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Courtney’s Teacher Tips

Cultivate Conversations, Engage Students, Build Fluency, and So Much More!

Courtney Lofgren

By Courtney Lofgren, Senior Topic Editor, Editorial and Instructional Design

Hi there! I’m Courtney Lofgren and I’m part of the editorial team at Learning A-Z. I taught kindergarten for eight years and first grade for three years, then worked as an instructional coach supporting elementary teachers, so I understand what teachers deal with, and I remember the questions I asked and the challenges I faced as a teacher.

I’m here to help you with useful teacher tips that you can try in your classroom today! I’ll share my tips on social media once a week and we'll collect them all here with updates each month on the Breakroom blog, so check back soon to get new tips!

It’s Fall Y’all

Ask your students, "What makes the fall season so special?" Explore the changes that happen in autumn by reading fall-themed texts independently, in small groups, or as a whole class. Incorporate opportunities for multisensory learning by having students describe the different sights, smells, tastes, and sounds they experience in the fall. Invite them to share their findings with the class. Choose a favorite fall text to read to your class and begin exploring this topic tomorrow!

Bullying Prevention Month

Celebrate Bullying Prevention Month throughout October by helping students learn about what it means to be an anti-bully!

  • Set aside time for meaningful conversations about the differences between being a bystander and being an upstander.
  • Read a variety of texts that help students recognize and understand what bullying looks and sounds like.
  • Invite students to sign an anti-bullying contract that they help create.
  • Create a bulletin board with student-created resources that show what anti-bullying looks like.
  • Guide your students to create an anti-bully environment in the classroom, across the school, and beyond.

Pumpkins, Pumpkins, Pumpkins

This time of year, pumpkins are everywhere we look. What a great opportunity to build your students' literacy and science skills in fun and engaging pumpkin-related ways! Read texts that describe these fascinating gourds, including those detailing the life cycle of pumpkins. If your school has a garden, try planting pumpkin seeds so students can observe the life cycle of pumpkins in real-time. Carve the pumpkins and perform other scientific experiments with your class. Invite students to record their observations in journals.

Compare and Contrast 

Venn diagrams are a great way to help your students organize information as they compare and contrast ideas and information from the texts they read. These graphic organizers can be used with students at any grade level to help sort simple or complex information.

Try having your students do Venn diagrams based on their background knowledge, or to show how two characters are similar and different, or as an exit ticket to demonstrate what they’ve learned. Help students make connections to their learning throughout the month of October by asking them to create Venn diagrams on the behavior of bullies and anti-bullies, or the similarities and differences between summer and fall. One of the best things about Venn diagrams is that students create these resources by simply drawing two overlapping circles. Start incorporating Venn diagrams today!

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