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Crafting the Basics: First-Grade Writing Conference

Bitsy Parks confers with Aubrey early in the year, using books from whole-class lessons as a scaffold for understanding key text elements like title, author, and illustrations.

Linking Evidence to Reading Response in First Grade

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills are discouraged by the random and idiosyncratic responses to reading they are seeing among first graders. They implement a series of lessons to help students move to evidence-based reading responses.

Clapping Syllables Routine in First Grade

Bitsy Parks works with her first graders early in the year to teach them the basics of how words are constructed, by clapping through syllable counts.

First-Grade Writing Conference: Celebrations to Suggestions

Katrina Edwards begins her conference with first grader Allen by celebrating all he is doing well in his writing. She highlights his language and details in writing, before moving on to new strategies to try.

First-Grade Conference: Finding Seeds in Writing

Katrina Edwards confers with a first-grade writer and helps him unpack a narrative to use as seed writing.

Reading Minilesson: A Good Partner

Katrina Edwards helps her first graders early in the year transition to more thoughtful reading partnerships through a minilesson at the start of the morning workshop.

First-Grade Word Learning with Kinesthetics

Katrina Edwards teaches her first graders the word much using kinesthetics.

Moving Beyond Pokemon: Conferring with Clover

Bitsy Parks works with a first grader stuck on writing about Pokemon characters. She uses other writing from Clover to nudge her to try something new.

Linking Pictures and Text: Conferring with Ava

Katrina Edwards begins her conference with first grader Ava by having her share what she learned from a picture walk through a simple text, and then she helps her use pictures to decode text while reading.

What Does It Mean to Read?

“I read 35 pages!” An elated student deflates Bitsy Parks in her first-grade classroom. By mid-fall she is alarmed at the responses of students to their reading in the whole-group share — they are all about quantity, with no thinking or reflection. She uses modeling and careful questioning to foster more thoughtful reader response.

Making Meaning with Simple Text: Conferring in First Grade

Katrina Edwards confers with a first grader, looking beyond the level of the book early in the year to ensure the child is engaging with the story. She helps the child notice changes in the simple text and illustrations.

Levels and What’s Appropriate

“How do you know what level they have selected?” a visitor asks Bitsy Parks as she observes during a first-grade independent reading period. “I don’t,” Bitsy responds, and explains why it is a beautiful thing.

First-Grade Reading Share: Focus on Conferring and Strategies

Bitsy Parks uses reading share time early in the year to describe and summarize the work in two conferences to help students learn how conferring, independent reading time, and strategy practice work. One of the books used in a conference is from a recent read aloud.

Read Alouds to Start the Year in First Grade

Bitsy Parks selects read alouds for the first weeks of school for many different purposes, from building community to helping her first graders navigate the classroom library.

Fall Fluster

Bitsy Parks is stressed from trying to "cover" all the lessons in the first required reading unit of the year with her first graders. She takes a deep breath, and decides to integrate more of her own lessons into her instruction.

Enticing Young Readers: First-Grade Group

Bitsy Parks helps first graders early in the year engage with the library by introducing a series with companion stuffed animals to a small group.

First-Grade Read and Think Check-In

Katrina Edwards demonstrates a read and think check-in from her first-grade classroom.

Summer Reading

Bitsy Parks reflects upon her own not-so-successful experiences as a parent in getting her four children to read during the summer months. She uses these parenting lessons to help students take the initiative for summer reading by writing down commitments and goals in her first-grade classroom.

First-Grade Conference: Reading with Feeling

In this week's video, Katrina Edwards confers with first grader Ellie. She helps Ellie read more fluently and with expression by transferring her feelings to those of characters.

Weeding a First-Grade Library

Bitsy Parks has a simple seven-step process for a hard day’s work of weeding out her first-grade classroom library.

A Community Reads “Wonder”

Katherine Sokolowski had a dream — her whole community reading and celebrating the same book. She explains how she helped coordinate, organize, and purchase hundreds of books for a community-wide reading of Wonder.

How to Write a Sentence

Bitsy Parks realizes charts will help her first graders craft sentences. She shares how her sentence writing charts have changed over time.

Writing Minilesson: Feelings

Katrina Edwards uses read alouds as mentor texts for writing minilessons in her first-grade classroom. In this example she focuses on character feelings.

End-of-Year Read Alouds

Bitsy Parks explains how the ending weeks of read alouds in her first-grade classroom are designed to celebrate learning and shared experiences from the entire year.

Conferring in First Grade: Focus on Goals and Strengths

Katrina Edwards confers with first grader Wyatt about his goal of increasing the volume of his reading, helping him self-assess what's going well and what lies ahead.

Fostering More Rereading in Classrooms

Stella Villalba explains why rereading is especially useful for young English language learners, and shares some simple strategies for integrating more rereading strategies into reading and writing workshops

Minilesson: How to Retell a Story

Katrina Edwards uses the children's books They All Saw a Cat and Be a Friend for a minilesson with her first-grade students on how to retell stories with a partner during reading workshop.

Goals to Habits in First Grade

Bitsy Parks finds goals aren't enough for her first-grade students — real growth requires that the goals eventually become habits. She develops a process mid-year to help children refine their goals step-by-step.

First-Grade Reflections: Looking Back to Move Forward

Bitsy Parks discovers the best way to relaunch literacy workshops in January after holiday break is to have her first graders reflect upon and celebrate what they learned in the fall with personal anchor charts.

First-Grade Conference: Stretching Writing

Katrina Edwards helps her adorable first-grade student Dylan stretch out his writing. He adds details by first talking about playing with friends near his home.

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