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Balancing Whole-Class and Independent Reading in Middle School

The choice between whole-class novels or independent reading can be a false one in many middle school classrooms. Katie Doherty’s sixth graders discuss their reading together of a novel in verse, and Katie explains how some shared whole-class texts can support independent reading.

Conferring with Boys in Sixth Grade

Katie Doherty confers with boys in her sixth-grade reading workshop. This is the second installment in a two-part video series.

Conferring with Boys in Middle School

Katie Doherty circulates among sixth-grade boys in her reading workshop. These quick conferences and conferring tips are the first installment in a two-part series.

Researching Like Writers: From Read-Aloud to Notebooks

Katie Doherty finds read alouds are a valuable tool for developing middle school writers.

Catching Up with Anna

Katie Doherty Czerwinski tackles the challenging issue of helping a student catch up in book clubs and reading workshop when they have missed a lot of class time.

Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover: Teaching Book Choice Strategies to Middle Schoolers

Katie Doherty helps students make choices for independent reading.

Nonfiction Graffiti Walls

Katie Doherty uses nonfiction graffiti walls as a tool for building response skills and community with her sixth-grade students.

Middle School Design: Cozy Reading Spaces

Katie Doherty has design tips for creating cozy reading spaces in middle school classrooms where there is no space or budget for a whole-class rug area.

Middle School Design: Reading Gutters

Katie Doherty explains how reading gutters, an inexpensive design feature, dress up her middle school classroom and build community at the same time.

Assessing Learning During Student-Led Book Clubs

When middle school students have choice and independence in book clubs they lead themselves, how do you assess their learning and thinking? Katie Doherty provides a variety of question prompts she uses with groups to spark reflection on learning.

Student-Selected Vocabulary in Middle School

Katie Doherty shares many ways to make vocabulary learning fun in middle school, beginning with students working together to select words to study each week.

Guiding Groups in Middle School: Reading Poetry

Katie Doherty works with a small group of sixth graders who need extra support as they read the poem “Aspects of Autumn.”

Conferring About Inferring

This reading conference from Katie Doherty’s middle school classroom builds on the whole-class lesson, and demonstrates the value of partner reading for older students.

Quick Take: Using Timers in Middle School Writing Workshops

In this video quick take, Katie Doherty explains why she finds a timer helpful in her middle school writing workshop.

Middle School Conferring About a Series

In this video from Katie Doherty’s sixth-grade classroom, Katie confers with a student who has returned to a series book she had previously rejected. Katie weaves in talk about strategies, particularly inferring (a focus of whole-class minilessons).

Conferring with Tweens: Boys and Series Books

In this conference from a 6th grade classroom, Katie Doherty confers with a boy who is reading a book from a series she is unfamiliar with – watch how she engages the child to learn about the series and refocus the discussion on skills and goals.

From “I Don’t Get It” to “Never Mind — That’s Amazing!”: Scaffolding Schema for Comprehending Poetry

Katie Doherty finds poetry is a powerful tool for helping her middle school students understand the value of schema while reading.

“And Then and Then and Then”: Moving Students from Retelling to Thoughtful Response

Katie Doherty confers with 6th grader Kristina during reading workshop. Kristina is new to the classroom, and Katie demonstrates how to gently move a student from retelling to more thoughtful response to literature through a few simple and carefully worded questions.

Middle School Book Clubs: Introduction

Katie Doherty explains why she has book clubs with her 6th grade students.

Middle School Book Clubs: Response Options

Students have different response options in Katie Doherty’s sixth grade book clubs.

Middle School Book Clubs in Action

Katie Doherty talks about the links between strategy lessons and book club work in her 6th grade classroom. Katie also sits in on a book club discussion.

Lifting the Quality of Student Reading Letters with Quotes

Katie Doherty demonstrates for her middle school students how quotes can lift the quality of writing, using student and literary examples in this 11-minute video.

Conferring with Tweens: Nastia

Katie Doherty confers with Nastia, a 6th grade English language learner who is working on her inferring skills.

Guiding a Struggling Middle School Book Club

What do you do about those book clubs that just don’t gel in your middle school classroom? Katie Doherty demonstrates how she guides a struggling group of sixth graders, helping them reflect and converse together.

Great Lead Investigators

Katie Doherty turns her middle school students into lead investigators – an activity that is a terrific combination of mentor texts, group work, and connections to student writing.

The Triple Threat: Building a Community, Discussion Skills, and Writing Stamina

Katie Doherty knows how to pick the right text to move from whole-class conversations to writing.

“I Am the One Who . . .”: Building Writing Skills and Community in Middle Schools

In this 12-minute video, Katie Doherty leads her sixth-grade students as they try the prompt “I am the one who . . .” during writing workshop. This is an excellent activity for building classroom community.

