Book Review- Balloons Over Broadway

Beautiful picture book to use with biography and Thanksgiving via Wonder Teacher I have a book to share with you and I love it so much I can’t wait until the “proper season.” It’s called Balloons over Broadway, written and illustrated by the wonderful Melissa Sweet. The story is about Tony Sarg, the man who is the creative father of the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade. (This sort of puts it in a “Thanksgiving” category except not really because it’s just as much about creativity and puppetry and artistic problem-solving and general inspiration!) There are so many reasons to build some teaching time around this book! [Read more…]

Overcoming Obstacles to Writing Workshop

Overcoming Obstacles to Writing Workshop - Management Tips

My previous posts on Writing Workshop have generated a greater than normal amount of feedback from you, my faithful readers. Several of you contacted me with questions and requests for more information. A few themes emerged (How do I find the time? What about management?) so I decided to consult my friend (and expert writing teacher) Carol Cook.

First, know that I write this post under the impression that you already believe in Writing Workshop as a best practice. If you need more convincing, read the following:

What Do Kids Need To Learn About Writing?

What Is Writing Workshop? An Overview

Writing Workshop is a “Kid-Changer”

Architecture of a Mini-Lesson

Now then. Let’s assume you are “all in” in terms of want-to but you need some help with the how-to. I asked Carol to talk about the common obstacles teachers face when implementing WW and share her suggestions for overcoming them. Her answers are paraphrased below. [Read more…]

Increase Comprehension with Pantomime

Arts Integration Strategy for Reading Comprehension

Drama-based experiences such as pantomime are a powerful strategy for increasing reading comprehension. In my previous post, I shared a recent study stating that students who get to “act out” text demonstrate dramatic increases in comprehension.

One way to harness the power of “acting out” a story is through pantomime. As you likely know, pantomime is a silent form of drama where the actor uses movement and facial expression to communicate information. No lines or sound effects are allowed. The quiet nature of pantomime is an appealing starting point for classroom teachers who are sometimes worried about maintaining classroom management during drama-based lessons.

Here are three tips for introducing pantomime to your students. [Read more…]

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