All Posts By

Melissa Nikohl

  • Books to Help Kids Learn About Hurricane Katrina

    The easiest way to share information about a topic is by reading books. Hurricane Katrina is a natural disaster that all kids should know about. These books about Hurricane Katrina are a great way to encourage discussions and research about this violent storm. #stembooksforkids #hurricanebooks #hurricanekatrinabooksforkids

    The easiest way to share information about a topic is by reading books. Hurricane Katrina is a natural disaster that all kids should know about. These books about Hurricane Katrina are a great way to encourage discussions and research about this violent storm. #stembooksforkids #hurricanebooks #hurricanekatrinabooksforkids

    In August of 2005, one of the deadliest hurricanes hit New Orleans and other parts of  the Gulf Coast. I remember being in college, watching it on the news. I remember my college taking in other college students who were displaced by the storm. I remember Kanye West’s unforgettable quote. Hurricane Katrina killed almost 2,000 people; over 700 people were never found.

    In just three years, we will be able to say, none of our students were alive when it happened. That makes me feel a little old, but it makes it even more important to me to make sure I share what happened to my students every year. 

    This list contains books to read to any school-aged child. Use these books to build connections, but don’t stop there. Have your child or students research more information. For the younger students, share age-appropriate information. We cannot forget what happened before and after Katrina hit.

    I will update this list as I find more books! Follow me on Instagram to get updates and ideas for other books to read at home or at school! If there’s a book you think I should add, comment below!

    Just a friendly reminder, I am an Amazon Affiliate, so if you decided to use the links below to purchase the books, I do get a commission.

    Also, for complete transparency, there are some books on this list that I have not read. When I make book lists I always read the books before posting. Since there are several chapter books/novels on this list I have not had time to read them all just yet, but I will! This is the only book list on my website with books I haven’t read. 

    A Storm Called Katrina by Myron Uhlberg

    A Storm Called Katrina is a picture book that follows Louis Daniel and his family as they abandoned their home in search for higher ground. This may be a longer book for a kindergartner or first grader, but it could be broken up and read over a few days. 

    Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans by Phil Bildner

    In this picture book we learn about the sanitation worker who begins cleaning up after Katrina just like it was an ordinary day. His spirit encourages neighbors and volunteers to help with cleaning up the city. Being that I’m not for New Orleans, I really appreciated the pronunciation guide in the back of the book.

    Hurricane Katrina Rescue (Ranger in Time #8) by Kate Messner 

    Hurricane Katrina Rescue is a beginner chapter book that I think is meant for second and third graders (just a suggestion). Ranger is a time traveling dog who helps Clare find  her family. I have not read any of the other books in this series, but I thought that this was a good book to help students relate to the those impacted by the store. I also liked that they included real pictures from the storm so that the reader can see the damage.

    Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes

    The Ninth Ward is a novel geared toward middle schoolers. There’s actually an excerpt of this book in our 6th grade textbooks. 

    In this novel, we meet 12 year-old Lanesha who lives with Mama Ya-Ya. The Ninth Ward gives the reader a more realistic version of what happened once the hurricane hit. 

    Zane and the Hurricane: A Story of Katrina by Rodman Philbrick

    Zane and the Hurricane is one of the books on this list I haven’t read, but it was recommended by my former teammate! She reads tons of books and picks great ones to read to her students, so I completely trust her recommendation.

    In this book, we follow Zane and his dog, Bandit as they try to survive Hurricane Katrina. This novel is perfect for upper elementary and middle school students. 

    A Place Where Hurricanes Happen by Renee Watson

    A Place Where Hurricanes Happen follows four friends in New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina. Once Katrina hits, each family has their own experience with the arrival of the storm. This is a great book to show how everyone who was affected by Hurricane Katrina had a different experience.

    Saint Louis Armstrong Beach By Brenda Woods

    Here’s another novel I haven’t read…yet. I’ve started the book (read two chapters) and I think it’s going to be really good. According to the reviews, it’s a good book!

    Saint Louis Armstrong Beach is not a place but a boy who lives in Treme. Saint tells the story of his life before, during, and after Katrina with his best friend, the neighborhood dog Shadow. Upper elementary and middle school students would enjoy this book. I’ll update the post once I’m done reading!

    There are a couple more books I want to at least have in my possession before I put them on the list! I will update the list once I get a chance to read them. Follow me on Instagram to look for updates!

