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Meet Beth Newingham

By Beth Newingham on August 30, 2010
  • Grades: 3–5


I’m looking forward to another great year with Scholastic! My name is Beth Newingham, and this is my 11th year of teaching. I worked as the Scholastic Grades 3-5 Teacher Mentor two years ago and then maintained a bi-monthly blog on Top Teaching last year. Being a part of the Scholastic online family has given me such a wonderful opportunity to connect with teachers around the world, share teaching tips, and keep you up to date with what is going on in my own classroom. 


I have lived my entire life in Michigan and currently teach in Troy, Michigan at HillElementary School. The City of Troy is a suburban community located approximately 30 minutes from downtown Detroit. Troy is rich in cultural diversity, and that is certainly reflected in our student population. Of the 350 students in my building, over thirty different languages are spoken in students’ homes. Teachers, parents, and students celebrate this diversity and take great pride in the unique differences we all bring to our school and our community.


Education has always been a very important part of my life. I guess that was inevitable being the child of two teachers. I earned my undergraduate degree from AlbionCollege, a small liberal arts school, in May of 2000 and went on to earn a Masters degree in the Art of Teaching. Since then I have focused a majority of my professional studies on the teaching of reading and writing.  After spending time in both 5th and 2nd grades, this is now my eighth year as a 3rd grade teacher. I have found that teaching a variety of grades has helped me to better understand and appreciate the full spectrum of learning that takes place in elementary school.


My classroom is one in which reading, writing, and math workshops are at the heart of the learning that takes place every day. I also strive to weave technology into my curriculum and work hard to make my lessons applicable to the real world. Whether we are traveling around the United States on our region tour or examining economic principles through our classroom economy, I try hard to make learning in my classroom purposeful and authentic. 


I see education as the main tool that we have to prepare children for their futures. Since it is our students who will become the future leaders and citizens of this world, I see nothing more important than a quality education. Teachers have a unique and daunting responsibility to shape the future through their students. Because of this responsibility, I try to take each opportunity I can to shape the world around me for the better and to instill the same desire in the children I teach. 


I have been married for seven years and give much credit to my husband who has learned that being married to a teacher sometimes calls for the additional tasks of cutting, pasting, and labeling supplies for student projects and lessons. I have a 2-year-old son named Luke, and I also welcomed my second wonderful son Evan into the world this past March. My boys have certainly changed my outlook on life and have strengthened my will to make each child who enters my classroom feel safe and special.


Although teaching is not an easy job, I feel lucky to admit that there is nothing I would rather do.  Making learning both engaging and purposeful for my students is my ultimate goal when creating the monthly ideas and activities I have chosen to share with you.  


Click HERE to follow me on Top Teaching this school Year!

Comments (72)


Unfortunately, I do not have book bin labels for joke books or science fiction. However, you could create the same thing in MS Word. I chose to use Print Shop when making my own because I like the headline feature. However, you can use a text box with a thick black outline for the "frame" and then insert additional textboxes (or WordArt) for the titles. MS Word also has great clipart to insert to accompany each genre label. The size of the black outline on my book bin labels is 3.7 in. x 3.7 in.

I hope this helps!



Thank you so much for your thoughtful (and beautifully written) post. Your vision of teaching is so similar to my own (even sharing many of the same mentors), and my biggest fear is that someone come into my classroom and force me to use textbooks, workbooks, and writing prompts. It is so disappointing that high-stakes testing is forcing some teachers to move away from the inquiry-based learning and personalized instruction that is at the heart of "workshop teaching." It is our job to prepare our students for the future, and it is sad that anyone would think a prescribed-curriculum where all of the stories and writing topics are chosen for the students would allow a teacher to achieve that goal. It made me upset to read your post, and I hope that teachers like you will find some way to convince others in your district that your students deserve better. However, it also sounds like your hands may be tied. I wish you luck in what will certainly be a difficult year.

I do hope to keep in touch with you via my blog throughout the year. I often have teachers post about their frustrations with textbook mandates, and I know that you would be able to offer up advice for them since you will be in their position this year.

Thanks again for your post.



You indicated that you are having trouble opening some of the literacy center materials on my website. Try right-clicking on the link and choose "save target as." Then save the file in some location on your computer. Now go to Print Shop and open the saved file. Let me know if this works!



You asked about how I introduce math workshop rotations at the beginning of the school year. Since the best way to learn something is by doing it, we do start the rotations right away. However, we do them for a shorter period of time for the first few days. After giving an overview (on the first day) of what math workshop looks like, students rotate through each math station. We make sure that what they are doing on the first few days is not hard so that they feel confident and do not have to ask many questions about the math itself. We make the rotations short so that we have time to stop after each rotation and talk about what went well and also discuss anything students may have found to be confusing. My teaching partner and I both teach together the first week, and I will admit it is helpful to have one of us teaching at the lesson station and the other one monitoring the two other stations. I think you will be surprised at how quickly it comes together. Out students have caught on very quickly to the math workshop routine in past years. Our first day of school is tomorrow, so I hope we find it to be just as smooth with this year's group of students.

