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Take a Chance

Julie Cox invites and encourages us to take risks in order to encourage students to try new things with their writing and reading. Julie concludes that when teachers are professional risk-takers, we are more available to students, and know how to help them when they fail.

Deepening Discussion with a Circle Process

Jen Vincent strengthens the authenticity of a share session in writing workshop by building and tending to relationships that honor a circle process originated in indigenous communities.

Circulating During Writing Workshop

Christy Rush-Levine circulates for quick conferences as students complete their literary analysis essays.

A Perfect Opportunity for Choice: Showing Theme

Tara Barnett outlines ways to offer choices for students to show their understandings of a book’s theme. Download a choice board and rubric.

Conferring Over Character Motivation

Christy Rush-Levine confers with Erica about her reading response to 13th Reality. She helps Erica consider character motivation.

Status of the Class for Readers and Writers

Matt Renwick reflects on the importance of building students’ identities as readers and writers and the power of a daily status of the class. Download a template to put this routine in place in your own classroom.

Quick Take: Using Mailboxes for Private Feedback

Christy Rush-Levine shares her system for streamlining passing papers and offering a place for private feedback.

Using Images for Rehearsal in Persuasive Writing

Melanie Meehan makes a case for the power of pictures to provide a foothold and access point for students to enter the writing pathway. She shares an example of using images to engage in persuasive writing strategies.

Opinions! Everybody Has One

Leigh Anne Eck shares a tool to help students develop their persuasive voices, build community, and expand their perspectives. Included is a download to put opinion journals to work in your classroom.

Honoring Student Choice in a Teacher-Chosen Text

Tara Barnett offers practical and engaging choices to students when reading a teacher-selected whole-class text. Download the reading choices survey and a sample pacing calendar to offer your students more choice during a whole-class read.

What Criteria Should We Use When Selecting Whole-Class Texts?

Christy Rush-Levine reminds us that text selection affects students. By shaping a unit of study to contain texts of varying formats and representing a wide variety of characters, students are empowered to develop their own ideas even while reading a whole-class text. Download a diverse text list to deepen a discussion of how family shapes identity.

Tips for Selecting Inclusive Texts

Hannah Tills and Josie Stewart challenge themselves to select more inclusive texts so all students feel as though they belong. They offer six suggestions to help us examine our bookshelves, thinking, and curriculum.

Book Talk: Sheets and Delicates by Brenna Thummler

Christy Rush-Levine pairs Brenna Thummler’s books Sheets and Delicates in a book talk for her sixth-grade class.

The Reluctant Marathoner: Reflecting on Student Engagement

Gretchen Schroeder uses her reluctance as a marathon runner to reflect on how to encourage more engagement in reading and writing.

Quick Take: Simple Classroom Library Organization

Christy Rush-Levine shares her simple system for organizing her massive classroom library.

Leading Students Toward Underused Sections of the Classroom Library

Gretchen Schroeder intentionally leads students to “jilted genres” in her classroom library.

Formative Assessment From Share Sessions

Ruth Ayres outlines different kinds of share sessions and different formats for the share, including some that take advantage of technology.

Expanding Book Choices for Secondary Readers

Ruth Ayres challenges us to be more open to the books that live in our secondary classroom libraries. She contends that committing to supporting choice in independent reading means rethinking some of the restrictions we put on adolescent readers.

Minilesson: Using a Web Search to Help Visualize

Staci Revere helps her middle school multilanguage students learn to visualize by using a web search to discover images and understand the text in a deeper way.

Reading Quiz

Gretchen Schroeder shares the way she adjusts her reading quizzes to assess students’ analysis and deep thinking about texts.

Learning to Notice and Analyze Complexities

Gretchen Schroeder supports her high school students to think deeply about the complexities around them, beginning with themselves and pop culture, and then moving to the texts they are reading.

Conferring Over Plausibility and Plot

Christy Rush-Levine confers with Logan over his reading response to Fat Boy vs. the Cheerleaders and Noggin 13th Reality. She helps him think about the plausibility of the story and what constitutes a worthy problem in literature.

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.

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.

Three Meaningful Ways to Incorporate Drawing into English Class

Gretchen Schroeder shares three meaningful ways to incorporate drawing into her high school English classes, and the purpose behind each strategy.

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.

Crafting Argumentative Essays

Gretchen Schroeder shares a summative assessment inspired by Song Exploder in which her high school students craft an argumentative essay defending a choice of a great song.

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