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The Power of Story

Becca Burk reminds us of the power of story and community when she uses a social story to help a kindergartner overcome the fear and anxiety from being forgotten on the bus. Becca shows us how to use a social story to develop confidence to overcome difficulties.

Morning Message 2: Routine and Community

Ruth Metcalfe reminds us of the power of routines and shows how over the course of time, morning message is an anchor in her first-grade classroom community.

Morning Message Series: When and How

It’s not always easy to hold on to effective instructional routines and find ways to embrace new initiatives and mandates. In the first installment of a morning message series, Ruth Metcalfe addresses the issue of time. 

Developing Reader Identities: It Is More Than Magic

Becca Burk reminds us of the importance of building a reading identity within all students so they can become stronger readers.

When They’re Hard to Teach

Cathy Mere reminds us of the complexities of teaching readers, especially those who are in intervention. She shares the “rules” she’s put in place for herself when a rough patch is hit and little growth is gained.

Reclaiming Our Time

Vivian Chen gives four steps to adjusting a lesson from the teacher’s guide to reclaim your time and make the lesson more meaningful and engaging to students.

Using Self-Portraits as an Assessment Tool for Early Writers

Becca Burk guides us in using self-portraits as an assessment tool for early writers. Becca shares a rubric, self-portrait samples, and practical next steps for her kindergarten writers.

Fostering Math Identities with Picture Books

Mandy Robek uses picture books to help her students build their identities as mathematicians. Mandy shares the process and a book list.

Developing and Listening to Your Inner Voice During Minilessons

Katie Linder reminds us of the importance of listening to (or ignoring) our own inner voices when delivering whole-group instruction. Katie guides us in using our inner voices to make in-the-moment decisions that sharpen lessons.

Leveraging AI in Elementary Literacy

David Pittman offers practical and timesaving tips for using AI to help make instructional plans. Need a rubric or discussion questions? David shows how using AI offers a springboard in creating tools for elementary literacy instruction.

 Partnering Phonics and Poetry

Jen Court gets creative with using materials for more than one skill to layer in additional phonics instruction and practice. Jen provides a guide to think critically about reusing resources throughout the day and across content areas. Download the Planning Tool for Phonics Lessons.

Holding Space for Counter-Narratives That Honor Communities

Stella Villalba guides us to expand the counter-narrative texts we use in our classrooms. Counter-narrative texts challenge the stereotypes often seen about a group of people, and they celebrate the joy and resilience of a community. Stella provides a list of critical questions that allow us to deeply explore texts, as well as suggestions of books to read.

Let’s Write Together: The Importance of Class Books

Jen Court considers whether creating class books is a valuable use of time for today’s young students. As she teases out this question, she realizes class books are a relevant and essential instructional strategy.

Everyone Wants to Write?

Becca Burk reflects on creating a classroom where everyone wants to write. She offers timely advice for creating a community of writers.

Creating Learning Progressions with Students

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills outline the steps to involve students in defining how to progress as readers and then set goals. They offer a practical plan for empowering students to take ownership of their learning.

Managing Your Students’ Independent Work During Guided Reading

Are you ready to ditch small-group instruction because it seems too difficult for students to work independently? Lisa Mazinas compiled a helpful chart to problem solve common classroom issues and support student independence.

Learning from Our Favorite Illustrators

Ruth Metcalfe tapped a plethora of resources to help her first-grade writers understand how to communicate meaning with illustrations.

What’s Your Point of View?

Molly James helps us develop an essential point of view for uplifting choice in decision making for young writers and readers.

Alert! Mistakes in Progress

Becca Burk gives the science behind mistakes and growth, and offers suggestions on ways to use mistakes as a means to help students become critical thinkers and problem solvers.

Overcoming Challenges in Writing Workshop with Trauma-Informed Practices

Ruth Ayres shares three mindsets to help teachers prioritize connection over correction when teaching writers.

Young Author Celebrations

Jennifer Court shares the celebrations that propel students to engage in the Young Authors Program.

It’s Time to Admire: Sharing in the Beauty of Students’ Writing

Heather Fisher shares a process to help teachers learn to admire student writers and find the beauty in their work.

Opinion Writing in Primary Grades: Layers of Support

Ruth Metcalfe suggests several layer of supports to uplift young writers as they begin to write their opinions.

Taking a Stance: Supporting Opinions in Primary Writers 

Josie Stewart and Hannah Tills expand their view of opinion writing to taking a stance, and are reminded of the power of choice and honoring student passions and interests. At the same time, students are reminded that their voice is heard and their opinions matter. 

Energizing Early Readers: The Classroom Library as a Co-Teacher (Booklist)

Ruth Metcalfe shares a fun-loving and inspiring early reader booklist to help boost reading energy in her classroom library.

Five Ways to Teach Fluency

Dana Murphy reminds us of five ways to teach fluency…especially when reading seems laborious.

Six Tips to Plan a Family Literacy Night 

Does planning a family literacy night seem overwhelming? Lisa Mazinas offers six tips to ensure a thoughtful and successful event.

Validating Students

When an excited young reader interrupts the quiet hum of reading workshop, Becca Burk analyzes the important unseen choices students make as learners, and the powerful messages teachers’ responses send.

Choral Counting Routine

Mallory Messenger shares ways Choral Counting provides an opportunity for students to share ideas orally, process language and numbers, and bring out vocabulary within the context of looking for patterns.

Level Two Unlocked: Using the Language of Video Games to Engage Students in the Assessment Experience

Heather Fisher considers the research behind gamified experiences and applies it to a lengthy first-grade phonics assessment. Heather challenges us to gamify assessments to maintain the integrity of the assessment while increasing student engagement.

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