Tricks and Treats from Teach Two Reach

Hellloooo fall! The best season of the year.. :) I'm here today to share with you some tricks that have worked in my classroom and a sweet little treat!

Main Idea and Details

I think teaching about main idea and details is right up there on the list of tough comprehension concepts to teach little ones - right alongside plot. For young kiddos like first and second graders, it's difficult for them to grasp their head around what the main idea is. 

I like to start off by having them pretend they are detectives. We learn that the main idea is WHAT THE WHOLEEEE STORY IS ABOUT. The details have to PROVE that main idea. 

I show them the following anchor chart. We imagine that the main idea is in the form of the cloud. It is the biggest thing and what the story is mostly about. The raindrops that come out of it are the details. They come out of the cloud, that means, whatever they tell me the details of a story are, must PROVE or tell more about the main idea. It can't be some random raindrop from another cloud. 

Next, we practice this concept with short paragraphs. I show them a paragraph with the topic sentence being the main idea, and then some detail sentences. 3 of them deal with the topic and one doesn't. We do whole model lessons about which one is a random raindrop and which ones are the actual raindrops coming from the main idea cloud.

Here in this picture, students practiced underlining the main idea sentence in red, details in green, and crossing out the random detail.

We always tie the comprehension skill into the basal story for the week. This week we read a short non fiction text on astronauts in space. Sometimes, non fiction can be easier to teach main idea because the details are pretty straight forward. 

We worked together filling in the cloud and details organizer to go along with this topic. 

Once they were able to provide me with the main idea and three details they read about astronauts in space, they got to create their Main Idea hat. And this is where the TREATS part comes in for you. 

I gave students a boy or 
 Main Idea Star template. They also got four rectangles - one for the title and main idea of the story, and three rectangles for three different details and pictures. 

Then I cut long construction paper to the approximate size of the kids' heads. Students had to complete this graphic organizer dealing with the story of the week. Then they glued the boy or girl at the beginning of the construction paper slip, followed by the main idea and the three details. I stapled the hat together at the end. 

You can pick up the template for this HERE or by clicking on the  picture.

BUT THERE'S ONE MORE TREAT FOR YOU. You can enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win this Teacher {Heart} Full t-shirt. Check it out here in my Etsy store. It's a super comfy relaxed fit ladies' tee and the heart is in this beautiful glitter that is so much prettier in real life than in the picture!

Thanks for visiting! Good luck in the contest.. ;) 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tricks and Treats {From The Kindergarten Connection}

Fall is here, and Halloween is just around the corner! It's on a Monday this year too, which is kind of like every teacher's nightmare.

But we are here to help make Halloween more exciting this year with some tricks and treats for you! (As in, teacher tips and free resources - yay!)

Teacher Tricks

In thinking back on this past school year, I settled on my top 3 tips that either made things easier for me, or more fun for my students.

1. Spray Paint Your Magnetic Letters

This fabulous organization trick was sent to me by TeacherKel (find her here on Instagram!) and she allowed me to share her fabulous photo setup with my readers.

Use spray paint (check labels of course and be sure you are doing so safely) to color code your magnets for word work centers.

No more mixed letters - the individual sets will stay organized!

2. Fun Pens in the Writing Center

If you have a writing center, write the room, or anything of the sort, fun pens or unique writing tools are essential! 

It increases interest and engagement instantly, and provides kids a break from traditional pencil writing. 

I got these fun pens from Scholastic, but you could pick up some on Amazon, the dollar store - anywhere you see them. 

3. Color Sort Your Extra Crayons

The teacher before me had a ton of these small microwave meal trays (because we all know teachers save everything, and I was glad she did!) but any small container or drawer set would work. 

I put crayons in them on a shared shelf space. If anyone needs a color they don't have, they can just run over and grab one. 

No more, "I don't have a pink!" or color searching chaos. 

Teacher Treats!

Treats and freebies are always fun, right? Well, I have a fun freebie for you that is perfect for fall!

