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Setting and Using Classroom Norms

Class promises, rules, and norms—most teachers set them at the start of the year. But how can we make sure students live them? Dana Murphy shares some tips from her fifth-grade classroom.

Read-Aloud Annotations: Google Slides

In this video series, Franki Sibberson’s fifth graders share their strategies for annotating the class read aloud. In this installment, Antonio shares his Google Slides.

Guided Reading for Proficient Readers?

Shari Frost is surprised to see guided reading used for proficient fifth-grade readers. She considers some strategic alternatives.

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.

Read-Aloud Annotations: Google Docs for Questions

In this video series, Franki Sibberson’s fifth graders share their strategies for annotating the class read-aloud. In this installment, Lauren uses Google Docs to record questions to explore as she listens.

Read-Aloud Annotations: Expectation and Reality

In this video series, Franki Sibberson’s fifth graders share their strategies for annotating the class read-aloud. In this installment, Lizzie uses her notebook to focus on expectations and reality for characters, especially when it comes to stereotypes.

Talking Through Characters

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

Read Aloud Annotations: Using Google Slides to Focus

In this video series, Franki Sibberson’s fifth graders share their strategies for annotating the class read-aloud, In this installment, Reagan uses Google Slides to focus her thoughts and analyze different characters.

Student-Centered Notes

Dana Murphy discovers that what works for one student doesn’t work for another when it comes to note-taking. She provides options and then hosts a gallery walk so everyone can discover what works best for them.

Read-Aloud Annotations: Thoughts to Themes

In this video series, Franki Sibberson’s fifth graders share their strategies for annotating the class read-aloud. In this installment, Stone uses Google Slides to record thoughts and tease out themes.

Read Aloud Annotations: Predictions

In this video series, Franki Sibberson’s fifth graders share their strategies for annotating the class read aloud. In this installment, Sharvari uses Google Slides with text boxes to record predictions and thinking.

Read Aloud Annotations: Characters and Intentions

In this video series, Franki Sibberson’s fifth graders share their strategies for annotating the class read aloud The Girl Who Drank the Moon. In this installment, Ben creates a graph in his notebook to record characters and intentions that are emerging in the story.

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.

Read Aloud Annotations: Notebook Predictions

In this video series, Franki Sibberson’s fifth graders share their strategies for annotating the class read aloud, The Girl Who Drank the Moon. Students have their choice of using notebooks or tech devices, and can pick any strategy that helps them make sense of the story. In this installment, Hannah shares her notebook where she highlights the setting and characters, as well as makes predictions.

Student-Led Minilession: Planning and Organizing Nonfiction Writing

Katie presents a student-led minilesson in Franki Sibberson’s fifth-grade class on organizing and planning nonfiction writing.

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.

Digital and Disney: Conferring with Ben

It would be easy to zip quickly through a writing conference about a vacation story, especially one about a trip to Disney. In this video, Franki Sibberson slows down with Ben to explore how he is meeting his goal of adding descriptive language to writing, using digital tools to assist.

A Minilesson on Minilessons

Franki Sibberson leads a minilesson in her fifth-grade classroom to help students design their own lessons. Students also assess what goes into a high-quality minilesson.

Small Group: Creativity

Franki Sibberson pulls together a group of fifth graders to explore writing mentors together.

Student-Led Minilesson: Annotating Reading with Sticky Notes

Students can claim who they are as readers and writers by designing and presenting minilessons to their peers. In this week’s video, fifth grader Reagan from Franki Sibberson’s classroom presents a lesson on annotating reading with sticky notes.

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.

Exploring Dystopian Literature: Fifth-Grade Reading Conference

Katherine Sokolowski confers with Ian about The Giver, broadening his understanding of the text to consider other dystopian literature.

Bringing Multiple Texts and Perspectives into Teaching Point of View

Katherine Sokolowski finds her students are struggling to understand point of view. She takes a detour over a week with mentor texts, quick assists from favorite writers on Twitter, and practice sessions retelling Little Red Riding Hood to teach the concept.

Detour Texts

Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan explain the concept of “detour texts”—picture books to use as mentor texts in the intermediate grades to illustrate complex literary elements. They also share three of their favorite new children’s books to use as detours.

Thoughtful Read Aloud Structures

Franki Sibberson shares how she integrates student choice and collaboration into reading response during daily read alouds.

Grammar Games

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

Writing Partner Feedback in Fifth Grade

Fifth-grade writers in Franki Sibberson’s classroom encourage each other and suggest revisions to their opinion writing drafts in partner teams.

Practical Advice for Dealing with Messy Handwriting

Do struggles with handwriting matter? They do when a student can’t even decipher his own words. Katherine Sokolowski confers with fifth grader Sauvi to help him find solutions to the problem.

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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