How to Catch an Elf Display

How to Catch an Elf

Last year, I found the book How to Catch an Elf through Scholastic and fell in love with it immediately!  If you don’t know it, the elves and Santa go through various contraptions that are set in an effort to catch them.  After reading it, I was inspired to create a fun, thematic, procedural writing unit with the book as the jumping point.  If you aren’t familiar with the book, you can find it on

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Dolch Sight Word Turkeys Example

Sight Words Turkeys

Learning sight words can be tricky and I’m always looking for new ways for students to practice their sight word recognition.  One of the best way to improve students’ abilities to read sight words, is by having them read the words in various settings and fonts.  Often, while doing sandwich drills with flash cards, I’d grow frustrated that students would know the word when they were working with me, but if they saw it anywhere

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Journal writing in the classroom

Journal Prompt Writing in the Classroom

I used to use journal prompts as a quick and easy center, or in my morning work rotation.  Over time, I started to only use prompts during the first couple weeks of the school year when we weren’t quite into our regular routines and I needed something students could easily do without having to spend too much time on procedures and expectations.  Then, those journals would sit in the students’ desks for months at a

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Guided Reading Organization and Planning Tips with kidney shaped table

Guided Reading: Organization and Planning Tips

As a first and second grade teacher, my guided reading time is probably the most important and crucial time of my day.  It’s where the magic happens: where students become readers.  It also can be cumbersome and quickly dominate my planning time.  I’ve had up to 6 different reading groups at a time with levels ranging from A to M in first grade!  That’s a ton of levels to plan for, a ton of skills

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A Close Look at Reading Fluency through Supported Reading- girl with magnifying glass and books

A Close Look at Fluency: Supported Reading

I’m continuing to look at ways to improve my students’ reading fluency using The Fluent Reader by Tim Rasinski.  As with nearly everything in teaching students, fluency should be taught and practiced following a gradual release model.  When we read aloud we are modeling fluent reading for our students- read more about using read alouds to improve students’ reading fluency.  The scaffolding stage, or oral supported reading, gives developing or struggling readers supports from a

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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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