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Becoming More Inclusive

Every teacher wants to be more inclusive. But where do you begin? Melanie Meehan presents three practical starting points.

Whose Point of View Matters? Considering Multiple Perspectives

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.

Fewer Books and More Options at the End of the Year

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.

Who Owns the Learning?

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.

Slowing Down

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.

Secret Reader

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.

Reading Bingo

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.

An All-School Writing Project: Six-Word Memoirs

If you want to bring everyone in your school together around writing, you can’t beat the simplicity and fun of six-word memoirs. Jennifer Schwanke describes how she sparked enthusiasm for the project in her school.

The Magic That Might Go Down

Christy Rush-Levine decides to slow down in her classroom and engage more fully with a student who is a wiseacre and resistant reader. What happens next can only be described as magic.

Sharing Writing in a Class Celebration

Do celebrations matter? If you know Ruth Ayres, you know her answer is always a resounding YES. Here are her best tips for sharing writing in a class celebration.

Shoulders-Down Spaces

Suzy Kaback feels rising unease as a tourist in unfamiliar neighborhoods. The experience provokes empathy for students who find classrooms strange or uncomfortable.

Does the Pencil Still Have Power?

Ruth Ayres wonders if the pencil still has power, taking readers through a whirlwind history of the writing tool in her life, schools, and the world.

Building Routines

Bitsy Parks teaches the foundations of first-grade classroom life through minilessons early in the year.

Getting to Know Each Other Through the Work

Mark Levine explains why he dives right into work in his middle school classroom, rather than getting-to-know-you activities. And through the work, a community is born.

Seeking Personal Relevance

Christy Rush-Levine has to figure out how to engage a class of students that is compliant and dutiful, but shows little passion for reading and writing.

Invitations vs. Accountability

It’s not an invitation if students are required to accept it. Franki Sibberson explains how engagement depends upon true choice and lots of options in her fifth-grade classroom.

The Year’s First Read Aloud

From length to heart, Tara Smith provides seven criteria for selecting the first read aloud of the year that can engage students right from the start.

Compass Points and Empathy

Andrea Smith uses the “compass points” strategy to provoke better whole-class discussions and reflection during read alouds.

My World Maps

Creating “world” maps is a great way to explore the territories beyond school that matter most to everyone in your classroom. Suzy Kaback explains how to create them with students early in the year as a way to get to know them as learners and community members.

Spreading Love with Compliments

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills close out the year in their eighth-grade classroom with a compliments activity.

Looking Forward with Students

Melanie Meehan uses reflective questions and video to build a library of materials at the end of the year to use with next year's class.

Literacy and Global Competence

“China is going to kill us all!” This quote from a student causes Matt Renwick to stop and consider how schools can use literacy to promote global understanding.

A Variety of Share Sessions

Ruth Ayres catalogs her favorite types of share sessions (from old favorites to creative innovations) in writing workshops.

A Community Reads “Wonder”

Katherine Sokolowski had a dream — her whole community reading and celebrating the same book. She explains how she helped coordinate, organize, and purchase hundreds of books for a community-wide reading of Wonder.

Questioning Within Read Alouds

Melanie Meehan looks at the issue of engagement through the lens of student questions during read alouds, and shares a strategy to provoke more thoughtful student participation.

End-of-Year Read Alouds

Bitsy Parks explains how the ending weeks of read alouds in her first-grade classroom are designed to celebrate learning and shared experiences from the entire year.

Students Watching Teachers

Students are always watching us, whether we realize it or not. Jennifer Schwanke explains how we can capitalize on that interest to build independent reading and writing habits.

Stop and Inquire

Mark Levine capitalizes on what captures his middle school students’ attention with his Stop and Inquire routine.

Flash Forward with New Students

The dark days of winter may be the best time to plan for spring step-up events to introduce students to next year's teachers. Christy Rush-Levine has a new goal of using the day to promote summer reading.

First-Grade Reflections: Looking Back to Move Forward

Bitsy Parks discovers the best way to relaunch literacy workshops in January after holiday break is to have her first graders reflect upon and celebrate what they learned in the fall with personal anchor charts.

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