Flexibility and Grace

        For us, school started two weeks ago.  This distance teaching thing is hard.  Just sayin'.  The planning is exponential!  Besides that, the conversations between teacher friends for brainstorming ideas and parents who need information is overwhelming.  Just remember this when thinking about teachers.  We are all on a very steep learning curve.  Flexibility and Grace are needed now more than ever.  We are all trying our best to learn how to most effective in our new role as distance teachers.


Top 5: My Favorite Diverse Reads

Top 5:  My Favorite Diverse Reads

I love reading these books to my kids!  I hope you'll love them too!

Just Ask! is written by the imcomparable Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.  I was lucky enough to meet her when she was on the publicity tour with the illustrator, Rafael Lopez.  This amazing book is about how we are all different.  And when you have questions or don't understand something, Just Ask!

This beautiful book The Day You Begin is by Jacqueline Woodsen, one of my favorite authors.  
It's also illustrated by Rafael Lopez.  This book is about appreciating our differences and 
seeing how we're all special.

Dreamers is about the immigration story of Yuyi Morales and her son and the beauty she found in libraries.  Yuyi is one of my favorite illustrators and authors too!

All is Welcome: This welcoming picture book is written by Alexandra Penfold and illustrated 
by Suzanne Kaufman.  It's a great read for that first day of school.  I love the diversity 
among the students.

Finishing up my list with the Last Stop on Market Street written by Matt de la Peña 
and illustrated by Christian Robinson.  It's a book about appreciating what we have and 
the neighborhood around us.

I hope you love these books as much as I do.  If you need some help with lessons, check out the picture book units.  They're in my TpT store.  Enjoy!

Check out my friends from Teacher Talk for more great ideas!

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CGI Mathematics A Research based Approach

CGI Mathematics
A Research based Approach

Here is what I've learned so far...
First, it's not a curriculum.  It's more an approach to teaching math. 
Guiding Principle
Make sure kids explain their thinking.  Give them time to explain how they got their answer.  They may not have gotten there how you think.

Things to think about!
How can we create ways to allow kids to participate? Allow for all different modalities and preferred methods for tackling math.  We want all kids (and adults) to feel competent in math.  Let students put the work together as they wish.  Say you tell them to take out 12 blocks... they can organize in a line, groups, a mix up- let them do it as they wish.  If you stop them, it can gum up the works!

Build on strengths instead of focusing on weaknesses.  Stop returning papers with all the wrong answers circled.  Let's look at what they did right instead.   That is a big aha for me!  Build on what they understand!

Overarching idea
We want kids to become great problem solvers!  To be successful at applying mathematical skills at real world problems.

Big Findings:
Explain your thinking orally or in writing
Explaining your thinking to others helps you and the other person too!
It integrates well with Eureka Math too, which is great since we are implementing that this year.

Need help getting started?

Here are a few of the CGI math resources I've made to use in my classroom- fourth and fifth grades.


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LisaTeachR's Classroom

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My Top Five Books for Close Reading

My Top Five Books 

for Close Reading

Inside Out and Back Again is a wonderful book
written in free verse 
chronicling Ha's, a ten year old girl, 
journey from war-torn Vietnam to Alabama 
and her problems as a second language learner 
and with bullying.

Wonder is a wonderful book chronicling Auggie's, a young boy born with a facial deformity, journey through school and the adjustments he, his family and his classmates have to make.  There's a movie now too!

The One and Only Ivan is a great book 
on the power of friendship. 
It's a beautiful story about Ivan the gorilla. 
It is told from his point of view in captivity in a circus.

Come with Alice and the White Rabbit 

down the rabbit hole! Experience Wonderland. 

Read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, written in 1865,  chronicling Alice's adventures as she chases a Rabbit down a rabbit hole. You may have seen the movies but you need to read the book!

Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures! 

This middle grade novel won the Newbery medal for 2014.  The story is about Flora, a self-described cynic, who witnesses a tragedy/miracle in her neighbor’s backyard. She is able to revive the squirrel and names him Ulysses. The book is very funny but also tackles some serious issues such as divorce, abandonment issues and more. The book is written as part narrative and part graphic novel.

I hope this was helpful.   
Do you need more help?  
Check out my close reading guides!  
I've already chosen the most pivotal parts 
and created the focus questions.  
 It's all done for you to make it easy 
to get deep with the literature. 
Jus click the hyperlinks to go straight there!

LisaTeachR's Classroom


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Lovin' Nearpod


I love Nearpod for Distance Learning.  Here's why...

It's a highly engaging platform that merges formative assessments and media!  Super easy to use and the kids love it.  So first log in with your Google account.

It opens immediately to your Nearpod library.  Anything you create will be here and if you like something just add it to your library.  You can edit it if you wish.  Once you create or edit a lesson, you can do it Live or make it student guided so kids can do it on their own.  Once you pick one, you get a code that the students will use to log in when they go to

Some activities:  It has a draw it feature.  It also links to Flocabulary which I love.  And there are Flocabulary videos on everything!  I love the PHET simulations.  My kids were able to create circuits with the tools on PHET.  Amazing!  And Time to Climb is a quiz that is super engaging.  Try Nearpod with your kids.

Go experiment with Nearpod so you are ready to use it when we start school with distance learning.


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