The Joy of Teaching – An Evan-Moor Blog

Sharing creative ideas and lessons to help children learn

August 31, 2017
by Evan-Moor
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Does Tech Time Make You Cringe? Technology Organization 101

Once of the biggest hurdles for classroom teachers and technology is the wasted instructional time they encounter while training their students. Here are some strategies to minimize wasted time and get the most out of your classroom technology lessons.

  1. Instructions: Always include a printed copy of instructions and passwords at your computer station or on the board for one-to-one users. Write students’ individual passwords on their nametags or in their journals for easy access.
  2. Gradual release of responsibility: Before allowing students to explore sites on their own, model the assignment first to the whole class. Each new task should be modeled and practiced before students are expected to complete one on their own. (This may seem time-consuming, but it will save you time in the long run.)
  3. Accountability: Hold students accountable for their technology time so their learning is purposeful. If the programs they are using do not give automated feedback to teachers, introduce screen shots and response writing as a lesson wrap-up.
  4. Assign tech helpers: Assign a few tech helpers in each class who are adept at technology. Be sure to include instructions and rules about when these students may be interrupted for help.
  5. If you have a classroom with one-to-one devices, label and number devices and assign each student a number. This strategy is a quick and easy method for passing out and collecting Chromebooks or tablets without wasting precious instructional time.

Technology can open the world to your classroom. It can challenge students to become content curators as well as content creators. A little organization and planning will go a long way in making your technology lessons meaningful and stress free.

Quick tip: It is always a good plan to have a technology back-up lesson in place. You never know when the electricity or internet servers will go down, and no one wants to be stuck with 30 students and no plan.


Heather Foudy is a certified elementary teacher with over 7 years’ experience as an educator and volunteer in the classroom. She enjoys creating lessons that are meaningful and creative for students. She is currently working for Evan-Moor’s marketing and communications team and enjoys building learning opportunities that are both meaningful and creative for students and teachers alike.

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Phonics symbols with a little girl and boy.

August 31, 2017
by Evan-Moor
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Homeschool Curriculum Guide for Phonics

Click here to download Evan-Moor’s Phonics Homeschool Curriculum Guide. 

Teaching letter sounds is an important part of reading, but sometimes it is a challenge to cover ALL letter sounds and phonics rules.

Evan-Moor has several resources to teach phonics in a simple and organized way.

The titles featured in this blog post can be used to build your own phonics homeschool curriculum. If you would prefer, you can use the titles to supplement whatever phonics program you are using.

WARM UP

For quick phonics review and practice, Basic Phonics Skills offers printable skill sheets, as well as Little Phonics Readers that feature the phonics skills in each mini-book.

Each unit begins by introducing a Phonics Fact in a box on the printable skill sheets to provide your child with meaningful practice of each phonics skill.

Another terrific feature is the Little Phonics Readers, which are printable mini-books that allow your child to practice reading specific word families in a simple story.

TEACH

If you are looking for quick, daily phonics lessons, Daily Phonics offers short daily phonics lessons in a systematic way in 32 weekly units.

Each unit has teacher support with daily suggestions for teaching the short lesson and guiding your child through the day’s practice activity.

The student activity pages include listening, speaking, reading, and writing with picture support and a dictation sentence.

PRACTICE and EXTEND

After our kids have learned phonics sounds and rules, we want them to practice what they have learned in meaningful ways.

We like to use Take It to Your Seat: Phonics Centers for hands-on practice of phonics skills.

The activities improve word recognition skills and fluency and include directions, game pieces, and activity sheets. These are perfect activities for workboxes and review lessons!

Each center activity includes a follow-up activity for your child to complete. You can also laminate the activity or turn it into a file folder game if desired.

We also like to work with word families to increase the kids’ reading and spelling fluency. By following the letter patterns, the kids can learn how to read and spell several words at a time.

Evan-Moor’s Word Family Stories and Activities offers fun and easy ways to practice predictable patterns within words. The engaging reproducible stories and activities help students make connections with word sounds and spelling patterns.

The unit begins by introducing each word family with a quick printable. Next, there is a one-page story featuring the word family. Then, student practice pages and a word-slider activity can be completed to provide your child meaningful practice of the word family.

