Building Engagement and Diversity Within The Reading Block

Click here to learn how to include diversity into your elementary reading block. Includes picture books that reflect all of our students from our classrooms. {first, second, third, fourth grade, homeschool} #diversity #pride

Diversity comes in many forms.  We will focus on forms of marginalization in:  race, class, gender, sexual orientation and religion.  This marginalization can come from our bias.  We all have our biases.  It's our job as educators to explore our bias and fix it before it affects our students.  It's especially important for us to challenge this bias because students may perceive that they don't belong in our classrooms.  This leads to decreased participation, withdrawal and/or outbursts.  If you aren't sure where your bias lays, you can check out a quiz that Harvard came out with to help you see where you stand on a lot of topics.

Let's look at some statistics:
We currently have 37% of people of color in the U.S.
11% of children's books contain multicultural themes or people.
Less than 6% of children's authors are:  black, latino or native.
I wasn't able to find statistics on diverse family structures, sexual orientation, etc,  but any teacher can tell you the percentage isn't very high.
40% of books about native Americans were written by Native American authors.
61% of books about Latinos were written by Latino people.
89% of books about Asian people were written by Asian authors.
25.5% of books about African American people were written by African American authors.

The most promising statistic that I could find is that since 2013 diverse children's books have risen from 14% to 28% closing in the gap.  This information was found at blog.leeandlow.com.

Filling our classrooms with diverse books makes all children feel included.  Books that represent our students and their lives are important in helping to teach children to explore their own bias.  You can discuss these feelings during classroom discussion while being careful not to interject with your beliefs.  We should also have books that teach children about diverse backgrounds and cultures.   In order to do this you can feature:  different races, religions, countries, abilities, and familial structures.

When choosing books you will look at two kinds:
One kind represents a student in your class. (internal)
The other kind allows students to look at people and cultures different from them. (external)
Most of the time, one book will mean different things to the children in your classroom.

Below you will find several resources to help you find different diverse book titles for your classroom.  Rob Sanders has included two teaching companions to help guide your instruction with two of his book.  I have pictured some of my favorites in the boxes below.  Lately my students have been drawn to the World Series by Oladoyin Oladapo.  She writes the most amazing books from dozens of countries around the world.  They are realistic fiction and teach students about different cultures in an engaging way.

Some of the ways that you can get diverse books into your classroom are:
-local library
-write grants (check your school district for availability)
-Donors Choose
-Garage Sales
-Good will
-Thrift Store
-Used on Amazon

Once you have the books, incorporating them into your reading block is relatively simple.  If your district sets out plans for you to follow, considering swapping out some book titles for more diverse ones while following the plans.  For example, we could compare "Pride" to a magazine article about Harvey Milk.  Compare and contrast the different formats while following standards and including student interest.  If you are left to your own plans, even better!  Make sure to keep track of what books you are teaching so that you can have a visual to help guide your choices.


Click here to find a ton of resources and ideas for building engagement and diversity in the elementary classroom.  Diversity comes in many forms.  This post strives to give information on inclusion of race, class, gender, sexual orientation and religion in the elementary classroom.  Perfect for kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth and fifth.  {k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th}

Click here to find a ton of resources and ideas for building engagement and diversity in the elementary classroom.  Diversity comes in many forms.  This post strives to give information on inclusion of race, class, gender, sexual orientation and religion in the elementary classroom.  Perfect for kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth and fifth.  {k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th}

Click here to find a ton of resources and ideas for building engagement and diversity in the elementary classroom.  Diversity comes in many forms.  This post strives to give information on inclusion of race, class, gender, sexual orientation and religion in the elementary classroom.  Perfect for kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth and fifth.  {k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th}

To find a list of LGBTQ+ friendly book for the classroom click here.

It's also relatively simple to bring social studies into the classroom through reading and writing with informational text.  We hold a culture fair every year that allows students to explore several different cultures.  Parents are invited to come speak to the students about their cultures.  We do this during our reading and writing block and no instructional time is lost.  You can find information on the culture fair below.

Click here to find a ton of resources and ideas for building engagement and diversity in the elementary classroom.  Diversity comes in many forms.  This post strives to give information on inclusion of race, class, gender, sexual orientation and religion in the elementary classroom.  Perfect for kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth and fifth.  {k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th}

A quick recap of take aways that you can implement immediately:
-quiz yourself to find your bias
-find diverse books
-easily use your old lessons or district guidelines while just swapping out titles for more diverse ones

If you have any questions at all, please feel free to email me.

