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September 20, 2019 Leave It

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

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.

The Power of Video Replay

Heather Fisher explains how viewing excerpts from the same video multiple times can help students in book clubs hone their conversation and reflection skills.

Book Club Tools

Tammy Mulligan shares the importance of giving students choice and agency with book club tools to improve engagement and quality of the conversations.

September 13, 2019 Lingering a Little

We conclude our three-week series on read-alouds in this week’s newsletter.

Moving from Interactive Read Alouds to Book Clubs

Tammy Mulligan shares how teachers can move seamlessly from thoughtful conversations during whole-class read alouds to lively book clubs.

September 6, 2019 Evoking Book Memories

We continue our three-week series on read-alouds in this week’s newsletter.

Do Students Need to Love the Books We Read Aloud?

Franki Sibberson asks a critical question: Do students need to love the read alouds we share in classrooms?  She works to move students beyond shallow like/don’t like responses to books.

Introducing Social Studies Concepts with Picture Books

Mark Levine explains how picture books are powerful teaching tools in his middle school classroom.

Read Aloud in Middle School

Katherine Sokolowski values read aloud for her middle school students and struggles to find time for them. Her solution? A picture book a day, better known as the #bookaday activity.

Grand Conversations and Read Aloud

Are your conversations during read aloud stilted or shallow? Tammy Mulligan recommends weekly “grand conversations” to spark more thoughtful talk. She provides the tools you need to get started in your classroom.

August 30, 2019 Farm Share

We begin a three-week series on read-alouds in this week’s newsletter.

August 23, 2019 Blank Canvas

We explore the use of anchor charts in this week’s newsletter.

Reading and Thinking Aloud in Middle School

Mark Levine combines reading and thinking aloud in a minilesson to help his middle school students grapple with complex texts.

First-Grade Read Alouds During Transitions

This brief video is an excerpt from a read aloud in a first-grade classroom during morning snack break. You’ll notice Bitsy Parks uses a projector so students can eat at tables and desks, and makes quick connections to other books.

Jane Goodall Inquiry: Introducing Expectations

Katherine Sokolowski introduces her students to routines and expectations early in the year with a unit on Jane Goodall, including many short read alouds.

Back-Channel Conversations During Read Alouds

Christy Rush-Levine considers some of the “underground” ways in which she converses about books at conferences and on social media, and decides to set up a back channel for similar conversations about read alouds in her classroom.

Interactive Read Aloud and the Whole-Class Notebook

Tammy Mulligan enhances the quality of the class read aloud and student discussions with the use of a whole-class response notebook.

Charting Mentor Texts

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills share many of their favorite anchor charts for helping students connect writer’s craft to mentor texts.

A New System for Anchor Charts

Dana Murphy develops a love-hate relationship with the faded anchor charts peeling away from her classroom walls. She finds a move to anchor charts in a sketchbook and a website for chart images improves the quality of her charts and their usefulness.

August 16, 2019 We Know How

We consider our youngest learners in this week’s newsletter.

The Curious Incident of Poem in the Stream of Time

Shirl McPhillips shares a haunting poem and reflection on creativity, summer’s inspiration, and aging.

Young Learners and Self-Talk

Do you have young readers and writers in your class who constantly talk to themselves? Stella Villalba helps a teacher decode the value of this self-talk for first grader Kayla, using it as a springboard for more learning.

August 9, 2019 Reading the Signs

We look at a favorite tool for teachers in literacy workshops, status of the class, in this week’s newsletter.

Drawing and Learning in Kindergarten

Max Brand demonstrates basic drawing strategies early in the year, and then has his kindergartners attempt similar pictures. He explains how the exercise builds basic skills both in literacy and hand/eye coordination.

No Pictures Stinks!

Shari Frost remembers how she inadvertently stifled the creativity of one of her most enthusiastic first-grade writers. Her story has important lessons for all of us about the importance of voice and choice for learners of all ages.

August 2, 2019 Diving into New Roles

We look at how to build classroom communities early in the year in this week’s newsletter.

Student Greeting

Students in the first-grade classroom of Bitsy Parks lead a morning greeting at the start of the day. It’s a quick activity to check attendance, build reading skills, and help students learn the names of classmates in the community.

Status of the Class: Reflecting on Reading Communities

Franki Sibberson uses status of the class each day as a window into her fledgling reading community.

A Better Status of the Class

Dana Murphy finds that adding numbers of pages to her status-of-the-class list for reading makes all the difference in assessing students’ growth and needs as readers.

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