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Choice in Literacy Workshops

What makes choice authentic in literacy workshops? Christy Rush-Levine grapples with this tough question that leads to changes in her instruction.

Nurturing Independent Reading Lives in Middle School

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills share their favorite strategies for building a classroom community of readers where everyone has several options for choosing their next book.

September 4, 2020 A Specific No

Thoughtful reading response is the focus of this week’s newsletter.

Socratic Discussion in Third Grade

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

Fostering Cultural Awareness Through Book Clubs

Gretchen Schroeder’s students are almost all white and live in a rural community. She finds book clubs are a wonderful tool for expanding cultural awareness.

Fourth-Grade Reading Group: Goals in Fiction

Gigi McAllister leads a group of fourth graders in discussing characters and their quests or goals in the story.

Meet Someone New Monday: Using Picture Book Biographies to Bring Marginalized Voices into the Classroom

Melissa Quimby creates the “Meet Someone New Monday” to inspire students with picture book biographies of little-known artists, activists, and citizens who accomplish remarkable feats.

Flipping Literature Discussions

Gretchen Schroeder realizes her experiences from decades ago as a student are clouding her perspective on “flipped” literature discussions. Once she gets over her biases, she finds that online discussion of literature is a powerful equalizer for student voices.

August 28, 2020 Don’t Talk About My Writing Without Me

Giving feedback online is the focus of this week’s newsletter.

Building Online Writing Groups

Leigh Anne Eck lists critical questions teachers might ask themselves as they build online writing communities where everyone is comfortable giving and receiving feedback.

Using Photographs in Remote Learning Communities

Bitsy Parks shares how she and her first-grade students used photography to bridge the distance between home and school this spring, learning lessons she is using this fall in remote learning contexts.

Three Things Digital Tools Have Taught Me About Feedback

Christy Rush-Levine discovers that a move to digital feedback reveals many important truths about her middle school students, including insights about the effect of grades on how learners view response to their work.

August 21, 2020 Future Focused

This week we look at how to build and sustain remote learning communities.

Partner Reading: Quick Share

Gigi McAllister has two reading partners in her fourth-grade classroom do a quick practice of retelling their stories.

Sustaining (Not Just Building) Community Online
“What comes after we start?” Sara Kajder answers this tough question from a first-year teacher about what it takes to sustain a remote learning community.
August 14, 2020 A Place for Wonder

We look at how to help students differentiate between fact and fiction in this week’s newsletter.

Poetry Resources for Remote Learning

Poetry can be the glue that holds many virtual classroom communities together. It works for quick morning meeting openings, transitions, or even a bit of laughter when energy is flagging. Cathy Mere shares her favorite poetry resources for remote learning.

Fact or Fiction?

Suzy Kaback works with students to create a “fact or fiction” class book to explore the boundaries between truth and fantasy.

First-Grade Conference: Information Writing

Stella Villalba confers with Esmeralda about her information writing on blue jays.

Letting Students Organize Informational Books

Mandy Robek is a little nervous about setting her students loose to organize informational texts, but she couldn’t be more pleased by what they learned in the process.

August 7, 2020 Slow Down to Be Kind

We look at building kindness and community in this week’s newsletter.

Reading Minilesson: Theme

Dana Murphy leads a reading minilesson on theme in fifth grade, explaining how students might think more deeply about themes through characters’ problems.

Routines for Building Gratitude

Bitsy Parks finds even the dreariest days in her first-grade classroom are infinitely more enjoyable because she’s built in routines for expressing gratitude.

Management and Middle School Workshops

Christy Rush-Levine lowers the tension level in her class over management issues by moving from irritation to curiosity, using her “inner chimpanzee” voice.

July 31, 2020 The Importance of Routines

We look at routines and structures for learning in this week’s newsletter.

Lessons and Minilessons: What’s the Difference?

What’s the difference between a lesson and a minilesson? Christy Rush-Levine finds that flexibility is just as important as length in making minilessons work well.

Planning Writing in Kindergarten

Hayley Whitaker leads a minilesson in kindergarten on how to plan a narrative writing draft.

Varying Workshop Structures to Meet Student Needs

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills give guidance and support for varying the structures and routines in literacy workshops.

July 24, 2020 Christmas in July

We look at ways to learn student names and honor their history early in the year in this week’s newsletter.

First Grade Minilesson: Connections

Melissa Atwood leads her first-grade class with a minilesson early in the school year on making connections to text.

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