  • A Sparkly List Of Unicorn Picture Books

    Are you looking for unicorn picture books? Then this list is for you! These Unicorn books are perfect addition to your home and classroom library.

    Are you looking for unicorn picture books? Then this list is for you! These Unicorn books are perfect addition to your home and classroom library.

    I think it is safe to say that just about everyone loves unicorns! These books are all excellent choices to check out from the library or buy!

    I will update this list as I find more books! Follow me on Instagram to get updates and ideas for other picture books! If there’s a book you think I should add, comment below!

    Just a friendly reminder, I am an Amazon Affiliate, so if you decided to use the links below to purchase the books, I do get a commission.

     

    Unicorns 101 by Cale Atkinson

    Unicorns 101 gives you everything you need to know about these mythical creatures!⁣ If your kiddo or students love unicorns, this is a book they must read!

     

    It’s Okay to Be a Unicorn! by Jason Tharp

     
    Believe it or not, some unicorns, don’t want to be unicorns! In It’s Okay to Be a Unicorn, Cornelius J. Sparklesteed doesn’t want people to know that he is a unicorn, so he pretends to be a horse. Cornelius just wants to fit in, but he learns that he shouldn’t hide who he is and that you should always be yourself!
     
     

    You Don’t Want a Unicorn by Ame Dyckman

     
    So everybody thinks unicorns are cool, but have you ever owned one? In You Don’t Want a Unicorn, we learn why owning one might not be a good idea. 
     
     

    Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great by Bob Shea

    Goat had a great life until Unicorn showed up. Goat was confident until Unicorn showed up. Compared to Unicorn, nothing he does is cool. Goat eventually meets Unicorn and finds out that Unicorn isn’t as confident as he thinks he is.

     

    Little Unicorn feels different emotions, sometimes he is shy. This book is great to read to kids who sometimes feel uncomfortable being the center of attention.

     

    Unicorn is Maybe Not So Great After All by Bob Shea

    It’s the first day of school and Unicorn is expecting to get everyone’s attention. When he arrives at school something else has everyone’s attention. Nobody notices him! So, Unicorn tries to find a way to make people love him again.

     

    A Unicorn Named Sparkle by Amy Young

    Lucy orders a unicorn for 25 cents. When the unicorn arrives, he is not what she expected. This book is hilarious! It’s definitely in my top 3 of books on this list!

     

    Sophie Johnson, Unicorn Expert by Morag Hood

    Sophie has the important job of training Unicorns. Even though she is an expert, she still has some learning to do.

     

    Unicorn (and Horse) by David Miles

    Unicorn and Horse are completely different. Unicorn can do so many things that Horse cannot. Horse doesn’t think he’s all that special until he has to do something that nobody else can do.

     

    Little Unicorn Is Scared by Aurélie Chien Chow Chin

    Little Unicorn gets scared like everyone else. Sometimes his fears keep him up at night. When Little Unicorn gets really bad he does breathing exercises to tame his fears. Little Unicorn shares the techniques in hopes that the reader will use them to whenever they feel frightened.

     

    Kevin the Unicorn:It’s Not All Rainbows by Jessika von Innerebner

    Out of all of the social emotional books on this list, this one is my favorite!

    Kevin usually always has good days, but today for the first time something feels different. Kevin goes through the day trying to be positive but it’s not working. By the middle of the day he can no longer pretend that he is doing okay and he learns it is okay to have a bad day. 

    Unicorns are the bomb! Add these books to your classroom or home library today.

  • Diverse Picture Books for Art and Music Teachers

    Music and Art Teachers should definitely join in the fun of reading to students. There are tons of books that can be read in those classes that work effortlessly! All teachers should have a diverse classroom library! Check out this list to use in your classroom now! #musicteacher #artteacher #diverseclassroomlibrary

    Music and Art Teachers should definitely join in the fun of reading to students. There are tons of books that can be read in those classes that work effortlessly! All teachers should have a diverse classroom library! Check out this list to use in your classroom now! #musicteacher #artteacher #diverseclassroomlibrary

    Books can be and should be read in every classroom! I really wanted to make this list for music and art teachers to help encourage literacy in your classroom. I can see your creative minds using these books to create engaging lessons!

