Author: Roots To Learning: Education & Consulting

The Homework Folder

Daily & Semi-Daily Homework Teaching a student to use a 2-pocket homework folder labeled on the inside “Homework to Do” and “Homework to Turn In” is a vital step in materials management and homework completion. For students using a three ring binder, a clear homework folder should be purchased and placed in the front of the binder so it is the first thing that is seen.  Staples typically carries these kinds of folders in-store, but not online (as of 2020). I like the clear plastic folders because students can easily see the work inside.  Work that needs to capture their attention can placed face-up in the left pocket for immediate visibility.   If the student is using more than one binder for class, he or she should have a homework folder for each binder. For students using an accordion filer, the first two file pockets in the front of the filer should be designated for homework to do and homework to turn in. I am not a fan of accordion filers for students past K-5, as …

Help! I’ve Caught the Bitmoji Classroom Bug!

Which, all things considered, is definitely less problematic than catching another bug that is currently rewriting reality, but I may have to stage an intervention soon because Bitmoji classrooms are honestly turning out to be a little too fun, and I didn’t think I would say that about anything in 2020! I continue to find silver linings in the current state of the world as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic which has altered each of our lives in numerous ways for better and worse. It might be possible that the teacher of the year will indeed be nature, in the guise of a virus, here to show us just how out of alignment we are on both the micro and macro levels, from our relationships with ourselves and with others, to our relationships with social institutions and the earth.  For certain, there is serious work to be done. But I believe within that work are spaces for joy and play, and it’s my hope that we can find the expansiveness this moment, and every moment, demands so …

Great Poetry Books for Kids of All Ages

As a poet and literacy teacher, I am always on the lookout for great books of poetry as well as poetically written stories that encourage kids to explore and play with language.  Poetry is the perfect way to teach phonological awareness, and wordplay is beneficial for all students, but especially those who are diagnosed with language learning disorders. Check out these resources at your local library or bookstore for use at home or in the classroom!  All of these books have been selected for their wonderful poetry and visual art. Most can be used for teaching broad language skills such as phonological awareness and phonics.  I’ve included target grade levels for each. Great Poetry Books for Kids (Young & Old!) I have used this book of poetry for years in my teaching. It’s a delightful collection of all kinds of poems (including some great concrete & personification poems) organized by theme.  Meilo So’s watercolor illustrations are a wonderful accompaniment.  This is a must-have for any bookshelf at home or school! Grades 2-12   A gorgeous book …

Mindful of the World

“I look at the bird before me and imagine how it senses the world, how it feels breathing cold air, how it feels to have its feathers ruffling in the wind, how it feels to always have an eye out for possible food and possible predators. The bird sees me and is a nanosecond from flying off, but it stays. Why? By imagining the life within, the bird I am seeing is alive, no longer a shape and its parts, but a thinking, sentient being, always on the brink of doing something. By feeling the life within, I am always conscious that all creatures have personalities, and so do trees and clouds and streams. To feel the life within, I now imagine myself as the bird that is looking at me. I imagine its wariness, the many ways it has almost died in its short life. I worry over its comfort and safety, and whether I will see my little companion the next day, the next year. To feel the life within is to also …

What’s in your Pocket?

Here’s hoping it’s a poem that pulls at you all day.  If you’ve not yet found one, take a moment, press pause, and sit with a poem before you rush off to life’s next very important calling. Here’s my pick: blessing the boats (at St. Mary’s) may the tide that is entering even now the lip of our understanding carry you out beyond the face of fear may you kiss the wind then turn from it certain that it will love your back       may you open your eyes to water water waving forever and may you in your innocence sail through this to that –Lucille Clifton, from quilting, poems 1987-1990 Find poems at The Poetry Foundation, The Writer’s Almanac