Friday, November 29, 2013

Guest Post: Collaboration Cuties, How to Use Mentor Texts

Hey there!!  This is Amanda from Collaboration Cuties and I am so excited to be guest blogging here today!!

Today, I wanted to share with you how we use mentor texts in our classroom!  If you follow our blog at all, you know that we loooooove mentor texts!  We have a linky each week devoted to it!  If you haven't stopped by to see all of the amazing texts linked up, start HERE  (after reading this post!) to check out what we've been up to!!  Be warned!!!  I had to switch to an Amazon Prime account after we started this linky because there were so many great texts linked up that I HAD TO HAVE RIGHT THEN!  ;O)

Okay, so on with using mentor texts...I  know that a lot of upper elementary teachers are departmentalized, so it may be that this particular book isn't something you might use, but you will get the general feel for how you could use any mentor text, no matter the subject area you teach in!

The book I want to tell you about is called Roanoke, The Lost Colony by Jane Yolen.  Jane Yolen is definitely one of my favorite authors because she is amazing at writing historical fiction!

We are just getting started with our unit in Social Studies on the Thirteen Colonies, and I am launching it with this book.  Here is the description from Amazon:

In 1587 John White was chosen by Sir Walter Raleigh to lead a new colony at Roanoke off the Atlantic coast. After bringing many men, women, and children to the new land, White went back to England to gather supplies for the long winter. But when he finally returned to the fort almost three years later, he found that all of the colonists had vanished. The only signs of life left were the letters CRO carved into a tree and the word CROATOAN carved into one of the fort's posts. Some people think that the Spanish army captured the colonists; some people think that the local native people murdered them; others think that the colonists went off to live with the native people and start a new life. Still others think that the colonists tried to sail home to England and were lost at sea. No one knows for sure. 

When I use the term mentor text, I am talking about a text that will be used for more than one reading or lesson.  Usually, if I truly wanted to use a book as a mentor text, I try to use it over a week long period.

In planning to use this book, here are the lessons I would use with it.  Since each of us has different amounts of time for our language arts block or social studies block (or whichever subject you teach), I will just number the lessons since we would all have to do it at our own pace that works within our classroom.  :O)

Lesson 1
First off, I would read the book in social studies.  I am using this as a launch for the unit, so I want to make that social studies connection.  I would not read the vocabulary yet...that comes in lesson 2.

While reading the book, I would have my students fill out a FQR chart.  I could type out one for them, but since we use interactive notebooks, I would have them complete this in their journals.

The purpose of a FQR chart is to engage students with the text and get them thinking and questioning what they are reading (or hearing read).  They write down facts in the left column, questions they have about the fact in the middle, and if they find a response in the text, they can fill in the response column, or, they may have to make an inference.  Here is an example we might write while we are reading the text.

Now, this text has some great features to it.
From Roanoke, The Lost Colony
Each set of pages has a "sticky note" with vocabulary words on it from the passage.  It also has facts on the spiral bound page (like the one on the left) that gives even more information.


Lesson 2
Vocabulary-  There is a lot of great vocabulary highlighted in this book (and she put it on sticky notes, which I love about her!).  So, I would read the book again, but focus on the vocabulary words.  We would complete a vocabulary chart in our reading notebooks using these words.  

We've used a chart as simple as this (yes, I know it's not very cute...)   ;O)
Or, one like this, which you can get in our TpT store for free by clicking on the picture.

Depending on which organizer I used, I may have them inference what the word means, or I may just read the sentence it is in and have them use context clues BEFORE reading the definition on the sticky notes to check their thinking.  I would also take the time to point out how Jane Yolen inserted the definitions cleverly throughout instead of at the end in a glossary.

Lesson 3
We are working on informational writing right now and I would ask students to go back into their rough draft, and decide how they want to highlight key vocabulary.  Some may have already highlighted them, while others may be making a glossary.  Now, they have another option to try in their own writing!

Lesson 4
Close reading- Here, we would do a close reading of this page in the text.  This is the first page.  I would photocopy this (since one page is allowed to be copied from the book) and we would paste it into our journals.

First off, there is quite a bit of vocabulary here that is not defined in the book.  We would discuss this.  Then, we would discuss cause and effect, highlighting causes in one color and the effects in a different color.  

