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Teaching Conjunctions





The trouble I had the first time I taught conjunctions was not realizing that even though I used them all the time, I didn’t know how to explain what each conjunction meant!


If that’s you, here’s a chart with precious information!





If you’re ready to jump into lesson planning, here are some things that I do when teaching conjunctions:


1.    I introduce one conjunction at a time.

I like to start with “and”.


2.    To model, I write sentences on the board in two columns. 

We read the sentences and decide which two go together. Then we write a compound sentence using the conjunction we are working on.

Remember to use commas when joining complete sentences. Phrases that cannot stand alone do not require the use of a comma before the conjunction.



3.    I give sentence strips to my students. 

Kids love writing their own compound sentences! If you're concerned some can't do it yet, pair the students who need help with independent writers!



4.    Mix conjunctions in the same lesson when students are ready. 

At first, when I mix conjunctions I use contrasting conjunctions like “and” and “or”, or “and” and “but”, or conjunctions that relate to each other like “so” and “because”. 

5. Give students plenty of practice. 

Here’s an inexpensive Conjunctions Packet from my TpT store with several practice activities and games to complement your lessons! 


I hope you some of these ideas make it easier for you to teach conjunctions this year!


Counting Money - The Basics



I’ve recently started tutoring my neighbor’s daughter, Sophia. She needs math to be broken down into very digestible bites. We’ve been working on money for a few days now. 

Here are some very basic things that I’ve done to help her count money.


1.   Sort the same coins into piles.

Sorting and naming the coins is the first basic step. If you can use real coins, do it! 
This might be too easy for some, but for those having trouble recognizing coins or those who haven't been exposed to coins, this is a great place to start.

Counting Money with Students - Coins and Bills


2.   Sort coins in a line from greatest value to smallest value.

The next thing to do is to learn the value of each coin, and to start sorting them from biggest value (quarter) to lowest value (pennie).

The most frequent challenge here is understanding that even though the nickel has a larger size than a dime, it is the dime that has a bigger value. 

Counting Money with Students - Coins and Bills


3.   Count coins of the same value.

For this activity, I gave Sophia several pennies, then nickels, then dimes, and last quarters. She practiced counting each set of same value coins. We moved back and forth from different sets. 




Counting Money with Students - Coins and Bills


4.   Count coins of different values.

I broke this lesson down very carefully not to overwhelm Sophia. 
We started out by mixing 2 coins, one of them being pennies. 
Next, mixing three coins, and so on.

Counting Money with Students - Coins and Bills

It’s important to teach kids to order the coins from greatest to smallest value, and to count the money in that order. 

After we did that with real coins, Sophia practiced doing it on paper

Counting Money with Students - Coins and Bills
Sophia crossed out each coin in order as she wrote their initials in the circles provided.

Although Sophia was able to count by ones, fives, tens, and twenty-fives in isolation, this skill did not transfer when we started mixing various coins. To make it more manageable, I taught her to draw little hairs on the coins.

Each line represents "five". So a nickel get 1 line, a dime gets 2, and a quarter gets 5. Once all the coins have their lines, all she needs to do is go down the line counting by fives, remembering to count by ones when there are pennies in the set.

Counting Money with Students - Coins and Bills


Once she became comfortable with the process, I asked her to simply write down the value of the first coins without counting.

The goal is to move away from the lines altogether, but for now, this is how she can manage.

Counting Money with Students - Coins and Bills



5.   Count bills and coins.

After Sophia was confident in her coin counting ability, I added $1.00 bills to the pile. 


Counting Money with Students - Coins and Bills


6.   Solve word problems involving money.

A helpful approach is to draw the money in the problem. By having the visual cues students can manipulate the information more easily. 


Counting Money with Students - Coins and Bills Word Problems

Counting Money with Students - Coins and Bills Word Problems

Counting Money with Students - Coins and Bills Word Problems

I hope these steps come in handy if you ever need to use them. 
Feel free to email me at frogsfairiesandlessonplans@gmail.com with any questions. I’m always glad to hear from you! 



Word Work All Year!

