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Belonging in a School Community

Suzy Kaback thinks deeply about the concept of belonging as an essential part of building a school community.

Honoring Student Identity

Christy Rush-Levine considers how to communicate to all students that their presence and their identities are valued and appreciated.

A Student Book of Awesome

Gretchen Schroeder’s high school students build community by creating a shared text of things they love.

Building Writer Relationships with Author Studies

Matt Renwick shares creative ways teachers in his school celebrate authors.

Engaging Students with Humor

Mark Levine finds humor is the “secret sauce” in engaging middle school students and including introverts in the classroom community.

Digital Interactive Read Alouds

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.

Issues Overload

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.

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.

Using Photographs in Remote Learning Communities

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.

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.

Sustaining (Not Just Building) Community Online
“What comes after we start?” Sara Kajder answers this tough question from a first-year teacher about what it takes to sustain a remote learning community.
Fact or Fiction?

Suzy Kaback works with students to create a “fact or fiction” class book to explore the boundaries between truth and fantasy.

Routines for Building Gratitude

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.

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.

Call Me by My Name

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.”

Everyday Celebrations and Traditions

Bitsy Parks shares how she builds a learning community with displays and traditions that celebrate families.

Making Our Writing Public

Jennifer Allen shares a project student writers complete with support from a local college to make writing public and widen the net for feedback.

Letting Go in the Remote Learning World

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.

Don’t Force Vulnerability

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.

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.

Kindergarten and Middle School Poetry Partnership

Middle schoolers and kindergartners forge friendships at Katherine Sokolowski’s school through a sweet poetry writing and sharing project.

Trauma and Literacy

Jen Schwanke remembers her own experiences with trauma as a scared young girl, and how one kind teacher made all the difference in putting her on the path to healing. This makes her ponder the power of literacy in reaching wounded students in our midst.

Appointment Clocks

Gretchen Schroeder uses “appointment clocks” to ensure her students meet with a variety of peers for partner work.

Community Timeline Project

Katherine Sokolowski uses the Community Timeline Project to bring together students and older community members around history and writing.

Reading and Writing for the 100th Day of School

The 100th day of school has become an opportunity for classroom and schoolwide celebrations. Shari Frost provides many resources to ensure reading and writing are front and center on this special day.

Reinforcing Workshop Norms

In this quick video, Dana Murphy shows how she leads her fifth graders with a kinesthetic reminder of workshop norms before beginning independent work.

Circle Share

Sometimes those times when we “wing it” because we don’t have plans can lead to the most profound learning. Dana Murphy dreams up a quick circle share, and what follows is magic.

Minimizing Interruptions During Workshops

Dana Murphy explains why a system for minimizing interruptions is essential in her fifth-grade classroom, and how she keeps the process of creating and using it as simple as possible.

Raising Student Voices: Mentor Texts

Helping students find and raise their voices so that they can someday change the world is one of the most important things we do. Cathy Mere shares some of her favorite mentor texts for this essential work.

Moving from Interactive Read Alouds to Book Clubs

Tammy Mulligan shares how teachers can move seamlessly from thoughtful conversations during whole-class read alouds to lively book clubs.

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