Innovative classroom resources won’t mask poor teaching, but fantastic classroom resources can magnify great teaching. Having quality resources to teach language arts, math, and writing can help you be a more creative teacher and meet your students’ various needs. That’s why today’ I’m sharing 5 of my favorite classroom resources.
Having great materials can also help to save you loads of time when planning and prepping your weekly lessons! I have used countless resources in my classroom. It is difficult to choose my favorites; however, I have compiled a list of five resources that I could not live without.
1. Math Centers
I have been using math centers since my very first year of teaching. I found that I was spending hours each week prepping new centers. I was also using a lot of valuable class time teaching students how to complete these centers. I decided that there had to be a better way to conduct a meaningful math center time.
So I created math centers for every skill taught in grades 2-5! There are 90 different centers for each grade! I know! It’s incredible.
Do you know what else is incredible? I kept the directions and format similar through all the centers. I included student friendly directions that make it simple for students to be independent workers. Each unit has ten different centers and just one recording book. Each unit takes about 3-4 weeks to complete.
With these math centers, you only have to prep new centers about once a month. And since they are not holiday themed, you can use them year after year regardless of how the order of your instruction.
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2. Math Interactive Notebooks
I love to use interactive notebooks and math is my favorite subject this use this resource. My students are so engaged by the hands-on activities. They actually cheer when they see a new activity waiting to be added to their notebooks.
I love how these interactive notebooks cover so many important skills and math strategies. There is also built in differentiation for most activities. All students can be working on the same notebook activity, but groups of students can have different numbers that help me to vary the level of difficulty.
But the very best part of these notebooks is that they have super simple cuts! My students figure out how to cut these activities and are able to do it independently and without wasting class time.
You can read more about how I use interactive notebooks in the classroom by clicking HERE. I have math interactive notebooks for grades 2-5. Check them out for yourself.
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3. Vocabulary Word Builders
After years of watching my students struggle with vocabulary and getting frustrated with the random words included in our reading basal, I decided to create vocabulary units that would make my instruction 100% more valuable.
Since time is super tight in the classroom, I created a routine that would only take ten minutes per day. I wanted the weekly words to be tier two words that students are most likely to encounter when reading text. So I poured over research, books and the dictionary to come up with grade level lists that are meaningful.
I also included biweekly assessments rather than weekly assessments. Honestly, I don’t need one more thing to read every week (even if it is a super easy assessment to grade). I also discovered that biweekly assessments do a better job of assessing a student’s understanding of the words because they have more words to recall and work with.
I am super excited that my students (and so many others around the country) have become excited to truly study words! I have vocabulary units for grades 1-5. You can learn more about my vocabulary routine by clicking HERE.
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4. Grammar Bundles
One of my least favorite subjects to teach was grammar. Let’s face it . . . grammar is hard. And boring. And students don’t like it either.
So I created a better grammar curriculum. One that had engaging materials, hands-on activities, and broke challenging concepts down into very small pieces.
My grammar units include an activity for every day of the week.
- Monday: PowerPoint to introduce the skill
- Tuesday: Interactive notebook activity
- Wednesday: Writing activity
- Thursday: Task card scoot
- Friday: Assessment
Both teachers and students love learning grammar this way. I’ve got grammar bundles for grades 2-5 and every lesson only takes 10 minute to teach.
Read more about my grammar routine here.
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5. Writing Units
Writing was always such a tricky subject for me to teacher! All of my students seemed to be struggling, and there isn’t just one right way to write. After lots of failed attempts to help my learners, I finally found a good routine! I using writing workshop!
I created writing units for grades 2-5 that include everything you need to provide engaging and meaningful writing instruction. Each grade level covers four different genres: personal narrative, informational report, opinion essay, and fiction.
These units have lesson plans with built in differentiation, mentor text passages (you don’t have to buy any additional books), anchor charts, student notebook printables and so much more.
The writing units are a stand alone writing curriculum, but they work well with Lucy Caulkins. too. Honestly, you can use them with whatever writing curriculum you have.
If you are looking for more information about getting writing workshop started in your classroom, check out this post. There’s even a link to a free training that will help turn your students into excited and thriving writers.
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I hope that that these resource suggestions can help you and your students!
Have a Not So Wimpy Day,