    I will update this list as I find more books! Follow me on Instagram to get updates and ideas for other picture books! If there’s a book you think I should add, comment below!

    Just a friendly reminder, I am an Amazon Affiliate, so if you decided to use the links below to purchase the books, I do get a commission.

    Too Much Glue by Jason Lefebvre

    Matty LOVES glue, like most kids do, but his love is a little extreme. One day in art class he goes overboard and he finds himself in a sticky mess. 

    I know art and classroom teachers can relate to this one. Why must they use so much glue???!!!

     

    When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop by Laban Carrick Hill

    DJ Kool Herc, one of the grandfather’s of Hip-Hop. A lot of the music that students enjoy today can be traced back to DJ Kool Herc. Use this book to teach students how the music they love today got started. 

     

    Between the Lines: How Ernie Barnes Went from the Football Field to the Art Gallery by Sandra Neil Wallace

    This is an excellent book to show students that it is okay to have multiple interests. 

    Ernie Barnes always wanted to become an artist, but his art career got sidetracked when he was drafted to play in the NFL.⁣

    My students loved how he was a football player and an artist, especially my boys!⁣

     

    How Jelly Roll Morton Invented Jazz by Jonah Winter

    Jelly Roll Morton was one of the early jazz composers that helped make jazz well known. If you let him tell it, he invented jazz. ⁣

    Whether or not he is credited as the inventor of jazz, ⁣his contributions, of course, laid the foundation for other jazz musicians.

     

    Who Stole Mona Lisa? by Ruthie Knapp

    What I loved about Who Stole Mona Lisa? is that the author tells the story from Mona Lisa’s point of view! ⁣

    In 1911 she was stolen, and we learn about what she goes through those two years she was missing!⁣

    My students and I were not expecting how fun this book would be, add this to your list!!⁣

    Celia Cruz, Queen of Salsa by Veronica Chambers

    Cuban singer Celia Cruz was known for her amazing voice as a child. People would often stop outside her house to hear her sing. ⁣

    My students didn’t know who she was when I read the book, but when I played a few of her songs many students were able to recognize her voice.

     

    In Her Hands: The Story of Sculptor Augusta Savage by Alan Schroeder

    Augusta Savage was a sculptor from Florida who moved to New York City to attend art school.⁣⁣

    ⁣⁣She was so talented she completed two years of school in 6 weeks!⁣⁣

    ⁣⁣Augusta eventually shared her love of art and became an art teacher. In Harlem, she opened an art studio where she would help children discover their love of art.⁣⁣

    ⁣⁣Augusta made busts of W.E.B. Du Bois and Marcus Garvey! Her most famous art piece was Gamin, a bust of an African American boy. ⁣⁣

     

    Pocket Full of Colors: The Magical World of Mary Blair, Disney Artist Extraordinaire by Amy Guglielmo and Jacqueline Tourville

    Did you know that Mary Blair was the lead designer for Disney World’s It’s a Small World boat ride?⁣

    She also did some design work for Disney movies, Cinderella and Peter Pan. ⁣

    Do you remember Little Golden Books? Well, she illustrated some of those as well!⁣

     

    A Voice Named Aretha by Katheryn Russell-Brown

    A Voice Named Aretha starts when the Queen of Soul was a child. The reader learns she always had a powerful voice, and even as a child her voice drew crowds.

    When she was young, you could find tons of celebrities enjoying the company of her family. Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr were frequent visitors of the Franklin home.

    My students thought they didn’t know who Aretha was until I played RESPECT. 

     

    Queen of Tejano Music: Selena by Silvia Lopez

    Selena takes us through Selena’s life, starting with her childhood. ⁣I could see music and art teachers using this book because Selena also designed her own clothes. 

    This is a long book, but luckily there are great starting and stopping points that make it easy to take your time. ⁣

     

    A is for Audra: Broadway’s Leading Ladies from A to Z by John Robert Allman

    This book lists the amazing leading ladies of Broadway! All of my music and theater art teachers will appreciate this book.

     

    Women Artists A to Z by Melanie LaBarge

    Women Artist A to Z is another book filled with amazing women. There are brief descriptions for each woman listed in the book. 

    I only knew three artists listed; Frida Kahlo, Maya Lin, and Georgia O’Keefe.⁣

     


    Anywhere Artist by Nikki Slade Robinson

    This book is all about a little girl who can make art anywhere and out of anything! I can see art teachers using this book at the beginning of the year to show students that anyone can be an artist. 

