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Beyond Plot: Conferring with Ian

Andrea Smith confers with fourth grader Ian, who is plowing through a book series. She helps him look at the bigger picture of characters, themes, and how the series might end.

Compass Points and Empathy

Andrea Smith uses the “compass points” strategy to provoke better whole-class discussions and reflection during read alouds.

Flexible Seating: Mid-Year Tweaks with Book Nooks

Have you revisited your classroom design since September? Andrea Smith and her fourth graders get over the midwinter blahs by refreshing classroom seating together.

Color Symbol Image: A Thinking Routine for Read Alouds

Andrea Smith uses the Color-Symbol-Image thinking routine during read alouds to promote deeper reflection among students.

Building a Reflective Community

Andrea Smith builds reflection into whole-class discussions in her fourth-grade classroom by beginning an anchor chart with four different illustrations from the covers of a read-aloud.

Sentence Phrase Word: Student Independence for Word Learning

Andrea Smith uses the sentence-phrase-word thinking routine with her fourth graders to show how potent one word can be in understanding complex themes.

Reconsidering Reading Workshop Routines

Andrea Smith realizes her normal reading routine will not work within the constraints of this year’s schedule. She makes some radical changes to ensure she and her students can have enough time to find the joy in reading and building a literate community.

Free-Range Learning with Nonfiction Part 2: Infographics and Maps

Andrea Smith shares the final installment of her series on the value of free-range learning in helping students explore nonfiction.

Free Range Learning with Nonfiction (Part 1)

Andrea Smith's students explore nonfiction through free-range roaming. She explains how she sets up expectations and resources early in the year in this first installment of a two-part series.

Branding Blogs (Part 3)

Andrea Smith concludes her series on the power of branded student blogs in her fourth-grade classroom.

Branding Blogs (Part 2)

Andrea Smith continues her series on the power of "branding" for improving student blogs. In this installment, students examine mentor blogs and bloggers.

Branding Blogs (Part 1)

Andrea Smith finds "branding" is a way to improve student blogs. She shares her process of presenting the concept to students in the first installment of a three-part series.

Previewing a Book with Zoe

Andrea Smith uses a reading conference with fourth grader Zoe to preview a book.

Introducing the Classroom Library

Andrea Smith shares a sequence of lessons she uses to introduce the classroom library to her fourth-grade students.

A Place to Belong

Andrea Smith reflects on preparing to say goodbye to students and her teaching partner of many years. If you have a favorite colleague who is retiring, you may want to get a hankie ready before you read this one.

Owl Research Brainstorming: Partner Work

Andrea Smith’s fourth graders are working on an Owl Research project that integrates reading, writing, talking, listening, and content literacy.

Owl Research Notes Group

Andrea Smith helps a group of boys take notes during an owl research project.

Infographics and the Common Core: Resources and Standards

Andrea Smith explains why infographics are more useful than ever in the age of the Common Core, and provides many links to free infographic resources on the web.

Classroom Displays for Nonfiction Learning

Andrea Smith shares some of her favorite nonfiction classroom displays.

Explore: Time for Nonfiction

Andrea Smith uses Explore Time with her fourth graders to build interest in nonfiction.

Infusing Informational Texts into Morning Meetings: Fact of the Day and Daily News Routines

Andrea Smith explains two routines, Daily News and Fact of the Day, which are key components of her morning meetings.

Inviting Book Tub Titles: Nonfiction Library Redesign

Andrea Smith discovers the value of more creative nonfiction book tub titles after listening to ideas from her students.

Community Board: Invitations to Independence

Students transition between home and school with the Community Board in Andrea Smith’s classroom. It’s a lively bulletin board that is updated and discussed daily in her fourth-grade classroom.

Helping Allison Redesign Her Classroom Nonfiction Library

Andrea Smith shares her best advice for library design that celebrates nonfiction as much as fiction.

The Information Board: Celebrating Nonfiction Every Day

Andrea Smith builds interest in nonfiction in her fourth-grade classroom community through her constantly changing Information Board.

Owl Research Word Study

Andrea Smith leads a whole-class discussion of recording new content vocabulary in reading notebooks.

Whole Class Research Planning in 4th Grade

Andrea Smith’s fourth graders brainstorm next steps for their research project on owl habitats, which includes writing a research proposal.

Whole Class Research Planning

Andrea Smith leads her fourth graders through brainstorming for their owl research project.

Owl Research: Whole Class Explanation of Marking Up Text

Students are given a nonfiction text to mark up during a close reading with a partner in this video from Andrea Smith’s fourth-grade classroom.

Frogs as Learning Ambassadors Part 1: Literary Nonfiction in 4th Grade

Andrea Smith gets creative in teaching literary nonfiction to her 4th graders in this video series.

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