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Act II: Understanding Hamlet Through Close Reading (Shakespeare and the Common Core Series)

Gretchen Schroeder continues her Shakespeare and the Common Core series on teaching the classics in high school, explaining how she uses Hamlet in creative ways to teach close reading strategies.

Keep Going

Ruth Ayres has advice for moving forward, staying positive, and focusing on what’s important.

Act I: Delving into Deep Questions with Macbeth (Shakespeare and the Common Core Series)

Gretchen Schroeder launches a three-part series on Shakespeare in the Age of the Common Core. This week’s installment is a fresh take on teaching Macbeth to high school students.

Explanatory Grammar Moves: Right-Branching Sentences

Jeff Anderson continues his Explanatory Grammar Series with a feature on the power of right-branching sentences.

Powerful Conferences

Ruth Ayres explains how deciding the purpose of conferring in advance can lead to more powerful conferences.

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.

Using Pinterest for Professional Development

Franki Sibberson finds Pinterest is a useful tool for professional development.

Helping Students Evaluate Online Video for Research

Even if your district is blocking web video now, it's not going anywhere. As time goes on, schools will rely more and more on video available from the Internet for research and learning. Bill Bass has practical advice for helping middle and high school students assess everything from suspect sources to appalling comments on the Wild Wild Web.

Death in Books: Finding Our Way After Loss

Books can help children deal with the toughest challenges in life. In a new booklist, Andie Cunningham shares her top picks for stories about characters grappling with the death of a loved one.

Madness, the Spring Slump, and High School Readers

Are your adolescent readers present in body but not necessarily in spirit by springtime? We've featured the "book madness" bracket activity in the past for elementary students. Gretchen Schroeder finds the ranking, competition, and passionate discussion about favorite books is just what her high school students need to get their heads back in the reading game.

Understanding the Middle East Through Children’s Literature (BOOKLIST)

Sheiks, harems, and terrorists — the stereotypes of the middle east from popular culture may not be realistic, but they sure are pervasive. Ruth Shagoury and Andie Cunningham find authentic alternative views to present to children in their new booklist.

Vocabulary and iPhones: A Four-Step Process for Independent Student Word Learning

Bryce Bennett develops a four-step process to help high school students use their smartphones to master difficult vocabulary while reading.

My Name Is Not Julie

Ellie Gilbert is deeply moved when her high school student connects to a text in a startling way. It’s one of those magic moments that keeps teachers coming back to classrooms, but is nearly impossible to share with others.

Understanding Adolescent Readers: A Podcast with Penny Kittle

In this podcast, Penny Kittle chats with Franki Sibberson about how to inspire a passion for reading in adolescents. A full transcript is available below the player.

Literacy in Content Areas: A Podcast with Penny Kittle

Penny Kittle talks with Franki Sibberson about how to help students grow as readers and writers throughout the curriculum.

Field Experience: Social-Emotional Learning in Workshop

Compassion and understanding are as important to workshop instruction as strategies and routines. Ruth Ayres compiled a field experience to highlight the way understanding the social-emotional needs of students (and ourselves) allows for safe learning environments.

Field Experience: Picture Books and Older Students

The value of picture books with older students is often questioned. Ruth Ayres assembled this field experience to allow insight into the depth and power of picture books for older students.

Educating the Writer’s Palate

Helping high school students understand the sophisticated literary tastes of writers is just a cookie away in Ellie Gilbert’s classroom. Ellie pairs cardamon with irony to launch the school year with a metaphor and challenge.

Top 10 Technology Tools for Teachers

If you're overwhelmed with the slew of new technology tools coming out all the time (and who isn't?), you might appreciate Scott Sibberson's Top 10 Tech Tools for Teachers. You are probably using some of the tools daily, and may discover a few new ones too.

No More Excuses: Reading Workshops in Nontraditional Middle and High School Settings

Think you don’t have enough time for reader’s workshop in your classroom? Worried that you don’t have enough books to go around? Feel like you just don’t have the space for it? What if you had students, but no classroom, no books, and no set class times? Ellie Gilbert faced down all these challenges in her nontraditional high school reading workshop.

One Book/Four Hands: Mentoring Younger Readers Using Picture Books

Paul Hankins describes the power of pairing high school and elementary students in a partner reading program.

High School Students Take on a Reader’s Bill of Rights

Ellie Gilbert revisits the “rights of readers” with her high school students,revising the list based on their habits and preferences.  The discussion leads to some surprising additions to the list of rights. This would be a fun activity to close out the school year, or to begin a summer program with children of almost any age.

Using Animated Short Films to Teach Inference

Here’s a problem many teachers share – students are far too literal when it comes to inferring while reading. Ellie Gilbert finds animated short films readily available on the web are a terrific tool for helping students move beyond literal interpretations of text.

Beginning with the End in Mind: Planning Ahead for Closing Activities

Choice Literacy readers share their favorite end-of-year activities that circle back to events from the start of the school year.

Pencil Plans

The care and use of the lowly pencil in classrooms says a lot about what we value and our relationships with students.

Read Alouds for the First Day of School

Choice Literacy readers share their favorite read alouds for the start of the year.

A District Film Festival: Giving Kids An Authentic Audience for Their Work

Lights, cameras, and even a red carpet!  Bill Bass documents how a film festival brought high school teachers and students together, with a strong focus on connecting district goals and standards to the fun projects.

Characters I Know Too Well

Books with themes of sexual abuse may be the most difficult for many of us to grapple with, if only because the issue horrifies us. Yet for some abused teens, a book may be the needed catalyst for breaking their silence about what's going on outside school.  Andie Cunningham shares an annotated booklist on this tough topic.

Read Alouds for the Last Days of School

Choice Literacy readers share some of their favorite read alouds for the last days of school.

Literacy Keepsakes to Carry Home at the End of the School Year

Choice Literacy readers share their favorite gifts for students to make and take home at the end of the year.

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