Christy Rush-Levine helps her students create an “opinion proof chart” in their notebooks. This exercise helps them build their skills in backing up opinions with evidence.
Louise Wrobleski uses video clips, children’s literature, and newspaper articles to teach middle school students new ways to craft persuasive writing.
Tara Barnett and Kate Mills slow down the “Article of the Week” nonfiction reading activity, making space for more reflection and thoughtful discussion.
Gretchen Schroeder has developed a fun version of Reading Bingo to help students explore their identity as readers. The activity includes clever social media inspired options like creating memes and “bookstagram” posts.
Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan explain the concept of “detour texts”—picture books to use as mentor texts in the intermediate grades to illustrate complex literary elements. They also share three of their favorite new children’s books to use as detours.
Christy Rush-Levine presents a minilesson to her eighth-grade students about revising their literary analysis essays, using an analogy about putting furniture together.
If your students are equating revision with proofreading and final cleanups, Tara Barnett and Kate Mills have some practical revision strategies you might want to try.
High-stakes tests weigh on teachers and students through the winter and spring. Mark Levine shares mindfulness strategies for test-taking, explaining how to help students recommit and refocus in the midst of an exam.
Christy Rush-Levine decides to slow down in her classroom and engage more fully with a student who is a wiseacre and resistant reader. What happens next can only be described as magic.
Christy Rush-Levine finds her students sometimes need to stop and be challenged to think in more positive ways about their reading abilities. She describes how she designs minilessons for impromptu resets in her middle school classroom.
Poetry writing always has the potential to spark some magic in students. Christy Rush-Levine finds this magic requires a few conditions to be in place first in her middle school classroom.
Christy Ruth-Levine leads a small group of eighth graders as they explore how to include textual evidence in their literary analysis essays.
Mark Levine explains why high standards can be helpful even for students who are struggling in his middle school classroom.
Christy Rush-Levine confers with Olivia about the principle of cause and effect in the novel she is reading.
One student’s request to lead a minilesson is a catalyst for Mark Levine to see the value of student-led minilessons as an assignment for all in his middle school classroom.
Christy Rush-Levine confers with Omar, who is reading The Rock and the River. The book is a fictional account of a tumultuous time in civil rights history, considering protests through a child’s eyes.
Mark Levine finds Russell Freedman book clubs are a great way for his middle school students to deepen understanding of history and empathize with young people who lived through previous eras.
Christy Ruth-Levine confers with Edith, who is tracking character changes in the novel Room.
Christy Rush-Levine integrates reading responses into her preparation for reading conferences, and then uses the responses as a tool to build goals and insights within the conference.
Mark Levine explains why he dives right into work in his middle school classroom, rather than getting-to-know-you activities. And through the work, a community is born.
Christy Rush-Levine has to figure out how to engage a class of students that is compliant and dutiful, but shows little passion for reading and writing.
Christy Rush-Levine confers with Jadev about how the title of a book often gives clues to its theme.
Christy Rush-Levine confers with Cam, an eighth grader who seeks to understand the complexity of war through the experiences of main characters in novels.
Christy Rush-Levine shows a group of three students how they can use a storyboard to help track thinking while reading.
Katherine Sokolowski had a dream — her whole community reading and celebrating the same book. She explains how she helped coordinate, organize, and purchase hundreds of books for a community-wide reading of Wonder.
Christy Rush-Levine meets with eighth grader Jaden, who talks through his struggles in writing a conclusion to his literary analysis, and how his peers helped him improve the writing.
Christy Rush-Levine finds administrators are questioning the value of read alouds, especially with older students. She shares how she uses the picture book Love in her middle school classroom to launch challenging discussions about timely themes.
Carly Ulmer develops a bingo board to use with her middle school students to give them more choice and foster independence while crafting writing in specific genres.
Christy Rush-Levine uses a vivid anecdote from her youth to teach her middle school students about the importance of context in literary analysis.
We’ve all had that student — the one who blurts out a misreading of a text, only to have classmates agree with the analysis. Christy Rush-Levine explains how she uses “first-, second-, and third-draft readings” to help her middle school students develop stronger comprehension skills.
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