Some of the sentences state events that could be a cause and an effect.  We would write those in our journals as both, showing their relationships.  For example, the passage says that the native people were infected with European diseases.  Well, the colonists coming to their land caused this.  But, since they were infected with the diseases, the effect (that isn't stated) is that many of the native people died.  We would add this in our reading journals.

There are several pages in this text that could be used for this skill.  A few pages after this first page, there is another passage with less information.  This would be a great passage to use to differentiate in small groups with a lower reading group.

Lesson 5
Writing-  I would have them write in their writing journals about what they think happened at Roanoke and to use evidence from the text, and what we had been learning, to support their thinking.  At the end of the book, there are theories that Jane Yolen shares about what may have happened.  Also, with writing, I would have them write about whether they think John White made a good decision to bring colonists with them and then to leave them, using evidence to back up their thinking.  

There is also a timeline, so this is a great text feature to share with students.  They can easily make a timeline as we start our colonies unit and continually add to it as we go along in social studies!

Other Activities:

We use mentor sentences in our classroom to teach grammar within writing.  If I were to choose a sentence from this book (which was really hard!) I'd choose this sentence:
On August 18, White's daughter Eleanor gave birth to Virginia Dare, the first English child born in America.
I would choose this sentence to work on the following grammar skills:  capitalization, dates, possessive noun, commas.
(For more about how we use mentor sentences, you can go to our post HERE.)

Fact and opinion- Students could discuss facts and opinions with this text (what did Jane Yolen include that were facts and what may have been her opinions) or have them create their own fact and opinion game using facts from the story.  On cards, they could write facts and then their own opinions and have classmates play the game, sorting by facts and opinions.

There are really so many things that you can do with just one book...I could go on and on...but I won't because I don't want to overwhelm you!!  :O)  This is just a topic that I LOVE!!

Hopefully you found something in this post that you could use! If you have any questions, please let us know!  Thank you so much to All Things Upper Elementary for hosting us!

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

We Are Thankful!

Here at All Things Upper Elementary, we are so very THANKFUL for all of our loyal readers who have become our friends. Today on this day of Thanksgiving (in the US) we want to take the time to share what we are thankful for with you. 

Check out our posts on each of our blogs as we share the many things that we are thankful for this year. If you feel like posting as well, leave your blog link in the comments so that we can check you out as well.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Practicing Long Division with Money

Do you find that the topics that you struggled with the most in school are the ones that you love teaching the most?  That's how I feel about math, and in fourth grade the math topic I remember struggling with the MOST was long division.

I remember when I was a kid, it would take me FOREVER to solve a page of 10 long division problems.  I was one of the last ones done, sitting off to the side to finish up.  I'd stare blankly at 658 divided by 7 and try multiplying every number by 7 in the attempt to get 65.  I felt so frustrated that I had to do all those "extra" math problems and hope that they were right too.

So when it comes time every year to teach my students long division, I've tried lots of ways.  I had them make their own mnemonic devices to remember the steps (similar to the Do My Scissors Cut Bricks type acronym for Divide, Multiply, Subtract, Check, Bring Down).  I've tried partial quotient.  But for me it always comes back to practicing the physical process of dividing.  Base ten blocks are a great way to do it, but my favorite manipulative when it comes to math is money.  There's just something about counting money that makes people happy! 

Last week I described how I introduce the concept of dividing hundred dollar bills, ten dollar bills, and one dollar bills into "wallets" over on Shut the Door and Teach.  This activity helps get the kids used to the manipulatives involved and has a high success rate; with numbers that are carefully chosen to be evenly divisable (such as 486 divided by 2) the kids are able to compute in their heads before long.  So to up the ante the next day, I give the kids numbers that are not as simple to divide.

In the TOP PHOTO, you can see that the child knew he couldn't divide a hundred dollar bill 4 ways, so he had to regroup it for ten tens.  He was then able to put 2 ten dollar bills in each wallet, and he had 2 ten dollar bills left as a remainder.

Of course this does not complete the problem, but he is learning that 20 is a reasonable answer to 100 divided by 4, which is pretty powerful!  I'm much happier with him knowing this than memorizing DMSCB and not understanding what numbers to compute at each step. 