    Music and art teachers should read to their students frequently, especially since there is an abundance of amazing art and music themed picture books in school libraries! I’ve heard numerous principals say  “all teachers are reading teachers” and I agree.

    The books listed above should be a great starting point to help build your classroom library. Happy reading!

  • Really Cool Picture Books About Animals

    What kid doesn't like animals? This list of books are kid approved list that will engage any reader! Read these books are good enough to read at home or in your class! #classroombooks

    What kid doesn't like animals? This list of books are kid approved list that will engage any reader! Read these books are good enough to read at home or in your class! #classroombooks

    What kid doesn’t like books about animals? I haven’t met a single one. This list contains some of the most engaging animal books I’ve used in my classroom!

    I will update this list as I find more books! Follow me on Instagram to get updates and ideas for other picture books! If there’s a book you think I should add, comment below!

    Just a friendly reminder, I am an Amazon Affiliate, so if you decided to use the links below to purchase the books, I do get a commission.

    If Sharks Disappeared

    by Lily Williams

    If you’re doing a unit or study of saving the environment or predators and prey, this is a great book to include.

    If  Sharks Disappeared explains why we need sharks and how we all benefit from them. This is also a great book to use to introduce new science vocabulary.

    What Do They Do with All That Poo? by Jane Kurtz

    Prepared for your kids to be grossed out! But they will love it!  What Do They Do with All That Poo? shares all the information you maybe didn’t want to know about how some animals go number 2. This is a must read! It is sooooo fun!

    When Sue Found Sue: Sue Hendrickson Discovers Her T. Rex by Toni Buzzeo

    I enjoyed this book because I have a personal connection to SUE the T-Rex.

    I’ve seen SUE the Tyrannosaurus Rex several times as a kid when visiting my dad in Chicago.⁣

    While digging around in South Dakota in 1990, Sue Hendrickson found SUE.⁣

    If you read this book to your students or children, go to The Field Museum’s website to check out SUE.

    Give Bees a Chance by Bethany Barton

     
    Give Bees a Chance is always a hit because kids love talking about bees!
    ⁣⁣
    Before we read, I always ask  my students to share their stories about getting stung by a bee! My students love to talk about themselves (and who doesn’t), so it is a great way to get them to make an instant connection to the book. 
     
    Give Bees a Chance gives the reader information about bees and why they are important to the environment. 
     

    If Elephants Disappeared by Lily Williams

    Over the years I have really loved learning about elephants. They are intelligent and beautiful animals.

    If Elephants Disappeared gives facts about elephants and explains how hunters are on track to forcing these animals into extinction. 

    This is another great book to discuss saving the environment and protecting animals. If you like this series, check out If Polar Bears Disappeared.

    Surprising Sharks by Nicola Davies

    If you’re looking for book with a variety of different species of sharks, this is the book for you!

    Surprising Sharks not only gives the reader facts about the different kinds of sharks, the author does an amazing job of explaining why humans should not be afraid of sharks. Sharks should be afraid of humans. This book is always a hit.

     

    Hippos Are Huge! by Jonathan London

    In Hippos Are Huge the reader learns how fast hippos can run, their mating rituals, how they fight, why they “yawn” and more!⁣

    This is another great animal book to add to your list.

    How to Survive As a Firefly by Kristen Foote

    In How to Survive As a Firefly, a group of larvae gets schooled by an adult firefly on how to survive.⁣⁣
    ⁣⁣
    If your students or child is a fan of bugs, this is an excellent book that teaches the life cycle, metamorphosis, anatomy, and physiology. ⁣⁣

    FYI, we call them lightning bugs in the Midwest lol. 

    The Very Impatient Caterpillar by Ross Burach

    The Very Impatient Caterpillar is the perfect book to teach the life cycle of the butterfly. The book includes all the key vocabulary and entertaining dialogue to keep kids engaged!

  • Picture Books About Voting

    Are you looking for picture books about elections? Do you need diverse books about voting? Check out this amazing list to add to your classroom library! #diverseclassroomlibrary #diversebooks #picturebooksaboutvoting

     

    Are you looking for picture books about elections? Do you need diverse books about voting? Check out this amazing list to add to your classroom library! #diverseclassroomlibrary #diversebooks #picturebooksaboutvoting

    Picture books can help you teach almost anything! These books are great if you are doing a voting unit or if there is an upcoming election. 

