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.
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.
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.
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