Author Archives: Kathleen

Do you need a resource to help you initiate a conversation about COVID-19? The story of Typhoid Mary and what happened in America about 100 years ago is a great way to get started. Mary Mallon’s story parallels much of what is happening today. Additionally, the resource, "Typhoid Mary," is written with rigor built-in so your students will also be learning reading strategies to help them become more proficient readers and learners.

Readers will read Mary Mallon's story and complete print-and-go worksheets included to support readers' understanding of the text. Collaborative activities, including a mock classroom trial, allow readers to thoroughly explore the responsibilities of the public during an outbreak of an infectious disease, i.e., social distancing or staying at home, etc.  Additionally, all forms you need to organize a classroom trial are included. This resource will work well in your remote learning classroom. Using ”Typhoid Mary” will not only be informative about the subject matter, it will also help you teach strategies to aid comprehension. Now to talk more about this rigorous reading resource.

Rigorous Reading resources provide students with information about the subject matter as well as how to tackle difficult text and break it down into manageable pieces to increase comprehension. What elements does a resource need to accomplish this? Here are 4 steps used to create the rigorous reading resource “Typhoid Mary.”

First, the resource must have a pre-reading activity that gets kids interested to find out more. The main idea is to get kids to commit by stating an opinion. It doesn’t matter what they choose as long as they make a choice. Once they do, they are participating! Good start!
There are many ways to create a pre-reading strategy. They need to be simple and take no longer than 5 or 6 minutes. An agree/disagree list of 5 statements, about the general theme of the story, is an easy way to accomplish this. A short class discussion about the choices will set the stage for the story.


Second, vocabulary activities are mandatory. They introduce readers to words they may not know. It is discouraging and confusing for struggling and even more proficient readers to not understand the vocabulary. They often will not stop to find a definition, but continue to read on with little understanding or worse, they just give up altogether. “Typhoid Mary” has vocabulary puzzles and an activity to demonstrate the use vocabulary words in sentences.

Third, “Typhoid Mary” has during-reading or focusing questions as well. Each page has a question or two to require the reader to reflect on what they have just read. Struggling readers tend to read on and on without any reflection whatsoever. This always results in poor comprehension. The questions embedded in text of ”Typhoid Mary” help the reader to focus on the important message in that section of the story. The questions also make great classroom conversation starters.

Lastly, culminating activities are so important to emphasize the salient points of what readers have learned. “Typhoid Mary” has several concluding activities, one is a very special concluding activity, a classroom trial.

Students create a mock trial to assess the culpability of an asymptomatic carrier of disease. The trial can take a few days or longer. There are suggestions to make the trial shorter if needed. Everyone in your class can participate.  Each role should be played by a group of students who work collaboratively to complete the documents.  Each team receives a document outlining the responsibilities of their role (prosecutor, defense attorney, judge, jury and witnesses) to be acted out in your classroom trial. There are documents to guide the students playing each role and help them accomplish what they need to do i.e., build a case, write questions,  prepare to defend their theory, list facts that weaken the opposition's case, assess the evidence and come to a reasonable, well thought out conclusion.  






Lessons from “Typhoid Mary”

1. People need to wash their hands with soap frequently to keep germs from spreading.

2. People need to keep their living space clean and use sanitizers.

3. Poor sanitation causes disease to spread.

4. Infectious diseases can spread very quickly.

5. People who are infected need to take precautions not to infect others.

6. People who are not infected need to take precautions to protect themselves.


Lessons for each Role

Readers use perspective to build a case. Reader use higher level problem solving skills to prove their point of view.

Prosecutor and Defense Attorney

1. Determine a theory of what happened and construct a strategy to win your case.

2. Collaborate to write good questions.

3. Explore  witnesses' possible answers to both prosecution and defense questions. Be prepared to rebut testimony that will diminish your argument.


1. Collect witness lists and be sure each witness called is on that list.

2. Do not allow lawyers or witnesses to demonstrate unacceptable behavior.

3. Make decisions to keep the trial running smoothly.

Jury Members

1.Take notes during the trial.

2. Collaborate to determine a fair verdict.


1. Re-read the part of the story that talks about your character.

2. Use interpretive skills to determine what your testimony will be.

3. Answer questions on the witness stand.


If you are ready to teach your kids some great comprehension skills using this timely topic, click here.



Do you need some inspiration to feel motivated about starting another school year? I have teamed up with some talented teacher-authors to share inspirational ideas for next school year. From classroom organization to first day of school activities, this collection of blog posts will set you up for back-to-school success. There’s something for everyone from PreK to middle school. Here are a few  favorite teacher blog posts (labeled by grade). I hope you find the posts as inspiring as I do.


K – 6th Grade

Start the School Year Off Right! will help you get ready for the busy season.  Melissa Bonito from Peas in a Pod offers some smart tips and tricks to help set the stage for a smooth school year. You won’t want to miss her top 5 back to school tips, and how she goes about teaching classroom procedures!