    I will update this list as I find more books! Follow me on Instagram to get updates and ideas for other picture books! If there’s a book you think I should add, comment below!

    Just a friendly reminder, I am an Amazon Affiliate, so if you decided to use the links below to purchase the books, I do get a commission.

    Vote for Our Future by Margaret McNamara

    The students of Stanton Elementary are out of school because their school is a polling station for the day.⁣⁣
    ⁣⁣
    On their day off, the students encourage all of the adults in their community to get out and vote.⁣⁣
    ⁣⁣
    The author does a great job explaining key vocabulary words and concepts while telling a story.⁣⁣

    Equality’s Call: The Story of Voting Rights in America by Deborah Diesen

    In Equality’s Call, the reader learns the history of voting rights in the United States using rhyme and rhythm.  Kids will learn how voting began and who has been disenfranchised throughout history. 

    Sofia Valdez Future Prez by Andrea Beaty

    This is the latest addition to the The Questioneers Series and Sofia fits right in!⁣

    Sofia sees a problem in her community and she learns there’s a presidential way to solve it. 

    Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio

    Grace loses her cool when she finds out that the United States has never elected a female president. Ever. ⁣⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
    ⁣⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
    So, her teacher has a class president election, and of course, Grace is all in! She thinks it will be a breeze until the popular Thomas Cobb decides to enter the race. ⁣⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
    ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
    Grace learns that she’ll have work for the votes! 

    If you’re looking for a book to teach the branches of government, I highly recommend Grace Goes to Washington! It is EXCELLENT! 

    Lillian’s Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965

    Lillian is a 100 year old women who finally gets the right to vote. On her way to the polls she passes by all her family members that attempted to vote in the past.

    Lillian’s Right to Vote would pair really well with Equality’s Call

  • Wordless Picture Books

    Wordless Picture Books are a great way to get kids talking about books. Books with out words are also a great way to teach inferencing skills. These books are a great group of books to add to your diverse classroom library. Check out this list of wordless books to read at school or home! #wordlesspicturebooks #diverseclassroomlibrary

    Wordless Picture Books are a great way to get kids talking about books. Books with out words are also a great way to teach inferencing skills. These books are a great group of books to add to your diverse classroom library. Check out this list of wordless books to read at school or home! #wordlesspicturebooks  #diverseclassroomlibrary

    Wordless picture books are a great way to get kids talking about books! I love using them to work on inference skills and to hear their interpretations of the book. Their personalities really come out when they are able to  

    I will update this list as I find more books! Follow me on Instagram to get updates and ideas for other picture books! If there’s a book you think I should add, comment below!

    Just a friendly reminder, I am an Amazon Affiliate, so if you decided to use the links below to purchase the books, I do get a commission.

    Hike by Pete Oswald

    A father and child(you don’t  know if they are a boy or a girl) go on a day trip to the forest. They have fun, face some challenges while doing something good for the environment. When they get home the place their photo of their trip in a photo album, letting you know this is a family tradition. 

    Dandelion’s Dream by Yoko Tanaka

    A dandelion becomes a lion and sets off to explore the world. This is a great book to get kids talking about things that they wish they could do. 

    Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell

    A little girl and a wolf are lost in a snowstorm, together they find their way home.  This is a great book that can lead to discussions about working together to solve a problems. 

    The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett

    A little girl sees a bicycle in a store window and instantly knows she has to have it. So she works hard for months to get the bike of her dreams. 


    Chalk by Bill Thomson

    I LOVED this book. After a rainy day, a group of kids begins drawing different things that come to life. Be careful what you draw with chalk.

    Field Trip to the Moon by John Hare

    HATE field trips. Why? Because I’m terrified of losing a student. This book is my worst nightmare but makes a great book for kids. Lol

    A class goes on a field trip to outer space. One student falls asleep and gets left behind. Now he has to figure out what to do until he is rescued. This book is so fun!  

    I Walk With Vanessa: A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness by Kerascoet

    Vanessa is the new girl and is instantly a target for  A girl witnesses Vanessa being bullied and doesn’t know what to do. She eventually makes a decision to help her and then other kids follow. This is a great book for the beginning of the year.

