It's one of the big paradoxes of literacy instruction - students best learn how to read and write independently when they have a strong community of support in classrooms. How teachers build those thoughtful, kind, and challenging classroom communities is explained in these resources.
Bitsy Parks offers key end-of-the year activities that allow students to reflect and notice their identities, growth, and community as readers and writers.
Melanie Quinn shares a fun activity to help current students share advice for next year’s class.
Dana Murphy outlines the teaching practices that she learned from remote teaching and plans to carry with her upon returning to a physical classroom.
Mandy Robek adjusts her mindset of preparing her classroom according to COVID guidelines and discovers an open heart and mind as she prepares a “minimalist classroom.”
Shari Frost shares her favorite graphic novel adaptations for the middle grades.
Bitsy Parks shares the ways in which class books help students work as readers and writers, as well as build a community.
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.
Matt Renwick explores ways in which whole-class conversations around one text can build a strong community as understanding is co-constructed.
Melissa Quimby shares online routines to strengthen the class reading community.
Suzy Kaback thinks deeply about the concept of belonging as an essential part of building a school community.
Christy Rush-Levine considers how to communicate to all students that their presence and their identities are valued and appreciated.
Gretchen Schroeder’s high school students build community by creating a shared text of things they love.
Matt Renwick shares creative ways teachers in his school celebrate authors.
Mark Levine finds humor is the “secret sauce” in engaging middle school students and including introverts in the classroom community.
Tara Barnett and Kate Mills share everything from useful prompts to the best tech tools for moving interactive read alouds to digital platforms during remote instruction.
Shari Frost finds that the issues students may be dealing with in some children’s books can be overwhelming. She shares some of her favorite books for grappling with one troubling topic at a time.
What makes choice authentic in literacy workshops? Christy Rush-Levine grapples with this tough question that leads to changes in her instruction.
Bitsy Parks shares how she and her first-grade students used photography to bridge the distance between home and school this spring, learning lessons she is using this fall in remote learning contexts.
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.
Suzy Kaback works with students to create a “fact or fiction” class book to explore the boundaries between truth and fantasy.
Bitsy Parks finds even the dreariest days in her first-grade classroom are infinitely more enjoyable because she’s built in routines for expressing gratitude.
Christy Rush-Levine lowers the tension level in her class over management issues by moving from irritation to curiosity, using her “inner chimpanzee” voice.
Suzy Kaback reminds us that the language we use to talk about challenging students shapes our perceptions of them. That’s why she has moved to calling students “small teachers.”
Bitsy Parks shares how she builds a learning community with displays and traditions that celebrate families.
Jennifer Allen shares a project student writers complete with support from a local college to make writing public and widen the net for feedback.
Jen Schwanke, like many of us, is scrambling to deal with issues cropping up in the new world we all face of remote instruction. She shares some of the most common problems, and how teachers might deal with them.
Ruth Ayres eavesdrops on some moms complaining about homework assignments, and finds the experience leads to reflection on the dangers of forcing students to make themselves vulnerable in classrooms.
Christy Rush-Levine ponders what it means to create a safe space for all of her middle school students, and then makes some changes.
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