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November 8, 2019 The Gift of Noticing

We look at reflection in this week’s newsletter.

November 1, 2019 Romancing the Em Dash

We look at how to teach conventions in this week’s newsletter.

October 25, 2019 Candy Bombs

We look at how to develop and use text sets in this week’s newsletter.

Reinforcing Workshop Norms

In this quick video, Dana Murphy shows how she leads her fifth graders with a kinesthetic reminder of workshop norms before beginning independent work.

Fifth-Grade Small Group: Paragraphs

Dana Murphy meets with a group of fifth graders to help students develop paragraphing skills, using a peer’s mentor text.

Mastering Conventions

Even eight-year-olds are expected to master a dozen or more conventions. Melanie Meehan shares a process for helping students focus on the small steps needed to master any convention with peer support.

Text Set Resources

Melanie Meehan shares some of her favorite resources for developing text sets.

October 18, 2019 Offers and Offerings

We look at writing shares in this week’s newsletter.

Helping Students Understand What Works for Them

Want students to become more independent? Melanie Meehan recommends that you take each student through a reflective process to figure out what learning processes and habits work for them.

Whole-Class Reflection in Middle School

Mark Levine explains why whole-class reflection is an essential component of his middle school workshops.

October 11, 2019 Instagram vs. Google Selves

We look at building reader identities in this week’s newsletter.

Teaching Conventions in Small Groups

Dana Murphy finds it is best to teach conventions in small, targeted groups in her fifth-grade classroom. She explains how she designs and leads these groups.

Conferring to Connect: First Grade Reading

Bitsy Parks confers with first grader Ella about the Brown and Pearl book series, and then listens to Ella read. She closes the conference by encouraging Ella to make more personal connections to books.

Building Reading Identities Across the Year

The start of the school year is often all about building reader identities in classrooms. And then October comes, and many of the activities that help students celebrate their reading histories and preferences are forgotten. Tara Barnett and Kate Mills share ways teachers can continue to help students define, refine, and expand their reading identities all year long.

Finding Time for Writing Shares

Finding time for writing share sessions may begin with trying out a few different options to see what works in your classroom. Melanie Meehan presents some of her favorites.

Writing Share Circle in Fifth Grade

Here are some excerpts from a writing share circle in Dana Murphy’s fifth-grade classroom. Each student shares a one- to two-sentence excerpt from the writing they completed during the day’s workshop.

Circle Share

Sometimes those times when we “wing it” because we don’t have plans can lead to the most profound learning. Dana Murphy dreams up a quick circle share, and what follows is magic.

Creating a Realistic Fiction Stack

Katherine Sokolowski confers with a fifth grader who is looking for book recommendations. She creates a stack of realistic fiction books based on the student’s interests.

Textual Lineage

Christy Rush-Levine uses book covers to help her middle-school students explore their histories (or “lineages”) as readers.

October 4, 2019 50 Pages

We consider how to deal with classroom and schoolwide interruptions in this week’s newsletter.

Big Table Writing

Max Brand uses the “big table” in his kindergarten classroom as a communal spot for writing. You can see how he interrupts students naturally to make quick suggestions, and allows some interruptions of his own writing as he works with his students.

Minimizing Interruptions During Workshops

Dana Murphy explains why a system for minimizing interruptions is essential in her fifth-grade classroom, and how she keeps the process of creating and using it as simple as possible.

Field Notes: Preserving Minilesson Time

Ruth Ayres shows how one first-grade teacher saves precious time by not ending minilessons with lots of directions for independent work.

September 27, 2019 Two Wolves

Developing confidence in teachers and students is the focus of this week’s newsletter.

Raising Student Voices: Mentor Texts

Helping students find and raise their voices so that they can someday change the world is one of the most important things we do. Cathy Mere shares some of her favorite mentor texts for this essential work.

September 20, 2019 Leave It

We share some tips for organizing and leading better groups in this week’s newsletter.

Boosting the Confidence of Writers

We can teach students craft moves for their writing and how to punctuate. But how do we build their confidence? Melanie Meehan helps Aaron see his needs as a writer, but even more importantly, his strengths.

Owl Research: Getting Organized

Andrea Smith checks in on a group of boys who are doing research into owl habitat, helping them organize their work and plans.

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