2021 - Tales from Outside the Classroom

Addition & Subtraction Word Problem Types

Word problems are often a teacher’s biggest struggle in math. Have you said things like “The kids don’t understand them.” and “They grab the numbers out and do a random operation.” We try so many different methods to try and help, and they fall short. Because often, our focus isn’t on teaching students the operations explicitly. And teaching them explicitly is what we need to do! The Common Core State Standards lay out the different

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Why your Kids Struggle with Word Problems and what to do sintead

Why Your Students Struggle with Word Problems

If you’ve been a teacher for any longer than a year, you know many of your kids struggle with word problems. And by many, it could be most of your kids. Or, it could be just a few but it happens every single year. You might have tried a variety of problem solving strategies with students. You might have found one you really like and think will be “it” but then still have a crew

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Building Phonemic Awareness through Phonics

Building Phonemic Awareness through Phonics

Phonics and phonemic awareness are sometimes confused, likely because they are related. Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear and manipulate the sounds, phonemes, in words. Phonics is the relationship between the sounds of the spoken language and the letters and groups of letters, graphemes, of the written language. Phonemic awareness is critical for applying phonics skills. Students can learn and memorize graphemes, but if they cannot manipulate phonemes, they will struggle in their reading and spelling

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phonemic awareness activities

Phonemic Awareness Activities

In continuing my posts on phonological awareness, we’re focusing on phonemic awareness activities. If you missed my posts on What is Phonological Awareness and What is Phonemic Awareness, you might find it helpful to begin there. All of the activities in this post are without letters/print. When working on beginning phonemic awareness tasks, it’s critical that this practice does not include work with letters. The cognitive load required to do the phonemic awareness task and

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What is Phonemic Awareness

What is Phonemic Awareness?

Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear and manipulate the sounds in words. It is the final component of phonological awareness. These two terms are sometimes incorrectly used interchangeably. The important distinction between the two is that phonemic awareness is on the phoneme level. It is under the umbrella of phonological awareness. Thus, a phonemic awareness task is a phonological awareness task but the inverse may not be true. Let’s start with a few key

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Hi! I'm Tessa!

Tessa Maguire image

I’ve spent the last 15 years teaching in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades, and working beside elementary classrooms as an instructional coach and resource support. I’m passionate about math, literacy, and finding ways to make teachers’ days easier. I share from my experiences both in and out of the elementary classroom.

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