Katherine Sokolowski has taught for over 20 years in elementary schools, and currently teaches seventh grade in the same small town in central Illinois where she grew up. Her work has been featured at the Nerdy Book Club and on NPR, and she often presents for Scholastic. She regularly writes about teaching on her blog Read Write Reflect.
Katherine Sokolowski confers with fifth grader Tucker about his Harry Potter book. This brief conference includes connections to the movies, recommendations for a classmate, and suggestions for using an audiobook on a trip so that the whole family can enjoy it.
Middle schoolers and kindergartners forge friendships at Katherine Sokolowski’s school through a sweet poetry writing and sharing project.
Katherine Sokolowski uses the Community Timeline Project to bring together students and older community members around history and writing.
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.
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.
Katherine Sokolowski introduces her students to routines and expectations early in the year with a unit on Jane Goodall, including many short read alouds.
Katherine Sokolowski confers with Ian about The Giver, broadening his understanding of the text to consider other dystopian literature.
Katherine Sokolowski finds her students are struggling to understand point of view. She takes a detour over a week with mentor texts, quick assists from favorite writers on Twitter, and practice sessions retelling Little Red Riding Hood to teach the concept.
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.
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.
Katherine Sokolowski builds interest in a new book in the classroom library through a book talk on Wish Girl.
Katherine Sokolowski helps her fifth-grade students expand their territory for their animal research projects by sharing information sources and peer connections.
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.
Katherine Sokolowski helps fifth grader Jack build a next-read stack of nonfiction, highlighting a variety of text features and historical references.
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.
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.
Katherine Sokolowski refreshes the quick-write routine in her fifth-grade classroom by using a video as a prompt.
Katherine Sokolowski confers with her son Liam and his friend Caden, helping them learn how to make peer book recommendations.
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).
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.
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.
Katherine Sokolowski leads a small group of fifth graders who have chosen similar topics for their projects in an environmental unit.
Katherine Sokolowski helps fifth grader Abby build her next-read stack of books.
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.
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.
Katherine Sokolowski explains how picture books can be a potent tool for teaching intermediate students research skills.
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.
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.
Katherine Sokolowski presents a minilesson on ferreting out facts while completing independent research projects.
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.
Katherine Sokolowski describes a wall display with guidelines to ensure students are respectful and aware of the pitfalls of posting online.
Katherine Sokolowski finds that electronic charting of learning with Padlet has almost endless possibilities for use in her fifth-grade classroom.
Katherine Sokolowski helps a fifth grader add more "girly" books to her next-read stack.
Katherine Sokolowski considers how classroom design says a lot about the relationship between students and teachers.
Katherine Sokolowski shares a wall display from her fifth graders that students build to celebrate who they are and people they love from home.
Katherine Sokolowski helps fifth grader Ben brainstorm ideas for writing, and in the process encourages him to try a new genre.
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.
Katherine Sokolowski helps one of her fifth-grade students compose a tweet to a favorite author.
Katherine Sokolowski reflects on ways to extend the learning from an end-of-year activity all the way to the fall.
Katherine Sokolowski revises the weekly reflection form her fifth graders use to ensure everyone is tracking goals, progress, and expectations.
Katherine Sokolowski explains why picture books are useful for teaching inference to intermediate students, and shares some of her favorites.
A daunting task for teachers is to help students learn to use new tech tools, as well as understand community standards for each one. Katherine Sokolowski finds tech anchor charts are a great way to provide ongoing support to students as they navigate new software and apps.
Katherine Sokolowski describes some Ways into Personal Narratives that use visual tools to build the home/school connection and stronger prewriting skills.
Katherine Sokolowski shares some of her favorite resources to jumpstart student interest in writing.
Katherine Sokolowski explains why she uses webcomics in her literacy workshops, and shares an extensive list of her favorite online sources.
Katherine Sokolowski uses a fascinating picture book to build close reading skills with her fifth graders. The key is selecting a text that holds up well through multiple readings.
National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is coming up in November, and it’s a wonderful opportunity for sustained writing and linking students with writers across the web. Katherine Sokolowski shares how it works, as well as tips for getting started.
Katherine Sokolowski’s students love writing fiction, but their skills don’t match their enthusiasm. A field trip helps bridge that gap.
Katherine Sokolowski uses read alouds early in the year to help students reflect on how to be kind and thoughtful members of a classroom community.
Katherine Sokolowski explains why it is important to sort and weed out books carefully before the new year begins.
Katherine Sokolowski helps her fifth graders build notetaking skills for research.
Katherine Sokolowski finds Padlet is a great tool for compiling learning and building community.
Are you finding effort from students is flagging? Katherine Sokolowski develops check-in sheets as a way to lift student energy and reflection.
Katherine Sokolowski gives advice for integrating student teachers into literacy workshop instruction.
Katherine Sokolowski and her students find Twitter is an essential element in their fifth-grade reading workshop.
Katherine Sokolowski is discouraged when she observes that some students are off-task during literacy workshops. She decides a reflection sheet will be a useful weekly scaffold to support independent monitoring of behavior.
