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The Power of Video Replay

Heather Fisher explains how viewing excerpts from the same video multiple times can help students in book clubs hone their conversation and reflection skills.

Book Club Tools

Tammy Mulligan shares the importance of giving students choice and agency with book club tools to improve engagement and quality of the conversations.

Moving from Interactive Read Alouds to Book Clubs

Tammy Mulligan shares how teachers can move seamlessly from thoughtful conversations during whole-class read alouds to lively book clubs.

Do Students Need to Love the Books We Read Aloud?

Franki Sibberson asks a critical question: Do students need to love the read alouds we share in classrooms?  She works to move students beyond shallow like/don’t like responses to books.

Introducing Social Studies Concepts with Picture Books

Mark Levine explains how picture books are powerful teaching tools in his middle school classroom.

Read Aloud in Middle School

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.

Grand Conversations and Read Aloud

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.

Reading and Thinking Aloud in Middle School

Mark Levine combines reading and thinking aloud in a minilesson to help his middle school students grapple with complex texts.

Jane Goodall Inquiry: Introducing Expectations

Katherine Sokolowski introduces her students to routines and expectations early in the year with a unit on Jane Goodall, including many short read alouds.

Back-Channel Conversations During Read Alouds

Christy Rush-Levine considers some of the “underground” ways in which she converses about books at conferences and on social media, and decides to set up a back channel for similar conversations about read alouds in her classroom.

Interactive Read Aloud and the Whole-Class Notebook

Tammy Mulligan enhances the quality of the class read aloud and student discussions with the use of a whole-class response notebook.

Charting Mentor Texts

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills share many of their favorite anchor charts for helping students connect writer’s craft to mentor texts.

A New System for Anchor Charts

Dana Murphy develops a love-hate relationship with the faded anchor charts peeling away from her classroom walls. She finds a move to anchor charts in a sketchbook and a website for chart images improves the quality of her charts and their usefulness.

The Curious Incident of Poem in the Stream of Time

Shirl McPhillips shares a haunting poem and reflection on creativity, summer’s inspiration, and aging.

Young Learners and Self-Talk

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.

Drawing and Learning in Kindergarten

Max Brand demonstrates basic drawing strategies early in the year, and then has his kindergartners attempt similar pictures. He explains how the exercise builds basic skills both in literacy and hand/eye coordination.

No Pictures Stinks!

Shari Frost remembers how she inadvertently stifled the creativity of one of her most enthusiastic first-grade writers. Her story has important lessons for all of us about the importance of voice and choice for learners of all ages.

Status of the Class: Reflecting on Reading Communities

Franki Sibberson uses status of the class each day as a window into her fledgling reading community.

A Better Status of the Class

Dana Murphy finds that adding numbers of pages to her status-of-the-class list for reading makes all the difference in assessing students’ growth and needs as readers.

Linking Literacy and Community at the Start of the Year

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills start with the poem “Where I’m From” to build community through literacy at the start of the year.

Speed Reading

Adolescent learners can face daunting reading loads in high school that they need to tackle at home. Jen Schwanke has tips for how teachers and parents can work together to help teens develop strategies for dealing with a lot of complex reading quickly.

Managing Take-Home Books

Sending books home with young readers is essential. Cathy Mere gives lots of practical tips for designing a take-home books program and communicating with families about what young readers need.

Strategies for Sustaining Student Attention

Jen Schwanke shares some strategies for sustaining student attention, beyond just calling out a student’s name over and over and over again.

Forgetting and Remembering

In the end classroom management often comes down to students valuing the same things we do. Jen Schwanke has tips for how high school teachers can create a culture where there is better communication and more shared values.

Setting and Using Classroom Norms

Class promises, rules, and norms—most teachers set them at the start of the year. But how can we make sure students live them? Dana Murphy shares some tips from her fifth-grade classroom.

Homework: I Challenge You!

Heather Fisher helps a first-grade teacher create a homework challenge as a way to make the practice more meaningful and engaging for students and families.

A Homework-Free Classroom

Dana Murphy looks at homework from the twin perspectives of mom and teacher, and finds she hates it from both views.

Guided Reading for Proficient Readers?

Shari Frost is surprised to see guided reading used for proficient fifth-grade readers. She considers some strategic alternatives.

Using a Strategy Notebook in Small-Group Instruction

So many needs for groups, and so little time. Dana Murphy finds that a strategy notebook is invaluable as a teaching aid in her fifth-grade small groups.

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.

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