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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.

Crafting a Literary Analysis

Christy Rush-Levine helps Ezekial draft his literary analysis.

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.

Comparing Book and Television Adaptations in a Reading Conference

Christy Rush-Levine confers with Adriana over her response to Pretty Little Liars, considering differences between the television show and book.

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.

Matching Evidence and Claims in Writing

Christy Rush-Levine confers with Brendan about his literary analysis and how to match evidence and claims. She has him talk through his understanding of the text, using the oral rehearsal to plan his writing.

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.

Conferring over Motivation and Genre

Christy Rush-Levine confers with Griffin over his reading responses. They consider the differences between dystopian literature and realistic fiction, as well as what motivates characters.

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.

Literary Analysis in Eighth Grade: Conferring

Christy Rush-Levine helps Alyssa draft her literary analysis essay.

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.

Reading Conference: Connections to Home

In this conference in Christy Rush-Levine’s eighth-grade classroom, Jaden is reading a book that mixes math with basketball, an activity he enjoys at home.

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.

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.

Characters, Choices, and Graphic Novels: Eighth-Grade Reading Conference

Christy Rush-Levine confers with Nia over the graphic novel she is reading. They discuss the choices characters make.

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