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Routines for Building Gratitude

Bitsy Parks finds even the dreariest days in her first-grade classroom are infinitely more enjoyable because she’s built in routines for expressing gratitude.

First Grade Minilesson: Connections

Melissa Atwood leads her first-grade class with a minilesson early in the school year on making connections to text.

First-Grade Conference: Repeated Phrases in Writing

Bitsy Parks confers with Michael about his gingerbread man writing. She encourages him to use a repeated phrase in the writing, echoing a whole-class lesson on repeated phrases.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Accountability for Young Writers

Stella Villalba teaches young writers about writer’s craft. So how come evidence of learning from the minilessons isn’t showing up when she confers with her students? She decides to develop a plan to help students link craft lessons with their writing.

Navigating the Interpretation Process

Tammy Mulligan shares how she introduces students to the process of interpreting literature at different grade and developmental levels.

First-Grade Writing Share: Highlighting Craft

Bitsy Parks leads a writing share early in the year, presenting three student examples of writing and highlighting different aspects of writer’s craft linked to minilessons.

Everyday Celebrations and Traditions

Bitsy Parks shares how she builds a learning community with displays and traditions that celebrate families.

Second-Grade Conference: Illustrations and Frames

Ruth Ayres confers with second grader Reagan about writing she is revising for publication about a class trip to the zoo that included her grandmother. Ruth introduces her to the concept of frames in illustrations, using an example from a picture book.

Reassuring Worried Children with Picture Books

Mandy Robek learns a lot about worry from her daughter, and at the same time discovers a treasure trove of children’s books to help students overcome worries.

The Power of Teaching Journals

Bitsy Parks finds inspiration for her teaching journal in the work of Debbie Miller. She explains how she uses her journal daily, and how it has evolved over time.

Planting Rainbows

Bitsy Parks shares how she adapts her favorite first-grade spring literacy project for remote learning.

First Grade ELL Conference: Writing and Pop Culture

Stella Villalba confers with first grade English language learner Eric about his writing on angry birds, with Esmeralda also sharing advice.

Book Selection for Early and Emergent Readers

Some emergent readers happily browse for books and explore them independently. For others, it’s a struggle. Cathy Mere shares her favorite strategies for helping all readers get comfortable with selecting books on their own.

The Good Part of Tech

Bitsy Parks shares how she integrates technology into her workshops with first graders in a way that is simple, effective, and natural.

First-Grade Guided Group: Reading Practice and Recap

Melissa Atwood leads a first-grade guided reading group. This is the second video in a two-part series.

Remembering the Big Picture in Reading Assessments

Kate Mills notes her own miscues in reading a bedtime story to her young children, and thinks about what that means for analyzing the running records of readers in primary classrooms.

First Graded Guided Group: Chunking Words

Melissa Atwood leads a first-grade guided reading group.  The focus at the start of the lesson is on chunking words. This is the first video in a two-part series.

Quick and Easy Word Study Groups in First Grade

Bitsy Parks shares some of her favorite strategies for quick and meaningful word work groups in her first-grade classroom.

Reading Mats Build Confidence

Tammy Mulligan explains how the use of the popular “reading mats” can help build reader confidence.

A Quick How-to Writing Unit in First Grade

Bitsy Parks uses the short stretch before the holidays for a quick and fun how-to writing unit with her first graders.

When Learning Gets Tricky, Go Back to the Pigs

Whenever a tricky literary concept comes up, Tammy Mulligan finds herself returning to a favorite mentor text to guide students. She explains the value of shared simple stories for understanding complicated literary elements.

Conferring to Connect: First Grade Reading

Bitsy Parks confers with first grader Ella about the Brown and Pearl book series, and then listens to Ella read. She closes the conference by encouraging Ella to make more personal connections to books.

Field Notes: Preserving Minilesson Time

Ruth Ayres shows how one first-grade teacher saves precious time by not ending minilessons with lots of directions for independent work.

First-Grade Read Alouds During Transitions

This brief video is an excerpt from a read aloud in a first-grade classroom during morning snack break. You’ll notice Bitsy Parks uses a projector so students can eat at tables and desks, and makes quick connections to other books.

Young Learners and Self-Talk

Do you have young readers and writers in your class who constantly talk to themselves? Stella Villalba helps a teacher decode the value of this self-talk for first grader Kayla, using it as a springboard for more learning.

No Pictures Stinks!

Shari Frost remembers how she inadvertently stifled the creativity of one of her most enthusiastic first-grade writers. Her story has important lessons for all of us about the importance of voice and choice for learners of all ages.

Student Greeting

Students in the first-grade classroom of Bitsy Parks lead a morning greeting at the start of the day. It’s a quick activity to check attendance, build reading skills, and help students learn the names of classmates in the community.

Managing Take-Home Books

Sending books home with young readers is essential. Cathy Mere gives lots of practical tips for designing a take-home books program and communicating with families about what young readers need.

Homework: I Challenge You!

Heather Fisher helps a first-grade teacher create a homework challenge as a way to make the practice more meaningful and engaging for students and families.

Growing Talk About Reading

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills find that struggling readers in the early grades benefit from scaffolds and repeated practice in small groups. They share some of their favorite tools, including key ring prompts and anchor charts.

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