The child in the MIDDLE PHOTO is working on the same problem.  She also knows that the answer to 100 divided by 4 will be about $20.  However she is developing her understanding of the regrouping process.  She is trading in those 2 ten dollar bills for one dollar bills.  Although she has written a bunch of zeroes in the ones place on her place value mat, she will soon be able to refine her answer to include the ones place.

The child who completed the problem on the BOTTOM PHOTO has completed the process of dividing 100 by 4.  She is also able to accurately record the steps she has taken to arrive at an answer.  She regrouped the one hundred to become ten tens (although she forgot to erase the hundred).  She also knew she could tally up the 4 twos in the tens place when writing out the long division algorithm.  She used the difference (10 - 8 = 2) to find how many tens to regroup into ones, and she divided the twenty ones by 4 to get 5.  Although the photo does not show her paper, she transferred the process she used with the manipulatives to the traditional long division algorithm. 

If you need more examples of numbers that increase in difficulty when it comes to long division, I have 3 different levels of long division task cards with numbers similar to these two examples available as a bundle (they will be 28% off on Cyber Monday and Tuesday, 12/2 and 12/3 with promo code CYBER).  I use the cards as review throughout the year because long division is one of those concepts that kids need to see many times before they can master it.  I never feel guilty leaving these in my sub plans because the kids know what to do and actually enjoy long division when they get to use the money. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tis' the Season for Freebies!

Hello everyone! It's Jennifer from Teaching to Inspire in 5th. I am fortunate to be off this entire week for Thanksgiving..yay! Unfortunately, my boys are sick, so we are on quarantine over at my household.

I know everyone is super busy in the holiday mode...or is the trying to survive another day or two of work before the break, so I wanted to share some quick, fun freebies.

Hopefully these freebies will help get you through the rest of the holiday season!

First up, is a little Fall place value freebie (We are knee deep in Winter weather over here, but some of you might be lucky to be enjoying some Fall weather)

This little freebie contains 4 CCSS aligned story problems that are winter-themed and require some higher order thinking skills.

And, finally, some Christmas cheer in the form of a themed fraction sort that has the student sorting fractions based on if they are greater than, equal to, or less than 1/2.

 Happy Holidays! I hope you are able to use the freebies!


Monday, November 25, 2013

The Power of Popsicle Sticks!

It's Deb back with you today...

What's the last professional book that you read that truly impacted your students’ experiences in your classroom?  The answer to that question for me is Embedded Formative Assessment by Dylan Wiliam.
Not a cover that really grabs you and shouts “READ ME!”, huh?  When I found it in my school mailbox, I was quite tempted to set it aside.  However, we had a new ESL director at the time, and she was the one who had sent it to me to read.  I must admit, I wanted to set a favorable impression with her, so I decided that I should at least take the book home over the weekend and skim it...enough to be able to comment on a few topics.  Besides that, in her original email about this book, she had really sung its praises. Was it really all that?

So, home it went with me that Friday afternoon.  Saturday morning, I stepped onto my elliptical machine and balanced the book on the stand so that I could "multitask" while reading.  Wow, was I ever in for a shock!  This book really resonated with me.  I actually couldn’t put it down!  In fact, I finished the book by the end of the weekend! (Keep in mind that I had a 7-year-old and 4-year-old at the time, so stealing time to read at that point in my life was a daunting task…. Who am I kidding?!  It still is!)

In Chapter 3, Wiliam describes a classroom where a handful of dedicated students constantly raise their hands and contribute to the discussion, while the remainder of students in the classroom doodle, daydream, or "fly under the radar". The ultra-engaged students perform extremely well in school, as one would expect.  They are discussing the topic and interacting with the learning materials. Unfortunately, the performance of the disengaged students is suffering, as one would expect. Furthermore, the achievement gap is widening in this type of classroom.

While reading, I found myself thinking about the upper elementary classrooms in which I co-taught.  I had a strong hunch that the low engagement levels Wiliam described was nearly identical to what would be observed in the classrooms I taught in every day.  When I returned to school that Monday, my hunch was 100% verified.  A handful of students constantly raised their hands, while the other students either sat quietly or very obviously “spaced out”.

The very next day, my co-teachers allowed me to put some of Wiliam’s engagement strategies into action, and we noticed a remarkable difference immediately.  Allow me to share a couple of these strategies with you today! Below I describe the #1 change we made that seemed to significantly improve student engagement during lessons.