    Wallpaper by Thao Lam

    A girl moves into a new house with her family and hears a group of kids playing outside. She’s too shy to join them so she begins peeling wallpaper and she finds herself in an imaginary world.

    Small Things by Mel Tregonning

    Small Things is about a boy who is filled with worry. He is anxious and feels alone. He feels hopeless and doesn’t know what to do. He learns that it is okay to talk about his feelings to someone he trusts.

    I recommend reading this book with upper elementary students if you are a teacher. This is a great book for counselors to have in their toolkit.

    Another by Christian Robinson

    This book reminded me of Coraline. A girl enters a portal to another world and finds versions of herself and everyone she knows. I think this book is a great book to use if teaching inferences.

    Related Book Lists

  • How to Use Prodigy Game as Differentiated Math Center

    Prodigy is my go-to tool when differentiating in math. It makes it easy to address each students' needs. Using Prodigy Game, in combination with my guided math lessons, makes student growth a breeze. Don't stress over making differentiated math centers start using Prodigy today! #mathcenters #differentiatedinstruction #guidedmath

    Prodigy is my go-to tool when differentiating in math. It makes it easy to address each students' needs. Using Prodigy Game, in combination with my guided math lessons, makes student growth a breeze. Don't stress over making differentiated math centers start using Prodigy today! #mathcenters #differentiatedinstruction #guidedmath

    Did you know that Prodigy Game can be used to differentiate your instruction during guided math? I love using it as one of my math centers while I’m working with a small group.

    Prodigy gives students a placement test when they first log in; this test identifies students’ strengths and weaknesses. It’s pretty darn accurate too!

    Based on the result of the test, Prodigy will recommend what students should work on next. The program makes it simple to assign individualized work for your students. 

    With consistent use, Prodigy Game is an excellent resource to use to see student growth. Keep reading to see how!

    To Fill in Gaps

    The placement test shows you what specific skills each student needs. Using the results of the test, you can assign assignments to help students fill in gaps. 

    I like to assign work that we will work together on in small group so that the students see the skill more than once. Just like in our guided math lessons, once they master a skill, we begin working on another. 

    If you are meeting with them in small groups and assigning work on Prodigy, those gaps will disappear quickly.

    Here is what the results of the placement test look like. This is a mock class, these aren’t real students. The grade level is set for third grade.

    To Support On & Above Level Students

    We tend to spend a lot of small group time with our lower-level students, leaving those on grade level and above to work more independently. In the past, pushing my stronger students has been challenging, especially if they are performing above grade level. 

    Prodigy is a great way to help students who have mastered grade-level content move forward. Use the placement test as a guide to help you figure out what they should work on next. 

    To Check for Understanding

    Did you teach a new skill earlier in the week, and you’re looking for an informal way to see who gets it? By assigning the new standard in Prodigy, you will get the data you need to see who needs additional support.  

    Use Prodigy as an engaging way to spice up your exit tickets or informal observations. Your students will be eager to show you what they know. 

    Prodigy is my go-to tool when differentiating in math. It makes it easy to address each students’ needs. Using Prodigy Game, in combination with my guided math lessons, makes student growth a breeze. 

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  • Why Math Teachers Should Use Prodigy Game

    Are you looking for math center ideas? Do you need help with differentiating math? Prodigy Game is a great supplemental resource to use during guided math. You’ll never have to worry if your guided math groups are working while you’re doing small group instruction if you use Prodigy! Check out why Prodigy is a must-have in your classroom! #guidedmath #differentiatedinstruction #smallgroupinstruction

     Are you looking for math center ideas? Do you need help with differentiating math? Prodigy Game is a great supplemental resource to use during guided math. You’ll never have to worry if your guided math groups are working while you’re doing small group instruction if you use Prodigy! Check out why Prodigy is a must-have in your classroom! #guidedmath #differentiatedinstruction #smallgroupinstruction

    Prodigy Game is a completely free math program for students that you MUST use in your classroom this school year! I love using it as a way to differentiate instruction. Students are so focused on playing; they don’t realize they are learning! It is a win-win!

    If you teach math, creating a Prodigy Game account will be one of your best decisions this school year. Here’s why you should go create an account right now!

