Deep Passion.Great Teaching. IGNITED

5 Ugly Truths About Workstations in the Urban Classroom

morning work

Small group instruction is great, workstations not so much! Every week I am in awe of how many administrators and support personnel offer workstations as a solution for students who struggle with certain concepts. I have learned that silence is golden whenever I am offered workstations as a solution to any of my teaching problems. Here are 5 ugly truths that you should know about workstations before you implement them … Read More →

How to Solve Your Biggest Problems with Teaching Summary


  Believe it or not I can actually teach reading! I just prefer to teach math or science because they challeng e me in ways that I can’t explain. That doesn’t mean that I have abandoned reading because if you have read any of my math  blog posts you will find that I use different reading strategies to teach problem solving. Most of you all probably don’t know that I moderate … Read More →

Part 2: Comprehension Strategies in the Math Classroom


Last week I began to teach my 5th grade math students how to ask on the surface questions. I anticipated that this would be a daunting task because creating questions literally means that you have to think about the information and create a question that makes sense using Who?, What?, When? and Where?. As a math teacher I tend to ask all the questions which automatically makes the students take … Read More →

Reading Comprehension Strategies in the Math Classroom

comprehension group work

I’m sure you have heard the phrase “Reading is thinking.” In fact this statement is the absolute truth! This school year about one third of my students are ELLs or English Language Learners. Having so many ELLs requires that I focus on reading comprehension as well as math concepts. I can’t say that I am pro at finding a balance between the 2 because this is something that I haven’t … Read More →

What’s Reading Got to Do With Math?


The school year has begun and I’m like a kid in a candy store! For years  I have not had to focus on reading in my math classroom. Recently I have noticed that the reading levels of students has decreased. So, this summer I decided that I was going to apart of the solution. I’m fortunate to have a background in reading because I began my teaching career in 1st … Read More →

So What, You’re NOT the Reading Teacher!

silhouette with a question mark

People do not realize that teaching reading is one of the most difficult jobs on the planet! I began teaching on August 16, 2000 in a 1st grade classroom. I was 25 years old and didn’t have a clue about how to teach 6 year olds how to read. Luckily for me I had an experienced principal who realized that I needed reading training so that I could teach my … Read More →

Differentiating Literacy Centers


Hearing the word differentiation for many teachers is like scraping fingernails across a chalkboard. Differentiation is a real challenge for most teachers because it requires more planning on top of the planning that we do in general. Adding to the challenge of differentiation are the administrators, some veteran, who have not been properly trained on the many different ways that differentiation can look and sound like in a classroom.Teachers that … Read More →

3 Tried and True Ways to Help Struggling Readers Comprehend Nonfiction

abe and me

Teaching reading to students is a complex task especially for teachers in Title I schools, because most of the students do not come to kindergarten with the 1,000 lap hours needed for reading readiness. Now add the push for more nonfiction text in elementary and you have have a train wreck waiting to happen. I am learning first hand what effect this early exposure to nonfiction text is having on … Read More →

Creating Rigorous Literacy Learning Centers That Work!


The transition to 1st grade has made me reflect on many of the practices in grades kindergarten through second grade.. I taught 1st grade in 1999 and 13 years later after having taught upper elementary and middle school my understanding of educating 1st graders has tremendously improved. I used to think that everything in 1st grade should be cute and fun but this idea is an afterthought because I now … Read More →

Reading Centers 101: Planning

colored folder

It’s second semester and I have taken over a 1st grade classroom mid-year. If you have ever switched schools in the middle of the school year, you would probably agree that it can be very challenging. When I interviewed for the position in November the class size was 23, however when I actually took over the class size had blossomed to 28 students. Before I could create a plan for … Read More →