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Student Voices First

David Pittman offers practical ways to place student voices first in classrooms in order for their passions, interests, and identities to influence our teaching.

Our Words Matter: Developing Perseverance in Literacy

Becca Burk reflects on the power of intentional language to build perseverance in students. She shares a booklist designed to give students scripts they need to become brave learners.

Informal Conversations Give Insight for Instruction

Melissa Quimby encourages informal conversations with students in order to get insight about their personalities and lives.

Building a Classroom Library with Students (and Navigating the Tricky Parts)

Tammy Mulligan leads us through the process of giving primary students the reins for building and organizing the classroom library . . . and offers tips for navigating the tricky parts.

Nourish a Sense of Belonging

Dana Murphy shares ways to nourish a sense of belonging in all students.

Lifting the Quality of Hands-Down Conversations

Tammy Mulligan leads us through troubleshooting the difficult parts of launching hands-down conversations. This is the third installment of a three-part series about launching hands-down conversations.

Holidays: Where Do They Fit in the Classroom?

Bitsy Parks shares the inspiration and practical ways she celebrates and honors holidays from many cultures in her classroom.

QuickTake: Chronicling Learning All Year

Tammy Mulligan shares a beginning-of-the-year routine where second graders create an identity frame. This becomes a place to highlight photographs of their learning each week throughout the school year.

QuickTake: Leave Space for Personalization

Melissa Quimby advises leaving space for students to personalize the classroom when they arrive to start the new school year.

Quick Take: Listen to Create a Sense of Belonging

Stella Villalba encourages all educators to listen to students to understand how to create a culture of belonging.

Using Daily Attendance Questions to Build Community and Communication Skills

Gretchen Schroeder is surprised to find benefits of a stronger community and communication skills through a practical attendance practice in her high school classroom.

What I Am Reading the First Week of School

Jen Court plans to fill the first days of first grade with experiences around books. Selecting books carefully to create a sense of community in the classroom from the very beginning is the goal of this first-week booklist.

Poems to Start the Year

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills share poems to start the year that touch a variety of needs, from building community to connecting with colleagues to hosting parents for back-to-school night.

Honoring Student Identity (Download a Survey)

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills share their authentic process for expanding their beginning-of-the-year student survey to make it more open for all students.

Creating a Classroom Emotional Intelligence Charter

Mandy Robek outlines the process for creating a class Emotional Intelligence Charter. She includes a booklist to help students expand their  vocabulary of different emotions.

Join a Reading Community

Jen Vincent invites all educators to join a reading community by participating in the kidlit version of It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

Bedtime Stories with a Mystery Reader

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills share a wonderful school-wide and home read aloud experience: Bedtime Mystery Reader. They outline all of the details to bring Bedtime Mystery Reader to your school.

Take a Chance

Julie Cox invites and encourages us to take risks in order to encourage students to try new things with their writing and reading. Julie concludes that when teachers are professional risk-takers, we are more available to students, and know how to help them when they fail.

Student-Planned End-of-Year Celebration

Josie Stewart and Hannah Tills know the end of the school year is full, yet they take the time to reflect and celebrate what learners have built throughout the year by asking students to create a plan for a final celebration.

Presence Required

Christy Rush-Levine reminds us that it requires presence to sit alongside young readers and writers. In two examples, we find resilience for meeting students at their points of need and then teaching them as readers and writers.

Keeping Unity

When students feel safe then they are positioned to learn. Julie Cox shares ways to create a learning environment that brings unity to her high school classroom.

What is Communication? A Mini-Inquiry Project and Booklist

Bitsy Parks leads her first grade class in a study about communication in order to strengthen their social distanced and muffled-by-masks community. Included is a booklist.

Creating a Community of Care: Beyond the Classroom Walls

Stella Villalba outlines three ways to cultivate a community for students beyond the classroom walls. There is comfort for teachers and students in knowing that a larger community is rooting for them.

The Classroom Library: Building Bridges

Cathy Mere presses to help children take the first steps in growing a sustainable reading life that carries beyond the classroom walls. She offers ways to build bridges to the school and public libraries as an essential step.

See Your Students

Shari Frost shares ways teachers can show that they “see” and appreciate each student every single day.

Bring In the School Year Like a Grandma

Julie Johnson reflects on how to help students know they belong and are valued in a classroom community.

Lead with Art, and Literacy Will Naturally Follow

Stella Villalba widens our perspective by sharing the link between art and literacy with suggested picture books to help build the bridge.

A Complete Circle: Identity, Growth, and Community

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.

Words of Wisdom and Passing the Torch

Melanie Quinn shares a fun activity to help current students share advice for next year’s class.

COVID Silver Linings: Positive Changes in Teaching Practices

Dana Murphy outlines the teaching practices that she learned from remote teaching and plans to carry with her upon returning to a physical classroom.

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