If your family enjoys playing games, Evan-Moor has two additional full-color resources that kids enjoy that practice phonics skills.

Both Phonics Games (Grades PreK–3) and Phonics Intervention Centers (Grades 1–6) are brightly colored, easy to follow, and definitely kid-approved.

We like playing the games together or using them as workbox activities when the kids are ready for independent practice of the phonic skills.

Not Sure Which Resource to Choose?

If you would like access to all of these Evan-Moor lessons, they are all included in a subscription to TeacherFileBox, Evan-Moor’s digital lesson plan collection of over 18,000 lesson plans and activities.

TeacherFileBox provides us with resources to build our entire curriculum for all subjects and all grade levels for our family.

TeacherFileBox is available as a monthly subscription ($13/month or $99/year), and it is worth every penny.

Click here to start your 30-day free trial of TeacherFileBox.

 For additional guides by subject area, see Homeschool Curriculum Resources and Guides.


Amy Michaels is a certified teacher with 11 years of elementary classroom experience who is actively homeschooling her own children. Her mission is share the best teaching methods and resources with all homeschoolers. Amy supports parents through her podcasts, webinars, and online training for homeschoolers on her website www.thrivehomeschooling.com.

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Child's head thinking hard about puzzles.

August 17, 2017
by Evan-Moor
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Critical and Creative Thinking Homeschool Curriculum Guide

Click here to download Evan-Moor’s Critical and Creative Thinking Homeschool Curriculum Guide.

Critical and creative thinking skills are fabulous tools that kids can use to apply the skills they have learned.

If you are looking for resources for your kids to practice critical and creative thinking skills, Evan-Moor has resources that are kid-approved!

Each of these Evan-Moor titles invite kids to use thinking skills in realistic ways with simple activities.

There are a variety of ways you can use each of these Evan-Moor titles in some engaging activities throughout your homeschool day.

WARM UP

For a quick warm-up to your school day, Critical and Creative Thinking Activities offers imaginative activities to motivate students as they practice thinking in multiple ways.

The book is organized by theme-based topics that interest kids.

The pages are just the right balance of fun and challenge that kids can accomplish. My kids ask to do extra pages because they enjoy these books so much!

TEACH

When you are ready to teach your child strategies for both logic and creativity, Thinking Skills is a great choice. Thinking Skills teaches your child creative, critical, and logical thinking skills with fun and engaging activities.

It is organized into short units that focus on a specific type of thinking skill. Each unit includes a teaching guide and shares ideas of modeling and practicing the thinking skills that go with each unit.

PRACTICE and EXTEND

One of my absolute favorite Evan-Moor titles is Hands-on Thinking Activities. My kids enjoy these activities so much that they think we are just playing games! It makes logic and problem-solving a delight.

First, we do the activity together. Most of the time the kids can figure out the puzzle themselves, and I am there just to ask a guided question if needed.

They always ask to play it again after they are finished.

Then, I put the activity in our rotation of independent activities. For example, the kids can use these fun activities as a review activity in our workboxes.

Here is a blog post I did about using Hands-on Thinking Activities in our homeschooling.

Another Evan-Moor book to consider is Skill Sharpeners: Critical Thinking, a full-color activity book, to give your child extra practice in a fun format.

Skill Sharpeners: Critical Thinking is organized into kid-friendly units. Each of the units practice a variety of critical thinking skills, which are listed on each activity page.

There is also a “Test Your Skills” page that can be used as an assignment if needed.

Both Hands-on Thinking Activities and Skills Sharpeners: Critical Thinking have colorful, hands-on activities that are great for workboxes!

ONE FINAL NOTE:

 For additional guides by subject area, see Homeschool Curriculum Resources and Guides.

If you want to use any of these resources in your homeschooling, you can buy each of these titles individually.

You can also access all of the lessons in these books in Evan-Moor’s TeacherFileBox.

TeacherFileBox is a digital collection of lesson plans and activities from over 450 Evan-Moor titles in all subject areas. We use it every day of our homeschooling!

Click here to learn more about accessing TeacherFileBox instantly for $13/month or $99/year.


