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Two Lessons for Teaching Theme

Franki Sibberson writes about how she chooses books for theme instruction and shares two lessons.

Exploring Explanatory Moves Writers Use

Jeff Anderson explores the difference between informational and explanatory writing, and what that might mean for teaching craft moves to students.

Research Book Clubs for Struggling Readers

Beth Lawson finds that a nonfiction research book club is just the grouping structure needed for a group of struggling readers in her fourth-grade classroom.

Creating Your Own Kindergarten Assessment

Max Brand finds standard assessments don’t always give him the information he needs when working with kindergarten English language learners, so he develops his own tool for analyzing book handling skills.

October Literacy Contracts: Fear and Conflict

Megan Ginther and Holly Mueller continue their monthly series on using literacy contracts in middle school. The October literacy contracts have a theme of fear and conflict.

Chris Lehman on Student Research (PODCAST)

Franki Sibberson chats with Chris Lehman (author of Energize Research Reading and Writing) about how the Common Core is changing the ways teachers approach student research in their classrooms.

“We Gather Together”: On Research and Weddings

Ruth Ayres and her colleagues use a marriage analogy to help middle school students and their families understand the research process. The article includes a nifty example of a pamphlet to share with parents.

Limiting and Extending Choice in Student Research Projects

When students are able to pick any research topic, they often will choose something they have already studied extensively. How can teachers allow students to pick topics for research they care passionately about and at the same time ensure there is the potential for rich inquiry? Maria Caplin describes the process she uses in her fifth-grade classroom to help students find and refine research topics for deeper learning.

Finding the “Ex” Factor in Explanatory Writing

Jeff Anderson launches a new series on explanatory writing, a topic of high interest to teachers now because of the Common Core.

Owl Research: Whole Class Explanation of Marking Up Text

Students are given a nonfiction text to mark up during a close reading with a partner in this video from Andrea Smith’s fourth-grade classroom.

Chris Lehman and Kate Roberts on Close Reading (PODCAST)

Franki Sibberson chats with Chris Lehman and Kate Roberts about close reading in this 30-minute podcast. Chris and Kate are the authors of Falling in Love with Close Reading: Lessons for Analyzing Texts — and Life from Heinemann.

How to Eat an Elephant One Bit(e) at a Time: Reading Complex Texts

Maggie Beattie Roberts and Kate Roberts present a step-by-step process for close reading in the middle and high school grades involving multiple passes through the same text.

Independent Reading By the Numbers Is NOT Text Complexity

How do you guide students to select books for independent summer reading? Aimee Buckner challenges teachers who are requiring middle students to pick books based solely on Lexile scores.

From “Show Me the Lessons” to Sustainable Planning (Part 4 of the Opinion/Argument Writing Series)

This is the final installment in Heather Rader's series on argument and opinion writing in the intermediate grades.

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.

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.

Common Core Booklist: Writing Personal Narratives

Personal narratives are an important part of the Common Core in 4th grade. Franki Sibberson shares a booklist of some of her favorite mentor texts for teaching narratives in the intermediate grades.

Teaching Revision Through Talk, Routines, and Drawing

Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan have some practical advice for using drawing, talk, and routines as ways into understanding writing revision for learners in the primary grades.

Supporting Young Writers with Opinion Texts

Katie DiCesare considers how different texts at the primary level can support student understanding of standards for opinion and argumentative writing.

Chronology in Nonfiction (Common Core Booklist)


Franki Sibberson's latest Common Core booklist includes texts to help students master chronology in nonfiction.

Unpacking the Kindergarten Common Core Standards

Mandy Robek shares five tips that can help teachers at any grade level develop strategies for tackling the Common Core.

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.

Rethinking My Nonfiction Library in Response to the Common Core

Franki Sibberson finds a new classroom, the Common Core, and tech considerations are changing the ways she organizes the nonfiction sections of her classroom library.

Common Core Conversations: Text Complexity

Amanda Adrian and Heather Rader find ways into understanding text complexity with students and teachers.

Essay Writing: Thesis Statements and Supporting Details Minilesson

Beth Lawson works with her 4th graders to develop essays with strong thesis statements and supporting details, using a folder organization system to highlight different thesis statements for each child. This is the first video in a series.

Conferring About Thesis Statements

In this conference with a 4th grader, Beth Lawson talks about supporting details for thesis statements. This is part of the video series from Beth’s room on essay writing.

Stuck on a Thesis: Conferring

In this conference with a 4th grader, Beth Lawson works with a student who has chosen a challenging essay topic and is struggling to develop his thesis.

Unpacking the Common Core Standards: Compare and Contrast Nonfiction

Franki Sibberson highlights texts for teaching compare and contrast in nonfiction texts.

Common Core Conversations: Using Evidence From Text

Amanda Adrian and Heather Rader explain how the standard for finding evidence in texts might change instruction.

Argumentative, Opinion, and Persuasive Writing in the Common Core

What does the Common Core have to say about persuasive writing? Jennifer Burton explains how she and her colleagues are teasing out the differences between opinion, argument, and persuasive writing with students, and helping them develop this type of writing in authentic ways

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