What makes choice authentic in literacy workshops? Christy Rush-Levine grapples with this tough question that leads to changes in her instruction.
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.
Christy Rush-Levine lowers the tension level in her class over management issues by moving from irritation to curiosity, using her “inner chimpanzee” voice.
What’s the difference between a lesson and a minilesson? Christy Rush-Levine finds that flexibility is just as important as length in making minilessons work well.
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.
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.
Tammy Mulligan shares how she introduces students to the process of interpreting literature at different grade and developmental levels.
Christy Rush-Levine shares the strategies she uses to help her middle school students take ownership of their literary analysis essays.
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.
Tara Barnett and Kate Mills find that they have to change the way they think about connecting with families once students reach middle school.
Mark Levine wonders why his most some of his most skilled readers take the most time to get through texts. So he asks them, and gets some fascinating answers he uses to assist struggling students.
Christy Rush-Levine ponders what it means to create a safe space for all of her middle school students, and then makes some changes.
Tara Barnett and Kate Mills introduce their middle school students to pastiche, a technique of mimicking the craft of favorite poems and poets.
Middle schoolers and kindergartners forge friendships at Katherine Sokolowski’s school through a sweet poetry writing and sharing project.
Christy Rush-Levine finds her middle school students need more support and scaffolds to understand authors’ craft in graphic novels.
Mark Levine has his middle school students “closely read” paired videos as well as texts to ponder the value and accuracy of different historical sources.
Jeff is apathetic and unengaged. To help this middle school learner, Mark Levine needs to understand his history. Mark shows the power of interviews for connecting with struggling teen learners.
Mark Levine realizes explaining expectations for an essay assignment over and over again isn’t working. But when he has students write in pairs for a portion of his workshop, magic happens.
Katherine Sokolowski uses the Community Timeline Project to bring together students and older community members around history and writing.
Christy Rush-Levine scaffolds her middle-school students’ understanding of craft moves by moving from short stories to novels when studying specific authors.
Mark Levine shows how young adult literature is a potent tool to drive learning in his middle school social studies classroom.
Mark Levine finds his middle school students need more time to digest learning from brief articles. Freewriting provides the perfect pause for promoting more reflection and insight.
Mark Levine explains why whole-class reflection is an essential component of his middle school workshops.
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.
Christy Rush-Levine uses book covers to help her middle-school students explore their histories (or “lineages”) as readers.
Mark Levine explains how picture books are powerful teaching tools in his middle school classroom.
Katherine Sokolowski values read aloud for her middle school students and struggles to find time for them. Her solution? A picture book a day, better known as the #bookaday activity.
Mark Levine combines reading and thinking aloud in a minilesson to help his middle school students grapple with complex texts.
Katherine Sokolowski introduces her students to routines and expectations early in the year with a unit on Jane Goodall, including many short read alouds.
Christy Rush-Levine considers some of the “underground” ways in which she converses about books at conferences and on social media, and decides to set up a back channel for similar conversations about read alouds in her classroom.
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