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Balancing Conferences and Small Groups

Balancing small groups and conferences is essential for transferring learning from lessons and units, and it’s one of the trickiest tasks for teachers. Dana Murphy explains how she works toward balance in her classroom, weighing everything from the timeline of the unit to the intensity of the minilesson.

Navigating the Interpretation Process

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

Owl Design Strategy Group Meeting

Andrea Smith meets with a group of fourth-grade girls who are completing designs as part of the owl habitat project.

Interpretation and Comprehension

Teaching comprehension skills can be a complex and overwhelming task. Tammy Mulligan shares a process for expanding and deepening student interpretations of text.

Making Learning Stick: Learning Progressions and Student-Created Exemplars

Tammy Mulligan explains the process of having students analyze and create models of good writing and analysis for assessing themselves and peers.

Teaching Constructed Response Before Exams

Teaching the genre of tests can seem far removed from writing workshop. Matt Renwick explores how to teach constructed response in a way that is integrated with the tenets of good workshop instruction.

Writing Partners

Partner work is an essential component of many literacy workshops. Dana Murphy explains how she is intentional in building thoughtful routines and expectations for partner work in her fifth-grade classroom.

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.

Text Sets: Reading Beyond Just Facts

Franki Sibberson explains how carefully curated text sets can help students move beyond a “just the facts” exploration of nonfiction topics.

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.

Circle Share

Sometimes those times when we “wing it” because we don’t have plans can lead to the most profound learning. Dana Murphy dreams up a quick circle share, and what follows is magic.

Owl Research: Getting Organized

Andrea Smith checks in on a group of boys who are doing research into owl habitat, helping them organize their work and plans.

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.

Charting Mentor Texts

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills share many of their favorite anchor charts for helping students connect writer’s craft to mentor texts.

A Better Status of the Class

Dana Murphy finds that adding numbers of pages to her status-of-the-class list for reading makes all the difference in assessing students’ growth and needs as readers.

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.

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.

Scaffolding Revision with a Mentor Text

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills show how to break down mentor texts into brief excerpts for step-by-step scaffolding of writers in the intermediate grades.

Analyzing Voice: Conferring with Griffin

Gigi McAllister helps fourth grader Griffin re-engage with his writing by pointing out some of the unique qualities of voice and style his piece possesses.

Grammar Games

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

Building Habits with Short-Term Goals

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.

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