Amy Michaels is a certified teacher with 11 years of elementary classroom experience who is actively homeschooling her own children. Her mission is share the best teaching methods and resources with all homeschoolers. Amy supports parents through her podcasts, webinars, and online training for homeschoolers on her website www.thrivehomeschooling.com.

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August 10, 2017
by Evan-Moor
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Back-to-School Checklist: 10 Classroom Must Do’s to Start Off the School Year

Those lazy days of summer are over, and it’s time to head back to the classroom. Here is a checklist to help you remember important first month of school details. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting your teaching career, these activities can pave the way for a smooth transition into the school year.

  1. Set up your classroom
    Seating arrangements: Remember to keep fire exits clear. Also, include a reading corner, homework station, and work table (for small-group instruction). Create a pencil sharpening station in the back of your room. Think about your sharpening rules before school starts. When can students sharpen? Will you have a job rotation for sharpening pencils?
  1. Student work
    Designate a wall in your classroom to display student work. You may want to include a writing wall, math wall, and spelling word display. Because wall space is limited, choose your design carefully. Find more organization ideas in this post: Classroom Organization 101.

    bookshelves lined up in classroom.

    Photo Credit: The Teacher Next Door

  1. Parent communication
    Set up a file to record your communication with parents throughout the year. Your comments will be helpful during parent conferences and administrative meetings.
  1. Pinks and blues
    Before school starts, read through the pink and blue files of your students, but don’t get hung up on other teachers comments. Use the information in your seating chart and line arrangements to minimize problems. Refrain from formulating opinions about students until you get to know them.
  1. First day of school handouts
    Write a short note to parents introducing yourself. Be sure to include your classroom rules, homework policy, school calendar, weekly schedule, and your contact information, including school email and school phone numbers.
  1. Class list
    Create your class list. Some teachers like to assign each student a number in the beginning of the year. This allows them to label boxes, books, and cubbies with numbers so they don’t have to change name tags each year. Be sure to write students’ numbers on their desk name tags as a reminder.
  1. Extra copies
    Keep extra copies and name tags in your file folder for potential new students. Sometimes you don’t have any warning before they show up, so it is a good idea to keep extra copies of all back-to-school paper in a “new student” file.
  1. First week of school activities
    Overplan your lessons and activities for the first week of school. You will face many interruptions from administrators, parents, and students, and it’s important to have simple handouts ready for students to complete independently. Keep your lessons simple and focused on reviewing skills from the previous year. Be sure to incorporate lots of ice breaker activities that build classroom relationships and practice routines and procedures. Download this free ice breaker activity.
  1. Sub lessons
    Create an emergency sub plan before the school year starts. Many students and teachers get sick that first month of school, and it’s important to always be prepared for an emergency. (No one wants to be in the teacher’s lounge at 7am making copies when you don’t feel well.) Download this free substitute emergency card. Find more sub lessons ideas in this post: “Emergency Substitute Lesson Plans.”
  1. Phone call
    Call the parents of students your first week of school and introduce yourself. It only takes 15 minutes a day that first week, and it allows you to build a positive relationship from the beginning. These conversations set the stage for open communication during the year, and parents will be more receptive to negative phone call later in the year. Gleaning information about students’ home life will also offer insight into obstacles and issues they face at home before coming into your classroom.

For more ideas for the first day of school visit Tips for the First Day of School.


Heather Foudy is a certified elementary teacher with over 7 years’ experience as an educator and volunteer in the classroom. She enjoys creating lessons that are meaningful and creative for students. She is currently working for Evan-Moor’s marketing and communications team and enjoys building learning opportunities that are both meaningful and creative for students and teachers

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Homeschool curriculum guides and a little boy reading

August 1, 2017
by Evan-Moor
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Homeschool Curriculum Resources and Guides

Build your homeschool curriculum with Evan-Moor! Download these quick guides for a comprehensive instructional approach across subjects, as well as homeschooling tips and ideas to save you time and money.

See how to simplify your homeschool curriculum with an easy 3-step approach:

  1. Warm up
  2. Teach
  3. Practice and Extend

Art

Evan-Moor's Curriculum Guide for Art Give your children an artistic outlet with these fun crafts and activities.

 

 

 

 

Math

Evan-Moor's curriculum guide for teaching mathDiscover four resources that practice critical thinking, problem solving and number fluency.