Lesson Planning Made Simple

Click here to find ideas and strategies for making lesson planning simple.  You'll see how to break down the process from a yearly outline to a daily lesson plan.  Resources and ideas for making your busy life less hectic when it comes to lesson planning are included.  There is even a year's worth of 2nd grade lesson outlines included for free.  {lesson plans, lesson outlines, 2nd, 3rd, homeschool, second, third}

Does lesson planning overwhelm you? Hopefully I can help you out with a few strategies and ideas that will simplify the process. Read below.

Click here to find ideas and strategies for making lesson planning simple.  You'll see how to break down the process from a yearly outline to a daily lesson plan.  Resources and ideas for making your busy life less hectic when it comes to lesson planning are included.  There is even a year's worth of 2nd grade lesson outlines included for free.  {lesson plans, lesson outlines, 2nd, 3rd, homeschool, second, third}


First things first.  You need to know what it is you are accountable for teaching. Make sure to have your standards printed.  Most states have either adopted common core or they have standards that are almost the same as common core but they changed the name so parents would stop complaining.  Whomever thought of that was a genius because it worked!

Before we go on, it's important for me to note that none of the resources listed here are affiliates or pay me to discuss them.  I've just used them for years in my classroom and I think they might have something you might be interested in.  The next thing I can't live without is my Common Core Companion.  It comes in handy when I need to differentiate, find questions to ask students or just need to understand what the authors had in mind. Most questions that I receive about lessons come from teachers who think the standard means something totally different than someone else because their district trained them differently or so forth.  It's a no brainer when you pull out a resource that explains five different ways exactly what the common core author's had in mind when they wrote it.

Click here to find ideas and strategies for making lesson planning simple.  You'll see how to break down the process from a yearly outline to a daily lesson plan.  Resources and ideas for making your busy life less hectic when it comes to lesson planning are included.  There is even a year's worth of 2nd grade lesson outlines included for free.  {lesson plans, lesson outlines, 2nd, 3rd, homeschool, second, third}


The next resource I use is my teacher planner from A Modern Teacher.  This helps me to sketch out a quick yearly plans as well as detailed plans.  There is a lot of value and research that supports thematic teaching.  I use the planner to plug in what themes I want as well as when to teach standards. It's nice that you can use almost any topic to teach standards in reading and writing.

Click here to find ideas and strategies for making lesson planning simple.  You'll see how to break down the process from a yearly outline to a daily lesson plan.  Resources and ideas for making your busy life less hectic when it comes to lesson planning are included.  There is even a year's worth of 2nd grade lesson outlines included for free.  {lesson plans, lesson outlines, 2nd, 3rd, homeschool, second, third}

When it comes to teaching standards look them over and start with the ones the students had more access to in the year prior or that aren't as difficult.  You can check the Common Core Companion to see the standards from the year before.  If you aren't sure where to start, seek the help of a coworker.  In one hour you could sketch out the whole year.  Your goal isn't to have detailed plans, but rather an overview that makes sure you will teach the standards to mastery. I like to start the year with Asking and Answering Questions in both literature and informational. It's an important skill for all learners to fill comfortable with. We move on quickly to retelling and finding key details.  Just remember that you have the whole year to teach these standards.  Take them apart and teach a small bit at a time.  I explain with more detail on my video.

Once I have the year quickly sketched out, I start to plan my more detailed lessons in my AMT planner.    Here's some unsolicited advice... Teachers have this habit of buying different planners year after year because we hope that the next planner will be the key to writing the plans itself.  O.k. so I'm being a bit dramatic, but I was guilty of buying a million different planners instead of just fine tuning my planning. Once you find a planner that you like, stick with it and fine tune the small things that don't work.  When you start over with a new format every year, you add to your workload of figuring things out.  For example, I started with a digital planner from AMT.  I loved that I could customize everything, the format was perfect for writing plans,  but I'm not so particular that I feel the need to print my own.  So the next year I bought a spiral bound pre-printed lesson planner.  It was the same format that I was used to because it was from the same publisher.  Now I fixed the problem of doing all the printing myself,   BUT I had resources that I wanted to add and they were falling out of the planner. The next year I bought a pre-printed binder from AMT.  This my friends was the honey pot that I had been looking for.  The format was familiar and everything that I had been using was included, I didn't have to print it myself and now I could just open the binder and add my resources so that I could use them the next year.  PERFECTION!

