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Building Relationships with Authors

Katie DiCesare is helping her students move from mentor texts to seeing authors as mentors through their websites and other digital resources.

The Power of Picture Book Conversations

Katie DiCesare uses conversations around picture books to build communication, community, and reading skills in her first-grade classroom. Late in the school year she reflects with students about why these conversations are so powerful.

Collaborative Charting in First Grade

Katie DiCesare shares examples from her first-grade classroom of collaborative charting with students.

From Mentor Texts to Mentors in First Grade

Katie DiCesare uses technology in her first-grade classroom so that students can see the lives of the authors who create the texts they love.

Creating a Space for Peace

At a time of escalating violence throughout the world, children need peaceful spaces. Katie DiCesare creates a "peace table" in her first-grade classroom as a safe place for working through everything from playground squabbles to emotional distress.

Fostering Thinking Through Play

Katie DiCesare repurposes materials for her first graders to play with, and finds that encouraging play early in the year is a great tool for building reflection skills.

Choosing and Refining Student Goals

Katie DiCesare shares the process of having her first graders choose their literacy goals, and her role in helping them refine goals through observation and conferring.

Knowing Ami: Silent Communication with an English Language Learner

Katie DiCesare finds patience and observation are the keys to helping a first-grade English language learner who is in the silent period.

Little Levels, Big Thinking

Katie DiCesare moves beyond levels to consider her first-grade readers’ needs.

Reorganizing Primary Information Texts

Katie DiCesare thinks about the needs of her first-grade students, and spends some time reorganizing primary information texts, considering both physical texts for the library and online resources.

Embracing Meaning Making in Guided Reading Groups

Katie DiCesare finds her guided reading practices are rusty, so she develops some new strategies to improve her work.

Anchoring Language

Katie DiCesare thinks about what language supports student independence early in the year and how to share this in an anchor chart with her first graders.

Questions and Picture Books

Katie DiCesare suggests some mentor texts for fostering curiosity in young readers.

Conferring About Characters in First Grade

Katie DiCesare confers with Vidhi about the main character in her independent reading book.

Whole Class Partner Share Session in First Grade

Katie DiCesare leads her first graders in a reading share session during a character traits unit.

Student-Generated Blends Chart in First Grade

Katie DiCesare’s first graders add to a blends chart during reading transition time.

First-Grade Humor: Conferring with Jude

Katie DiCesare confers with first grader Jude. He is inspired in his writing by Captain Underpants, the #1 challenged book series in schools over the past three years.

Books for Studying Illustration with First Graders

Katie DiCesare has suggestions for books to support an illustration unit early in the year.

Understanding Study: Noticing Pictures

Katie DiCesare’s favorite beginning unit with first graders focuses on illustration.

Supporting Struggling Readers: David’s Story

Katie DiCesare has wise advice for helping readers who are falling behind their peers but don't qualify for additional services.

Character Study Share Session in First Grade

First graders in Katie DiCesare’s class discuss character traits in books from independent reading during a whole-class share session.

Conferring with Sebastian

Katie DiCesare chats with first grader Sebastian in this one-minute conference, then shares her reflections on where Sebastian might go next in his reading.

Rereading for Writing: Conferring with Jack

Katie DiCesare confers with first grader Jack, using rereading to help him rethink the title of his story and possibilities for revision.

Partner Reading Conference in First Grade

Katie DiCesare confers with Jack and Praneel about their partner reading.

Group Conference in First Grade

Katie DiCesare meets with first graders Anna and Brendan to help them learn from each other and prepare to share their rereading strategies with the whole class.

Mentor Texts for Writing Endings

One goal of many primary teachers is to help students finish their drafts with an ending other than “The End” (or “they lived happily ever after”). Katie DiCesare shows her first graders many alternative examples, and she begins early in the year.

Notebooks, Goals, and Writing About Characters in First Grade

Katie DiCesare confers with a group of first graders about their writing notebooks, goals, and drafts about the characters they are studying during reading workshop.

Routines to Build Independence Early in the School Year

Katie DiCesare explores how to develop routines early in the year, and includes advice to give to parents to build the home/school connection around expectations for independence.

Transition Tool: “Come On Over”

This video is a quick take from Katie DiCesare’s first-grade classroom, showing how she uses the tune “Come On Over” as a transition tool.

First Grade Read Aloud: Sergio Saves the Game

Katie DiCesare reads aloud Sergio Saves the Day to her first graders as part of a unit on understanding literary characters.

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