 

 

 

 

Critical and Creative Thinking Skills

  Evan-Moor's curriculum guide for teaching critical thinkingBuild critical thinking and logic skills with these fun resources.  Perfect for independent workbox activities!

 

 

 

 

Language Arts – Grammar and Punctuation

Evan-Moor's curriculum guide for teaching language arts- grammar and punctuation These four resources will simplify your language curriculum and reinforce editing skills.

 

 

 

 

Language Arts – Vocabulary

Evan-Moor's curriculum guide for teaching language arts vocabularyThree simple resources to build your child’s vocabulary!

 

 

 

 

Phonics

 Evan-Moor's curriculum guide for teaching phonicsDemystify reading for your child with phonics activities and lessons to enrich and improve their reading fluency.

 

 

 

 

Reading Comprehension

 Evan-Moor's curriculum guide for teaching reading comprehensionDiscover five resources to teach and practice essential comprehension strategies.

 

 

 

 

Science

Evan-Moor's curriculum guide for teaching science

Simplify your science instruction and discover fun interactive lessons with these four resources. 

 

 

 

Social Studies

Evan-Moor's curriculum guide for teaching social studies Journey through time with these interactive and hands-on history activities.

 

 

 

 

Spelling

Evan-Moor's curriculum guide for teaching spellingBuild spelling skills with these quick and easy resources.

 

 

 

 

Writing

Evan-Moor's curriculum guide for teaching writing These writing resources incorporate short, daily lessons and center activities that create a fun and interactive writing program.

 

 

 

 

Access all of these resources for one low price per family!   Get a subscription to TeacherFileBox, Evan-Moor’s digital lesson library (over 450 titles available for PreK-6). You can subscribe and get the first 30 days free.


Amy Michaels is a certified teacher with 11 years of elementary classroom experience who is actively homeschooling her own children. Her mission is share the best teaching methods and resources with all homeschoolers. Amy supports parents through her podcasts, webinars, and online training for homeschoolers on her website www.thrivehomeschooling.com.

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July 31, 2017
by Evan-Moor
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Class Management Strategies: Early Finishers, Morning Work and Brain Breaks

Classroom teachers are transitioning students from one activity to the next throughout the school day. All of these minutes add up by the end of the year.   Make the most out of every classroom minute with these three strategies. They will increase student engagement, promote learning, and prevent classroom misbehavior.

 Early Finisher Task Box

  1. Designate an area of your classroom where you will keep extra activities and tasks for students when they finish early.
  2. Post instructions next to the activity box with a list of ideas and instructions for students.
  3. Train students to know where to look for instructions and how to complete the assignments. Walk them through completing each activity so they can work independently in the future.
  4. Create activities and lessons that are engaging that students will enjoy completing. Activities are best when they don’t require a lot of prep work for you and do not teach a new skill.Examples: read a book, Sudoku or crossword puzzle, draw and label a picture, create individual word search with spelling words.

 

Morning Work

  1. Establishing a routine every morning with students provides a clear transition signal for students to settle into their desks every day. It is also a great way to maximize you time with students and provides daily spiral review.
  2. Daily Fundamentals is a great option for cross-curricular morning work. Daily 10- to 15-minute lessons review grade-appropriate concepts for each grade. Download a free sample here.

 

Movement

  1. Students need little breaks throughout the day. Incorporate some brain breaks into your lessons and you will increase class engagement and attention. (Think about how you feel after a two-hour professional development meeting.)
  2. Use classroom apps such as Go Noodle and Motion Maze.
  3. Randomly fill a jar with movement activities and choose a student to pick one.

 

 


Heather Foudy is a certified elementary teacher with over 7 years’ experience as an educator and volunteer in the classroom. She enjoys creating lessons that are meaningful and creative for students. She is currently working for Evan-Moor’s marketing and communications team and enjoys building learning opportunities that are both meaningful and creative for students and teachers alike.

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July 25, 2017
by Evan-Moor
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Homeschool Curriculum Guide for Reading Comprehension

Download your free printable homeschool reading comprehension curriculum guide here!

We all want children to be successful readers, and teaching reading comprehension is essential to their success.

Reading comprehension is understanding more than the words on the page. It is understanding the author’s message and connecting it to something in our own lives.