    It’s Fun

    My students loved it when it was their turn to get on Prodigy. They could not wait to battle their classmates. This is what makes Prodigy such an effective supplemental resource. Students want to get questions correct so they can increase their level and get bragging rights as the student with the highest level. The only way for students to win battles and to level is by showing what they know. 

    It Can Help Fill in Gaps Or Push Students Further

    What I love most about this program is that you can tailor Prodigy Game to fit each students’ individual needs! I use Prodigy as a simple way to differentiate centers. Once students take the placement test, Prodigy identifies their strengths and weaknesses. You can use their results to assign students work that either fills in gaps or pushes them forward.

    It Can Give Students Extra Practice for a New Skill

    I also use Prodigy to give students extra practice over newly taught skills. This helps reinforce my mini-lesson and helps new content stick in their brains. It is also a great way to see who gets it and who needs small group instruction for more practice. 

    It Can Be a Spiral Review for Standardized Testing

    When I was a standardized testing teacher, I LOVED using this feature. I’m not a teach to the test kind of girl. I hate the weeks before for state testing, but Prodigy’s spiral review was a fun way to review the skills I taught my students throughout the school year. My students were having so much fun; they didn’t know they were doing test prep!

    It Can Be a Resource to Use at Home

    Going back to my first point, Prodigy is engaging. Students will want to use the program at home, especially if you acknowledge that they are logging on. I have fun optional contests over the breaks and throughout the year to increase logins from home. It is a great way to keep them practicing math at home!

    Parents can purchase memberships that give students more features; this is how Prodigy gets their money and why it is free for teachers. 

    If I haven’t convinced you to check out this amazing FREE program, you’re nuts! Prodigy is THE way to get your students excited about practicing math!

     

    Related Blog Posts

     

    HOW TO USE PRODIGY GAME AS DIFFERENTIATED MATH CENTER

     

    HOW ELEMENTARY TEACHERS CAN REMOTELY DIFFERENTIATE READING USING RAZ-KIDS

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  • Books to Encourage a Positive School Culture

    A school’s culture can make or break a school. If you’re looking for books to help you change the culture of your campus or if you’re looking for books to keep the positive momentum going, I have some great recommendations for you! #schoolculture #positiveschoolculture

    A school’s culture can make or break a school. If you’re looking for books to help you change the culture of your campus or if you’re looking for books to keep the positive momentum going, I have some great recommendations for you! #schoolculture #positiveschoolculture

    A school’s culture can make or break a school. If you’re looking for books to help you change the culture of your campus or if you’re looking for books to keep the positive momentum going, I have some great recommendations for you!

    Just a friendly reminder, I am an Amazon Affiliate, so if you decided to use the links below to purchase the books, I do get a commission.

    The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy By Jon Gordon

    I bought this book as a gift for someone who was a leader. After they told me how good it was, I read it myself, and I loved it! The Energy Bus is a great starting point if you’re looking to make an overhaul of the culture in your school. 

    Move Your Bus: An Extraordinary New Approach to Accelerating Success in Work and Life By Ron Clark

    You know the importance of having a positive culture on your campus, but what do you do when everyone isn’t on board? This book labels different members of your team (and they’re pretty accurate) and how to help get them on your bus. Clark also gives excellent tips on how to reward those who are already keeping your bus moving. And yes, the author is The Ron Clark of Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta

    Move Your Bus was our campus’s book study book for the 2018-2019 school year.

    Time for Change: 4 Essential Skills for Transformational School and District Leaders By Anthony Muhammad & Luis F. Cruz

    Are you a leader on your campus? The answer is yes! Anyone has the power to be a leader. You don’t need an official title to lead.

    Time for Change shows you how to make changes on your campus and gives specific tips on how to make sure everyone is implementing those changes.

    If you’re looking to start something new at your campus and you know there will be naysayers, you need this book to help move your school forward.

    The Power of a Positive Team By Jon Gordon

    This book is all about how a positive team is necessary for a great team. A positive team addresses issues and works together to solve problems. 

    Each chapter explains how a team can commit to working together to achieve a common goal. The Power of a Positive Team can be applied to groups outside of education, so it’s an excellent book for any leader.

    The Power of a Positive Team was our campus’s book study book for the 2019-2020 school year.  

    Overcoming the Achievement Gap Trap: Liberating Mindset to Effect Change by Anthony Muhammad

    I know you’re wondering, how did a book about students make this list? Overcoming the Achievement Gap Trap is about how schools can change their culture so that all students can achieve. 