Katherine Sokolowski gives advice on how to add video to your literacy minilessons.
Katherine Sokolowski finds grading student work in her fifth-grade classroom becomes far more interesting when students take responsibility for choosing what will be graded.
Katherine Sokolowski is assigning shorter research projects in her fifth-grade classroom as a way to help students acquire notetaking skills and understand the boundaries of plagiarism.
It’s impossible to master all the new technology resources available in classrooms, and fortunately we don’t have to. Katherine Sokolowski enlists peers as tech experts in her fifth-grade classroom.
Katherine Sokolowski reflects on a key component of her writing workshop, and finds ways for using writing notebooks more authentically.
If your students are already comfortable with an unstructured requirement of 20-30 minutes of reading each night, you may find adding 10 minutes of writing at home works wonders in fostering writing skills. Katherine Sokolowski explains how the assignment works in her classroom.
Katherine Sokolowski finds many of the boys in her classroom love to read about violence, weapons, and crude humor. She challenges teachers to appreciate boys’ interests and set some of our own criticism aside.
What makes writing notebooks authentic? Katherine Sokolowski ponders the question.
Katherine Sokolowski looks at challenges from the previous year for ideas on reorganizing the classroom library.
Katherine Sokolowski advises teachers to ditch the search for the perfect management system, and instead focus on building relationships early in the school year.
Katherine Sokolowski explains how she spends her time during the first days of literacy workshops in her fifth-grade classroom.
Katherine Sokolowski finds that the beginning of the year is the best time to build community with a unit on character and morals through literature.
Katherine Sokolowski shares how she has integrated podcasting into her 5th grade classroom.
Katherine Sokolowski finds the work ethic of her fifth-grade students is flagging by spring, so she helps them reflect upon and improve their performance.
Katherine Sokolowski presents some strategies from her fifth-grade classroom for launching student blogs.
Katherine Sokolowski has suggestions for organizing and hosting a Mock Newbery Club in the weeks before the award is given in late January.
Katherine Sokolowski describes how she worked over the past few years to initiate better reading conferences.
Katherine Sokolowski is dismayed when many of the boys in her fifth-grade class admit they don’t like to write. She explains how she changed her writing program to meet their needs.
Katherine Sokolowski has tips for improving parent conferences by using technology for flexible scheduling and easy follow-up.
If you want to match students to books, you’ll need to master the art of the book talk. Katherine Sokolowski has practical tips for honing your skills.
When premade reading notebooks no longer fit into her reading budget, Katherine Sokolowski comes up with a unique design starting with generic notebooks, and in the process figures out what’s most important to include.
Katherine Sokolowski has tips for a "book club" summer reading camp for middle school students.
Katherine Sokolowski finds the impulse for reflection is strong at the start of summer, but reflection works best when it’s built into routines all year long.
Katherine Sokolowski finds late in the year is the perfect time for launching a fiction writing unit with her fifth graders.
Katherine Sokolowski adapts an idea from Jim Burke to get her fifth graders outdoors and envisioning their growth over the summer.
Katherine Sokolowski brings the popular web “slice of life” challenge to her fifth-grade classroom.
Katherine Sokolowski uses audio recordings and other tech resources to build her fifth-grade reading community.
Katherine Sokolowski discovers getting rid of her teacher's desk opens her mind to many new possibilities in her fifth-grade classroom.
Katherine Sokolowski discovers Edmodo is a wonderful tech tool for helping her fifth graders become more independent and supportive of everyone’s reading choices.
Katherine Sokolowski designs a graphic novels unit for her fifth graders, and is surprised by how much the genre delights them.
Katherine Sokolowski discovers a seven-day Mock Caldecott unit is a fun way to build a reading community by predicting the winners, and Skyping with another class to share results.
As more intermediate classrooms become departmentalized, grades 4-6 teachers find they are dealing with 80 or more reading response logs instead of 25-30 each week. Katherine Sokolowski tackles the issue of providing personal response to readers and still having time for everything else.
It’s a dilemma many middle school teachers face. How do you construct anchor charts with multiple groups of students, when only one chart will be hung in the room? Katherine Sokolowski explains how she ensures all classes have input and a “clean slate” in constructing charts.
Katherine Sokolowski considers what anchor charts are essential in her fifth-grade classroom, and where they work best for posting.
Katherine Sokolowski explores the challenges and joys of coteaching with special education colleagues.
"When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind." These words from the book Wonder set Katherine Sokolowski on the path of designing a shared reading experience at her school that will build community and empathy across the grades.
Teachers always have big plans at the start of summer for reading, reflection, and changing classroom practice. Katherine Sokolowski explains how she translates those plans into action as the summer winds down.
Katherine Sokolowski listens to her husband’s sage advice and develops a new relationship with graphic novels that disappear off her classroom shelves.
Moving from desks to tables when redesigning a classroom is about a whole lot more than just furniture. Katherine Sokolowski explains what the change has meant to her classroom.
Katherine Sokolowski comes up with a novel way to boost kids’ reading and her summer income —hosting a reading camp in her home.
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