Turkey Ten Frames is great for a quick and fun math center. Head over and grab your copy by clicking the link or photo below.

Tricks & Treats {ALL Y'all Need}

Hello, I'm Lisa from ALL Y'all Need and I can't believe it's almost Halloween! This year has really flown by! My Pre-K kiddos have really been focusing on mastering syllables and learning the alphabet. 

My trick...

Don't be afraid to use props to master concepts! This week, we have been stomping out word parts with our monster feet. I have a sweet Grandmother of one of my students made these adorable monster feet for me! They are made out of foam and all purpose craft glue. 

My treat...

We have also played a "Find the Monster" alphabet game. This game has been an absolute hit! Some of my kiddos have very little exposure to the alphabet and others are ready to begin guided reading. So, all of my alphabet games have to have the ability to meet all of my students' needs. Our theme this week is Monsters and it is truly one of my most favorite weeks! 

Click on the picture to grab your copy of the game! 

Happy teaching!

Tricks and Treats {from Aloha to Second}

I have a few tricks that I use in my classroom.  One of my tricks is to give each student a name tag necklace.  I write something on it, such as a skill they need to work on.  My students have been working on letters and sounds, so I have been writing letters on their necklace for them.  Then, throughout the day teachers or students will ask them to state the letter and sound.  This is so easy, and my kids benefit greatly from it!  I have so many students that are picking up their letters and sounds quicker because of this.  They also love wearing the necklaces. 

Another trick I have is to write on post it notes skills my kids need to practice. Each week I assess my students on various skills.  If they have not mastered the skill, then I write it down on a post-it note.  I put the post-it notes on my clipboard that holds my lesson plans.  Throughout the day/week, I'll flip up my lesson plans and quickly assess my students on the skills on the post-it notes. 


Here is a treat for you!  It is a fun number match with pumpkins!  My kids loved it.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by!  I hope you enjoy the tricks and treats. :]

Tricks & Treats from The Learning Chambers

Halloween is just around the corner and that means it's time again for EE's Tricks and Treats.  The Elementary Entourage bloggers will be sharing some of their favorite teaching tricks and tips.  We will also have some terrific teaching treats just for our readers!  Make sure you stop by each day for some trick or treating fun!

I am very excited to share some teaching tricks to help you implement an ozobot challenge into your classroom.  I love STEM challenges that involve programming and the ozobots have definitely been a class favorite lately.  Here are some tips and tricks to help you implement a challenge that uses both quadrants and coordinates.

My first trick is to make sure that you give your students time to explore.  It will really help with classroom management and will also give your students time to work through challenges and learn how to use the ozobots independently.

My second trick is to align your ozobot challenge to something that your students are currently learning about.  My students were learning about x and y coordinates and the four quadrants, so our ozobot challenge centered around that.

After our lesson, I gave the students a piece of grid paper and a checklist.  The students had to find the point of origin and then label the x and y coordinates.  As part of the challenge, they had to determine the starting part or where their ozobot would start.  Then we used ozoblockly to program our ozobot to complete "tricks" inside of the grid.  The challenge was to make sure that our ozobot stayed inside the grid.  It was a challenge but a fun one!

Do you want to have your students complete this ozobot challenge using quadrants and coordinates?  I have this freebie as a treat just for you!  I included several different grid paper sizes for easy differentiation and also an easy to follow checklist.  I hope this helps you implement the coordinates challenge into your classroom.

Click HERE to grab your treat!

Tricks & Treats from Enchanted Kinder Garden

It's finally fall and I love everything that October brings. With that in mind, my favorite thing to teach is pumpkins. I'm not sure why, but I love all of the exploring, the new learning, the investigations and everything that pumpkins bring to my classroom. It's always been one of my favorites and will continue to be. 

