The teachable moment is what we live for - is there anything more magic than reaching a reader or writer with exactly the right words at exactly the right time? We've bottled some of that magic in the resources that follow, with print guidelines and scores of video examples from master teachers.
Stella Villalba confers with Esmeralda about her information writing on blue jays.
Christy Rush-Levine confers with Griffin over his reading responses. They consider the differences between dystopian literature and realistic fiction, as well as what motivates characters.
Balancing small groups and conferences is essential for transferring learning from lessons and units, and it’s one of the trickiest tasks for teachers. Dana Murphy explains how she works toward balance in her classroom, weighing everything from the timeline of the unit to the intensity of the minilesson.
Fifth-grade writers in Franki Sibberson’s classroom encourage each other and suggest revisions to their opinion-writing drafts in partner teams.
Max Brand uses the “big table” in his kindergarten classroom as a communal spot for writing. You can see how he interrupts students naturally to make quick suggestions, and allows some interruptions of his own writing as he works with his students.
Do you have young readers and writers in your class who constantly talk to themselves? Stella Villalba helps a teacher decode the value of this self-talk for first grader Kayla, using it as a springboard for more learning.
It would be easy to zip quickly through a writing conference about a vacation story, especially one about a trip to Disney. In this video, Franki Sibberson slows down with Ben to explore how he is meeting his goal of adding descriptive language to writing, using digital tools to assist.
Students can claim who they are as readers and writers by designing and presenting minilessons to their peers. In this week’s video, fifth grader Reagan from Franki Sibberson’s classroom presents a lesson on annotating reading with sticky notes.
Bitsy Parks confers with Aubrey early in the year, using books from whole-class lessons as a scaffold for understanding key text elements like title, author, and illustrations.
Katrina Edwards begins her conference with first grader Allen by celebrating all he is doing well in his writing. She highlights his language and details in writing before moving on to new strategies to try.
Christy Rush-Levine confers with Olivia about the principle of cause and effect in the novel she is reading.
Katrina Edwards begins her conference with first grader Ava by having her share what she learned from a picture walk through a simple text, and then she helps her use pictures to decode text while reading.
Christy Rush-Levine confers with Omar, who is reading The Rock and the River. The book is a fictional account of a tumultuous time in civil rights history, considering protests through a child’s eyes.
Estelle shares a poem she has written about lost friendship with her teacher, Katherine Sokolowski. She captures the fickle nature of fifth-grade relationships among girls. Katherine connects the cadence of the writing to the style of The Crossover, and helps Estelle find possibilities for more writing.
Christy Ruth-Levine confers with Edith, who is tracking character changes in the novel Room.
Christy Rush-Levine confers with Jadev about how the title of a book often gives clues to its theme.
Justin Stygles questions his conferring routine during writing workshops, and the value of interrupting students early in the drafting process.
Christy Rush-Levine confers with Cam, an eighth grader who seeks to understand the complexity of war through the experiences of main characters in novels.
Ruth Ayres explains why conferring records that stay with kids are the most useful for teachers.
When it comes to conferring notes, form needs to follow function. Dana Murphy quit looking for the perfect template, and started focusing on what kinds of notes are most helpful.
In this week's video, Aimee Buckner has a quick conference with a fourth grader about ways to solve a dilemma — how to figure out the setting in a historical fiction novel when there are no pictures.
Katherine Sokolowski helps fifth grader Jack build a next-read stack of nonfiction, highlighting a variety of text features and historical references.
Christy Rush-Levine meets with eighth grader Jaden, who talks through his struggles in writing a conclusion to his literary analysis, and how his peers helped him improve the writing.
Christy Rush-Levine confers with eighth grader Tori about her reading response to Why We Broke Up. She encourages Tori to make connections between the characters in her current book and her previous reading by paying close attention to surprising action.
Katrina Edwards helps her adorable first-grade student Dylan stretch out his writing. He adds details by first talking about playing with friends near his home.
Katherine Sokolowski confers with her son Liam and his friend Caden, helping them learn how to make peer book recommendations.
Building "next-read" stacks with students before holidays is a great way to ensure they have books in hand that they will be excited to read over break. Katherine Sokolowski helps Taryn finds books that are similar to those written by Rick Riordan (Taryn's favorite author).
Christy Rush-Levine helps eighth grader Katherine sort through tools and strategies for writing a strong conclusion to her literary analysis essay.
Christy Rush-Levine confers with eighth grader Julian about his strengths as an empathetic reader.
Mary Lee Hahn tries to be super teacher while she confers — juggling goals, assessments, notices and notes . . . and then it all comes crashing down. She shares what she learns from trying to do too much at once and failing.
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