Multiply the Excitement of a Winter Day

There is nothing better than a snow day where students can spend the day with their families playing in the snow and building a snowman. For teachers who love themed work (me!), I linked a FREE download below from, one of my favorite website partners.

Multiply the excitement of a winter’s day with this Snowman worksheet. Enjoy your free winter multiplication worksheet with the included answer key.  With multiplication, the more practice the better. This worksheet is the perfect review, Do Now, or HW assignment.

For more fun math activities, go to!


The Oscars and People With Disabilities in the Media

With all the hype of the upcoming Oscars, many fans have been discussing the role of people with disabilities in the media. Some recent shows and movies, such as The Good Doctor and Wonder, have made an effort to make a person with a disability as the main character. Other shows have been written by people on the autism spectrum and/or have been consultants to movie directors. Given how broad the disability spectrum is, it is important to remember that “no one size fits all” and no one TV show will show all the unique characteristics within someone diagnosed with a specific disability. As I started to research people with disabilities in the media, I found a bunch of articles that name specific people, shows, and movies. I have included them below for your reference.


  1. Wonder
  2. Temple Grandin
  3. The Mighty
  4. A more detailed list by category here:

TV Shows:

  1. The Good Doctor
  2. Born This Way
  3. Atypical


  1. Actors and Filmmakers with Autism 
  2. 25 Actors with Down Syndrome

Some fun side articles:

  1. How Satoshi Tajiri’s Autism Helped Create Pokemon

Penpal Writing: Free Brainstorming Sheet

Writing letters can be considered a lost art, but it is important to teach students how to write a proper letter. A letter (even if it is in the form of an email) is needed when applying to jobs, writing to government advocating for change, and used to write to family and friends.

This year, our class is writing to a class in Virginia (a teacher and I connected on a CEC forum and she asked if we would be penpals) and we are writing to a girl I support in Mozambique, Africa. I decided to have my students write to students in the United States and outside the United States to broaden my students’ perspective. For the letter to the class in Virginia, my students were given more models and support. For the letter to the girl in Mozambique, less support and guidance was given. Typically, when I teach a particular type of writing, I have my students write two copies. The first prompt with a lot of teacher guidance, models, and visual supports and the second prompt with the same models and visuals support, but without the direct teacher guidance.

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In Mozambique, schools look a lot different than here in the US. Students do not have the same access to books, writing supplies, school buildings, and at times, even teachers. Children in Mozambique sometimes need to drop out of school to help their families make money. My students are writing to a girl named Emily who is around their age. They are interested to know how Emily’s life is different from their life and how her life is similar to theirs. We cannot wait to get a letter back from Emily! Our letters to her are shown above.  I included a free writing brainstorming sheet for writing to a penpal. This brainstorming sheets provide students step by step directions.

Free Division Resources

When teaching division, it is essential that students have a strong background in multiplication. If students are not fluent with their multiplication facts, a multiplication chart can be given as a modification.

Below, you will find some of my favorite FREE resources I have found/made when introducing division to my students.

Anchor Charts for Basic Division: 

basic, visuals, math, elementary math, visuals, elementary

TeacherPayTeacher FREE resources:


Video Reference: **brainpop requires a subscription 

  1. Making Equal Groups:
  2. Dividing with Remainders:
  3. Repeated Subtraction:
  4. Division:

Long Division

Acroynms to help students remember the steps: 

DMSBR: Divide, Multiply, Subtract, Bring Down, Repeat

Does McDonald Sell Burgers Raw?

The Division Family: Dad, Mom, Sister, Brother, Rover

***I have my students write DMSBR on a post-it note or on top of each problem and they need to check off each step. This helps keep them organized and structured when working.

Visuals to help students remember the steps:

free resource, math elementary, lesson ideas

Free Resources:


Video References:

How to Run Effective Centers

Small groups are essential for students to receive personalized instruction. In my classroom, I run small groups for reading, math, and flex time. At times, I also have Social Studies/Science, small groups.

For small groups to be effective, a schedule needs to be in place to make it clear to both students and teachers where each student should be and what students should be doing at each center. A sample of my schedules are below:

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I like to set up centers where students receive teacher instruction, have the opportunity to practice specific skills independently, a place where they can review skills, and a time where they can go on online programs that reinforce learning.

In my picture, you will notice that my small group visual on the board does not have arrows. Last year, I was able to have my students attend each center in a simple circular rotation, but this year, because the needs of my students have changed, not all students attend each center. To compensate for that, my students start at the same station every day so they know where to go after each rotation. One group starts at the teacher table, then goes to the independent poster station, and then go to vocabulary, and then technology. My students caught on pretty quickly and can transition independently to each place since the routine is the same each day.

Below, I will describe each reading center in detail. In a later post, I will share more information about my math centers and social studies/science centers.

Teacher Table: At the teacher table, I provide intensive instruction (phonics work, comprehension skills, and specific reading strategies). At this table, we follow our reading program curriculum. We use the program Project Read, which allows for phonics and comprehension instruction.

project read

elementary, classroom, lesson plans, visuals, special education

elementary reading

EdMark/Vocab Station:

EdMark is a sight word program for students who have not been successful with phonics-based programs. It is highly repetitive and provides end of unit assessments. EdMark includes an assessment book (great for data collection), a workbook, a picture match, stories, homework, and spelling. I love this reading program since I have seen it really help some of my students who have been nonreaders. EdMark has two levels (Level 1 and 2). Students need one-to-one instruction while using this program since it is highly individualized.

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During my student teaching, I used the phonics program Fundations and Lively Letters. I also incorporate some cool spelling tricks.

