On the Blog
6 Ways to Celebrate Curiosity with Nonfiction
Children are naturally curious. Engaging nonfiction books are a practical and fun way to celebrate curiosity with children. Nonfiction and informational books are no longer like an encyclopedia entry. Today’s nonfiction engages children with beautiful words, insightful information, and engaging images. Kids need—and love—nonfiction.
Interactive Writing: Intentional Decision Making to Teach Foundational Skills
When we ground decisions in our understanding of what our students know and control, and apply this knowledge to effective instructional practices, decisions become intentional and productive. Dr. C.C. Bates visits the Benchmark Blog to explore how interactive writing enables educators to target key foundational skills, differentiate instruction, and make in-the-moment decisions that best support learners.
Not Your Granny’s Grammar: 5 Shifts for a Fresh, Impactful Approach to Grammar Instruction
Wherever you fall on the love-hate continuum of grammar, we can all probably find common ground in at least one belief: Writing loses power without the strong, intentional use of grammar. Patty McGee explores 5 simple yet powerful instructional shifts that will have a huge impact on how students use grammar as their artistic tool to mold, construct, and shape their writing.
Let's Learn Through Play
When children play, they are learning. Although the lesson plans may look a little different, the lessons learned through play are imperative and long lasting. Explore strategies that encourage play, improve social skills, and ignite creativity while addressing the critical areas of reading instruction.
Best Practices in Fluency Development
What is fluency? In the first post in our Best Practices series, we'll examine the definition of fluency, study its components, and consider its instructional implications.
Exchanging Heart Language: Moving Families and Educators from Acquaintances to Partners
You could say these are hard times or you could say these are heart times — times that unmistakably, undeniably involve our hearts in showing up, in accepting and managing challenging emotions, and in growing and sustaining our nourishing relationships. Here are some specific ideas for using heart language as a way to build authentic partnerships with families/caregivers.
What Learners Need Now : A Classroom Oasis with the C.A.R.E. Approach
What do learners need now? They need a welcoming oasis to provide relief during difficult times. A classroom oasis is a space that promotes safety, sustenance, refuge, and calm so that students grow socially, emotionally, and academically. The oasis is our compass and the CARE Approach is our map.
Hispanic Heritage Month: 4 Ideas to Explore Centuries-Old Hispanic American History and Culture with Your Students
How do you honor the long history of contributions that Hispanic communities have made to the United States during Hispanic Heritage Month? This year, let's focus on helping our students understand the long-standing impact that Hispanic communities have had on our nation. Dr. Aradhana Mudambi outlines 4 ideas to explore Hispanic American history and culture with your students.
Redefining Trauma-Informed Care
The trauma we all faced during COVID-19 has been a shared, albeit different, experience for each of us. Restorative practitioner Steve Fiedeldey outlines actionable steps to help you and your students process trauma, bear witness to our collective and individual struggles, and develop a collective community of care this school year.
Building Resilient Writers: 3 Moves for the New School Year
For many students, putting pen to paper can be downright scary! As teachers, we are not powerless in this situation. In fact, what we do early on in the school year can make a world of difference. If we can create a space of trust, where students can show up again and again fully aware of their challenges, and write despite them, writing growth will happen. By establishing a strong community of writers at the onset of the year, students build writing resilience.