April Smith

Hi there! Let me introduce myself! I'm a full time curriculum designer that's been in and out of the classroom. I've taught 4th, 5th, 6th, middle school, gifted, and reading intervention. I started designing curriculum to provide fun, high-interest activities for students that need a little extra motivation. I've also presented professional development sessions, online and in person! I simplify the planning process and provide resources that drastically cut down on planning time.

Teaching Theme (Grades 3, 4, 5)

           Key Question: What evidence of theme did you see in the text? Materials:  Student Copies of any novel (I used Rules by Cynthia Lord) Student copies of 1 excerpt from the novel (Find a page with excellent evidence that supports theme...

How Novel Study Turned My Students Into Readers

I discovered The Giver by Lois Lowry at my school library when I was in fifth grade and fell in love. My first year teaching, I made it a point to read it to my class. One of the things I discovered when I was reading The Giver to my class the first...

Brain Breaks for Kids: Upper Elementary

Why Brain Breaks for Kids? Brain Breaks to me are not only necessary for kids, but they are a classroom management strategy in the upper grades. My students actually earn Brain Breaks when they are doing excellent work (every 30-45 minutes). They...

What & How to Grade in Upper Elementary

Every year there’s a teacher or two that I watch leaving school at 6 PM lugging home an entire cart full of papers to grade. I just want to scream “NOOO!” and jump on it like a hand grenade. Kidding aside, grading every single...