#1- The Power of the Popsicle Sticks!!

I bet many of you are saying to yourselves, “I have a cup like this in my classroom already!” Of the four classrooms I co-taught in that year, three of them already had a cup of Popsicle sticks with one student’s name printed on each stick.  However, we either weren’t using them correctly or we weren't using them with enough frequency.

We started using the cup CONSTANTLY.  (I’m serious…. We even instituted a “no-hands-in-the-air” policy.  Students didn’t need to bother raising their hands; we drew Popsicle sticks instead of calling on students raising their hand.)  Whenever we asked a question, we would provide wait time (often giving students a chance to talk to a partner), and then draw a Popsicle stick and announce the name. That student was then charged with answering the question.

I admit, I got a kick out of picking up the cup full of sticks at the beginning of a lesson and giving it a little rattle.  Kids would immediately sit up and look around.  It was a nonverbal way of saying “Pay attention…. your name may be called on to answer a question.”

Yes, the “pass” reply was still an option, but if a student passed, the question would eventually be bounced back to them and they would be asked to repeat the correct answer that another student had just given.

One fifth grade teacher I worked with eventually created two cups of popsicle sticks.  She kept one on her desk, and one on the other side of the room.  With that, at least one of the cups could easily be spotted and picked up at any given time.

Have you implemented Popsicle sticks to increase student engagement?  I'd love to hear your comments on their effectiveness in your classroom!

Are you interested in learning about another strategy?  I've posted another one at my blog today, and it includes a FREEBIE.  I invite you to stop by!  I will also blog about this more in the future.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Interactive Notebooks and the Common Core

Hello friends!  Jen Bengel here from Out of This World Literacy.  I hope everyone is having a wonderful November with their students!

As teachers, we all know that one of the best ways to learn is through active involvement.  Students learn best through creating, making connections, and thinking critically.

Interactive lessons and activities are great ways to keep students actively engaged in their learning.

Most of us are accountable for teaching the Common Core State Standards to our students.  But, HOW we teach the standards is usually up to us, the teachers.

Interactive Notebooks in Guided Reading
I have found that using interactive notebooks to teach the reading informational and reading literature standards is one of the best ways for students to learn. 

Some Reasons Interactive Notebooks are so Effective:

1. Students are actively involved in their learning.
2. All learning is kept in one spot and easily organized.
3. It is easy for students to review, and reflect on their new thinking.
4. The lessons are a great way for teachers to quickly assess if students understood the lesson at the end of class.
5. Students can easily share their new learning with other classmates.


Different Reading Times Interactive Notebooks can Be Used:

1. To introduce a lesson during a whole group mini lesson
2. As support during a guided reading lesson
3. Working with partners
4. Working in centers
5. During independent reading
6. During a literature circle
7. To share thinking at the end of a lesson
Talking About New Learning with Interactive Notebooks

Ways to Use Interactive Notebooks:

1. Teach the lesson to the whole group
2. Support the skill through guided reading
3. Ask students to try the skill during independent reading
4. Have students work with a partner 
5. Conference individually with students during independent reading, asking them questions about their new learning and noticing their work in interactive notebooks.
6. Gather back together as a class at the end of the lesson.  Ask students to talk with a partner about what they did in their notebooks.  Have some of the students share their thinking with the class.

Interaction Between the Student and the Text

To learn more about teaching the Reading Common Core State Standards through the use of interactive notebooks, click on the links below:


Also, I wanted to share that today is my birthday!  I will NOT reveal my age, but I will say that I am having a one-day sale to help celebrate!  You can click on the image below to visit my store and save 20% off all my resources today (November 20).
                                 It's my birthday on November 20.  And to celebrate I am offering 20% off all my resources for one day only!
I wish everyone a very wonderful week and Happy Thanksgiving!!


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Free Thanksgiving Parts of Speech Cards!

