too much time is spent on correcting sentences like those above, the self esteem will be in jeopardy and the child won't take risks in writing which isn't what we want.

Provide many pictures and ask the child to write what they see. To extend the sentences, remember to use who, what, when, where, why and how.

This week, I focused on worksheets to support sentence writing. These worksheets are suitable for early learning and will also help with students who have learning disabilities.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Ready, Set, Goal

Teachers and educators, with the new year now here there is no better time to have your students set realistic goals for the upcoming new year and or term. Goal setting is a great activity that links to oral language standards and written language.  You'll find these SMART goal setting worksheets and some goal setting workheets to be a great help for your students. They're done in graphic organizer style and easy to implement.

Another great activity to do with goal setting to ensure that goals are appropriately set is to use the W-5 plus how strategy. Students select a goal and then answer:

Who is responsile for the goal?
What is the goal?
When will the goal be reached?
Where will the goal be implemented?
Why is this goal important?
How will the goal be achieved?

Happy Goal Setting.  Thanks to all of our users and may your upcoming year be prosperous, happy and healthy!
Yours in educating our youth,  Deb

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Are You Teaching all About Animal Habitats?

I've been working on a few worksheets to support animal habitat and animal classification. I can't think of anything more motivating for children to learn about than animals. Just think of how easily you can embed higher level thinking questions and integrate the animal habitat unit with language.

For Instance:
  • What would the animal say if you changed its habitat? Why?
  • What animal would you like to be and why? Justify your answer.
  • If an animal could talk to you, which one would you want to hear and why?
  • Discuss why some animals could never be pets, justify your answers.
  • How many different ways could you classify animals?
  • What animal is most important to you and why?
A Shoebox Habitat Created by a Student
Animal units provide great opportunities to give children hands on opportunities. Think of how well a puppet show would work, the puppets would talk about their habitat, their enemies, the food they eat and much more. Students could work in pairs and dress up as animals and present their findings as the animal or habitat they studied.

I also like it when students build their biome or habitat in shoeboxes and of  course you can always commpromise if you don't have a shoebox.

See the animal habitat and animal classification worksheets.

Although I provide worksheets, I want you to know that it's critically important to use as many hands on strategies as is possible too.

Have a great week educators and if you are in need of a specific worksheet, let me know as I'm always adding them to Worksheetplace.com

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Organized Teacher

Being organized is everything and even more so for competent educators. If you have a process in place that
all students know the routines for, you will have a well run classroom. Look at the list below, determine what your routines are and ask yourself if the students know them well. If not, it's time to develop and practice those routines until they are fully implemented.

Teaching Rules and Routines
  •  Students know how to enter the classroom, where to put their belongings and what to do upon arriving
  • Students know what to do at every bell
  • Students know your expectations for transitions
  • Students know what to do with all of their belongings
  • Students know how to seek your attention and when it's appropriate or not
  • Students know how to get required supplies and they know where everything goes
  • Students know what your expectations are for all work
  • Students know the procedures for sharpening pencils and washroom breaks
  • Students know the procedures for turning in work
  • Students know what to do when they're work is done and when their work is done early
  • Students know how to obtain missed work when they have been absent
  • Students know what to do for a drills (fire, incidents, emergencies etc.)
  •  Students know routines for working in groups, whole class and alone
  • Students are aware of consequnces for breaking rules
If you have a procedure in place for each of the above, you are an organized teacher!  For additional supports, check out the strategies here.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Critical Thinking Worksheets
What Is Literacy?

Literacy has become the buzz word in education. Previously, literacy would be defined as being able to read and write. However, in teaching, it refers to how well one students read and write. Literacy includes being able to read, write, listen, speak and to think critically and to respond critally to text and dialogue. Literacy is a  complex set of skills crucial for everyone. To K-6 teachers it means improving literacy outcomes for our students. Teaching literacy is important for teachers given that approximately 40% of American school children, read "below grade level". The students we are educating today are tomorrow's future, we need to do everything we can to make sure that our students become competent in literacy.

What is the teacher's role in literacy?

There is no question that improving literacy outcomes for K-6 students involves hard work. To help our students read more and think more deeply about what they are reading, we must add new skills and evidenced based strategies to our teaching repertoire. We need to use strategies that support student engagement and motivation.

The following are key components for K-6 teachers to improve student literacy (you should be able to answer positively to each of the nuggets below:
  • motivating and engaging all Students
  • using large uninterrupted blocks of time (100 minutes daily)
  • parental involvement
  • rich resources and reading materials
  • early intervention for at risk readers
  • balanced literacy program (Shared, Guided, Modeled, Independent, Phonics, Word Knowledge)
  • specific instruction before, during, and after reading
  • effective questioning
  • ongoing observation and assessment
When teachers work with colleagues, consultants and professionals it will strenghten their understanding of literacy and extend their repertoire of instructional and assessment strategies. Participating in ongoing professional learning and taking additional qualifications in reading, writing and critial literacy will also help to refine and strengthen strategies to support literacy. To teach literacy effectively, teachers need a strong conceptual understanding of the reading and writing process, and about how young learners learn as well as being able to create opportunities for students to achieve and want to achieve in literacy. Teachers have a pivotal role and can and do make a difference in improving literacy outcomes for young learners.

See also: how to use literature circles, use guided reading, what to do when students finish early.