Let me know if you have any more questions!


Hi Beth...could you post a link to the Readers Response choices your students do once a month? thanks!

The new school where I am teaching will not allow me to use your genre posters because they think the posters violate copyright laws. Do you have any documentation you can share to show you have permission to use the images, so I can convince the school powers that be to allow me to use the posters? Thanks for your help!

I love the genre labels you have made for your book bins. I am using them in my classroom now. I don't have Print Shop, so I was wondering if you have made labels for Science Fiction or Joke Books? If you have, and you would be willing to share, I would be soooooo grateful. Thank you very much!!

I have been an elementary teacher in California for almost twenty years and have strived to make my teaching student centered and authentic, implementing reader and writer workshop, inquiry-based science, and hands-on manipulative mathematics, and project-based content learning when on the cutting edge. My mentors have been Ralph Fletcher, Donald Graves, Stephen Krashen, Regie Routman,Lucy Caulkins, Debbie Miller, Marilyn Burns; AIMS and FOSS, "Math Their Way of Thinking" etc. Every year, I have been inspired to learn along with my students, evolving into the teacher I envisioned for myself and for my students. I have been blessed with students and their families who have allowed me to touch their lives and who have touched mine in such a fulfilling way. However, this year, the demands from high-stakes testing has found its way into my district, my school, and into my classroom. I am now mandated to ability group my students and to implement the district-adopted textbooks with "fidelity". There is to be no more workshops or teacher-chosen supplementals - Houghton-Mifflin is now the one and only resource available to me.Students will only read "the textbook and write on-demand. Even Science will be textbook reading, supplemented with a workbook. So, those of you who are reaching out to your colleagues such as Betth, I wish you all well as you pursue a career that is meant to touch lives with the creativity and passion inherent in the dynamics of the student-teacher relationship. Best wishes all.

Hey Beth - great website! I'm trying to download and print your Literacy Centers. I can't open the files that require The Print Shop even though I have the program. Is there any way the files can be converted to a pdf? Or maybe tell me the exact version of The Print Shop you've been using? Thanks. Keep up the great work!


Beth, How do you start math rotations?Do you start rotating with your math groups right away with unit 1? Do you take a few days to teach math routines and Everyday Math games? Lisa


I'm glad you found the math workshop post useful!

You asked about what PACE is. It is not something I do in my classroom. It is actually a gifted and talented pull-out program. Students who qualify go twice a week for an hour to a separate classroom where they do a variety of collaborative, inquiry-based projects with other kids in the same grade who also qualified for the program.


Beth, Thanks for pointing out the Math Workshop post!! That helped tremendously! Can I ask what is PACE? Another math activity??


The storage hanger we use for our bucket filling is actually meant to be used for storing shoes. My teaching partner got it years ago. I'm sure you would be able to find something similar at Walmart or Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

Thanks for posting your comments!



I'm so glad that you found my blog and that you are inspired by the ideas and information I've shared! I look forward to adding even more exciting content this school year. Hopefully I will hear from you again on my future posts!

Have a great school year!



Thanks for returning to Top Teaching this school year. I'm so glad you enjoy reading our blog and find our ideas useful! I appreciate your thoughtful comments and look forward to adding more exciting ideas and teaching tips this school year. Hopefully I will see more posts from you on Top Teaching throughout the year!



If you check out my "Math Workshop" post, you will find a schedule that details exactly how much time I spend on each component of math, including "Math on the Water" and checking their Math journal pages. However, I'm not sure what you mean by "calendar time." Here is a link to my Math Workshop post: http://blogs.scholastic.com/top_teaching/2010/05/math-workshop.html

Let me know if you have more questions after you read the math workshop post.

Thanks for posting your questions!



I'm sorry it has taken me a few days to get back to you! School starts on September 7th, so I have been busy this week with professional development and getting my classroom ready for the first day!

It is very exciting to know that my ideas have inspired and improved your teaching! I hope that I can continue to post useful information and teaching tips for you this year!

Have a great school year!


Beth, I love all your ideas! Where do you get your clear shoe storage hangers- the one you use for the buckets? I can't find them anywhere.

I came across your blog last week I was getting ready to head back to school. I am so inspired by your teaching, especially your math workshop! Thanks for sharing your great ideas!

Welcome Back, Beth!!! :)

Your boys have grown so much since your last picture of them on here! :) What a beautiful family.

I just wanted to let you know what a big impact you have made on my teaching. I found Top Teaching last fall, and I've been hooked! Thanks for sharing your wonderful classroom with all of us.

I look forward to another amazing year!

Beth, last year I began a Math Workshop with my third graders. I had 28 students and split them into three groups. I met with each group for 20 minutes or so. My question is how much time do you give to "math on the water", checking homework and calendar? Also, THANK YOU for sharing all of your fantastic ideas!!

Thank you so much for posting all of your wonderful and helpful information on your personal website and through Scholastic. Not only have you helped me find my inspiration again, but I feel you have helped me become a better teacher. Thank you again!

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