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Examining Power Dynamics

Gretchen Schroeder leads her students to consider the power and privilege in the texts they read. By creating a power continuum, students become more aware of issues of power and oppression in society. Once this happens, they can move to discussions of how to take action for positive social change.

Using Drama Games to Approach Difficult Conversations

Gretchen Schroeder is committed to having conversations about race and racism with her high school students. Sometimes it’s difficult to engage students, so Gretchen used drama games as a means to think about concepts metaphorically, then ground them within the text, and, finally, have students apply them to their own lives and the world.

Kintsugi

Given an assignment to break a china bowl and rebuild it allowed Gretchen Schroeder to engage in the Japanese art of kintsugi. What surprised her were the lessons she learned about growth and innovation in her teaching practice.

Poetry Strategies for Partners and Groups

Gretchen Schroeder offers three ideas for partners or small groups to engage with poetry. Not only will they get creativity flowing, but they will also lift writers’ energy.

Sparking Curiosity: Developing Ownership of Learning Through “What If” Questions

Jodie Bailey encourages us to use “What if” questions in all content areas to give students the space to use their innate curiosity to engage in meaningful learning.

Detours: A Reminder of the Humanity of Students

Gretchen Schroeder reminds us of the importance of checking in with students and gauging how they are feeling—and then responding with authenticity and joy.

Increasing Student Choice

We want students to be lifelong learners, eager to grow, and equipped to face challenges. For this to happen, we have to let the classroom be a place that reflects these qualities. Julie Cox offers three innovative ways to leave choice in the hands of students. In turn, they learn to trust themselves and their learning, and believe that they are capable of finding answers.

Author Moves: More Than “Lots of Detail”

Julie Cox deconstructs craft moves—literally and figuratively—with her high school writers. If you are looking to move conversations about craft beyond “The author used a lot of good details,” then you’ll want to try Julie’s suggestions.

Considerations for AI in the Classroom

Gretchen Schroeder considers the positive ways AI will influence her high school English classroom.

Does Gender Impact Reader Engagement?

Gretchen Schroeder questions whether the protagonist’s gender influences her students’ engagement with a text. Using the dystopian novel Legend, which has two protagonists of different genders, Gretchen gathered feedback from her students. What she discovered was that a reader’s engagement with a text has more to do with empathy than with gender. You’ll love Gretchen’s new way of selecting whole-class texts for her students.

Considering Positionality and Developing New Sight Lines

Gretchen Schroeder shares a powerful approach to reading response to help students consider their positionality in a scene. Your identity, your thoughts, and your experiences influence the way that you relate to a text. This is your positionality as a reader, and it’s important to consider your positionality within a text because it explains how and why we come to certain conclusions as we read.  

How Long Does This Have to Be?

Students often question how long a piece of writing needs to be. Gretchen Schroeder shares a strategy that changed the focus of writing projects from length to meaning.

Putting Together the Pieces of a Classroom (Classroom Organization)

When Julie Cox moves into a smaller classroom, she realizes that to make it a room where students learn and thrive, she needs to shift her mindset. Rather than simply putting things where they fit, she asks three questions to make intentional decisions that will support learning.

Small-Group Conversations About Independent Reading

Jen Vincent scaffolds conversations to help students discuss their independent reading books in small groups…even when everyone is reading a different book! Download and print a copy of the guide to support students in their small-group conversations.

Writing from the Heart

Kate Mills and Tara Barnett pour their hearts into teaching writers, but when Tara loses her family dog, she is reminded that writing is the thing that helps us understand what’s most important.

Three Ways to Engage Your Students in Reading and Writing Poetry This Spring

Gretchen Schroeder offers three poetry-writing activities to take the pressure off the writing process by using another poet’s structure and/or words as a starting point. You’ll be amazed by how deep and personal the resulting poems can become. Download a PDF for students to collect lines for a cento poem.

Authentic Audience

Julie Cox offers three questions to determine authentic audiences for high school students to share work.

It’s the Final Countdown: Using Chunking and Timers to Scaffold Reluctant Writers

What do you do when students won’t write during class? Gretchen Schroeder offers a creative, practical, and effective solution.

Rural Communities

Julie Cox explores the differences in her experiences of teaching in the city of Louisville and teaching in a rural community. All teens have similar universal experiences, yet Julie outlines some considerations for rural students.

Rural Matters: Revealing Perceptions and Celebrating Roots

Gretchen Schroeder addresses the negative and positive perceptions of rural people with her high school students through readings, discussions, and analytical writing. Download a guide for Critical Rural Perspective Analysis to use with your students.

Assessing High School Readers

Secondary instructional coach Holly Wenning shares ways to assess high school readers.

One-Page Reading Response: A Simple Approach to Complex Assessment

Christy Rush-Levine uses one-page reading responses as a simple culminating activity to provide closure for book clubs. However, the data they offer about readers is far from simple.

Teaching Readers Rather Than Teaching Books

Secondary instructional coach Holly Wenning shares her own paradigm shift of teaching readers rather than teaching books, and encourages all teachers to consider the importance of putting students before books when planning literacy instruction.

Getting Started with Classroom Book Clubs (Part 1)

In the first installment of a three-part series, Leigh Anne Eck clearly lays out how to get started with book clubs. Included is an editable planning bookmark to give students more ownership of their reading schedules.

Less Is More: Using Novels in Verse in the Classroom

Gretchen Schroeder explains the reason why she believes requiring high school students to read novels in verse during independent reading time is worthwhile for their reading identity and developing more sophisticated understandings of literary analysis.

The Importance of the Workshop Model in High School

Instructional coach Holly Wenning shares the importance of the workshop model, and especially work time, for high school students. See the transition from minilesson to work time in a 10th-grade English class.

Spoiler Alert: You Can Start Big to Go Small (Macbeth in One Class Period)

Gretchen Schroeder confesses her fast-paced approach to sharing Macbeth with her high school students. Starting with the big picture of the story and then drilling down into specific scenes for skill practice not only accomplished the goals for the unit, but also freed up more time and space for other curriculum needs.

Renewing Energy in the Classroom

Gretchen Schroeder finds ways to increase the energy students have for doing work in her classroom. Her practical tips are useful for all students.

Math Debates: A Powerful Sense-Making Routine

Jodie Bailey shares a powerful practice of math debates for students to explore a problem with discussion and evidence to discover the correct solution.

Making Time for Poetry

Gretchen Schroeder encourages teachers to make time for the things that are important. For her, it was poetry, and she outlines how she created a weekly poetry ritual in her high school classroom that enhanced the curriculum.

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