Click here to find ideas and strategies for making lesson planning simple.  You'll see how to break down the process from a yearly outline to a daily lesson plan.  Resources and ideas for making your busy life less hectic when it comes to lesson planning are included.  There is even a year's worth of 2nd grade lesson outlines included for free.  {lesson plans, lesson outlines, 2nd, 3rd, homeschool, second, third}


So now it's all about the details.  Once you know what standards you will be teaching, you can plan day to day.  Consider sticking with a standard for at least a week or so.  This is especially important in the beginning of the year.  As the year goes on, you can add multiple standards to the same lesson and grow in rigor this way.  You want to state:  What the student will learn, how they will learn it, and how you will hold them accountable.  For example:  The students will read "Grizzly Bears" whole group while the teacher charts the questions and answers they are discussing.  The students will work with a partner to record 3 questions and answers with accuracy in their reading notebooks.  (If you check out my store, I have more lesson ideas that are coupled with print and teach materials.)  When I first start teaching new standards or change grades, I try to write out one lesson from each subject in long format.  That means I type out word for word what I'm teaching, saying and what the kids are doing.  I write the questions for every lesson on a separate paper to keep with me.  This helps me to keep lesson planning shorter, but my teaching more effective.

Hopefully you have found a couple of tricks here to make your lesson planning a little more effortless.  All of my lesson plans are published on this blog from the previous year.  If you are a second or third grade teacher you can use what I published to sketch out all of your lesson plans.  This blog post will kick off another year of lesson plans and hopefully I'll be able to add more anchor charts and visuals for you now that I have the lesson planning portion done.  If you haven't subscribed to my e-mail, I would recommend you do because e -mail subscribers receive resources that are exclusive to them and support my lesson plans. If you don't get the e-mail pop-up, you can email me at:  amylabrasciano@yahoo.com and I will add you to the list.

Click below to find the first of last year's lesson plans.

Click here to find ideas and strategies for making lesson planning simple.  You'll see how to break down the process from a yearly outline to a daily lesson plan.  Resources and ideas for making your busy life less hectic when it comes to lesson planning are included.  There is even a year's worth of 2nd grade lesson outlines included for free.  {lesson plans, lesson outlines, 2nd, 3rd, homeschool, second, third}

Helping Children With Anxiety in School with Splat the Cat

Click here to find ideas for anxiety in the classroom and adjectives.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart for the very engaging book Splat The Cat  by Rob Scotton.  Get your back to school plans ready.   Perfect for elementary classrooms and homeschool children.  {kindergarten, first, second, k, 1st, 2nd}

Anxiety among children is on the rise.  We, as teachers, don't need a study to tell us this because we see it every day in the classroom.  Splat the Cat is a great book to start a conversation about how we can handle anxiety.  Watch the video below to see how to tie this book into standards.  Be sure to  check out my post on teacher anxiety if you think it will help.

Click here to find ideas for anxiety in the classroom and adjectives.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart for the very engaging book Splat The Cat  by Rob Scotton.  Get your back to school plans ready.   Perfect for elementary classrooms and homeschool children.  {kindergarten, first, second, k, 1st, 2nd}


Click here to find ideas for anxiety in the classroom and adjectives.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart for the very engaging book Splat The Cat  by Rob Scotton.  Get your back to school plans ready.   Perfect for elementary classrooms and homeschool children.  {kindergarten, first, second, k, 1st, 2nd}



If you are experiencing teacher anxiety, check out this post.

Click here to find ideas for classroom anxiety for students and a link to a post for teachers.  Perfect for those times when you need a little help overcoming anxiety.

Substitute Creacher

Click here to find ideas for substitute teacher lesson plans.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart for the very engaging book Substitute Creacher by Chris Gall.  Get your emergency sub plans ready.  Back to School time is a great time to be prepared.  Perfect for all elementary classrooms.  {kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, fifth, k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th} #substituteteacher #backtoschool

Substitute lesson plans are an unwanted necessity for teachers.  Every year I put it off until the emergency rears it's ugly head because who has time for that, right?!?!?!? Well this year I dug deep down inside and decided to come up with a lesson that we can get ready and have on hand for when the dreaded emergency arises.  If the emergency never arises, I suggest you take a mental health day, (ok say take one even if you have an emergency).

So what's more fun and engaging than a book about monsters? How about a substitute teacher teaching about a substitute teacher monster!  You could leave the anchor chart below with the book and even a link to my descriptive video.  For social studies the substitute can use the book to set classroom expectations for how to behave when substitute teachers are in the classroom. The substitute can work with the class to find key details and locate the lesson.  When the lesson is over students work independently on retelling the story and explaining the lesson in writing. For writing students can write a narrative piece about what they would do if they were changed into a monster.  As an added bonus I have written the reading long lesson out along with a graphic organizer.  You can find it here.  Have you signed up for my newsletter yet? Subscribers receive free resources with every newsletter including print and teach lessons on Dolphins.    Have a great week!
 
Click here to find ideas for substitute teacher lesson plans.  Included are ideas and  an anchor chart for the very engaging book Substitute Creacher by Chris Gall.  Get your emergency sub plans ready.  Back to School time is a great time to be prepared.  Perfect for all elementary classrooms.  {kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, fifth, k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th}