While the concept of reading comprehension is quite vast, it doesn’t have to be complicated to teach.

Evan-Moor has great resources for teaching reading comprehension for each reading level. Homeschoolers can easily put these together to build an effective reading comprehension curriculum!

You can choose any or all of these resources to supplement what you are already doing for reading, or use them to build your own homeschool reading curriculum!

Warm up
If you are looking for 5–10 minutes of no-prep reading warm-up activities, Evan-Moor has a popular series of books that help kids use their skills in quick daily activities.

Daily Reading Comprehension is organized in weekly units to introduce your child to various reading comprehension strategies and skills.

It is a quick reading activity that can be done in just a few minutes each day with no prep!

These 30 weeks of daily activities can be used to quickly see what skills your child has mastered or might need to review.

Click here for a short video about the features of Daily Reading Comprehension.

Teach
It is important to teach your child to use the appropriate strategy for the type of reading s/he is doing.

Reading fiction and nonfiction requires different types of reading strategies, and teaching both will help your child become a more successful reader.

One time-saving method is to read a fiction and nonfiction book on the same topic – especially topics that your child finds interesting.

Cover of Reading Paired Text - Common Core MasteryEvan-Moor’s Reading Paired Text is a terrific option for your child to practice comprehension strategies and skills while reading fiction and nonfiction material on the same topic.

Reading Paired Text offers ideas and suggested lesson plans to connect the two provided reading selections with engaging student activities.

Reading Informational Text teaches reading comprehension strategies specifically for reading nonfiction. The activities build strong nonfiction reading comprehension skills along with vocabulary, comprehension strategies, and writing activities.

One of my favorite features of Reading Informational Text is that the reading selections are labeled by difficulty. These reading selections have a “reading level.”

This is indicated by Guided Reading Level, which is represented by a letter of the alphabet. Levels begin with “A” and continue through the alphabet as the difficulty increases. This is very helpful, as most grade levels cover more than one reading level.

Practice and Extend
When it is time for your child to practice and extend his/her reading comprehension skills, Evan-Moor has some child-approved resources.

We like to use these resources for our independent workbox time.

Literature Pockets features inspirational ways to practice comprehension skills and strategies in children’s literature.

Each unit is listed by story or topic, so you can choose the unit that is appropriate for your child. These units can be completed in any order you wish!

The Literature Pockets activities include fun ways to respond to a wide variety of stories such as: Aesop’s Fables, Caldecott Winners, Fiction, Folktales & Fairy Tales, Greek & Roman Myths, Nonfiction, Nursery Rhymes, and Tall Tales.

Skill Sharpeners: Reading is a full-color activity book that gives your child extra practice in a fun format.

The book is organized by thematic units, so you can select the units that are right for your child.

Each unit also includes a “Test Your Skills” page that can be used as an informal way to assess your child’s knowledge.

My kids enjoy the short stories, and the bright, colorful pages truly do keep the kids more focused!

TeacherFileBox
In case you didn’t know, you can access all of these resources in Evan-Moor’s TeacherFileBox.

TeacherFileBox is a digital subscription to a collection of lessons from over 450 of Evan-Moor’s titles.

Using TeacherFileBox has made our homeschooling focused, simple, and effective. We homeschool in less time because the quality of the material reduces the need for lengthy practice.

TeacherFileBox is also very budget-friendly, with a monthly or annual subscription available. You can subscribe and get the first 30 days free. Or, Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op members can currently save $20 on an annual subscription.

If you would like our free printable homeschool reading curriculum guide, which features the resources in this blog post, you can download it here

For additional guides by subject area, see Homeschool Curriculum Resources and Guides.

Which of these resources would you like to use most in your homeschool reading comprehension curriculum?

Please let me know in the comments!


Amy Michaels is a certified teacher with 11 years of elementary classroom experience who is actively homeschooling her own children. Her mission is share the best teaching methods and resources with all homeschoolers. Amy supports parents through her podcasts, webinars, and online training for homeschoolers on her website www.thrivehomeschooling.com.

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July 24, 2017
by Evan-Moor
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Meaningful and Manageable Morning Centers

 

This post is intended for those of you who might be newer to teaching and could use just a few tips about morning routines and centers. We partnered with Evan-Moor to bring you this short video and our best morning routine activities and strategies.

