Digital Informative and Argumentative Writing Units

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Digital Informative and Argumentative Writing Units

Hey, y'all. For our next writing unit, we're introducing different types of writing--specifically informative and argumentative. We're also teaching our students how to be more independent and self-directed. That second goal is the hard one! 

In order to try to reach both goals, we've created this interactive digital writing unit that covers both informative and argumentative writing. The reason we paired the two types of writing is so that students can see the connections between the two. This also allows them to save some time by using the same (or mostly the same) research to create both essays. Work smarter, not harder!

digital-informative-and-argumentative-writing-for-google-classroom

We also want the kids to be able to go at their own pace. We know that many will need help with pacing themselves and that's okay. School is for learning, after all. 

digital-informative-and-argumentative-writing-for-google-classroom

Throughout this unit, we'll be giving students mini lessons on how to set goals and make plans for achieving those goals, how to organize sources, how to organize a multi-paragraph essay, and more. There are many informational slides within this unit, but mini lessons should be tailored to your particular students' needs. 

digital-informative-and-argumentative-writing-for-google-classroom

Students can begin writing their essays directly within this file. When they feel like they're ready, they can copy and paste each piece into a Google Doc to submit. 

digital-writing-process-for-google-classroom

The learning pathway on the second slide is interactive and links directly to the slide the student is working on. Students can choose a car and move their car along their pathway as they complete each task. This will help them keep track of where they're at when they return to their slides later. Each of the tabs along the top and sides are clickable as well. 

digital-writing-process-for-google-classroom

My students were so excited to get started on this writing unit and I know yours will be, too. You can find this unit here. I hope this unit is something you can use in your classroom to both teach writing and foster some independence. 

I am always adding new resources to my Teachers Pay Teachers store, so check back often to see what's new. I hope you have a wonderful week and I'll talk to you soon. 

Stay cozy, 

Digital Easter Sight Word Practice

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Easter Sight Word Practice 

Hey y'all! Are you looking for some fun and simple ways to practice sight words? 

Practicing sight words can start to get old after awhile, especially if your students are struggling and it seems to be taking awhile to master. The novelty of seasonal centers keeps the fun going when students need some extra practice. 

These digital Easter (or spring) sight word task cards are available for both Boom Learning and Google Classroom. They include the first 40 Fry's sight words that students are expected to know, making them just right for kindergarten, advanced pre-k kiddos, or first graders who still need additional practice. 

digital-Easter-sight-word-practice

I love using these cards on Boom because they are self-checking and give immediate feedback. Students randomly get 20 cards at a time so each time they play, it's a little bit different. 

When using these in Google Classroom, it's super easy to use just the words you're currently working on, to chunk the learning, and to differentiate the words for students. 

I love using digital resources in my classroom, I just wish I'd learned how to implement them effectively sooner!

Anyway, I'm always adding new resources to my Teachers Pay Teachers store so check back often for the latest classroom tools. Be sure to follow me too to see the updates immediately. Have a great week and I'll talk to you soon. 

Stay cozy, 

Digital St. Patrick's Day Sight Word Practice

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St. Patrick's Day Sight Word Practice 

Hey y'all! Let's make sight word practice fun and simple! 

Practicing sight words can start to get monotonous after awhile, especially if your students are struggling and it seems to be taking awhile to master. Novelty keeps the fun going when students need more practice. 

These digital St. Patrick's Day sight word task cards are available for both Boom Learning and Google Classroom. They include the first 40 Fry's sight words that students are expected to know, making them just right for kindergarten, advanced pre-k kiddos, or first graders who still need some additional practice. 

digital-sight-words

I love using these cards on Boom because they are self-checking and give immediate feedback. Students randomly get 20 cards at a time so each time they play, it's a little bit different. 

When using these in Google Classroom, it's super easy to use just the words you're currently working on, to chunk the learning, and to differentiate the words for students. 

