Latest Content
Responding to Appeals for Help

Dana Murphy outlines three options to respond to a student who is stuck when reading and looking to the teacher for the answer. By being mindful when students appeal for help, we can make intentional, on-the-spot decisions to empower students to become better readers.

Purposeful Play

Jodie Bailey makes a case for purposeful play with her middle school students. To strengthen reading habits, we offer exposure to a wide variety of books, time to read, and opportunities to discuss ideas. In math classrooms students need similar opportunities to explore and play.

Your Voice Matters

Jodie Bailey shares a picture-book version of Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have a Dream speech and then gives students time to reflect on the message. While math class might seem like an unusual place to help students consider their identity and place in the world, Jodie inspires teachers to offer space and time for students to find their voice…while making direct connections to math standards.

An Invitation to Elevate Readers’ Thinking Through Conversation

Melissa Quimby offers structures to help elevate readers’ thinking through book club conversations. You’ll love putting these practical ideas into play in your own classroom—and be awed by the depth of your readers’ understandings.

Teaching Students to Self-Monitor

Dana Murphy explicitly teaches students how to self-monitor through modeling and using an anchor chart that clearly defines each step.

Fostering a Love of Reading in All Students

Lisa Mazinas reminds us of the importance of fostering a love of reading in all students. She offers specific ways to reconnect students with the enjoyment of reading.

Know/Wonder Chart

Dana Murphy shares the power of a Know/Wonder chart to peek inside the minds of intermediate readers and provide direction beyond assessment data.

Building Vocabulary One Purple Word at a Time

Leigh Anne Eck shares one way to uplift word choice of middle school writers. Through a simple and responsive system, her students are growing their vocabulary, learning parts of speech, and taking risks with more sophisticated word choice. All you need is a purple highlighter and a willingness to celebrate student voices.

Let’s Do It Again, Together

Heather Fisher revisits a whole-school vocabulary routine that she set in motion. In this update, she shares the ways she adjusted to work together as a team rather than fly solo. This might be just the school-wide vocabulary routine you’ve been craving.

Building Bridges (and Confidence): Planning Solid Essays

Melissa Quimby offers time and intentional planning to build students’ confidence and capacity as essay writers.

Informational Poetry

Hannah Tills and Josie Stewart teach students to write informational poetry. They remind us that poetry can serve as a mentor text in many units and does not have to be siloed in its own unit.

Step Into Poetry: Building a Poetry-Conscious Classroom

Joanne Emery has curated a fabulous list of resources and ideas to build a poetry-conscious classroom community.

Weaving Words Throughout the School Year

Joanne Emery rounds up several ideas for embedding vocabulary routines in the school day. She also shares many rich vocabulary resources.

Empowering Students Through Thinking Routines

Jodie Bailey shares practical ways to nourish students’ thinking routines in her math classroom. She is inspired by Peter Liljedahl’s book Building Thinking Classrooms.

Big, Loud, and Slow: Six Strategies for Better Public Speaking

Matt Renwick worked with a speech therapist after having a stroke. Through this process, he realized powerful teaching points to help students become stronger public speakers.

When Reading Practices Drift

When Leigh Anne Eck noticed her students’ reading practices weren’t as robust as she expected, she realized she was the one who had drifted away from key instructional practices. Leigh Anne offers several ways to support students in their independent reading lives.

Kintsugi

Given an assignment to break a china bowl and rebuild it allowed Gretchen Schroeder to engage in the Japanese art of kintsugi. What surprised her were the lessons she learned about growth and innovation in her teaching practice.

Reclaiming Our Time

Vivian Chen gives four steps to adjusting a lesson from the teacher’s guide to reclaim your time and make the lesson more meaningful and engaging to students.

Increasing Engagement During Online Practice Opportunities

Mallory Messenger is intentional about monitoring and supporting cognitive engagement while students use online practice tools. Use her tips so your students are engaged too!

Color Coding: An Organizational Strategy

Leigh Anne Eck gives advice to her middle school writers for collecting research notes.

Sparking Curiosity: Developing Ownership of Learning Through “What If” Questions

Jodie Bailey encourages us to use “What if” questions in all content areas to give students the space to use their innate curiosity to engage in meaningful learning.

Plagued by Plagiarism

Plagiarism is an age-old issue, but with the emergence of AI tools, it’s plaguing our classrooms again. Vivian Chen offers three practical (and essential) approaches when working with writers.

Developing and Listening to Your Inner Voice During Minilessons

Katie Linder reminds us of the importance of listening to (or ignoring) our own inner voices when delivering whole-group instruction. Katie guides us in using our inner voices to make in-the-moment decisions that sharpen lessons.

The Art of Noticing: Have Your Students Played with Language Today?

Stella Villalba noticed her students were so busy writing quickly, they were not paying attention to crafting language. A student, Gabriela, turns to a book and asks for help to make her writing sound like the book. Stella uses this moment to slow down the class and create space to be inspired to write in beautiful ways.

Leveraging AI in Elementary Literacy

David Pittman offers practical and timesaving tips for using AI to help make instructional plans. Need a rubric or discussion questions? David shows how using AI offers a springboard in creating tools for elementary literacy instruction.

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.

My Teaching Toolbox (Part 2)

Dana Murphy reminds us that having a teaching toolbox makes planning efficient and effective. In this second installment of a two-part series, Dana offers two additional approaches to delivering strong reading instruction.

Small Shifts That Make a Big Difference

Dana Murphy names two practices that made a big difference in her work as a reading specialist. You may be surprised at the simplicity and smallness that led to powerful gains in her readers.

My Teaching Toolbox (Part 1)

Every now and then we make the classic teaching mistake: assign rather than teach. Dana Murphy curated her favorite teaching tools that help her stay inspired to continually teach students. This is part one of a two-part series.

Holding Space for Counter-Narratives That Honor Communities

Stella Villalba guides us to expand the counter-narrative texts we use in our classrooms. Counter-narrative texts challenge the stereotypes often seen about a group of people, and they celebrate the joy and resilience of a community. Stella provides a list of critical questions that allow us to deeply explore texts, as well as suggestions of books to read.

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