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Teaching Ideas for Upper Elementary Teachers

Here are 9 teaching resource ideas for less stress while teaching in upper elementary grades. Engage your reluctant learners with these motivating resources and ideas.

There’s nothing better than finding the right resource when you need it most. Teachers Pay Teachers delivers for sure. Here are my top recommendations for less stress teaching! Hehe! Is there such a thing?? 😉

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1. Teacher Binders

use teaching binders to get organized and find important papers fast
Organize with teaching binders

I love feeling organized! Everything seems to run much more smoothly. This set of teacher binders allows you to create your own custom binders with all the essential papers you need in one place. Best of all, it’s EDITABLE! 

You can set your binders up the way you need them. Plus, you can customize the pages with your own words and headings. Finally, you can print the pages just as they are – and you’re instantly ready to get organized!

image of a teacher binder

Here’s an article about Teacher Binder Organization Step-By-Step.

2. Visual Shape Math Sets

2-digit multiplication organizer
2-digit multiplication organizer

I can’t imagine trying to teach multi-digit multiplication and long division without these visual organizers. These graphic organizers offer a concrete learning method and make math easier for students to understand and learn.

long division organizer in a dry-erase sleeve for students to practice skills
Long division graphic organizer

They’re perfect for 3rd graders, 4th graders, 5th graders, and special education students who are learning 2-digit multiplication and long division. The visual strategy is terrific for older students who need practice, review, reinforcement, and intervention

Want to learn more? Here’s an article about How to Teach Multi-Digit Multiplication and Long Division.

3. CUBES-CUBED Math Strategy Posters

CUBES posters for math problem solving
Click to learn more

If you’re looking for a math word problem-solving strategy, here it is!

Try CUBES or CUBED for solving math story problems. The CUBES strategy helps reduce stress for students. Students feel comfortable using a concrete method of problem-solving. In addition, the steps help students organize their thinking to solve word problems more efficiently.

Here’s an article about How to Teach Math Word Problems with the CUBES – CUBED Strategy.

4. ELA – Reading Posters

bulletin board of story arc plot diagram

One of my favorite classroom teaching tools is the plot diagram (story mountain) bulletin board!

Because it’s so visually appealing, my students and I refer to it weekly. Plus, everyone who enters my classroom is immediately drawn to it because it’s right on my classroom wall. 

The set comes in 3 different sizes and includes EDITABLE term cards so you can make any terms you need and personalize them with your own definitions!

Here’s an article about How to Use the Plot Diagram for Teaching.

reading strategies posters for upper elementary classrooms for bulletin boards - this is a cover image
Reading Strategies reference posters.

Another favorite set of reading posters is the reading comprehension strategies set. I post them in the front of my classroom and reference them frequently during instruction. 

5. Reading Comprehension Sets

Click to learn about the Woodland Animals Text Evidence Passages

I use these reading comprehension sets every year with my students. They’re the perfect way to help your students become text evidence experts. Students read the passages, identify answers in the text by highlighting or underlining the information, and then compose written answers to text-based questions.

The answers are color-coded as a way for students to prove their answers. These passages are perfect for older students reading a bit lower than grade level.

citing text evidence reading comprehension worksheet
Text evidence comprehension practice.
cover image of the the all seasons reading comprehension bundle for finding text evidence

These practice worksheets are also great to drop in a sub-tub. Substitute teachers can use them for early finishers or when a lesson runs shorter than expected.

You might also like this article: How to Teach Students to Cite Text Evidence.

6. Reading Strategy Sets

This compare and contrast set is one of my absolute favorite teaching units. These paired texts for reading comprehension and close reading are perfect for beginners or struggling students. 

Using paired passages to teach compare and contrast essay writing
Compare and Contrast Reading and Writing

Students begin comparing and contrasting with pictures and then move on to paired text passages. Step-by-step suggestions for teachers are included, along with ideas for scaffolding instruction. This unit is excellent for practice, review, and test prep.

Here’s an article about How to Teach Compare and Contrast to your students.

Main idea reading passages

Another reading strategy recommendation is the central idea unit of activities. These interactive activities include a digital game, digital passages, printable passages, center activities, organizers, and two mini-posters.

7. Writing Journals

Get your students writing every single day with this full-year writing set featuring 208 different and unique prompts. The daily writing prompts are laid out in a journal format that’s simple and logical for students and simple for teachers to prepare.

Quick Writes journal writing for students

No controversial subjects and no specific holidays are mentioned.


8. Sentence Improvement – Adding Details

Improve sentences

I’ve used these sentence improvement activities every year for as long as I can remember for a good reason – they work. With this bundle, you’ll have various tools to teach students how to write longer, better, higher-quality sentences.

During instruction, you’ll model how to add details to basic sentences step-by-step. Students will learn and practice using various activities, including task cards, printables, digital Google Slides, and Google Forms.

9. Leadership Activities

Activities for Leadership

Create leaders and develop leadership skills and positive role models in your classroom. With this bundle, you’ll find activities to promote student responsibility and accountability. 

Every year I assign a goal-setting activity for students. Then we discuss our individual goals and how we plan to reach them. That’s when I teach growth mindset and character education. We want students to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. 

You might want to read this article: Student Leadership Resources for Classrooms.

Tips for Shopping Teachers Pay Teachers Sales

Before you dive into the Teachers Pay Teachers sale, think about the next several months and the lessons you’ll be teaching. If you’ve previously taught the curriculum, you might have a good idea of what areas need to be supplemented.

Additionally, you should consider the upcoming holidays if you like to engage students with timely holiday activities.

Finally, check over your wish list if you keep one. I always add cool stuff to it, so when it’s sale time, I can quickly run through the resources that piqued my interest. Often, I no longer need or want them, but sometimes some resources are just too fantastic to ignore.

I hope you discovered some new teaching ideas that you can use in class. It’s always exciting to try out fresh ideas and strategies. Take it slow and enjoy exploring creative new ideas!