Inspiring curiosity and inquisitiveness in elementary students creates a foundation for learning that students will carry with them for their entire lives. In addition to helping students process the world around them, this foundation fosters the creativity necessary to dream of a better future.
Now more than ever, creating a classroom that helps all students learn and remain curious is imperative to improving learning outcomes and, in turn, developing the inventors, developers, creatives, and leaders of tomorrow.
To aid in the process of inspiring curiosity while instilling the joy of learning, we’ve compiled a list of just some of the trusted resources within Learning A-Z solutions that teachers can use. Which Learning A-Z resources inspire curiosity in your students? We’d love to hear about them and what YOU love about Learning A-Z!
Supporting Teachers & Caregivers
Professional Development at Your Fingertips
Pop quiz: What’s the most important part of creating a curious, engaged classroom? You, their teacher. Supporting you on your journey while setting you up for success is our priority. That’s why our professional learning experts offer live, on-demand, and micro-learning professional development to make sure you get the most out of your Learning A-Z experience.
Teacher tip: If you need help navigating the site, just click the Guided Help button in your account.
Survey Your Students
Students go above and beyond when supported by a teacher they feel has taken a genuine interest in them. To create this connection earlier in the year, begin the school year with a student interest survey. This will allow you to become familiar with their personal interests while forming and nurturing a bond with all of your students, including those who are more quiet or reluctant.
Get to Know Caregivers
Reach out to your students’ family members and support structure before the year starts to get to know your students more personally through a caregiver survey. Not only will you connect with those who have the largest influence on your students’ lives, but you can also learn about your students beyond what’s in their school file.
Get the Whole Family Involved
Caregivers are curious, too, about what students are up to in the classroom and how they can get more involved.
Get caregivers engaged by giving them access to the Parent Portal within Kids A-Z so they can see their student’s progress and send notes of encouragement! Exploring the Parent Portal will tour them through the portal and share best practices. (Also available in Spanish!)
Recommended Video for Families:
Help Your Child Read With
Inspire Curiosity With Raz-Plus
Take a (Brain) Break!
Did you know that taking learning breaks throughout the school day actually allows the brain to compress and consolidate what was just learned?*
Take a break from your classroom routine with these SEL video activities from UNICEF. Short, quick, whole-class video activities provide a quick break and help strengthen Social-Emotional Learning competencies.
*Youki Terada. “ We Drastically Underestimate the Importance of Brain Breaks.” Edutopia.org. 21 April 2022.
Engage in Culturally Responsive Conversations
Rooted in Social-Emotional Learning, the Meaningful Conversations collection presents culturally responsive content in multiple formats. Offering teacher-led guided discussion activities, this solution helps educators safely address important topics—like bullying, working together through difficult times, and differences in abilities—through inclusive and respectful classroom dialogues. Log in to your Raz-Plus account to view Meaningful Conversations resources. (Also available in Spanish!)
Recommended PD: Supporting Social-Emotional Learning With Raz-Plus
Set a Benchmark
Benchmark Assessments are perfect for measuring student progress throughout the school year to understand each student’s strengths and challenges. Assigning Benchmark Assessments throughout the year helps show progress made over time, further supporting classroom data to inform and differentiate instruction.
Exploring Benchmark Assessment Tools in
Keep Struggling Readers Interested
It’s hard for students to stay engaged if they’re struggling and feeling frustrated. Help those readers build vocabulary and background knowledge by sharing high-interest concepts at lower levels of text complexity. Just look for the IGNITE logo to find High/Low Text Sets and High/Low Graphic Books that are paired with instructional materials and aligned to content-area standards.
Recommended PD: Explore Raz-Plus Resources to Accelerate Learning
Raz-Plus Español: A New Add-On for Raz-Plus Users
Give your dual language students más posibilidades with:
- Authentic Spanish texts and transadapted resources
- An Español Reading Room
- Spanish resources to build phonics skills
- And more!