2nd – 5th Grade

Kelly Malloy from An Apple for the Teacher is full of classroom design inspiration! She offers multiple pictures of her classroom throughout the years. Her latest post, My Students Are Amazing, offers a peek at her classroom door display for September. Hint**There’s a freebie in this post!

K – Middle School

In Organize & Transform Your Classroom, Suzy Memeo from StudentSavvy offers tips on creating a space that makes you happy! She will guide you as you come up with your plan, locate the problem areas in your classroom, and tackle them. Her beautiful designs are a must see!

Prek – 3rd Grade

Read all about creating a life long love for reading within each of our students in My Favorite Way to Increase Reading Engagement by Paula Beckerman from Paula’s Primary Classroom. She says, “After 25 years of teaching early childhood, I haven’t found any magic tricks that always work for everyone, each child is unique after all!  There is, however, something that has served me incredibly well, year after year.” Find out what it is HERE!

3rd – 6th Grade

“How do you see your role in the classroom in terms of the first month of school?”  That was a pivotal question on my job interview many years ago. Sometimes the more things change, the more the stay the same. Whether it was asked during your interview or not, the answer can make or break your classroom management plan. If you don’t accomplish anything else during the first weeks of school but to have control of your class, then you have done a good job! It was my answer and the  school superintendent interviewing me agreed! Read more about how Kathleen Guleksen, from A Plus Kids, does just that!

Hint**There is a freebie in this post!

We are so happy to share these tips with you. Do  you have any beginning-of-the-year strategies that work well for you?  We would love to hear them. Please leave your tip or comment below.




I am co-hosting this special giveaway with Kelly Malloy and other awesome teacher bloggers. We are excited to have collected things teachers love for our giveaway!  Look at all the special things to love--and to make your life easier. Which item do you need the most?



Prize: Things We LOVE prize pack including: Mr. Sketch Markers, Flair Markers, Personal Laminator, Dry Erase Pockets, Dry Erase Markers, Astrobrights Paper, Ticonderoga Pencils, and a $50 Teachers pay Teachers gift card.


Mr. Sketch Markers

Flair MarkersPersonal LaminatorDry Erase Pockets


Dry Erase Markers

Astrobrights Paper

Ticonderoga Pencils

$50 Teachers pay Teachers gift card



Giveaway Organized by: Kelly Malloy (An Apple for the Teacher)

Co-hosts:   An Apple for the Teacher,  A Plus KidsThe Cozy Crafty ClassroomSliding into 1stThe Fun FactoryKelly McCownThe Craft of TeachingCarla HoffStar KidsTheBeezyTeacher, Learning InspiredThe Chocolate TeacherMs. KSamson's ShoppeBusy Little BeesThe Froggy FactoryLeah PopinskiJackie CrewsPeas In ,A PodMM Bilingual180 Days of ReadingSarah Griffin, and Mr L's Classroom.

Rules: Use the Rafflecopter to enter. Giveaway ends 2/21/19 and is open worldwide.

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Are you a Teacher Blogger or Teachers pay Teachers seller who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your store and social media?  Click here to find out how you can join our totally awesome group of bloggers!

Good luck!


To help with the purchasing of Valentine's Day and Spring resources for your classroom, a team of amazing teachers and I have grouped together to gift ONE awesome, lucky teacher with a TPT gift card!

PRIZE: 1 x $150 TPT Giftcard
Starts: Friday 8th February 2019 12am
Ends: Saturday 16th February 2019 12am
#1 TAG your teacher friends by adding their names in the comment section


a Rafflecopter giveaway

REMEMBER: each entry counts as ONE entry, the more links you complete, the higher your chances of winning!!
Raffle CLOSES: Saturday 16th February 2019 12am


Imagine winning a $200 Amazon gift card! That's exactly what will happen for two lucky winners of the Back to School Rafflecopter contest! What a great way to start the new school year and get whatever you need for your classroom--or maybe even for yourself!
I am happy to be co-hosting the giveaway with other teacher authors.  A new Rafflecopter contest has begun and will end next Saturday. So be sure to enter on the Rafflecopter below and I wish you good luck! Remember two winners will each receive a $200 Amazon gift card!
Prize: $200 Amazon Gift Card (2 Prizes!)
Giveaway Organized by: Kelly Malloy (An Apple for the Teacher)

Rules: Use the Rafflecopter to enter.  Giveaway ends 8/11/18 and is open worldwide.  
Are you a Teacher Blogger or Teachers pay Teachers seller who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your store and social media?  Click here to find out how you can join our totally awesome group of bloggers! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


A talented group of bloggers are celebrating America's Independence Day with a super giveaway event. One lucky contestant will win a $150 TpT gift card!! That would be a great help to help you get ready for a new school year! The giveaway is now in full swing but it will end next Saturday, July 7th at 12am. So hurry and enter the contest now.
Here is what you need to know to participate:
#1 TAG your teacher friends by adding their names in the comment section
#3 ENTER in the Rafflecopter below.
REMEMBER: each entry counts as ONE entry, the more links you complete, the higher your chances of winning!!


