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Eavesdrop on Your Students

Melissa Quimby suggests listening in on students’ conversations in order to find their interests. These tidbits will help you in building connections, recommending books, and encouraging writing topics.

Still Thinking: An Opportunity to Pause and Think Deeply

Jodie Bailey provides a structure to give students more time to think through ideas and problems. By using this practice, students gain ownership for their learning.

Listening for Conjectures

Mallory Messenger shares a routine for hearing student conjectures (in math and other subjects) and a process for giving time for the class to prove or disprove the claims. Download a Conjecture—Prove or Disprove Recording Sheet to collect student conjectures in your classroom.

Student Voices First

David Pittman offers practical ways to place student voices first in classrooms in order for their passions, interests, and identities to influence our teaching.

Our Words Matter: Developing Perseverance in Literacy

Becca Burk reflects on the power of intentional language to build perseverance in students. She shares a booklist designed to give students scripts they need to become brave learners.

Math Debates: A Powerful Sense-Making Routine

Jodie Bailey shares a powerful practice of math debates for students to explore a problem with discussion and evidence to discover the correct solution.

Lifting the Quality of Hands-Down Conversations

Tammy Mulligan leads us through troubleshooting the difficult parts of launching hands-down conversations. This is the third installment of a three-part series about launching hands-down conversations.

Hands-Down Conversations in the Primary Grades

Tammy Mulligan shares the steps to encouraging hands-down conversations in the first days of the school year. This is the second installment of a three-part series about launching hands-down conversations.

Using Video to Launch Hands-Down Conversations  

Tammy Mulligan shares many video options to launch conversation skills in her primary classroom.

Deepening Discussion with a Circle Process

Jen Vincent strengthens the authenticity of a share session in writing workshop by building and tending to relationships that honor a circle process originated in indigenous communities.

What Criteria Should We Use When Selecting Whole-Class Texts?

Christy Rush-Levine reminds us that text selection affects students. By shaping a unit of study to contain texts of varying formats and representing a wide variety of characters, students are empowered to develop their own ideas even while reading a whole-class text. Download a diverse text list to deepen a discussion of how family shapes identity.

Tips for Selecting Inclusive Texts

Hannah Tills and Josie Stewart challenge themselves to select more inclusive texts so all students feel as though they belong. They offer six suggestions to help us examine our bookshelves, thinking, and curriculum.

Using Digital Photos to Enhance Learning

Stella Villalba uses photos in the classroom as a powerful tool for critical thinking and reflection. Photos allow students to process complex learning as it happens.

Presence Required

Christy Rush-Levine reminds us that it requires presence to sit alongside young readers and writers. In two examples, we find resilience for meeting students at their points of need and then teaching them as readers and writers.

What is Communication? A Mini-Inquiry Project and Booklist

Bitsy Parks leads her first grade class in a study about communication in order to strengthen their social distanced and muffled-by-masks community. Included is a booklist.

Using Art to Bridge Storytelling

Stella Villalba creates space for students to deeply notice the way artist Aminah Robinson uses images to share stories and testimonies.

Field Notes: 6 Ways to Respond Remotely to Build a Community of Writers

Ruth Ayres observes a writing workshop that is remote. She reflects on the ways students offer feedback and how their community of writers is established.

Honoring Student Identity

Christy Rush-Levine considers how to communicate to all students that their presence and their identities are valued and appreciated.

Socratic Discussion in Third Grade

Lora Bieghler facilitates a Socratic-style discussion among third graders.

Collaborating for Understanding in Writing

Mark Levine realizes explaining expectations for an essay assignment over and over again isn’t working. But when he has students write in pairs for a portion of his workshop, magic happens.

Whole-Class Reflection in Middle School

Mark Levine explains why whole-class reflection is an essential component of his middle school workshops.

Helping Students Develop Conversational Identity

Jen Schwanke writes about the challenges of helping students develop conversational identities, providing prompts to help teachers reflect on their strengths and needs in fostering talk in classrooms.

Growing Talk About Reading

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills find that struggling readers in the early grades benefit from scaffolds and repeated practice in small groups. They share some of their favorite tools, including key ring prompts and anchor charts.

Stepping Away from the Conversation

Jennifer Schwanke explains why sometimes the best thing teachers can do to foster better conversations in their classrooms is to step away and let the talk unfold among students.

Balancing Whole-Class and Independent Reading in Middle School

The choice between whole-class novels or independent reading can be a false one in many middle school classrooms. Katie Doherty’s sixth graders discuss their reading together of a novel in verse, and Katie explains how some shared whole-class texts can support independent reading.

Talk Guide

Gigi McAllister presents a guide to her fourth-grade students to improve talk in reading trios.

Stop and Inquire

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

QR Code Listening Stations

Listening stations are invaluable in elementary reading workshops, and can also be a hassle to set up and maintain. QR codes to the rescue! Stephanie Affinito shares how she helps teachers use simple online tools for setting up QR code listening stations.

Using Podcasts as an Alternative to Article of the Week

Gretchen Schroeder adapts the popular "Article of the Week" activity with podcasts as an alternative in her high school classroom, and shares some of her favorite podcasts to use with students.

Better Writing Response Groups

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills discover giving “compliments and wishes” aren’t enough when it comes to useful feedback for revision in peer groups. They implement a more structured response process for writing groups.

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