 

 

 

 

Welcoming Students
We want our students to feel welcomed in the morning, so this is a great time to stand at the classroom door to greet them and start their day the right way. While we are enjoying these short conversations as the students enter, we need to make sure that once they are in the room and their things are put away, they have a predictable yet meaningful morning routine to follow.

That said, we truly believe kids to be curious and social, so we don’t necessarily want this warm greeting to be followed by an entire classroom of quiet, independent morning work each day. But we also don’t want to overwhelm ourselves with planning and prepping for what might only be a 15- to 30-minute timeframe each morning. For this reason, we have always loved morning centers as a way for our students to start the day.

Planning Your Morning Centers
To start, here are two management ideas that might help.

  • First, if you have a grade-level team that works together to plan, have each person create a morning center to match the month’s focus or theme. Each teacher can then create enough materials for all of the teachers. It’s so much easier to create four of one center than having to come up with all different centers on your own!
  • Secondly, think about placing your students into smaller groups and planning for a six- or seven-day rotation of centers. This really helps to keep weekend work less overwhelming. (We all know we do it!!) Who needs to worry about changing all the centers when you are already trying to plan everything else for the week? A six- or seven-day rotation gives extra time to find more meaningful and engaging centers and keeps weekend work from getting out of hand.

Our Best Morning Routine Tips
When creating a morning routine, try to focus on activities that engage students and invite them to prepare for their day by sparking their energy and enthusiasm for learning. Here we have pulled together some of our best tips to consider when you are crafting your morning.

  • Some predictability in your centers is a good thing. Routines often feel safe and welcoming to many students. Keep some of your centers the same all of the time. Independent reading, math fact practice (Bingo, math fact war with playing cards, or even flashcards with friends), and sight word practice can almost always be in your rotation and require very little planning.
  • Another idea is to use Evan-Moor’s Daily Fundamentals series, which is ideal for morning work. This is a new 2017 title that provides daily one-page practice of reading, math, and language skills. Daily Fundamentals is available for grades 1–6 in teacher’s edition print or e-book formats as well as student books.
  • Give your students a hands-on option. This is relatively easy to do if you think about keeping things open-ended and focus on math skills. Some quick and easy ideas for review or exploration might be:
    • Measurement – Place 10–12 items in a bag for students to measure, and then place rulers and tape measures at the center along with paper and pencils. You could also provide names of larger classroom items (tables, tile floors, etc.) on note cards and add them to the bag. In that case, be sure to add some yard/meter sticks to the center. Change the items or the unit of measurement after all students have rotated through and you instantly have another rotation all planned!
    • Mass/Weight Balance Scale – Place weights and several small objects in bags or tubs at a center for students to explore and compare.
    • Counting Money – Set up a simple store with items, price tags, and coins/paper money. Students can practice counting out money and making change with their small group.
  • Make use of technology. Students love the opportunity to take turns on an iPad, research a favorite topic on the computer, or even better, play a game on the SmartBoard. Of course, always have a backup in case technology fails you!
  • Give children a chance to show their artistic side. Do your art smart students often get the chance to showcase their talents? Provide an art center for students to visit. It might be simple, such as allowing students to complete an observational drawing of a tree outside, a class pet, a plant, or even a historical object that goes with your current unit of study.
  • Try to have at least one morning center that is review and skill-based that changes for each rotation. If you are learning addition with regrouping, provide extra practice at a center with manipulatives, dry erase boards, and problems to work. Try to think ahead and prepare some of these over the summer if possible so that your rotating centers will be ready to go as you need them throughout the year.

Finally, be sure your students know what they can do once they have finished their morning center if there is still time before the start of your day. We love jigsaw puzzles as one option. Not only are they engaging, but they also encourage children to work together as they assemble the pieces. For a challenge, we like to find a spot where we can leave a larger puzzle out at all times. It might take many days or weeks to complete, but the sense of accomplishment when students work to place the last piece is wonderful!

We hope these ideas will help to get you started on making your mornings meaningful and manageable!! Have any more ideas we could all benefit from? Be sure to leave a comment below to share!