Sometimes it's better to let the videos do the talking!



How these Short Stories Were Created (30 sec)
First Grade         Second Grade          Third Grade


My Favorite Details (30 sec)
   


Weekly Practice (30 sec)
 



Using Answer Keys Wisely! (30 sec)
First Grade         Second Grade          Third Grade


Small Groups and Literacy Centers!



FREE SAMPLES AVAILABLE!


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Benjamin Franklin Lesson Plans


When I first started teaching about Historic Figures I was given a set of  "American Heroes" itty-bitty books and a pat on the back. That was it.
We had about 2 weeks to stay on the topic, and I had no idea how to fill in that time. 

Each year after that I added new ideas to my lesson plans, and now I have a number of things that I do that make these lessons enjoyable for my students and me.
Here are some suggestions to help you put together lesson plans that you and your students will enjoy!

1. Gather Books

This is the most important step for great lesson plans, in my opinion.
If you are using library books, start looking 2 to 3 weeks in advance. I've made the mistake of waiting until a week before I needed the books, and they were all gone!
If you are looking into purchasing books for your classroom library, here are a few popular options:
(I don't benefit in any way from these book links.)
Link


Link


Link


Link

Tips for Success With Books!
  • Get as many books as you can in a variety of reading levels.
  • Become very familiar with each book so you can pull things from each one as needed when you write your lesson plans. I always added sticky notes to important pages so I'd remember what to use them for.
  • Don't feel like you have to read a book from start to finish. You can use excerpts from different books to make a point.
  • Don't pass on a book that's too hard to read. Use it for its illustrations!
These illustrations are great for comparing and contrasting, and for teaching about perseverance and team work!



These illustrations can be used to teach about captions.

  • Try to add books to a basket AFTER you have used them and allow students to browse the books in a literacy center. Kids are always interested in things that the teacher used! If you want, add paper to the center so students can write a reading response.


2. Learn Your Topic Well

Another thing that will make a huge difference in how successful your lessons are, is being really familiar with Benjamin Franklin's biography. Don't wing it.

My students and I love this Ben Franklin unit. Part of the fun for all of us is my being able to tell them bits of the story like a story teller would.
Interchanging telling and reading makes these lessons a lot more fun and engaging.


3. Record and Review What is Taught

I'm a huge fan of anchor charts. They are helpful when I want to review what we've already learned just before starting a new lesson. 
For this unit, I use a chart with a title and bullet points, but you could make a KWL chart or a web diagram if you prefer.

I also have my students recording information as we go along. It's a way to hold them accountable for their learning. 

You can ask your students to write on a notebook, you can take a few sheets of lined paper and staple them together to make a cute booklet, or you can find templates online.  


See this resource here.



4. Promote Critical Thinking (Free Download)

It's important to include activities in your plans that go beyond just giving information. I always make sure to assign activities that make my students think about what they've learned.
They can complete Venn Diagrams, write opinion or informational pieces, create learning walls, make posters, and write each other questions about the topic.




5. Integrate Subjects

Let's be real. There's no way to fit more reading and writing into our already crammed lesson plans!
The secret to fitting Social Studies into a super busy day is INTEGRATION.

Teaching nouns in Language Arts this week? Use a Benjamin Franklin book (that you've browsed and prepared ahead of time) to teach your lesson.

Showing kids how to edit their writing? No problem! Use a Benjamin Franklin book to model how all sentences start with a capital letter and end with punctuation, then have students check each other's work!

Social Studies during Writer's Workshop

➼ Remember that you can read Ben Franklin books just before you start lessons for the day, right after kids come back from recess, just before dismissal, and other moments when we tend to let time go to waste.

6. Make Learning Interactive

Kids LOVE when they get to share and learn from each other!
When you write your lesson plans, make sure to allow time for student interaction.

  • Leave work facing up on desks and allow students to walk from desk to desk with a partner. Partners spend time looking at their peers' work and ask each other a question about the work.
  • Have partners bring their writing to the carpet and read their work to each other. "Partner 1" reads first and "Partner 2" gives feedback, then they switch roles.