Inspire Curiosity With Raz-Kids
When it Comes to Reading, Give Students Choice
The Reading Room provides an entire library of digital content literally at your students’ fingertips. This means that reading practice is student-led, which allows each student to be guided by their own curiosity and interests. Students can even ‘favorite’ books to revisit at a later date.
Keep an eye on which books students ‘favorite’ and incorporate related topics in your lesson plans to increase engagement.
Books: Accessible Anytime, Anywhere
The beauty of Raz-Kids is that it’s all digital, which means students can read on any device that’s connected to the internet whether they're at school, at home, or on-the-go. Downloading the Kids A-Z mobile app makes it even easier!
Send students home with a parent letter at the start of the school year to help caregivers get students signed in at home. Parent letters are available within your class roster and come in 28 different languages!
Recommended Help Article: Sharing Student Login Information
Set Goals Together
If students are having a hard time logging reading time, try setting goals together using My Stats in Kids A-Z. You can set goals based on the number of stars your student can earn, the badge they’d like to earn that week, or the number of books or activities they’d like to complete. Your students will become reading stars and feel more invested in their learning if they can set goals with you.
GET TO KNOW THE STUDENT PORTAL
Recommended PD: Getting Started with Raz-Kids
Complete Work, Earn Stars!
The more activities students complete, the more stars they earn. Stars are like currency in Kids A-Z, as students can cash them in for a pet shark for their avatar or a Europa Dessert Flower for their Raz Rocket. Cha-ching!
To extend the fun, ask students to write a creative story about their avatar or an adventure they go on in their Raz Rocket!
Inspire Curiosity With Foundations A-Z
Point-of-Use Professional Development
Interested in building your knowledge about foundational skills instruction? The Foundations A-Z Professional Development library makes it easy to engage with PD through short, digestible, product-agnostic PD resources directly in your account. You can access these resources whenever you have time in your busy day.
Videos, articles, and podcasts are all waiting for you directly in Foundations A-Z!
I Do, We Do, You Do
Setting a knowledge base is crucial to ensure that all of your students have shared knowledge at the start of a lesson.
Lean on the explicit lesson plans available to you to set the stage, then guide your students through lessons using the gradual release model: I Do (Teach), We Do (Guided Practice), You Do (Independent Practice). The planning has been done for you, including objectives, prep lists, and activities.
Reteach & Enrich
Each lesson plan has a Reteach & Enrich section, which is great to check student understanding, but don’t miss Assign Recommended Resources in your assessment performance reports!
When you view assessment data, you have the option to automatically assign recommended resources depending on whether students need to revisit, relearn, or extend skills. With reviews happening after each lesson, module, and unit, you can monitor progress throughout the year to ensure students aren’t left behind.
Make Learning Joyful
It’s no secret that students learn best when they’re engaged, having fun, and motivated. So between a quirky cast of characters to guide them through instruction, interactive practice opportunities, a star-rewards system, and high-interest texts, students are going to be engaged and learning.
Your students are going to love the characters in Foundations A-Z (if they don’t already!), so keep these coloring sheets ready for celebrations and classroom decorations!
Inspire Curiosity With Vocabulary A-Z
Vocabulary practice has never been so fun with digital phonics, spelling, and vocabulary games.
And that’s not even the best part! These games differentiate vocabulary practice by assigning specific vocabulary games to students based on where each is in their practice. Students will learn the same word list, but complete different activities to target areas where they individually need the most practice. You'll be able to assign supportive games for students who need intervention and more challenging games for students who need enrichment.
Recommended PD: Getting Started with Vocabulary A-Z
Ready-To-Use Vocab Lists
Explore a collection of pre-made, assignable vocabulary lists. Whether you use other Learning A-Z products (like Raz-Plus or Science A-Z), core reading programs from other educational providers, or are just looking for content-specific vocabulary lists, we have you covered.
Help students connect the dots between their reading practice and classroom lessons with easy-to-implement, interactive vocabulary practice.