Independent Poster/Manipulative Center:

At this station, I have students practice the skills I just taught independently or to review skills already taught earlier in the year. At times, I need to help my students if they are struggling, but I like to give them time to try a skill on their own (after guided instruction at the teacher table). I use different colored post-it notes for each group that matches the color of their individualized reading boxes. This helps me know what each group has accomplished at this station. I have several anchor charts that focus on each skill (such as summarizing, comparing and contrasting, making inferences, cause and effect…etc). In this picture, I featured my story element poster since it is one that I always start the year with.

In this center, I provide leveled books and different follow up activities (such as writing a summary, asking and answering questions, and writing about their favorite part). In addition, I am very intentional about structuring and modeling how to “stop and think” while reading. Most students typically read without stopping and asking questions. By giving clear guidelines such as stopping after every paragraph or every 2-3 pages in a book, I find that my students are starting to build healthy reading habits that can be transferred during their independent reading time later in the day. As seen in the pictures below, I leave instructions and self-assessments so students can run this station on their own.

anchor charts, reading, special education anchor charts, reading, special education anchor charts, reading, special education anchor charts, reading, special education

At times, I also utilizes manipulatives (such as matching games and centers in a bag) from LakeShore or ReallyGoodStuff.

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Spelling/Vocabulary Center:

At this station, students practice their spelling and vocabulary words. I have students write words in their notebooks, build words with magnets or blocks, write the word in a sentence, or write a story/song.

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self contained, special ed, center ideas, small groups

In a previous post, I outlined various ways to practice spelling words. I use these ideas for homework and in class.

Technology Center:

In my school, we utilize the following reading programs: Achieve3000 Raz Kids, and Reading Eggs. Here, I took pictures of the program Achieve3000. I appreciate that each of these reading programs have accommodations such as a read-aloud option, vocabulary help, and extended time to complete each activity. In addition, I recommend the following online reading websites.

achieve3000, reading, comprehension help achieve3000, reading, comprehension help achieve3000, reading, comprehension help

Student Run Centers:

A clear structure is very important when setting up centers. I typically do not change the routine so my students can independently do each center. At the end of each center, my students clap to get the other groups attention and self-assess their own learning. I provide objective cards at each station and then students ask each other what they did well and what they need to continue to work on. We clap again and the students at the teacher table say “please move to the next station”.

In a post coming to this blog soon, I will share more pictures of my objectives cards that my students use to self-assess after each center rotation. Eventually, I would love for my students to think of the objective and benchmarks on their own, but for now, this is a guided structure that I utilize to ensure content vocabulary, reflection, and accurate assessment of their time at each center.

anchor charts, reading, special education

Comment below to share your center/small group advice. What challenges do you experience when implementing centers? What systems/structures could you share with others? Ideas and reflection help us all grow so your thoughts are greatly appreciated!

Reading Websites for Parents and Teachers

A lot of parents ask me ways their child can practice reading at home. Below is a list of reading resources shared by my reading specialist that supports student learning in school and at home. I have used a lot of these resources. My personal favorite for teachers is Readworks.

Choose Kindness- The Movie “Wonder”

Is it better to be kind, or right? #choosekind

Today, the fourth and fifth grade students had the opportunity to see the movie “Wonder”. It is a highly recommended film for teaching kindness and for starting a discussion about how to include others who are different than you. Based on the book, “Wonder”, Auggie, the main character, has extreme congenital facial anomalies and starts public school for the first time. He has had 27 surgeries and often wears an astronaut helmet to hide his face.

Auggie says:

“I know I’m not an ordinary ten-year-old kid….I know ordinary kids don’t make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds.  I know ordinary kids don’t get stared at wherever they go… It’s like people you see sometimes, and you can’t imagine what it would be like to be that person, whether it’s somebody in a wheelchair or somebody who can’t talk.  Only, I know that I’m that person to other people… To me, though, I’m just me.  An ordinary kid.”

The movie does a great job diving into the emotions of the boy Auggie, his friends, his family, and the people he comes in contact with at school.

Take Aways: 

  1. Don’t judge a book by its cover
  2. Be kind to people who are different
  3. One kind action can have a ripple effect

Strengths of the Movie:

  1. Emotions of the main character are shown clearly and makes him highly relatable
  2. Reinforces the idea that every child, no matter how they look or what they do, want to build genuine friendships with others
  3. One brave act can inspire other children to do the right thing

Possible Considerations Before Watching the Movie:

  1. It is rated PG
  2. Some kissing moments between the mom and dad, and the sister and her boyfriend (our students tended to react with EWWW and laughing at these parts)
  3. Some scenes of adults drinking wine and there is a mention of getting drunk once in the movie
  4. Also, there are fighting scenes between the boys/students (which is praised by the dad)

Classroom Follow-Up Activities:

  1. Wonderful Website:
  2. Teacher Pay Teacher:
  3. Choose Kind Challenge:

Additional Videos for References:

Free Subtraction Worksheet

When teaching skills such as addition and subtraction, many websites provide free resources to help students practice their math skills. is a website I use when looking for homework and classwork.

One of the best features about is that you can build your own custom worksheet.  This is a great feature for teachers who want to modify the number of problems or type of problems they are giving their students.

If you do not want a custom built sheet, provides many choices for teachers to choose from. Challenge your mathematicians with this FREE fun school-themed subtraction worksheet below.

Free Subtraction Worksheet from

Answers To Free Subtraction Worksheet from

Here is a subtraction poem I use in my classroom to help students remember the steps to subtraction.

math charts, resources, anchor posters

Enjoy more math worksheets from

Happy World Teachers’ Day

Today is World Teachers’ Day!  In 1994, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) marked October 5th to be the day to recognize teachers around the world. Each year, UNESCO holds an annual conference in Paris where awards are given out.

In celebration of World Teachers’ Day, I put together a list of different articles referencing/celebrating/or sharing information about this special day.

  5. Inside A Changing First-Grade Classroom in the 1970s