My Secret Weapon and a Teacher Hack - Queen of the First Grade Jungle

My Secret Weapon and a Teacher Hack

It was time to bring in the BIG guns.  My kids were proving to be less than thrilled about having to use text evidence to answer questions post-passage-reading. 

Meet highlighters.  I am sure most of you have highlighters out in your room or let your kids use them.  I didn't intentionally leave them out of my supplies this year...I think it just slipped my mind.  BUT it worked out for the best, because today when I let them choose an oober special bright neon highlighter...oh my goodness you would have thought I told them they could eat a mountain of brownies. 

They were SO excited. Excited but calm and focused at the same time!

Now that I have their attention and we are super focused on reading closely and finding text evidence... here is how it worked in my room today!

1.  We read the passage as a class on the SmartBoard.  We discussed the passage and what we noticed.

Then I released them to read the passage a 2nd time without picking up a pencil or highlighter at all!

After the 2nd time reading, they read the questions and FINALLY went back in with their precious highlighters to find their answers. 

My kids LOVED this and couldn't wait for me to see their answers!

And y'all it worked!  Their answers were SO on point.  P.S. I know I am not a genius for doing this.  I am just so proud to get over the reluctant hump!

I decided to separate these Winter Fluency Passages into their own packet.  You can find them by clicking on the picture below.  I will be adding several more passages by February 1st, BUT the price will go up too.  So if you like to save and want these, buy now :)

We also have been using the rest of ELA portion of my Winter Fun packet (which the passages are already a part of).  I have really bumped up my expectations at my centers, and my 2nd graders are definitely rising to the occasion!

Now this Synonym/Antonym Center is a beast. I will admit it.  BUT I also think we need to push our students so they GROW.  This "Teacher Hack" is super simple and one I learned from a veteran years ago.

When you are prepping the centers, make your students completely independent by coding the correct answers using matching letters on the back of the cards. 

Will you have kids that cheat--- ABSOLUTELY.  Will they still be exposed to the higher level skill on the front- YES.  They are still learning.   Once again, I know this isn't rocket science either, but if a veteran teacher hadn't taught me... I might not have ever figured it out! 

Have a wonderful evening friends!

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  1. Hahaha!!! Love the secret weapon!!! I love when a small change can make such a huge impact!

  2. Highlighters are great. My kids always thought that they were such a treat to use. Smelly markers were always a big treat too.
    Grade School Giggles

  3. I love all of your units! I purchased this unit and my kiddos love finding evidence to support the text with those fun colored highlighters! It's amazing how they work with those things! Lol!

    Do you blog about how you run your centers somewhere? I know how I ran them in Kinder but was curious what tips you may have in 2nd grade? I would love to hear from you if you have a moment!

    I love all of your products! Starting over in a new grade level this year after 15 years, I don't think I want to know how much I've spent. Your items have been amazing to start a new collection! Thanks so much :))

  4. WOW! It's amazing how the younger learners can use highlighters effectively. My 3rd graders would, what it seemed like, just highlight the whole passage. We had to definitely do tons of modeling at first. (We switched to underlining with pencils and no highlighters a month before testing as they don't allow highlighters.)

    Fishing for Education Blog

  5. I like this a lot. Thank you for sharing. I'm always looking for upcycles like this. In the end, you don't know it was a shipping pallet to begin with!
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