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The Classroom Library: Building Bridges

Cathy Mere presses to help children take the first steps in growing a sustainable reading life that carries beyond the classroom walls. She offers ways to build bridges to the school and public libraries as an essential step.

Finding Time for Read Aloud

Katherine Sokolowski makes a case for the importance of reading aloud to secondary students and offers suggestions to make it a reality. She includes a list of five surefire read aloud books for middle school students.

Ten Ways to Celebrate Writers

Jen Court gives 10 ways for students to share and celebrate their work as writers. Two downloads are included for you to use in your classroom.

Picture Books to Teach Conflict

Katherine Sokolowski shares a book list that inspires her to teach five different kinds of conflict.

Quick Take: Share Your Reading Struggles

Instructional coach Staci Revere reminds us of the importance of modeling our own reading lives for students, especially the parts where we struggle as readers.

Bring In the School Year Like a Grandma

Julie Johnson reflects on how to help students know they belong and are valued in a classroom community.

One Instructional Strategy Changes a Reading Community

Mandy Robek reminds us of the power of a Status of the Class to build a reading community.

Combining Personal Narratives and Comics

Katherine Sokolowski combines personal narratives and comics to encourage students to go deeper in their storytelling.

Teaching Students How to Email

Katherine Sokolowski outlines the nitty-gritty on how to teach students to organize, manage, and compose email.

Sensible Reasons to Use Student Reading Records

Leigh Anne Eck outlines sensible reasons for students to keep reading records. She considers guidance for book selection, data for teachers, and entry points for reading conferences.

Making Connections with Sociograms

Gretchen Schroeder taps into the connections between characters by creating sociograms with her high school students.

From Seed to Blossom

Leigh Anne Eck provides a guide to developing an End-of-Year Reflection for students to consider their own growth, as well as offer advice regarding curriculum and instruction.

What Do Readers Need?

Christy Rush-Levine offers a close look into the needs of readers by considering engagement, enrichment and nourishment. She offers three examples of reading conferences with students.

Best Graphic Novel Adaptations for the Middle Grades

Shari Frost shares her favorite graphic novel adaptations for the middle grades.

Teaching Summary

Christy Rush-Levine faces the challenge of helping her students see summary writing not as drudgery, but as a way to build more sophisticated thinking around texts.

Online Routines to Create Energetic Reading Communities

Melissa Quimby shares online routines to strengthen the class reading community.

Troubleshooting Difficulties When Writing a Big Idea in Memoir

Kate Mills and Tara Barnett pinpoint common difficulties in sixth-grade memoir. They share teaching points and student writing samples before and after revision.

Assessing Students Online: Small and Powerful Moves

Tammy Mulligan shares small and mighty moves when assessing students online.

Honoring Student Identity

Christy Rush-Levine considers how to communicate to all students that their presence and their identities are valued and appreciated.

Read Alouds in Content Classes

Mark Levine explains the many ways read alouds can enhance and deepen learning for middle school students in content areas like social studies and science.

Choice in Literacy Workshops

What makes choice authentic in literacy workshops? Christy Rush-Levine grapples with this tough question that leads to changes in her instruction.

Three Things Digital Tools Have Taught Me About Feedback

Christy Rush-Levine discovers that a move to digital feedback reveals many important truths about her middle school students, including insights about the effect of grades on how learners view response to their work.

Management and Middle School Workshops

Christy Rush-Levine lowers the tension level in her class over management issues by moving from irritation to curiosity, using her “inner chimpanzee” voice.

Sparking Ideas for Realistic Fiction

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills explain how they use examples from YA authors of how to mine everyday life for powerful ideas. They then help students move from ideas to blurbs as they start their realistic fiction drafts.

Building Interest Through Artifacts

Mark Levine has many students who haven’t traveled much more than 100 miles from home. He makes history come to life for them by bringing artifacts into his middle school classroom.

Historical Fiction Background Folders

Tara Smith finds that students in book clubs reading historical fiction are often confused because they lack background knowledge. Her solution is to create background folders that include key documents to support the history in the texts.

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.

Student Ownership of Literary Analysis

Christy Rush-Levine shares the strategies she uses to help her middle school students take ownership of their literary analysis essays.

Studying Craft and Punctuation in Sentences from Read Alouds

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills share the power of teaching writer’s craft in bite-sized chunks, through careful study of mentor sentences in read alouds.

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