Dana Murphy has been an educator for over two decades in Illinois. She has served as an elementary teacher and instructional coach. Dana wrote for the Two Writing Teachers blog for several years, and is now teaching elementary school in the suburbs of Chicago. Follow Dana on Twitter @DanaMurphy__.
Dana Murphy reminds us that having a teaching toolbox makes planning efficient and effective. In this second installment of a two-part series, Dana offers two additional approaches to delivering strong reading instruction.
Every now and then we make the classic teaching mistake: assign rather than teach. Dana Murphy curated her favorite teaching tools that help her stay inspired to continually teach students. This is part one of a two-part series.
Dana Murphy encourages us to go beyond teaching students to recognize different genres by helping them establish expectations of genres so they’ll be ready to read.
Dana Murphy reminds us of five ways to teach fluency…especially when reading seems laborious.
Dana Murphy comes to a lesson about asking questions in a curriculum resource and realizes it is not what her students need. She has designed a lesson to make asking questions more meaningful and useful for her students.
Dana Murphy shares a whole class conversation about identifying the climax of the plot. She reminds us that defining story elements is not always clear-cut.
Dana Murphy reminds us of the power of an anchor chart in a digital world.
Dana Murphy shares ways to make reading intervention a high-interest time for students.
Dana Murphy shares ways to nourish a sense of belonging in all students.
Dana Murphy shares a moment when she realized she needed to educate herself and dismantle some white-centered teaching practices.
Dana Murphy guides reading specialists in setting up intervention rooms to welcome readers.
Dana Murphy shares that by asking “What matters most?” she can make decisions that allow her literacy instruction to be student-centered and authentic.
Dana Murphy leads us in a step-by-step process to take tried-and-true reading strategies to a more sophisticated level to support students as they grow in interpretation.
Are you wondering how to maintain a reading life as a busy adult? Dana Murphy shares her secrets and insights that will have all of us prioritizing our own reading lives.
Dana Murphy guides us in listening and responding to students during strategy-building lessons to grow readers. In this example, she shows the complexity and nuances of direct instruction to build comprehension strategies.
Dana Murphy describes an approach to “data-review days” that looks beyond numbers to the faces of kids and talks about all kids in all of their humanity.
Dana Murphy confers with fifth grader Rebecca about her writing draft, and they discuss the heart of her story.
The Choice Literacy Book Club discusses My Hero Academia, Volume 1 by Kohei Horikoshi.
Dana Murphy candidly discusses keeping a positive mindset and approaching her students with an abundance of grace.
Dana Murphy outlines the teaching practices that she learned from remote teaching and plans to carry with her upon returning to a physical classroom.
Dana Murphy suggests three ways to empower student choice in workshop and get more students to accept the invitations we offer.
Dana Murphy leads a reading minilesson on theme in fifth grade, explaining how students might think more deeply about themes through characters’ problems.
Balancing small groups and conferences is essential for transferring learning from lessons and units, and it’s one of the trickiest tasks for teachers. Dana Murphy explains how she works toward balance in her classroom, weighing everything from the timeline of the unit to the intensity of the minilesson.
Dana Murphy confers with Krisha over her reading, talking about the value of using a book’s back cover for previewing.
Dana Murphy meets with a group of fifth graders to explore character development in their reading.
Dana Murphy leads a minilesson in fifth grade on revising narrative writing.
Dana Murphy meets with a group of fifth graders to work on strategies for understanding unknown words.
Partner work is an essential component of many literacy workshops. Dana Murphy explains how she is intentional in building thoughtful routines and expectations for partner work in her fifth-grade classroom.
Fifth graders use a visual tool to help them build on each other’s ideas in book clubs. They are applying a strategy demonstrated in an earlier minilesson taught by Dana Murphy.
Dana Murphy leads a minilesson on book club conversations, using a fishbowl strategy and building blocks to support more sophisticated conversations.
A classic anchor text for many teachers is Charlotte’s Web. In this week’s video, Dana Murphy seamlessly integrates a brief excerpt from it into a writing minilesson on endings in her fifth-grade classroom.
In this quick video, Dana Murphy shows how she leads her fifth graders with a kinesthetic reminder of workshop norms before beginning independent work.
Dana Murphy meets with a group of fifth graders to help students develop paragraphing skills, using a peer’s mentor text.
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.
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.
Sometimes “winging 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.
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.
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.
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.
Class promises, rules, and norms—most teachers set them at the start of the year. But how can we make sure students live them? Dana Murphy shares some tips from her fifth-grade classroom.
Dana Murphy looks at homework from the twin perspectives of mom and teacher, and finds she hates it from both views.
So many needs for groups, and so little time. Dana Murphy finds that a strategy notebook is invaluable as a teaching aid in her fifth-grade small groups.
Dana Murphy discovers that what works for one student doesn’t work for another when it comes to note-taking. She provides options and then hosts a gallery walk so everyone can discover what works best for them.
Dana Murphy is dismayed by the ways graphic organizers can sometimes limit student creativity. She uses writing notebooks and a few other strategies to begin to wean her fourth graders from depending too much on organizers.
One way to keep your instruction fresh in a required writing unit is to take on the tasks and topics yourself. Dana Murphy finds completing the assignments herself is well worth her time, and gives her a treasure trove of notebook entries to use in her conferring.
Dana Murphy considers how teachers can make writing workshop routines more cozy and like writing at home.
When it comes to conferring notes, form needs to follow function. Dana Murphy quit looking for the perfect template, and started focusing on what kinds of notes are most helpful.
Dana Murphy realizes the best way to introduce students to reading in kindergarten is to apply the principles that work at home with her own children.
Early January is a great time for relationship resets in classroom communities. Dana Murphy finds community building activities may be more helpful than just a review of classroom rules and norms.
Dana Murphy explains why teachers can have true empathy with student writers only if they write themselves, and chronicles the difference between a typical and an empathetic response in a writing conference.
Dana Murphy tries sketchnoting during professional development, and soon finds herself sharing the fun technique with students. They hone their skills during read alouds and while annotating texts.
Dana Murphy concludes her series on getting to know writers with an activity on responding to quotes. This activity is a great baseline for gauging attitudes and previous experiences early in the year.
Dana Murphy continues her series on getting to know writers early in the year. In this installment, she explains how to use a simple six-question survey to help teachers and students explore differences in writing routines and habits.
Dana Murphy writes about the litmus tests we give writing teachers to analyze whether or not they are teaching the "right" way, when we might better serve students by focusing on the six truths of writing.
Dana Murphy considers the differences between authentic writing processes and what we teach in schools.
Dana Murphy names two practices that made a big difference in her work as a reading specialist. You may be surprised at the simplicity and smallness that led to powerful gains in her readers.
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