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.
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.
Middle schoolers and kindergartners forge friendships at Katherine Sokolowski’s school through a sweet poetry writing and sharing project.
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.
Gretchen Schroeder uses “appointment clocks” to ensure her students meet with a variety of peers for partner work.
Katherine Sokolowski uses the Community Timeline Project to bring together students and older community members around history and writing.
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.
In this quick video, Dana Murphy shows how she leads her fifth graders with a kinesthetic reminder of workshop norms before beginning independent work.
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.
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.
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.
Tammy Mulligan shares how teachers can move seamlessly from thoughtful conversations during whole-class read alouds to lively book clubs.
Katherine Sokolowski values read aloud for her middle school students and struggles to find time for them. Her solution? A picture book a day, better known as the #bookaday activity.
Are your conversations during read aloud stilted or shallow? Tammy Mulligan recommends weekly “grand conversations” to spark more thoughtful talk. She provides the tools you need to get started in your classroom.
Katherine Sokolowski introduces her students to routines and expectations early in the year with a unit on Jane Goodall, including many short read alouds.
Tammy Mulligan enhances the quality of the class read aloud and student discussions with the use of a whole-class response notebook.
Students in the first-grade classroom of Bitsy Parks lead a morning greeting at the start of the day. It’s a quick activity to check attendance, build reading skills, and help students learn the names of classmates in the community.
Tara Barnett and Kate Mills start with the poem “Where I’m From” to build community through literacy at the start of the year.
Jen Schwanke shares some strategies for sustaining student attention, beyond just calling out a student’s name over and over and over again.
In the end classroom management often comes down to students valuing the same things we do. Jen Schwanke has tips for how high school teachers can create a culture where there is better communication and more shared values.
Class promises, rules, and norms—most teachers set them at the start of the year. But how can we make sure students live them? Dana Murphy shares some tips from her fifth-grade classroom.
Heather Fisher helps a first-grade teacher create a homework challenge as a way to make the practice more meaningful and engaging for students and families.
Every teacher wants to be more inclusive. But where do you begin? Melanie Meehan presents three practical starting points.
When it comes to including and understanding others, it may be hardest to empathize with those who disrupt or bully others. Tammy Mulligan shares her four favorite mentor texts for understanding students who are angry and lash out.
Cathy Mere considers the dilemma teachers face when the bookroom, library, and tech departments require books and devices to be returned late in the year . . . but there are still a few weeks of school. She shares many suggestions for fostering literacy and community when there are far fewer books in the room.
An enthusiastic student response to an author visit inspires Christy Rush Levine to revamp her upcoming unit on craft moves to foster more student ownership.
Bitsy Parks comforts a crying child after lunch, and realizes how essential it is to continually slow down the fast pace of learning in her classroom.
Suzy Kaback marvels at a very young learner who is a “secret reader,” and this leads her to reassess the value of constantly celebrating new skills in school communities.
Gretchen Schroeder has developed a fun version of Reading Bingo to help students explore their identity as readers. The activity includes clever social media inspired options like creating memes and “bookstagram” posts.
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