Assign Premade Lessons on
Build Your Own Lists
Have a vocabulary list of your own you’d like to use? No problem. You can set up lists with up to 30 words each and lean on the vocabulary definitions included in the Vocabulary A-Z database. You can also provide your own definitions and context sentences to tie the word back to what you’re learning in class.
This is a great time to incorporate what you learned from student interest surveys or keep an eye on what books students are enjoying to build vocabulary lists based on your their interests!
Assign Custom Lessons on
On & Offline Practice
If students are out of class for extended periods or don’t have devices at home, you can download vocabulary activities and share with students for offline practice. Complete with flashcards and daily activities students will be ready to practice no matter where they are.
The mobile nature of vocabulary, spelling, and phonics practice means that students can sharpen their skills anytime, anywhere. And more access = more learning equity.
Recommended Resource: Assignments Feature
Inspire Curiosity With Science A-Z
Take Science to the Kitchen
Join the Wise family in their home kitchen as they guide you through DIY science experiments using materials you can usually find around your home.
According to Ceylon Wise, a “benefit of doing [science] experiments is it gives kids an opportunity to be active. To get up and be a part of the lesson, instead of just being spoken to. It lifts the learning off the text and makes it come to life.”
Recommended PD: Getting Started with Science A-Z
(Interested in other content from the Wise family? Check out The Wise Channel on YouTube!)
Science in the News & All Around Us
Can fish drive cars? Can bricks be made from mushrooms and plastic? Can beavers help prevent desert fires?
Science in the News explores answers to questions like the ones above, sharing fun, high-interest, scientific topics and stories that help elementary students get curious about science.
With new content published monthly, you can keep your budding scientists engaged with new stories written for their reading level: early, middle, and upper elementary.
Stay Organized with KLEWS
KLEWS graphic organizers provide students with a visual way to learn scientific reasoning and reading comprehension.
KLEWS Charts are now available with all Storyline activities to give students additional ways to process information and organize their thoughts. Have students refer back to their organizer, keep it on their desk, or keep it in their folder to review at home. A notebook may be fine for some students, but KLEWS organizers allow students to structure their notes and their thoughts.
Digging Deeper, as a Team
You may not be able to take a class field trip to the African Savanna to learn about the food chain or make a batch of waffles to talk about nutrition, but Investigation Packs are the next best thing. Investigation Packs help small groups of students dig deeper into scientific content together by bringing the topics to them.
How do Investigation Packs work? Each student begins by reading through an Investigation File. Once thoroughly read, students come together to discuss what they’ve learned with the purpose of identifying evidence to answer a Key Question and reach a consensus on an answer to the larger Mystery File.
Inspire Curiosity With Writing A-Z
Share a Personal Narrative
Starting the year with a personal narrative project is a great way to get to know students and form connections with them early on. This may help you understand the experiences each student brings to the classroom and their interests – even if the personal narrative is meant to share a memory from over summer break.
If students aren't quite ready for that much writing, start with a graphic organizer to get thoughts on paper. (Available in Beginning, Developing, and Fluent levels)
Recommended PD: Getting Started With Writing A-Z
Build Community Through Writing
Treat writing like a communal activity! Use the back-to-school period for writing exercises that encourage students to get to know one another, like conducting classmate interviews, creating a Get To Know Me book, or hosting an ‘artifact bag’ exercise.
It’s fun to do these at the end of the year, too, to see how much your students change!
Make Writing a Habit
Like any muscle you want to strengthen, consistent practice means growth. Make writing a habit in your classroom by flexing those writing muscles regularly!
Lean on text or visual writing prompts to get students writing for even a few minutes a day. You can use one reading prompt for the entire class or encourage students to select their own topic from a list you provide.
Get in Touch With Their Creative Side
Have your students been earning stars in their Kids A-Z Star Zone for completing Learning A-Z activities? If so, they’ve probably been spending some time creating their avatar or decorating their Raz Rocket.
Get students to think out-of-this-world by having them create a story about their avatar or their next Raz Rocket trip.