Some good things that have come out of the 20-21 school year has been the increase in available technology options for students. Prior to this year, I know about these things but not how to implement them for my students in effective ways. Now, I know not only how to implement them, but how to differentiate for my students and to keep the learning going when they are away from school. At least some positives have come out of the 2020 saga! 

Anyway, I'm always adding new resources to my Teachers Pay Teachers store so check back often for the latest classroom tools. Be sure to follow me too to see the updates immediately. Have a great week and I'll talk to you soon. 

Stay cozy, 

Ocean Resources for Phenomenon-Based Learning

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Oceans Phenomenon-Based Learning

Hey, y'all! Have you tried Phenomenon-Based Learning yet? I'm sure you've heard me talk about it by now, but if you haven't, it's a game-changer!

Phenomenon-based learning is an instructional strategy used successfully in Finland (and largely based on research from the US) where students are given a topic and explore it from every subject area. In this case, students are learning about the ocean and all that encompasses. 

ocean-phenomenon-based-learning

The best things about PhenomBL are that it's student-driven and it is studied from every subject area. 
Students read all about the oceans, map out where they are and important landmarks, explore plants and animals in the ocean, and that's just the beginning.  

In the beginning of the unit, I pose an essential question. In this case, our questions are: "How are humans dependent on the ocean?" and "How is climate change affecting the oceans?" There are a whole slew of resources included this unit for students to take their research in a number of ways. And it's easy to see how everything fits together as students get started researching.  

ocean-resources-for-phenomenon-based-learning

Math time can look like reading the temperatures of different points in the ocean from the NOAA website and tracking the changes over time. Or measuring the heights of waves, or depths of different points in the ocean. With modern technology, there are websites EVERYWHERE to help facilitate this without putting your entire class into wetsuits! They can calculate the surface area of the oceans, or for younger students, they can compare these numbers that are calculated for them. 

Reading is integrated into everything. Like, literally everything. When your students start researching their science and social studies questions about the ocean, they'll be reading up a storm. 

resources-for-phenomeon-based-learning

In science and social studies, students can study climate change, pollution, plants and animals in the ocean, geography of the ocean floor and important places along the coast. They can explore different careers related to the ocean like fishing, oceanography, coast guard, and more. They can study the impact of humans on sea life, both the good and the bad, then make their own judgements and predictions about how they can have positive impacts. They can explore how each of the oceans are similar and how they are different--what species of plants or animals only live in certain regions and why that is. 

ocean-resources-for-pbl

The beauty is that since it's student-centered, once the kids get going, the questions don't stop! They get so involved in what they're doing that they just want to know more. These types of units are the ones that create life-long learners. Students can actually see how they would use different skills in real life and how everything is connected. 

You can find this resource and more by heading over to my Teachers Pay Teachers store or by clicking here. This is a brand new series so new topics are being added frequently. Be sure to follow my store so you know when the newest resources are added.

I hope you have a wonderful week and I'll talk to you soon.

Stay cozy, 

Plants Phenomenon-Based Learning Units

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Plants Phenomenon-Based Learning

Hey, y'all. Have you tried Phenomenon-Based Learning yet? If you've followed the blog for awhile, you've probably heard me mention it a time or six. That's because it's amazing!

PhenomBL is an instructional strategy used in Finland to integrate subjects and make learning connected across the curriculum. Students are given a topic like weather, plants, civil rights, or WWII and explore the topic in each subject area. But, it's much deeper than a simple thematic unit!

First, for some background info, you can grab this informational freebie from by TPT store. It has all the basics of what PhenomBL is about and what it entails. PhenomBL is largely student-centered and directed. 

The first unit in this series is all about the weather. Students dive into how weather affects people, animals, and plants. The second unit in this series is this plant unit. 

phenomenon-based-learning

When you start off a PhenomBL unit, you'll start with an essential question. In this case, the question is "How do people and animals use plants in their daily lives?" You could change your essential question if needed to meet your students' needs, but this is a pretty broad question with lots of opportunities for student exploration. Give students time to formulate their own questions about plants, then the fun begins. 

phenomenon-based-learning

In reading, students could read all about plants--types of plants, how people and animals use plants, types of forests in different regions of the world, deforestation, and research any of the questions on their beginning of the unit brainstorm. This is a great time to integrate fictional and nonfictional texts and help students decipher what they can use as answers to their questions and where to go next for more clues.

phenomenon-based-learning

In math, students can measure the height of plants and calculate the growth over time. They can compare heights or the diameters of different plants, using area to map out a garden, calculating the rate of deforestation in different areas of the world, calculating the amount of water needed to maintain different crops, and so much more. 