9 books you need for OctoberMy first must have book is Piggie Pie. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this book. In the story, a witch wants some piggie pie, but she doesn't have ONE ingredient. The story takes you through all of the craziness that the pigs do to stay hidden from the witch. I always tell my kids that I luckily found some pigs and we're going to make piggie pie. *insert everyone freaking out* We actually make pumpkin pie in a cup, but my kids don't know it. I crush and set everything up before we read the story. This way, they don't see any boxes that tell what it is they're really eating. It is hilarious to see them make such funny faces. We respond to the story with  a what would they do if they were the pigs. It's always fun to allow the children to place themselves inside of the book and become that character. In this case, they were a group of pigs that did not want to become pie for the witch.

My second is Seed, Sprout, Pumpkin, Pie. If you're in need of a book that has some great pictures - this is one of them! It shows some very detailed pictures of the life cycle and things that can be made from pumpkins.

A few other fun books include I Like Pumpkins, The Biggest Pumpkin Ever, From Seed to Pumpkin, The Legend of Spookley The Square Pumpkin and Pumpkin Town. Pumpkin Town is a favorite for me to use to teach sequence. It's about some brothers that plant seeds and mistakenly throw them over into the next town. The seeds land EVERYWHERE and creates a town full of pumpkins.

I have a HUGE collection of fall/October themed books. The reason that I love October themes so much is because they're so much fun to teach and they're so easy to plan. I have a few different reading response sheets and learning sheets to help you get through the month of October. See it as my treat to you!

Free October reading responses

I absolutely love the story I Need my Monster! I got this book after October last year through Donor's Choose. It's about a boy who usually has a monster under his bed. Well, the monster goes on a little trip and the boy just HAS to have his monster back. It goes through various monsters and is a really neat and funny book to read.

We talked about what would make a scary monster and responded to the story and made an easy craft. The response sheet can be downloaded above. The monster craft can be downloaded here:
Free October reading response and a craft
You can grab the freebie here.

Tricks & Treats from Mrs. Plemons' Kindergarten

Fall is in full swing here in Wisconsin and Halloween is just around the corner, which means costumes, pumpkins and trick or treat. But trick or treat isn't just for the kids, here at The Elementary Entourage our bloggers will be sharing some awesome teaching tricks along with fabulous teaching treats just for our readers! So be sure to stop by each day for trick or treat teaching style ;)
Do you struggle to keep your students engaged throughout the day? I think we all do at some point! The days can be long especially for our littlest learners, and I don't know about you but I can't sit at a desk for long periods of time either. So I bring you a little teaching trick to boost student engagement!
Getting those kiddos moving is a sure fire way to increase student engagement. And did you know the part of the brain that processes movement also processes learning, so incorporating movement with learning as much as possible is really a brain based teaching strategy. (Remember to pull that little bit of info out that next time your admin comes in and the kids look like they are running wild...)

One of my FAVORITE games to get students up and moving this time of year is letter/number hunts.  These games are super easy to set up and help students practice fluency with identifying letters/numbers. There are lots of ways to differentiate these games as well.
I started playing these games with Madelynn at home so here is how we play at her level:

1. Set up the game by writing letters or numbers on large shape cut outs, or use printed letter/number cards. Hide the cards all over the room.
2. Clip a page with all of the letters/numbers that she needs to find on a clipboard.
3. Madelynn searches the room to find each letter/number on her page. She has to match it, name it, and color it before moving on to another card.

In the classroom you could do so many variations with this game. You could have students match the letters or numbers like we did, or you could match upper/lower case letters, count sets and find the number, practice letter/number writing on the response sheet, and so much more! When playing with a whole class or even just small groups you'd just need to remind students to leave the cards where they found them instead of collecting them along the way like Madelynn and I did.

If you want to try this activity out, I have a little treat for you!
You can grab my Apple and Leaf Hunt activities for FREE here:

Looking for more activities like these? I'm finishing up a full set of fall themed letter and number hunts that will be posted soon. Be sure to follow my store here so you will be notified as soon as they are ready!

Thanks and happy trick or treating :)