Happy November, friends! It's Blair from One Lesson at a Time, here to bring you a fun Thanksgiving freebie!
Like many teacher-bloggers out there, I am officially a clip art ADDICT. Can't get enough. I love JC Sweetpea's clip art and when I saw her option to "buy the store" - I pounced. A girl can never have TOO much clip art! I wanted to get to work using her beautiful art  right away so I created this fun little set of Thanksgiving word cards. They are organized by part of speech:
One reason I pre-sorted them by parts of speech is because it facilitates one of my FAVORITE word card activities: Silly Sentences! Super easy - basically dump all the words on the rug or a table and let the kiddos go to town. They can make the sentences as silly as they want to, as long as they are grammatically correct. I also allow students to change the word to make it fit by pluralizing singular nouns, putting present tense verbs in past tense, etc. Always a big crowd pleaser. 

Here are 10 other ideas for ways to use the cards with upper elementary students:

1) Make a Sentence: Separate the cards into decks for each part of speech. Have students choose one card from each deck and construct a sentence.

2) Vocabulary charades

3) Practice putting words in alphabetical order

4) Words-in-a-word hunt: Choose a card. See how many other words you can create using the letters in that word.

5) Dictionary practice: Have students identify unknown words and look them up in a dictionary.

6) Interactive Word Wall: Post the words on a bulletin board or other display area. As students encounter the words in their independent reading, they add an index card under the word. On the index card, write the title of the book, the page number, and the sentence that includes the word.

7) Act it out: Students work in groups of 3-4. Each person chooses a card and the students work together to act out a scene that includes each word.

8) Find the value of the word: Create a simple Letter-Number code (A=312, B=297, etc.). Have students find the value of each word by finding the sum of the letters.

9) Word work: Write all the singular nouns in plural form. Write all the present-tense verbs in past tense. Write the comparative and superlatives forms of each adjective.

10) Synonyms and Antonyms: Find synonyms and antonyms for each word. 

If you want to download these free Thanksgiving Word Cards, just click on the picture below!

If you are looking for more Thanksgiving grammar ideas, make sure to check out my Thanksgiving Grammar Packet! Click on the pictures below to find it at my TpT store:

If you are a planner and already thinking ahead to winter break (and who can blame ya?), I have a Winter Holidays version as well! Click on the pictures to check it out:

Thanks so much for stopping by ATUE today! Make sure to head over to my blog, One Lesson at a Time, to check out my Thanksgiving FREEBIES Linky Party - some awesome resources have been linked up! Happy Turkey Day!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Dabbling With Informational Texts

We are getting started with our big unit on informational texts (you know--what USED to be called "nonfiction"!), and I thought I'd share a misconception that I noticed many students had when we first started talking about this genre.

We started by brainstorming what we knew about informational texts and I got lots of what you would expect...

  • "true stuff"
  • photographs
  • captions
  • tables of contents
  • an index and glossary

You get the picture. someone who is more than a little addicted to looking at books, I knew very well that MANY informational texts do NOT have all or even SOME of these features, so I decided to run a little test with my class.  I went to our library and checked out about 100 informational books to keep in our room for the next few weeks so I could really immerse the kids in the genre.  Kids BY NATURE love nonfiction, so I looked to get a huge assortment of books on topics from tarantulas to ballet to monster trucks.

I then went through and deliberately picked some that did NOT look like "traditional" information books--books that didn't have the expected text features as listed above.

These books had everything from drawings to cartoon characters to what one might call "narrative" format.  We looked at all of them together and worked to see how sometimes information texts might not look the way we expect them to look.

I then plopped piles of books on each desk group and asked the students to spend some time together looking at the books and checking to see what features they included and which they did not.  They sorted the books into piles of "traditional" information books that they felt were obviously nonfiction and those that were trickier!

The students had a blast, realized that "narrative nonfiction" and graphic picture books very well might be informational texts, and found a bunch of new books they were super excited to read!  

It was a great way to get them thinking critically about what this genre involves--and we will be digging in much deeper over the next weeks!

or find me on Twitter at @FourthGrStudio 
or Instagram @Fourthgradestudio

Friday, November 15, 2013

Abstract Noun Poetry- Making It Concrete!