In science, students can explore different purposes for different types of plants, how animals use different plants, habitats in different forests, types of forests, deforestation in different parts of the world, how seeds travel, what tree rings mean, and any other number of topics.

phenomenon-based-learning

For social studies, students can explore how people use plants, how farmers tend to crops, the working conditions of agricultural workers, careers in agriculture, people's role in deforestation, activist groups, strange plant legislation, and more. 


The biggest part of PhenomBL is that it is student-centered learning. As teachers, we'll be providing the experience and guiding students in their learning, but the work of learning is largely up to them. Throughout the whole PhenomBL experience, students are asking and answering their own questions. This is not a teacher-directed unit. 

Now, you will need to pre-teach some vocabulary, some basics about plants (if you teach upper elementary, students will already have some background knowledge), and some skills on how to do research to answer their questions, but the overall unit is largely student-directed. 

The premise behind Phenomenon Based Learning is that students see how all the different subject areas are related when exploring different topics. No matter what topic you're studying, reading, math, science, and social studies are all involved. When students apply the skills they are learning in every subject to one topic, they can see how things are connected in the world. Things start to make sense and dendrites grow all over their brains! Call me a nerd, but it really is fascinating. 

You can find out more about this plant PhenomBL framework here or by heading straight to my TPT store. This is the second in this series, so check back frequently for more topics/units of study coming soon. 

I hope you have a wonderful week and I'll talk to you soon.

Stay cozy,

Phenomenon-Based Learning in the Elementary Classroom

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Phenomenon-Based Learning

Hey, y'all. Have you heard of Phenomenon-Based Learning yet? If you've followed the blog for awhile, you've probably heard me mention it a time or six. That's because it's amazing!

PhenomBL is an instructional strategy used in Finland to integrate subjects and make learning connected across the curriculum. Students are given a topic like weather, plants, civil rights, or WWII and explore the topic in each subject area. I'll give you an example in just a sec. It's much deeper than a simple thematic unit!

First, for some background info, you can grab this informational freebie from by TPT store. It has all the basics of what PhenomBL is about and what it entails. 

phenomenon-based-learning

Now, let's take a look at what a PhenomBL unit looks like. 

The first framework in this series is all about the weather. You'd start the unit by posing an Essential Question. In this case, it's "How does the weather affect plants, animals, and people?" The kids will learn about the weather in each subject area. 

At the beginning of the unit, students will brainstorm what they know about weather and what questions they have (the K and W in a KWL chart). Then, you may have students brainstorm words they know or look over a list of weather-related words and see what words stand out to them. 

weather-phenomenon-based-learning


In reading, students would read all about the weather--types of weather, how living things adapt to weather and climate, and research any of the questions on their beginning of the unit brainstorm. This is a great time to integrate fictional and nonfictional texts and help students decipher what they can use as answers to their questions and where to go next for more clues. 


weather-phenomenon-based-learning

In math, students can measure precipitation with a rain gauge (or ruler if it's snow), graph high and low temperatures, track changes over time, measure barometric pressure, and take any number of weather-related measurements. If you're working on subtraction, this is a great time to find the temperature range for each day of the week. Anytime we can show students how to apply what they're learning to real life situations, it's a win!

weather-phenomenon-based-learning-for-math

In science, the topics are pretty straight forward. Students can learn all about weather patterns, vocabulary, how meteorologists make predictions and how they record things, types of clouds, types of climates, plant and animal adaptations to weather, and more. Students can analyze data, make predictions, and ask and answer their guiding questions. 

