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Teaching Conventions in Small Groups

Dana Murphy finds it is best to teach conventions in small, targeted groups in her fifth-grade classroom. She explains how she designs and leads these groups.

Conferring to Connect: First Grade Reading

Bitsy Parks confers with first grader Ella about the Brown and Pearl book series, and then listens to Ella read. She closes the conference by encouraging Ella to make more personal connections to books.

Building Reading Identities Across the Year

The start of the school year is often all about building reader identities in classrooms. And then October comes, and many of the activities that help students celebrate their reading histories and preferences are forgotten. Tara Barnett and Kate Mills share ways teachers can continue to help students define, refine, and expand their reading identities all year long.

Finding Time for Writing Shares

Finding time for writing share sessions may begin with trying out a few different options to see what works in your classroom. Melanie Meehan presents some of her favorites.

Writing Share Circle in Fifth Grade

Here are some excerpts from a writing share circle in Dana Murphy’s fifth-grade classroom. Each student shares a one- to two-sentence excerpt from the writing they completed during the day’s workshop.

Circle Share

Sometimes those times when we “wing it” because we don’t have plans can lead to the most profound learning. Dana Murphy dreams up a quick circle share, and what follows is magic.

Creating a Realistic Fiction Stack

Katherine Sokolowski confers with a fifth grader who is looking for book recommendations. She creates a stack of realistic fiction books based on the student’s interests.

Textual Lineage

Christy Rush-Levine uses book covers to help her middle-school students explore their histories (or “lineages”) as readers.

October 4, 2019 50 Pages

We consider how to deal with classroom and schoolwide interruptions in this week’s newsletter.

Big Table Writing

Max Brand uses the “big table” in his kindergarten classroom as a communal spot for writing. You can see how he interrupts students naturally to make quick suggestions, and allows some interruptions of his own writing as he works with his students.

Minimizing Interruptions During Workshops

Dana Murphy explains why a system for minimizing interruptions is essential in her fifth-grade classroom, and how she keeps the process of creating and using it as simple as possible.

Field Notes: Preserving Minilesson Time

Ruth Ayres shows how one first-grade teacher saves precious time by not ending minilessons with lots of directions for independent work.

September 27, 2019 Two Wolves

Developing confidence in teachers and students is the focus of this week’s newsletter.

Raising Student Voices: Mentor Texts

Helping students find and raise their voices so that they can someday change the world is one of the most important things we do. Cathy Mere shares some of her favorite mentor texts for this essential work.

September 20, 2019 Leave It

We share some tips for organizing and leading better groups in this week’s newsletter.

Boosting the Confidence of Writers

We can teach students craft moves for their writing and how to punctuate. But how do we build their confidence? Melanie Meehan helps Aaron see his needs as a writer, but even more importantly, his strengths.

Owl Research: Getting Organized

Andrea Smith checks in on a group of boys who are doing research into owl habitat, helping them organize their work and plans.

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.

September 13, 2019 Lingering a Little

We conclude our three-week series on read-alouds in this week’s newsletter.

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.

September 6, 2019 Evoking Book Memories

We continue our three-week series on read-alouds in this week’s newsletter.

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.

August 30, 2019 Farm Share

We begin a three-week series on read-alouds in this week’s newsletter.

August 23, 2019 Blank Canvas

We explore the use of anchor charts in this week’s newsletter.

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