Literacy Rights and Responsibilities

Something bad was happening in Katie Doherty’s middle school classroom—it was time to rebuild the class community with a reality check.

Literacy Letters: Helping New Students Understand Ongoing Assignments

How do teachers bring new students up to speed with ongoing assignments? In this video from Katie Doherty’s middle school classroom, Katie presents the latest “Literary Letters” assignment to her 6th graders. It is early spring, and all but two of the students have experience with this writing assignment.

“The Wrath of Guess Jeans”: Reading, Writing, and Cliques in Middle School

In this first video in a three-part series, Katie Doherty leads her 6th graders through a response activity. The text they are reading was written by a middle school student over a decade ago, and its themes of popularity and belonging still ring true for students.

“The Wrath of Guess Jeans”: Response and Read Around

In this second video in a three-part series, Katie Doherty leads her 6th graders through a response activity.  In this installment, the students respond orally and share some of their writing, making links to pop culture and other books from reading workshop.

“The Wrath of Guess Jeans”: Debrief

In this third video in a three-part series, Katie Doherty leads her 6th graders through a response activity. The text they are reading was written by a middle school student over a decade ago, and its themes of popularity and belonging still ring true for students. In this installment, Katie debriefs with students about the value of the writing activity.

Preparing for Book Talks

In this first video in a two-part series, Katie Doherty meets with her sixth-grade students who will be sharing their book recommendations with the class.

Student Book Talks

In this second video in a two-part series, Katie Doherty's sixth-grade students share their book recommendations with the class. Students work from a template provided by Katie to ensure their presentations are brief, thoughtful, and connected to reading workshop.

Quick Take: Katie Doherty on Middle School Reading Workshop Choices

In this two-minute quick take video, Katie Doherty explains the choices students have in her 6th grade reading workshop.

Seedfolks: Connecting Community and Literature

There's so much to do during the first weeks of school, but it's important not to skip the most important thing – building a sense of community with your students.

Linking Reading, Writing, and Getting to Know You Activities During the First Week of Middle School

Want to get your middle school students’ attention on the first day of school? Read a book about how to ruin it for them.

Clearing Up Confusion

Katie Doherty works closely with a student who has an unusual request – he wants to take home a basal anthology for "pleasure reading."  She puts a different text in his hands, and uses what she learns from the experience to design a for lesson her 6th grade students.

Vocabrity: Fun with Words for Middle School Students

Are your students getting bored with vocabulary routines?  Katie Doherty invents a quick and fun game, Vocabrity, to help her middle school students learn words.

The Book Lovers Quilt Project

Katie Doherty and Ruth Shagoury present  a fun way to launch (or close) the year with middle schoolers and discover the best-loved books of students from previous years.  This project can be adapted for any age level.

Letting Students Define and Design My 6th Grade Classroom Library

Katie Doherty's 6th graders take charge of the classroom library, with an activity designed to build an understanding of genre at the same time.

Fostering More Curricular Collaboration in Teams: The Meeting Notes Form (TEMPLATE)

Katie Doherty faces daunting challenges as a grade-level team leader in her middle school. A simple notetaking form works wonders in elevating the conversations and collaboration.

Middle School Readers at Mid-Year (SURVEY TEMPLATE)

Katie Doherty finds surveys of student reading habits and preferences are really useful in the winter, after she knows her students and they’ve settled into a routine.

Weekend Headlines: Introduction

In this first of a three-part video series, Katie Doherty and her sixth grade students begin the Weekend Headlines activity. Each Monday, students listen to Katie share some of the headlines from the local newspaper and then share their "headlines" from the weekend.

Weekend Headlines: Peer Response

In this second part of a three-part video series, Katie Doherty and her sixth grade students continue the Weekend Headlines activity. In this installment, Katie sets up a peer response procedure.

Weekend Headlines: Whole Class Share

In this final installment of a three-part video series, Katie Doherty and her sixth-grade students continue the Weekend Headlines activity.  In this installment, students share their writing with the whole class and respond.

Quick Take: Advice from Katie Doherty on Starting a Middle School Reading Workshop

In this one-minute quick take video, Katie Doherty has advice for middle school teachers who are thinking of launching a reading workshop in their classrooms.

6th Grade Classroom Room Tour

Katie Doherty shares how she has organized her 6th grade classroom to support students at her bustling middle school.

Inferring Read-Aloud Part I

Katie Doherty demonstrates how she uses picture books to teach inferring strategies to her sixth graders in this video series. Part I is a presentation of the book to students.

Teaching Inferring with Picture Books Part II: Partner Shares

Katie Doherty’s 6th grade students discuss the read-aloud through partner shares.

Teaching Inferring with Picture Books Part III: Whole-Class Debrief

Katie Doherty's 6th grade students debrief after a read-aloud and partner share focused on inferring.

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