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Putting the “Gradual” Back into Gradual Release of Responsibility

If it’s not sudden release of responsibility or no release of responsibility, what does gradual look like? Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan bring this model to life.

New Teachers: The Power of Inexperience

Sometimes a lack of experience is a gift worth embracing. Michelle Kelly considers all the strengths new teachers bring to schools, from their comfort with technology to genuine enthusiasm.

Word Nerds

What words are worthy of study? Amanda Adrian and Heather Rader explore that question with colleagues.

Literacy in the Music Room: A Sequence of Lessons

Jennifer Schwanke describes the work of a music teacher who integrates literacy learning into her curriculum.

Family Literacy Night

Family Literacy Nights have become popular in many schools. Principal Jennifer Schwanke describes the format for a successful event, including a sample program and tips.

Hindsight: What I Wish I’d Known Before My School Burned Down

Melanie Quinn shares lessons from the fire that burned down her school.

Thank You For Arguing

In the second installment of our teaching argument/opinion writing series, Heather Rader uses a continuum dialogue and modeled writing with intermediate students.

Bully Literacy

Heather Rader shares texts for building understanding about bullies.

Two Teachers and One Kindergartner

Principal Jennifer Schwanke looks at the challenging issue of retention and the power of teamwork.

I Love a Good Argument

As Heather Rader works with teachers and teams on opinion/argumentative writing, she’s considering the anatomy of an argument and engaging ways to teach it.

Evaluating the Literacy Classroom

Jennifer Schwanke remembers the awkward and stressful experience of being evaluated as a young teacher. In her work now as a principal, she’s developed her own criteria for evaluating teachers.

Staying Child-Centered When You Work with Adults

Andie Cunningham shares challenges and practical strategies for how literacy leaders can stay child-centered.

Peer Conferring: The Modeling Phase

Amanda Adrian provides a framework, sample model lesson, and peer conferring guide for students to use as they learn how to respond to their classmates.

Conferring for Conventions (Conventions Series Part 5)

Heather Rader gives examples of convention conferences in this final installment of the conventions series.

Aligning the Common Core and Conventions Instruction (Conventions Series Part 4)

Heather Rader works with a team of intermediate teachers as they connect their plans for conventions instruction and the Common Core.

Reading as Reward

Principal Jennifer Schwanke finds herself on a mad dash to buy a baked potato for a struggling reader, and this is the moment that crystallizes for her everything that is wrong with most reading rewards (especially those involving food).

Between Inquiry and Instruction (Conventions Series Part 3)

Heather Rader works with a team of intermediate teachers as they pore over student work together and analyze which conventions should be taught.

Make a Really BIG List

Big lists can be intimidating, especially when our to-do lists are long and never quite finished. Ruth Ayres explains the power of big lists in other contexts, especially writing, and how they might actually provide comfort and security when tackling big projects and ideas.

Concise, Conversational, and Consistent: Explaining the Work of Literacy Coaches

Heather Rader shares the language she uses to describe literacy coaching to others.

Trust

Mary Lee Hahn reminds herself (and us!) of the qualities we have that inspire trust in ourselves and our ability to teach well.

Notes from the Mad Teachers Liberation Front: Create Your Manifesto

Start your school year off right (or get it back on track) with a manifesto about who you are and what you value. Ruth Shagoury provides a mentor poem, guidelines and samples.

Introducing the Common Core Standards in Writing (Part 2)

Heather Rader shares more guidelines for a professional development day on the Common Core with a writing focus.

Volunteered: What I Learned from Cleaning Out the Barn

Andie Cunningham is "ticked and disgusted" when her boss volunteers her for yet another committee.  Cleaning out the barn clears her head, reminding Andie of all the tools and strategies literacy leaders have for dealing with whatever is flung their way.

Introducing the Writing Common Core Standards: Planning for Professional Development

Heather Rader sorts through goals, audience, and interest in planning a day of professional development linked to the writing standards in the Common Core.

Energy, Stamina, and Training Wheels for Coaching Teachers

Gradual release, not-so-gradual release or catch and release? Heather Sisson ponders the challenges of providing the appropriate support in a coaching cycle.

Discussing Observations with New Teachers

Jennifer Allen’s new teacher group discusses what they learn from classroom observations in this video taped early in the fall.

Ask Me – I’m Not the Expert

Heather Sisson explores the complicated links between relationships and expertise for literacy coaches and teachers.

The ABCs of Literacy Coaching (Part 1)

Heather Rader shares the essential elements of successful literacy coaching in this first installment of a month-long series.

What is the Content for Small-Group Instruction? (Part 2 of the Grouping Series)

Heather Rader considers how assessments and observations might be used to create flexible groups.

Don’t Be a Sneetch

Amanda Adrian ponders end-of-year celebrations, as well as the haves and have-nots, in schools.

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