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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.

Teaching Conventions in Small Groups

Dana Murphy finds it is best to teach conventions in small, targeted groups in her fifth-grade classroom. She explains how she designs and leads these groups.

Building Reading Identities Across the Year

The start of the school year is often all about building reader identities in classrooms. And then October comes, and many of the activities that help students celebrate their reading histories and preferences are forgotten. Tara Barnett and Kate Mills share ways teachers can continue to help students define, refine, and expand their reading identities all year long.

Finding Time for Writing Shares

Finding time for writing share sessions may begin with trying out a few different options to see what works in your classroom. Melanie Meehan presents some of her favorites.

The Power of Video Replay

Heather Fisher explains how viewing excerpts from the same video multiple times can help students in book clubs hone their conversation and reflection skills.

Book Club Tools

Tammy Mulligan shares the importance of giving students choice and agency with book club tools to improve engagement and quality of the conversations.

Moving from Interactive Read Alouds to Book Clubs

Tammy Mulligan shares how teachers can move seamlessly from thoughtful conversations during whole-class read alouds to lively book clubs.

Grand Conversations and Read Aloud

Are your conversations during read aloud stilted or shallow? Tammy Mulligan recommends weekly “grand conversations” to spark more thoughtful talk. She provides the tools you need to get started in your classroom.

Interactive Read Aloud and the Whole-Class Notebook

Tammy Mulligan enhances the quality of the class read aloud and student discussions with the use of a whole-class response notebook.

Using a Strategy Notebook in Small-Group Instruction

So many needs for groups, and so little time. Dana Murphy finds that a strategy notebook is invaluable as a teaching aid in her fifth-grade small groups.

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.

Talking Through Characters

Melanie Meehan shares activities that help students talk about their characters before writing about them in a realistic fiction unit.

Alternatives to Graphic Organizers

Dana Murphy is dismayed by the ways graphic organizers can sometimes limit student creativity. She uses writing notebooks and a few other strategies to begin to wean her fourth graders from depending too much on organizers.

Forming Groups Using a Planner

Dana Murphy explains how her small-group planner is an essential tool for organizing groups in her fourth-grade classroom.

Getting Started with Strategy Lessons

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills describe how they help teachers move from guided reading to strategy groups in the upper elementary grades.

Revising Dialogue in Narrative Writing

Melanie Meehan finds that a “lift the flap” strategy works for showing students different revision options with dialogue.

Grammar Games

Melanie Meehan shares two of her favorite games for teaching grammar, including templates and web resources.

Annotating While Reading

Franki Sibberson finds teaching students to annotate while reading is one of the best ways to promote ongoing reflective response in her fifth-grade classroom. She shares how she starts teaching annotation skills early in the year.

Keeping the Classroom Library Current

Franki Sibberson explains how she watches students closely and adjusts her library based on what she sees all year long.

Invitations vs. Accountability

It’s not an invitation if students are required to accept it. Franki Sibberson explains how engagement depends upon true choice and lots of options in her fifth-grade classroom.

Independent Project Hiccups

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.

Reimagining Reading Logs

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.

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.

One Text, Many Lessons

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.

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

Flexible Seating: Mid-Year Tweaks with Book Nooks

Have you revisited your classroom design since September? Andrea Smith and her fourth graders get over the midwinter blahs by refreshing classroom seating together.

Writing Empathy

Dana Murphy explains why teachers can have true empathy with student writers only if they write themselves, and chronicles the difference between a typical and an empathetic response in a writing conference.

Using Read Alouds to Build Fluency

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills find an ingenious way in the upper elementary grades to help their struggling readers develop fluency through read alouds.

Color-Symbol-Image: A Thinking Routine for Read Alouds

Andrea Smith uses the Color-Symbol-Image thinking routine during read alouds to promote deeper reflection among students.

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