Reading Street Powerpoints

6th Grade

Power Points for Reading Street 6th Grade

In the interest of sharing what I’ve done (and hoping that readers out there will tell me what they’ve done!) I’ve uploaded my powerpoints to Google Drive.  I use the powerpoints each day.  They’ve been really handy when someone needs to take over for me for a few minutes, or if I have a substitute.  They also work well when a student is absent – the student can read over the powerpoint and get an idea of what we covered that day.  My plan for the fall is to try recording the presentations as I teach them and post them on the class website.  That will give students a better picture of what they missed (or allow them to watch a class again).

Here are the powerpoints for Unit 1.

Unit 1 Week 1

Unit 1 Week 2

Unit 1 Week 3

Unit 1 Week 4

Unit 1 Week 5

Unit 1 Week 6

Let me know what you do with Reading Street.  I’m still learning how to go about teaching it, so any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated!  (My dad, a teacher for 30 years, always said it takes three years to get good at a new curriculum, so I’ve got two more years of this!)

Take a Break (a Brain Break, that is)

I’ve been using brain breaks with my students for the past year and it has worked out really well.  My students are in my class for 2 hours of reading/writing instruction, most of which is direct instruction.  After a while, the students start to get that glazed look on their faces.  Brain breaks wake them back up and help them re-focus.

Brain Break Bucket

Brain Break Bucket

DSCN6523I took a bucket and some ping pong balls and made my Brain Break Bucket.  Basically, I just wrote the brain breaks on each ping pong ball.  When it’s time to break up the monotony, I have a student choose a ball from the bucket and we do whatever it says on the ball.

The kids have really enjoyed it.  There’s a renewed energy in the classroom when they go back to their seats.

What sorts of things do I do for brain breaks?  I’m glad you asked!

Brain Breaks

Line up alphabetically by last name, silently

Line up alphabetically by first name, silently

Make a train around the room

Switch seats with someone else

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

Youtube dance videos for kids

Use a beach ball and play “Keep it off the Floor”

Would You Rather?Questions

Simon Says


Wink one eye and snap the fingers on the opposite hand (hard to do but fun to watch!)

In my classroom, the students are in their seats listening to me (my curriculum requires 90% direct instruction) for up to 2 hours at a time.  This makes it hard for them to focus on the lesson after a while.  By breaking up the time with these Brain Breaks, it helps them to re-focus on the lesson.  I know when I sit in a Professional Development session, or attend a conference, I have a tough time staying focused after a while.  Pretty soon your brain is wandering off into “I wonder what’s for lunch”, “How am I going to accomplish all the tasks in front of me today?” “When is this over?”  Having a chance to get up and move around is so helpful.

What Brain Breaks do you do?

Team Meetings

team meetingAt my building, we believe strongly in making students feel a part of something.  To achieve that goal, we are all part of teams.  My team of two teachers holds monthly meetings with the students to recognize achievements and participate in a teambuilder.


Each month, we select a student from each homeroom to receive an award in each subject.  We keep track of these students on a chart to avoid choosing the same students repeatedly.  Birthdays and students who were “all done” all month are also recognized.  Finally, we award the coveted “Team” award to one student from each homeroom.

The team meeting begins with birthdays.  Students who have a birthday during that month are called up in front where we sing to them.  Then, they are given a card and a small treat.  (Because students at this age are always shy about coming up in front, I announce the birthdays by informing the students that we always start our team meetings with a healthy dose of humiliation.  They think that’s hilarious).

After birthdays, math, science, reading, writing and social studies awards are handed out.  We usually reference something during the month that the students have done to earn the award.  (We do keep it pretty general – just for ease of giving out the awards every month.  For instance, we might mention that these students worked really hard on their personal narrative in writing class).

Next, those students who have been part of the All Done Club all month (see my post about the All Done Club earlier in this blog).  Students in this group also receive a paper award.

Finally, we call up the two students who earned the coveted Team award.  This year, we’re the Titanic Team, so our Team award will reflect that.  We review the types of things that earn this award and then applaud those two students.

The chart that we keep track of student awards on helps us make sure every students gets recognized sometime during the year.  Even the most challenging students, at some time, do something worth recognizing.  We believe it’s important to hold the awards to a high standard, but we also believe every student is worthy of recognition for something they have done well.

Once we’ve recognized our students, we move into the teambuilding activity.  True confession time: most of our activities involve completing the task without talking because it means the classroom doesn’t get too noisy.  It is highly entertaining to see our normally talkative students try to work with a group without talking.  It certainly ups the challenge!

Some teambuilding activities we’ve done in the past include:

  • building the tallest tower using only 10 pieces of construction paper and 10 paper clips
  • spelling out words by forming the letters with their bodies
  • generating the most words from a teacher stated word (like Thanksgiving)
  • playing kickball – homeroom vs homeroom
  • human knot
  • creating Valentines for the Valentines for Vets program

The students love having the team meetings and look forward to them each month.  For just 30 minutes once a month, they are well worth the effort.  We generally do the first Thursday of the month, and the students keep track and ask about it every month!

What do you do to help students stay connected?  I’d love to steal (I mean respectfully borrow!) your ideas!