    Some districts, schools, principals, and teachers have gotten used to the achievement gap. Educators who accept students’ lack of growth as normal create environments where the expectations and the quality of teaching are low.

    Overcoming the Achievement Gap shows educators how they can change their mindset so they can change the culture of their school so that all students learn.

    These books are game-changers if you’re looking for ways to implement change or a way to encourage a positive school culture on your campus. Have you read any of these books? Are there any you recommend? 

    Related Posts

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  • 8 Tools That All Teacher Bloggers Need

    Are you a new teacher blogger? Do you want to start a Teacher YouTube Channel? Do you want to become a Teacher Influencer on Instagram? If you're an educator wanting to share your thoughts and expertise about teaching online, you need these tools. These tools will help you stand out in the teacher blogger/vlogger world! Find out what tools you need to make your content reach a larger audience! #teacherblog #teacherblogger #teachervlog #teachervlog

     

    Hey teacher friends! This blog post is all about the tools and resources you need to help you create content your audience wants! 

    Before we get started, I want you to know that this post contains affiliate links! Using them throws a little change in my pocket, at no cost to you! What you choose to do is your business (in my Tabitha Brown voice).

    Let’s dive right in!

     

    An Email List

    If your main way to communicate with your audience is on social media, you need an email list. Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, etc., are all rented spaces. You don’t own your follower list. If your account gets hacked or if a platform goes down, you won’t have access to your audience. The audience you spent years building.

    This is why you need an email list; it’s yours! Nobody can take it from you. Even if you decide to change email providers, you can take your list with you. 

    I recently switched to ConvertKit, and I love it. It’s a user-friendly platform that makes sending out emails simple. Any email service provider will do, but Convert Kit is the provider I’m loving right now!

     

    Extra Lighting

    Not everyone has access to natural lighting in their home. If you work on videos after work, the time you have left to film with natural light is limited. Eventually, you’ll need lighting.

    If you want something small for an occasional video or if you’re looking for portable lighting, grab this 8″ Selfie Ring Light. It comes with a remote, that comes in handy when there’s no one around to take your pics!

    If you’re making videos regularly, you need the Neewer Ring Light. It’s priced cheaper than the name brand version, but it gives off enough light to help you make quality videos and take amazing pictures. I took the picture below with an iPhone 7 and the Neewer Ring Light!

     

    A Microphone

    If you are making videos(and you absolutely should be), you need a microphone. A mic automatically levels up your video! I use Rode VideoMicro Compact On-Camera Microphone.

    It comes with a withshield, which is great to help block out noises coming from your ceiling fan and air conditioner. Just listen to the difference.

     

    Canva

    Wherever you are posting content, you need quality images. Canva is the best graphic design platform for those who are not experts in the design world. The free version will make your work look amazing, but the paid version takes it to another level. If you can’t afford another subscription right now, put it on your list for the future. 

     

    A Pinterest Business Account

    All content creators need a Pinterest Business Account. If you don’t switch your personal account to business, you can’t see how well your content is doing. 

    As educators, we are the queens and kings of data, Pinterest will give you data on all your pins, showing you which pins your audience loves. If your audience is sharing a pin like crazy, that’s a sign to make more content on that topic!

    Bonus tip: Make sure you get their emails, they drop a lot of helpful tips to keep your account growing

     

    Tailwind

    The key to success on Pinterest is to share your content consistently. The problem is, nobody, especially teachers, has time to pin on Pinterest daily. 

    Tailwind pins your content automatically! 

    If you want to maximize your use of Pinterest, using Tailwind is a must. 

     

    Grammarly

    I use Grammarly for my Instagram captions, blog post, and YouTube descriptions. Basically, for everything. 

    I’m a decent writer, but I still make plenty of mistakes. Grammarly helps me clean up my writing and makes it almost perfect. 

     

    A Planner

    Lastly, you need a planner to schedule all your fabulous posts. These blank planners by JSTORY are affordable and easy to use. I love that they don’t have months or dates so that you can buy them at any time of the year. 

    I use all of these tools and it has made my experience as a teacher blogger more efficient. Follow me on Instagram and YouTube to see more of my content! 

    Join my email list too!

    Join the email list to get more tips and tools for your classroom.