In social studies, the focus could be on how people adapt to different climates and weather patterns, why people choose to live in different climates, how climate change has affected (or could affect) humans, and so much more. 

phenomenon-based-learning

The biggest part of PhenomBL is that it is student-centered learning. As teachers, we'll be providing the experience and guiding students in their learning, but the work of learning is largely up to them. Throughout the whole PhenomBL experience, students are asking and answering their own questions. This is not a teacher-directed unit. 

Now, you will need to pre-teach some vocabulary, some basics about weather (if you teach upper elementary, students will already have some background knowledge), and some skills on how to do research to answer their questions, but the overall unit is largely student-directed. 

The premise behind Phenomenon Based Learning is that students see how all the different subject areas are related when exploring different topics. No matter what topic you're studying, reading, math, science, and social studies are all involved. When students apply the skills they are learning in every subject to one topic, they can see how things are connected in the world. Things start to make sense and dendrites grow all over their brains! Call me a nerd, but it really is fascinating. 

You can find out more about this weather PhenomBL framework here or by heading straight to my TPT store. This is the first in this series, so check back frequently for more topics/units of study coming soon. 

I hope you have a wonderful week and I'll talk to you soon.

Stay cozy,


Creating Independent, Self-Directed Learners

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Why You Need Independent, Self-Directed Learners

Hey, y'all. Are you going home exhausted at the end of every school day? Guess what, you don't have to! There is a way to get your students to be more self-directed and independent in their learning. This leaves them going home exhausted and excited for all their hard work learning, and you leave rejuvenated and proud at all their growth and accomplishments. 

Don't believe me? It's true. It happens all over the world and it can happen in your classroom, too. Here are five reasons why your students need to be self-directed and independent in their learning. 

1. Self-directed learners become life-long learners

When students learn how to learn on their own, without the direct intervention from adults, they become life-long learners. The whole world opens up for our students when they are able to take initiative for their learning. Most of the information that students would ever need to know is at students' fingertips. Teaching them how to access that information allows students to ask and answer their own questions about nearly anything! Our work happens when they can't find the answers and we get to teach how to problem-solve it. 

2. Self-directed learners construct knowledge that sticks 

Countless research studies have shown that when students construct their own knowledge, meaning they're active participants in their learning, not merely passively receiving information, the learning "sticks" better. When you're interested in something, you retain it more easily. I can remember things I learned during middle school and high school projects many (many) years later because I was invested in the learning. The same holds true for your students. 

3. Self-directed learners are less needy

When you teach your students to how to learn, they become more responsible and independent. They take ownership of their learning and you will see your students begin to blossom. They become accountable for the things they are learning and doing--not just because WE hold them accountable, but because they actually develop accountability on their own. 

4. When your students are self-directed, you can support students in small groups or one-on-one

When your students are focused on their learning, asking and answering their own questions, and teaching or learning with/from each other, you are able to meet with students who may still need support in different areas. It frees you up to confer with your writers, work with a small group of readers, reteach that math concept, lead a small group in an experiment, or support a student developing their own learning plan. Your interruptions (almost) cease. 

5. Self-directed learners use their curiosity for good, and not evil

I know it sounds similar to the first point, but really when your students know how to be self-directed learners, you will have fewer behavior issues because students will be so busy exploring the answers to their questions, instead of causing mayhem because they're "bored." Using open-ended learning explorations creates buy-in, gets students excited, and create more questions in their mind that they become eager to find answers to. It's what many of us always wanted when we decided to go into teaching. 


"Yeah, that's great, but how do we do it?" you ask. Through thoughtful planning and prep work it is possible! (Say that five times fast!) I've set up a quick and easy course that will take you step by step into building the classroom of your dreams. To get started with Creating Independent Learners, head over to the course website here

This process is a journey and you don't have to do it alone. Our Facebook group is full of passionate educators ready to support you in your teaching journey as well. Head over there to join in the fun. 

I hope you have a wonderful day I'll talk to you soon. 

Stay cozy, 


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