writing Archives - Tales from Outside the Classroom
I am thankful for... Thanksgiving writing activity and computer screen

I Am Thankful For Thanksgiving Writing Activity

With Thanksgiving around the corner you might be looking for seasonal writing activities. With this year being what it is, I wanted to design a digital Thanksgiving writing activity so it could work in any school setting: traditional in person, hybrid, or virtual learning. I am not a big celebrator of Thanksgiving. It’s a complicated holiday. I do, however, focus my Thanksgiving work in the classroom around being thankful. Our conversations in the classroom revolve

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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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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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A Look at our ELA Test Prep

I wish I could say we don’t spend any of our instructional time on ELA test prep.  I wish I could say that the tests were straightforward and gave me quality data to help make instructional decisions about my kids’ learning track.  I wish I could say that the tests were painless and worthwhile.  I wish I could say that they were fair, developmentally appropriate, and measured my kids’ knowledge fairly.  I wish I could

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RAFT Writing: Teaching students to analyze writing prompts

RAFT Writing

I first heard of RAFT writing several years ago as a strategy for students to show their content knowledge beyond just writing reports.  Most of the suggestions for use have been in upper grades classrooms, especially in middle school and high school.  It’s also a common format for writing in content areas to have students demonstrate their understanding of the topic that has been learned- often as a product at the end of the unit. 

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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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