 

This video and set of tips & ideas for morning centers was created in cooperation with Evan-Moor. This is a sponsored conversation written by us on behalf of Evan-Moor. The opinions, text, and created resources are all ours. 


blog-thecurriculumcornerJill McEldowney and Cathy Henry are neighbors and friends who both have significant experience teaching in the same large and diverse school district. Together, they developed and operate www.thecurriculumcorner.com, a site where busy teachers can find current, relevant, meaningful, and ready-to-go lessons, activities, and resources that fit their classroom structure and also meet national and state standards.

 

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July 18, 2017
by Evan-Moor
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How to Build a Homeschool Writing Curriculum

Download your free printable homeschool writing curriculum guide here!

The goal of any successful writing program is for the student to express his or her thoughts in written form.

It sounds easy enough, but where do you start?

Warm up
One of the easiest ways to get your child writing is to start a journal. Journaling is an easy way for children to become more fluent writers and become creative with their story writing.

If you are looking for pre-planned daily writing prompts, consider using Giant Write Every Day: Daily Writing Prompts. These kid-friendly writing prompts develop critical thinking skills, vocabulary, writing fluency, creativity, and ideas for writing.

The writing prompts can be completed in any order you wish. There is also a quick writing prompt for each month to encourage writing about seasonal topics.

Whatever you choose to do, it is wise to keep the writing time short in duration to keep your child inspired to write again tomorrow.

Teach
When it is time to teach your child how to improve the quality of his or her writing, use Daily 6-Trait Writing to help your child’s writing flourish.

Each weekly unit has daily lesson plans and can be completed in 10–15 minutes each homeschool day.

In weekly units, your child will learn specific writing skills in the areas of ideas for writing, sentence fluency, organization (of their thoughts), word choices, and voice as an author.

The skills in Daily 6-Trait Writing can elevate the skills of any writer. As a homeschooling parent, I greatly appreciate how these focused lessons are so easy to teach—and for my children to understand.

Practice and Extend
As children develop the habit of quick journaling every day and learning ways to improve the quality of their writing, there are some ways to practice and extend their writing skills.

Fun ways to get your child writing are:

  • Sending letters or emails to family or friends
  • Asking your child to help write the shopping list
  • Leaving notes for each other around the house

If you are looking for activities for your workboxes or independent time, there are three Evan-Moor books that we really enjoy.

Take It to Your Seat Writing Centers has full-color activities to help your child practice a variety of writing skills.

We typically do these activities together as our writing lesson. Then the kids do the activities again independently later in the week.

Draw…Then Write is another popular title where the child learns step-by-step how to draw a simple figure and write about the drawing with clear prompts that the child will understand.

While kids are learning how to draw, it is natural for them to use words to describe their drawings. The activities in this book invite children to write about their drawings.

Draw…Then Write is also available in app form, so it is great if your child prefers to work on a tablet!

The last title that works well for us How to Write a Story. My daughter has used this book to develop each part of her story ideas.

She simply completes a page a day in her independent work time. It has really supported her in expanding her writing abilities through her own stories.

No matter what resources you choose, writing is a skill that children will use their entire life. I appreciate how Evan-Moor’s writing resources help children to have fun and continue to develop their writing skills.

Get all these resources in TeacherFileBox!

In case you didn’t know, you can access all of these lessons in Evan-Moor’s TeacherFileBox: a digital subscription to a collection of lessons from over 450 of Evan-Moor’s titles.

Using TeacherFileBox has made our homeschooling focused, simple, and effective. We homeschool in less time because the quality of the material reduces the need for lengthy practice.

TeacherFileBox is also very budget-friendly with a monthly or annual subscription. You can subscribe and get the first 30 days for free. Or, Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op members can currently save $20 on an annual subscription.

If you would like our free printable homeschool writing curriculum guide, which features the resources in this blog post, you can download it here

For additional guides by subject area, see Homeschool Curriculum Resources and Guides.


Amy Michaels is a certified teacher with 11 years of elementary classroom experience who is actively homeschooling her own children. Her mission is share the best teaching methods and resources with all homeschoolers. Amy supports parents through her podcasts, webinars, and online training for homeschoolers on her website www.thrivehomeschooling.com.

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