Do you have a literacy tip or worksheet to share? Let me know and I'm always happy to share freely strategies that work to fellow educators.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


I have been asked for information, worksheets and teaching ideas for the biomes of the world. However, in researching biomes, I have discovered that Scientists don't always agree on how many biomes there are and how they should be classified. Not that I was surprised because as educators and life long learners, we are always asking why and what about........ I decided to focus on 6 major biomes that are referred to in the curriculum standards or courses of study for most educational jurisdictions.

The 6 Biomes I have focused on are:  the desert , the deciduous forest, the taiga, the grasslands, the desert, the tropical rainforest.

Like the scientists, I ask, why we haven't established an 'Urban Biome'? Afterall, urbanization changes much of the animals and plants found and force the typical adaptations to change. However, this aspect will have us delving into higher level thinking and I'd love to see a student perspective on the matter, once they've studied the 6 biomes. If you have a favorite instructional tool for helping students learn about the biomes, please share.  In the series of biome worksheets, you'll find some great maps for students to color and to locate the 6 biomes on. They are copy righted but you are welcome to reproduce for classroom use.  Enjoy and share with a teaching friend!  Deb R
6 Biomes

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Figures of Speech

Students with Asperger's are very literal in language, for instance if you say to them, good luck on beyond the actual meanings of words, then the student struggles to understand.

Figures of Speech Worksheets
your test today, they get it, it's pretty straight forward.  If you say 'Go break a leg', they won't understand why you would want them to break a leg. When the actual talking or the writing goes

What do you do? You help them to understand figurative language. In fact, distinguishing between literal and figurative language is usally in the standards or curriculum for most educational jurisdictions.

So the next time you say, I'm as dry as a bone, or you are my sunshine, or I'm as happy as a clam, take the time to see if your child/student is actually understanding the phrase.

And of course, you can always use the free figurative language or figures of speech worksheets here.

Have a question? Have a request for worksheets? Let me know, we might just have what you're looking for.

Have a great week, 
Deb R

Monday, July 8, 2013

Paragraph Writing Lesson

Students first learn letters, then words, then sentences and then paragraphs. How far they've come when you show students where they've started.

Developing paragraph writing skills takes time and it often takes explicit instruction. Students need practice to write a strong introductory sentence and they back it up with related supporting sentences (at least three) and then they need to wrap it up with a concluding sentence that re-states the introduction sentence.

Students need to look at examples and they need time to develop their paragraph writing skills with many prompts. For instance, ask them to write down what they know about a storm they saw or a fall they had or something that happened to them.

Once an idea is selected, it's time to work in groups, pairs or as individuals to write a paragraph.  Let's try a storm.

Younger students will come up with something like this:

Last night there was a storm. Storms scare me. Storms cause loud thunder and lightning. I don't really like storms. I'm glad last night's storm didn't last long.

It is a paragraph, it has an introduction, supporting sentences and a concluding sentence all tied to one thought.
Paragraph Worksheets

However, as students work with their peers, they'll come up with ways of improving their paragraphs if they get appropriate feedback. I may say, can you think of a way to expand the introductory sentence to give me a better idea about the type of storm.  I'm hoping the student will then add something like:

Last night there was an extremely loud and dreadful storm. The thunderous cracks and bolts of lightning had me sitting on the edge of my bed in fear. Etc.

Children need lots of practice writing paragraphs. To help out, try the worksheets "How To Write a Paragraph or the paragraph writing graphic organizers.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

End of School Year Worksheets

End Of Year Letter to Teacher
With the end of the school year fast approaching, these end of year worksheets will help motivate students until the last day. There are so many great things to keep students writing until the very last day, all it takes is a bit of creativity.

For instance, try the report card for the teacher. Students know that their teacher is writing their report card so why not give students a blank report card to write about how well their teacher did this year?

Other great end of year worksheets include:

If you like these worksheets, feel free to share with a friend, if you have suggestions for additional worksheets, please leave your comments for suggestions and they will be created.

Hang in there teachers and educators, the holidays are almost here.
Yours in educating others, Dar

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Providing Feedback

Worthwhile feedback is essential for improved achievement. However, it's much harder than it sounds. As educators, all too often we say, good for you, well done, add some more detail, I liked the way you..........  You get my point.

Instead of this, ask yourself, what will push the student forward to improve in a specific area?  Look at the student work and ask yourself some of these questions:

1. What is missing?
2. What one thing would improve this work?
3. Is there something incomplete?
4. Do you note any carelessness?
5. What is disappointing about it?

When you ask these questions, your answers will give you some areas to provide feedback on. Let's try an example.

A kindergarten child provides you with a picture of a boat.

You say to the child, how does your boat move? How does your boat stop? I don't think I would want to have a ride on your boat until I know what makes it go and what makes it stop.

The child then takes this 'feedback' to add perhaps a motor or sails and an anchor. You have made the child 'think' or stretch his/her 'thinking'.

Let's say a child brings you a story. Each name in the story is missing a capital letter. Your feedback is, when do we use capital letters? Can you look over your work now and see if you can improve it?

I like to use the up, down, up approach. Find something good, find something that needs improvement, say something positive.

This is a very quick glympse about providing effective feedback. As time moves on, you'll want to track the feedback you have provided the learner with to ensure they are responding to the feedback.