Students sharing their work during Writer's Workshop.

I hope you can use some of these ideas when you write your lesson plans. Keep in mind that my plans did not include all of these right from the start. Allow yourself time to grow and be proud of what you accomplish this year!

Lewis and Clark Lesson Plans


When I first started teaching about Historic Figures I was given a set of  "American Heroes" itty-bitty books and a pat on the back. That was it.
We had about 2 weeks to stay on the topic, and I had no idea how to fill in that time. 

Each year after that I added new ideas to my lesson plans, and now I have a number of things that I do that make these lessons enjoyable for my students and me.
Here are some suggestions to help you put together lesson plans that you and your students will enjoy!

1. Gather Books

This is the most important step for great lesson plans, in my opinion.
If you are using library books, start looking for them 2 to 3 weeks in advance. I've made the mistake of waiting until a week before I needed the books, and they were all gone!

If you are looking into purchasing books for your classroom library, here are a few popular options:
(I don't benefit in any way from these book links.)
link

link

link

link
Tips for Success With Books!

  • Get as many books as you can in a variety of reading levels.
  • Become very familiar with each book so you can pull things from each one as needed when you write your lesson plans. I always added sticky notes to important pages so I'd remember what to use them for.
  • Don't feel like you have to read a book from start to finish. You can use excerpts from different books to make a point.
  • Don't pass on a book that's too hard to read. Use it for its illustrations!

These illustrations are fantastic to teach map skills! 

These are great to teach inference! "What can you infer about this woman's role by looking at this illustration"? 

  • Try to add books to a basket AFTER you have used them and allow students to browse the books in a literacy center. Kids are always interested in things that the teacher used! If you want, add paper to the center so students can write a reading response.


2. Learn Your Topic Well


Another thing that will make a huge difference in how successful your lessons are, is being really familiar with Lewis and Clark's expedition. Don't wing it.


My students and I love this Lewis and Clark unit. Part of the fun for all of us is my being able to tell them bits of the story like a story teller would.

Interchanging telling and reading makes these lessons a lot more fun and engaging.



3. Record and Review What is Taught


I'm a huge fan of anchor charts. They are helpful when I want to review what we've already learned just before starting a new lesson. 
For this unit, I use a chart with a title and bullet points, but you could make a KWL chart or a web diagram if you prefer.

I also have my students recording information as we go along. It's a way to hold them accountable for their learning. 

You can ask your students to write on a notebook, you can take a few sheets of lined paper and staple them together to make a cute booklet, or you can find templates online.  


4. Promote Critical Thinking (Free Download)

It's important to include activities in your plans that go beyond just giving information. I always make sure to assign activities that make my students think about what they've learned.
They can complete Venn Diagrams, write opinion or informational pieces create learning walls, make posters, and write each other questions about the topic.


5. Integrate Subjects


Let's be real. There's no way to fit more reading and writing into our already crammed lesson plans!
The secret to fitting Social Studies into a super busy day is INTEGRATION.

Teaching nouns in Language Arts this week? Use a Lewis and Clark book (that you've browsed and prepared ahead of time) to teach your lesson.

Showing kids how to edit their writing? No problem! Use a Lewis and Clark book to model capital letters and punctuation, have books available for spell checking, then have students check each other's work!



➼ Remember that you can read Lewis and Clark books just before you start lessons for the day, right after kids come back from recess, just before dismissal, and other moments when we tend to let time go to waste.

6. Make Learning Interactive

Kids LOVE when they get to share and learn from each other!
When you write your lesson plans, make sure to allow time for student interaction.

  • Leave work facing up on desks and allow students to walk from desk to desk with a partner. Partners spend time looking at their peers' work and ask each other a question about the work.
  • Have partners bring their writing to the carpet and read their work to each other. "Partner 1" reads first and "Partner 2" gives feedback, then they switch roles.
Students sharing their work during Writer's Workshop.

I hope you can use some of these ideas when you write your lesson plans. Keep in mind that my plans did not include all of these right from the start. Allow yourself time to grow and be proud of what you accomplish this year!