It's Teacher Appreciation Week! To celebrate I have joined some teacher-blogger friends to co-host this mega giveaway of 10 teacher must haves, teacher-favorite flair pens, Sharpies, smooth writing Ticonderoga pencils just to name a few prizes. Of course, my personal favorite prize is the can't-live-without laminator and the $50 TpT gift card would be wonderful to put a dent in anyone's wish list. See the complete list of prizes below.
Prize: 10 Teacher "Must Haves" prize pack including:
Mr. Sketch Markers
Flair Markers
Personal Laminator
Dry Erase Pockets
Dry Erase Markers
Astrobrights Paper
Ticonderoga Pencils
 Wall Calendar
$50 Teachers pay Teachers gift card.

Are you a Teacher Blogger or Teachers pay Teachers seller who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your store and social media?  Click here to find out how you can join our totally awesome group of bloggers!


Do your students need practice with money word problems? Are you sometimes rushed in the morning and need something quick?  I finally finished my update of the Supermarket Shopper, a classroom activity that is handy when you're short on time--and isn't that most of the time? The Supermarket Shopper is a versatile activity that can be used for elementary school students to practice addition, subtraction, (and multiplication and division). What I like about it the most is that it takes less than a minute  to be ready and can so easily provide differentiation.

Setting up the board does take a bit of time but once it is set up, it is good to go everyday with very little effort on the part of the teacher. If it is set up on a tri-fold it can easily be stored and pulled out again when needed.


The supermarket is divided into four departments and each department has food items.

The food items are given prices. This is where differentiation comes in. Younger kids will have prices with lower numbers and more able math students will have prices with higher numbers. Complete directions for differentiation are included.


Four word problems are posted on the side of the supermarket board. Each day only the numbers need to change.  So teachers give those price cards a shuffle! Now the problems are different because the numbers are different. This provides repetition for students to learn how to solve word problems. After a few days four new word problems are posted.


Here a student is finding the amount of money to pay for a food item. The student must find the price of the item by looking on the supermarket board. Then the student counts out the correct amount of money. The coins are cut and pasted to the answer sheet. Students can work collaboratively to check their work.


Here is an example of a word problem sheet. The objective in this example is addition. An  objective can be practiced until students reach mastery. Many different objectives can be mastered using the Supermarket Shopper!

Kids love the Supermarket Shopper because it is different and fun!  If you think the Supermarket Shopper might make your life easier and motivate your students to enjoy a fun math activity, you can get a better look at A+ Kids.



How many of you are Downton Abbey fans? Even though the show is long over I still love it. To celebrate Valentine's Day my husband and I decided to take advantage of the mild February weather and traveled to New York City.  We visited the Downton Abbey Exhibition and then went out to dinner. It was a perfect day to celebrate!

We were greeted by Mr. Carson who reminded visitors that he keeps a strict count of the silver.


Standing in Mrs. Patmore's  kitchen was awesome. I felt like I should get busy helping  or at any moment a bell might ring summoning attention in another room of the house.


The dining room was impeccably done. Portraits of the Crawleys decorated the room with lots of good information about the characters.

In a video, "Protocol with Mr. Carson," Mr. Carson reminds everyone of the proper behavior that is expected in the dining room. Missteps quickly identify one as---not one of the elite. Clips from characters are shown on the screen. The old-fashioned Dowager has plenty of advice for everyone.

Lady Mary's bedroom is complete with her lingerie.

The Dowager is highlighted stating some of her more memorable quips.




Lady Mary and Lady Edith ready to party. Glass cases display their jewelry.

Lady Edith's Wedding Dress


There was no shortage of fashion at the exhibition. It was so much fun viewing all the costumes. Pictures of the characters wearing the outfits with brief descriptions identified each one.

Downton Abbey is hiring household help. I filled out an "application." It appears I am on the list to be interviewed by Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Carson for the position of housemaid.  After reading my educated responses, someone decided that training to become a housemaid is the job I am best suited to do! WHAT??

The outfit of my dreams? Yikes!  Help me Anna Bates!


If you are a Downton fan, it is a real treat to visit the exhibition and get a little closer to the Crawleys and learn some secrets about the show's creation. The exhibition is touring across the country. Google it and see if it will be near you.  The New York City exhibition closes in March.

After two hours of humoring me at the exhibit, a venue I chose, we walked over to the restaurant my husband chose.  Loved it! Dinner was delicious, complete with a Swiss chocolate wrapped in a Valentine heart-shaped box with a red ribbon. So sweet!

How did you celebrate Valentine's Day?

Downton Abbey fans tell me what you think.


#downtownexhibition #valentinesday

Chandra from Teacher Gameroom and I were each lucky enough to snag a $10 Teachers Pay Teachers gift card and we are going to award them to one lucky winning teacher on Thursday morning. It's a short contest--only open on Valentine's Day, just 24 hours, so get in on the fun and use the Rafflecopter below to enter.

The winner will have plenty of time to shop during the second day of the Teachers Pay Teachers site wide sale.  Just think of all the time-savers you can buy on your TpT shopping spree! Gift cards would be so nice!

Don't forget to use promo code XOXO to save additional $$ when you check out.

Good luck!

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