Tara Barnett and Kate Mills are teachers in New Jersey. Their favorite years in the classroom have been the ones they co-taught together, when they experienced the powerful effects of professional collaboration for both the teachers and the students in the classroom. They blog together at Tara and Kate.
Tara Barnett and Kate Mills explain why short-term writing goals can help students reset expectations for their writing on a daily basis, and how they make these goals an integral part of their writing workshops.
Tara Barnett and Kate Mills use a know and wonder activity to encourage curiosity and independence as their seventh graders are beginning a new text.
Tara Barnett and Kate Mills conclude their series on independent projects with advice on how to handle issues that often crop up as students design and work through writing their projects.
Tara Barnett and Kate Mills close out the year in their eighth-grade classroom with a compliments activity.
Reading logs have fallen out of favor in many classrooms because they often become a rote activity for recording pages read. Tara Barnett and Kate Mills find authenticity with the logs comes when they move from emphasizing recording to goals and reflection.
Tara Barnett and Kate Mills continue their series on independent projects with nuts and bolts advice on management.
One way to get all students excited about writing workshop is through independent projects. Tara Barnett and Kate Mills explain why they devote many Fridays to independent projects. This is the first installment in a three-part series.
Benchmark assessments can be incredibly time-consuming for teachers to complete. Tara Barnett and Kate Mills describe how they leverage the time spent by using the assessments in strategy conferences with students.
Is your problem writers whose sentences never seem to end? Tara Barnett and Kate Mills have a strategy for grappling with run-on sentences.
Tara Barnett and Kate Mills share how one book can serve as an anchor for lessons on everything from writer’s craft to test-taking skills.
Setting small-group goals can be tricky, and the complexity is compounded when you are working with English language learners. Kate Mills explains her goal-setting process with K-3 ELLs, and gives examples of how it works.
Tara Barnett and Kate Mills lead virtual parent book clubs to foster more home/school connections and build a love of reading outside the school walls.
Tara Barnett and Kate Mills explain how they avoid a holiday reading slump with students through “break baggies” that include plans developed in the classroom and books selected with peer and teacher input.
Tara Barnett and Kate Mills discover giving “compliments and wishes” aren’t enough when it comes to useful feedback for revision in peer groups. They implement a more structured response process for writing groups.
Kate Mills and Tara Barnett often write together about their experiences as co-teachers. They share their best advice for teachers and school administrators on how to make co-teaching partnerships between classroom teachers and special educators work.
Tara Barnett and Kate Mills describe how they use one mentor text, Owl Moon, to teach multiple lessons on craft during a writing unit.
Tara Barnett and Kate Mills find an ingenious way in the upper elementary grades to help their struggling readers develop fluency through read alouds.
Tara Barnett and Kate Mills combine an engagement inventory and an on-demand writing assessment to get a full picture of skills and habits in their classroom community.
Tara Barnett and Kate Mills work with eighth graders who struggle to articulate big themes in literature. A breakthrough comes when they have the option of sketching their thoughts.
Tara Barnett and Kate Mills develop a process of pre-assessment, careful planning, and systematic record keeping to up the value of their small groups.
Tara Barnett and Kate Mills share how they use the first days and weeks of school to celebrate summer reading and build a classroom community.
If you're looking for the perfect launch for writers' notebooks this school year, you might want to begin with story. Tara Barnett and Kate Mills explain how.
Kate Mills and Tara Barnett provide some practical tips for connecting students and goals.
On-demand writing can be a stressful assessment task for students, but it does mimic the type of writing many adults face in their professional lives. Tara Barnett and Kate Mills work with students to create an on-demand writing checklist.
Tara Barnett and Kate Mills share suggestions for connecting with parents over the summer and early in the school year, including some fun uses of technology.
Tara Barnett and Kate Mills use Monday Headlines to energize students after the weekend, and get a peek into what’s going on at home.
Tara Barnett and Kate Mills use a jot lot to turn students’ notes on their learning into instructional plans and assessment.
Tara Barnett and Kate Mills find the key to middle school students attending to new vocabulary during read-alouds is to have students choose the words.
Tara Barnett and Kate Mills share the process of helping students set weekly goals and then reflect on their progress every Friday.
Tara Barnes and Kate Mills have a confession to make: in the first weeks of school, many of their fourth-grade students didn’t write much at all in workshops. It was only after tackling the issue of writing stamina head-on that they saw rapid progress.
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