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Book Matchmaker: Characters Across the Grades

In this installment of Book Matchmaker, Franki Sibberson provides a range of books for teaching character development in fiction for grades 3-5 students.

What Velcro Can Do: Science, Literacy and Coaching Connections

No time for science? Don’t like messes? Heather Rader works with a teacher and helps her find a way to fit science neatly into her full teaching day.

Book Matchmaker: Teaching Point of View

In this installment of Book Matchmaker, Franki Sibberson provides a range of books for teaching point of view for grades 3-5 students.

Making Connections as a Reader and a Scientist

Heather Rader finds that reading is at the heart of scientists’ work.

Parent Contributions Beyond Instructional Support

Parents want to contribute, but not all contributions are welcome or even helpful when it comes to teaching children how to read and write. Trish Prentice has suggestions for making the most of family skills and willingness to help.

Rethinking the Study of Nonfiction in the 21st Century

Franki Sibberson reflects on her nonfiction writing unit, and realizes she emphasizes research skills at the expense of the craft of nonfiction writing. She explains how she revamps the unit to help students focus more on writer's craft in nonfiction texts, including some new mentor texts and different ways of using writer's notebooks.

Quick Take: Selecting Mentor Texts for Writing Instruction

In this two-minute video, Aimee Buckner explains how she selects mentor texts for writing, as well as the importance of using writing by students and teachers in lessons.

Using Picture Books to Teach Theme in Grades 3-6

Many students in the upper elementary and middle school grades shun all picture books, yet they are an invaluable resource for teaching sophisticated literacy concepts.  Franki Sibberson explains how to teach the concept of theme using picture books in this booklist.

Infographics and Lists in Science Notebooks

Science notebooks are a wonderful tool for building outdoor observation and writing skills.  Andrea Smith explains how writing in the notebooks leads students to explore different nonfiction text features like infographics and lists.

Writing Do-Overs: ERPs in the Classroom

ERP.  The sound can't help but make you grin.  It's Heather Rader's acronym for Explicit Revision for Peers, a series of one-minute kinesthetic writing routines to help students learn how to help each other kindly during writer's workshop.

The Power of Wonder Questions

Andrea Smith writes about how she uses wonder questions in her science curiculum.

Using Student Conferences to Build Book Choice Skills

Franki Sibberson provides focus questions and a template to help choose books with students for independent reading.

New Notebook Essentials

We’ve all had the experience of reading a professional book and disagreeing with some of the ideas from the author.  It’s just a little more surreal when you wrote the book!  Aimee Buckner participates in her school’s study group reading of Notebook Know-How, and finds some of her thinking about notebooks has changed over the past few years.

A Sponge is a Summary

Heather Rader shares a concrete analogy that students (and teachers) love for understanding how summaries work.

Understanding Students in Intervention Programs

Using data to make wise decisions about students who are struggling is one of the most important tasks in schools. In this series, Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan take you through the process of linking data to instruction plans in intervention programs.

Character Study in Grades 3-6

A character study unit is a terrific choice early in the school year, since it taps into students' reading histories and favorites from years past. Franki Sibberson has suggestions of books and questions for use in read-alouds.

Ecstatic: When Words Shape Thinking

Carol Wilcox prepares her struggling intermediate readers for state exams, and finally experiences a breakthrough in linking vocabulary learning to authentic reading.

Mentor Texts for Urban Students

What texts work best for students with urban backgrounds? Shari Frost has suggestions for teachers.

The Joy of Letter Writing: An Integrated Unit for Intermediate Students

Letter writing isn't a lost art in Mary Lee Hahn's 4th grade classroom. This unit has timeless appeal for students of all ages.

Our Living Minute: Integrating Nonfiction Study into Morning Meetings

Teachers can accomplish plenty in a minute if they want to add more nonfiction to their day. Learn how from Andrea Smith.

Expedition Mondays: Launching the Week with Nonfiction

Expedition Mondays launch every week in Andrea Smith's classroom with a healthy dose of nonfiction.

Sarcasm Is a Useful Teaching Tool — NOT

How does sarcasm hurt students? Heather Rader counts the ways.

There’s Been a Misblunderstanding

We're teachers and we have a tendency to talk too much. Heather Rader explains how she coaches a teacher through the problem.

Getting and Giving Student Feedback

How can we help students be more reflective in our classrooms, giving us the feedback we need to make them better places for learning? Heather Rader has suggestions.

Our Daily Question: Building a Community Through the Data We Collect

If you’re looking for routines that meld community building and learning essential skills, you might enjoy Andrea Smith’s “Our Daily Question” activity with her 3rd and 4th grade students.  Classmates share interests and build data gathering and analysis skills together.

When Do I Launch the Writer’s Notebook?

When and how should you launch writers' notebooks in your classroom?  According to Aimee Bucker,  it depends on if you are a "wader" or a "diver."  She shares some of the ways she has slowly and quickly moved students into their notebooks in years past.

Living Words: Integrating Word Study, Technology, and Content Literacy (Part 1)

Living Words is a quick routine from Andrea Smith that helps students see the power of rich vocabulary for describing the natural world around them.

Word Storms: Integrating Nonfiction, Word Study, and Technology

Word Storms help students see the power of rich vocabulary for describing the natural world around them.  While Andrea Smith is working with 4th graders, the activities can be adapted for older or younger students.

Writing Like a Scientist: Launching a Scientist’s Notebook

Andrea Smith explains how she launches a unit on science writing with logs, writing samples from scientists, and mentor texts.

Characters We Love (BOOKLIST)

Nothing hooks kids on books more than a favorite character. Franki Sibberson presents some series books with intriguing characters that will delight your students.

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