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Practical Advice for Dealing with Messy Handwriting

Do struggles with handwriting matter? They do when a student can’t even decipher his own words. Katherine Sokolowski confers with fifth grader Sauvi to help him find solutions to the problem.

A Poem About Lost Friendship: Conferring with Estelle

Estelle shares a poem she has written about lost friendship with her teacher, Katherine Sokolowski. She captures the fickle nature of fifth-grade relationships among girls. Katherine connects the cadence of the writing to the style of The Crossover, and helps Estelle find possibilities for more writing.

Fifth-Grade Book Talk: Wish Girl

Katherine Sokolowski builds interest in a new book in the classroom library through a book talk on Wish Girl.

Group Meeting: Sharing Resources for Animal Study

Katherine Sokolowski helps her fifth-grade students expand their territory for their animal research projects by sharing information sources and peer connections.

Book Talk: “The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary”

Katherine Sokolowski demonstrates her book talk skills when she presents The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary to her students late in the school year.

Building a Next-Read Nonfiction Stack

Katherine Sokolowski helps fifth grader Jack build a next-read stack of nonfiction, highlighting a variety of text features and historical references.

A Community Reads “Wonder”

Katherine Sokolowski had a dream — her whole community reading and celebrating the same book. She explains how she helped coordinate, organize, and purchase hundreds of books for a community-wide reading of Wonder.

Big Question Minilesson

Katherine Sokolowski models how readers make choices as questions arise while reading independently. She also demonstrates how she moves between a novel and web resources.

Quick-Write with a Video Prompt

Katherine Sokolowski refreshes the quick-write routine in her fifth-grade classroom by using a video as a prompt.

Teaching Fifth Graders to Make Peer Recommendations

Katherine Sokolowski confers with her son Liam and his friend Caden, helping them learn how to make peer book recommendations.

“If You Like” Reading Recommendations Conference

Building "next-read" stacks with students before holidays is a great way to ensure they have books in hand that they will be excited to read over break. Katherine Sokolowski helps Taryn finds books that are similar to those written by Rick Riordan (Taryn's favorite author).

Teaching Summary with Book Blurbs

Katherine Sokolowski finds her fifth graders can give detailed retellings during conferences, but struggle to come up with succinct summaries. Writing book blurbs is her creative solution for building summarizing skills.

Girls’ Book Share in Fifth Grade

Katherine Sokolowski demonstrates how she helps a group of girls in her fifth-grade classroom learn to help each other select books based on previous experiences and tastes.

Conferring with Spencer: Writing Notebook Topics

Katherine Sokolowski helps fifth grader Spencer brainstorm topics for his writing notebook.

Environment Small Group: Habitat

Katherine Sokolowski leads a small group of fifth graders who have chosen similar topics for their projects in an environmental unit.

Building a Next-Read Stack

Katherine Sokolowski helps fifth grader Abby build her next-read stack of books.

Brainstorming Writing Topics with Drew

Katherine Sokolowski confers with Drew about writing at home, brainstorming possible topics. In the process she shows how much she knows about Drew's life outside of school.

The Ocean Research Project: From Launch to Celebration in 10 Days

Ten days from the launch of student research projects to a celebration with families? Katherine Sokolowski shares how a tight time frame that concludes with an evening event can bring energy and high student interest to the research process.

Research Through Picture Books

Katherine Sokolowski explains how picture books can be a potent tool for teaching intermediate students research skills.

Supporting Introverts in Fifth Grade

Katherine Sokolowski was that shy child hiding behind a tall classmate in the back of the room when she was a student. As a teacher, she makes sure there are many ways she helps bring out the voices of introverts in her fifth-grade classroom.

Environmental Group Notes

Katherine Sokolowski meets briefly with a group of fifth-grade girls to go through the notes they are taking for their environmental studies project and talk through next steps.

Minilesson on Facts and Sources

Katherine Sokolowski presents a minilesson on ferreting out facts while completing independent research projects.

The Power of Group Conferences in Fifth Grade

Katherine Sokolowski explains why group conferences can be a powerful tool for building a reading community. The article includes a video of a group conference in her fifth-grade classroom.
 

Guidelines for Posting Online

Katherine Sokolowski describes a wall display with guidelines to ensure students are respectful and aware of the pitfalls of posting online.

Padlet Possibilities

Katherine Sokolowski finds that electronic charting of learning with Padlet has almost endless possibilities for use in her fifth-grade classroom.

Adding “Girly” Books to a Next-Read Stack

Katherine Sokolowski helps a fifth grader add more "girly" books to her next-read stack.

Who Owns the Room?

Katherine Sokolowski considers how classroom design says a lot about the relationship between students and teachers.

Student Interest Board

Katherine Sokolowski shares a wall display from her fifth graders that students build to celebrate who they are and people they love from home.
 

Conferring with Ben: Brainstorming Writing Topics and Genres

Katherine Sokolowski helps fifth grader Ben brainstorm ideas for writing, and in the process encourages him to try a new genre.

Nonfiction Research Group in Fifth Grade

Katherine Sokolowski meets with a group of fifth graders who are all researching the use of nets in fishing and the environmental effects of the process. She works to build connections among classmates as well as research skills.

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