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Sensible Reasons to Use Student Reading Records

Leigh Anne Eck outlines sensible reasons for students to keep reading records.

Writers’ Club

In her high school writing workshop, Julie Cox noticed that students wrote eagerly, but struggled to give and accept feedback. To increase student ownership and trust, she started Writers’ Club, and it affected transfer of learning in big ways!

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.

Online Writing Notebooks

Gretchen Schroeder makes the leap to digital notebooks and finds new life in a tried-and-true practice.

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.

Honoring Student Identity

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

Engaging Students with Humor

Mark Levine finds humor is the “secret sauce” in engaging middle school students and including introverts in the classroom community.

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.

Lessons and Minilessons: What’s the Difference?

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.

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.

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.

Keeping Parent Communication Open in Middle School

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills find that they have to change the way they think about connecting with families once students reach middle school.

Observing Skilled Readers

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.

Creating a Safe Space in Middle School

Christy Rush-Levine ponders what it means to create a safe space for all of her middle school students, and then makes some changes.

Poetry and Pastiche

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills introduce their middle school students to pastiche, a technique of mimicking the craft of favorite poems and poets.

Kindergarten and Middle School Poetry Partnership

Middle schoolers and kindergartners forge friendships at Katherine Sokolowski’s school through a sweet poetry writing and sharing project.

Exploring Author’s Craft in Graphic Novels

Christy Rush-Levine finds her middle school students need more support and scaffolds to understand authors’ craft in graphic novels.

Pairing Video Clips with Text: The Great Depression

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.

Self-Esteem and Literacy: Understanding Jeff

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.

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