 Howdy Friends!
     Mr. Hughes here from Created by MrHughes and An Educator's Life blog. As many of know, I am the writing/language arts teacher for the 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students of my school (I also teach science to each of those grades...phew...).
     This is the second year of do rotations with our students and so I have been working with a majority of my students for two years now. Can I just tell you how much I love having the same students for three years in a row. I get to know them so well and I know where I need to start each year with each student.
     Well, last year, we had to learn just the basic parts of speech! Yes, I am talking about nouns, verbs, etc. Nothing extra or fancy, just the simple definitions.
     I started with nouns again this year with my 6th graders, only this year we are focusing on concrete and abstract nouns. It took a bit of work, but nearly all my students can now tell me the difference between a concrete noun (a noun that you can see, hear, smell, touch, and/or taste) and abstract noun (also known as Idea nouns).
     I wanted to push their thinking a bit more, so I found a poetry form that required the students to present an abstract noun using concrete ideas. It was interesting to watch and listen to the students as they worked to define an idea with tangible things. Below are several examples. Some are definitely better than others but I love how they turned out. Take a minute and read over a few of these.

     After I was able to collect all 22 of them, I hung them on a bulletin board in my classroom. I have had many students from my other classes read them and discuss them (during breaks and recess time). Because of the unique choices many students made, there have been many lively debate/discussions- Something I consider a total bonus!

     If YOU are interested in trying this poetry form with your kiddos, it's easy. Have each student chose an abstract noun and write it at the top. Next, have the students use the following format:

(Abstract Noun)

Smells like...
Feels like...
Tastes like...
Sound like...
and Lives in...

I had the students write and draw on 9 x 12 art paper. I also required them to use color and provide small illustrations for each of the concrete words. (You can also Google abstract poetry forms if you would like other options).

I hope you will take your students on a noun adventure and give this poetry a whirl!

-Mr. Hughes
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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Free Educational iPad App: Educreations

Have you tried Educreations yet?

At the beginning of last year I started a classroom blog that was tailored more to my fourth graders than to their parents.  I posted photos of anchor charts as well as educational online games to keep them coming back to it on a weekly basis.  Then, later in the year, when the PTO bought all the teachers at my school iPads, I was determined to put mine to good use.  I wanted an app that was going to enhance my instruction in a new way, and that's when I found Educreations. 

Educreations is like recording yourself teaching a whole class lesson on a white board, except your audience won't see you.  They'll hear your voice and see what you draw.  You can also embed pictures into your presentation, and on the iPad you can add text (typed) instead of writing words. 

It takes a little bit of practice to find the possibilities and limitations to the program.  For example, I love that it lets me pause my recording so I can collect my thoughts after each slide.  However I don't love that if I make a mistake in the recording I can't go back and redo it!  There have been a few updates to Educreations, such as the addition of an eraser tool (because users begged for it) and you can now use Educreations on your computer as well!  I love a product that is regularly updated based on user feedback.  It's rare when a product is FREE.  That's right, it's a free app. 

So how has this changed my teaching?  Well, although I'm not sure my district would approve of going the flipped classroom route (hard to do when not every child has internet access at home) it really has helped my kids learn some tricky, multistep processes in the following ways:

  1. Kids love anything novel.  Sitting in front of the computer (no, I don't have a projector either) for 4 minutes to watch a video is more interesting than the other 179 math lessons at the rug listening to me.  Suddenly no one needs to go get a drink of water!
  2. If a child needs reteaching, all they need to do is go back over to the computer with a small group of students and rewatch it.  Obviously I am available to answer questions, however sometimes, as one boy told me this week, "I just want to watch it a bunch of times until it REALLY sinks in!"
  3. Two words:  Sub Plans!
  4. Two words:  Homework help.
  5. If a student is absent of course they can watch it at home and learn without spreading their germs around!

If you're not sure you're up to creating videos, keep the following in mind:

  1. Don't feel you have to make a video on EVERYTHING.  I started out with the idea of 2 math procedures that I really wanted kids to see in action because historically their written notes just weren't enough.  This year I added another video for a third concept.
  2. You don't have to make videos for your class to benefit from Educreations.  The site is searchable, which means there are TONS of free, public presentations available.  You can show them in class or link up on your classroom website.  Once you start finding great videos you'll get a good sense of what you really want in a video, and then you can rethink the idea of creating your own.

To get you started, here is a video I created to help my fourth graders multiply 2 digit numbers by 2 digit numbers.   

It's a nice lead in to some hands on practice in class (this is a paid for product).  By keeping the direct instruction short, sweet, and engaging, we can get into the practicing quicker, which I love.  The work you put in creating or researching videos will make your job during class time much easier; you can focus more on the kids' learning than the subject matter itself.

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