Thank You For an Incredible Year!

Thank You For an Incredible Year!

As we close out a year of delivering the very best of Jill’s tips and tricks into your inbox every week, we just wanted to say a big THANK YOU for all of your continued support! 

Because of you, we can continue Jill’s legacy of supporting educators across the country, helping to make teaching simple and teachers happy and successful. That’s the goal! 

We are excited to continue this fun and important work in 2023! 

Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy New Year,

  • The Jill Jackson Team
Thank You For an Incredible Year!

Novelty Is Killing Mastery | For Teachers

I often find that teachers struggle to build mastery with their kids because we are falling into the old trap of believing that novelty beats routine and practice. 

The problem with always trying something new – going to Facebook, Pinterest, or Teachers Pay Teachers and trying to find the latest, greatest way to teach whatever lesson – is that the skill work gets buried! Kids are just not going to pick up the skill we’re trying to teach them. 

If I’m trying to teach kids how to find the main idea in what they’re reading, I can dress up that main idea instruction in a hundred novel, new, exciting ways, but if they don’t come out of that lesson knowing how to find the main idea, then I’ve just made that instruction the shiny penny, and the skill itself gets buried.

For more help and tips on how to focus on skill master for your students please check out our book:

Books can be found at amazon.com or at our store.

Thank You For an Incredible Year!

Too Much Background! | For Teachers

Not long ago, teachers in a district I was working in were talking about how they’d love to teach a lesson, but they’re hesitant because of all the teaching time they’d need to spend building enough background knowledge.

Maybe you can relate? But consider this: what if the limited amount of background knowledge the kids have is okay? What if we QUICKLY get into the text, and let the text do its job? After all, it’s the job of the text to teach kids the stuff that they need to know!

So how are we going to do this? Ask yourself two things:

  1. What is the least amount of information I need to give to get my kids into the text?
  2. What information does the text give that I do not have to give background information on, because it’s already in the text we’re going to use?

For more help and tips on how to improve your teaching practice, please check out our books. Books can be found at amazon.com or jackson-consulting.com/buy-stuff/

Thank You For an Incredible Year!

Another Overrated Education-ism | For Teachers & Coaches

One of the things I hear teachers say quite a bit is that in order for kids to be able to write, they have to read. And yes, technically that is true. But a lot of times when teachers say that, what they really mean is that they are going to delay teaching writing until kids are more solid on their reading skills and the reality of learning how to write.

Actually, my research shows that we have to teach kids to write as soon as we can get our hands on them, on the first day of kindergarten! 

So if you’ve been in the read-well-before-they-write camp, I want you to switch that to starting your writing and reading instruction simultaneously. There is so much to learn in the area of writing! If we don’t start teaching those skills alongside learning how to read, we’re just hampering our kids. 

For more tips on how to give teach reading and writing simultaneously, check out the books:

Books can be found on amazon.com or at our store.

Thank You For an Incredible Year!

Why Accelerated Reader is So Misused in the Classroom | For Teachers & District Leaders

I’ll admit it: I have concerns about accelerated reader. Now, don’t shoot the messenger! Just consider the following:

  1. Accelerated reader doesn’t track skills. If you’re using it to figure out whether kids are growing skill wise, it’s not equipped to give you that information. 
  2. Its numbers are really broad. Parents and teachers alike will say, “I have kids that grew from 6 to 7, or 7 to 8, but what does that really mean, skill-wise? 
  3. The numbers don’t tell us what to do next. If I have a kid that’s not reading at the right level and needs an accelerated reader – well, what are they missing? What skills should I focus on? What’s getting in the way of comprehension? It doesn’t help me out!
  4. It can give false data! Because teachers all use it differently. Some let kids retake tests. Some let kids rack up points by choosing texts that they can read easily. 

With all of that, I’m just not sure that accelerated reader more than a motivational tool is worth using in the classroom.

For more help and tips on how to improve your teaching practice, please check out our books.

Books can be found at amazon.com or at our store.

Thank You For an Incredible Year!

The Bane of Existence for Skill Building | For Teachers

We realistically need about 47 minutes to cover this issue properly, but since nobody has time for that, let’s get to it!  

I want to talk about the difference between a skill and an activity.

  • A skill is the ability to do something.
  • An activity is an opportunity to practice that skill.

A lot of times in our classrooms, we get those things mixed up, and a lot of curriculum has us doing more activities than skill-building. This leads to a lot of confusion for kids, because they haven’t mastered a skill and yet they’re already having to apply it into an activity!

Here’s how to change our practice towards focusing on skills rather than activities: 

I want you to focus on this one question to get to the skill.

  • What do I want kids to be able to do?

Then the second question gets you to the activity.

  • How can I organize practice or opportunities for practice with the skill?

Remember, if you don’t have a solid foundation of the skill, then do not – I repeat, do not! – move on to the activity.

For more help and tips on how to dive into more ideas on how to organize your teaching in a way to focus on skill-building, check out our books.

Books can be found on amazon.com or at our store.