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Building a Reflective Community

Andrea Smith builds reflection into whole-class discussions in her fourth-grade classroom by beginning an anchor chart with four different illustrations from the covers of a read-aloud.

Sentence Phrase Word: Student Independence for Word Learning

Andrea Smith uses the sentence-phrase-word thinking routine with her fourth graders to show how potent one word can be in understanding complex themes.

Sharing and Celebrating Summer Reading

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills share how they use the first days and weeks of school to celebrate summer reading and build a classroom community.

Fourth-Grade Lunch Fan Club

Gigi facilitates one of her lunchtime author fan clubs, where everyone gets organized and brainstorms what they might explore in the group during this first meeting.

Reconsidering Reading Workshop Routines

Andrea Smith realizes her normal reading routine will not work within the constraints of this year’s schedule. She makes some radical changes to ensure she and her students can have enough time to find the joy in reading and building a literate community.

Sketchnoting as a Response to Reading

Dana Murphy tries sketchnoting during professional development, and soon finds herself sharing the fun technique with students. They hone their skills during read alouds and while annotating texts.

Practical Ways to Connect Students and Goals

Kate Mills and Tara Barnett provide some practical tips for connecting students and goals.

Digital Revision: Conferring with Aidan

In this week’s video, Gigi McAllister helps fourth grader Aidan revise his writing on the computer to flesh out character development.

Building Community and Family Connections

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills share suggestions for connecting with parents over the summer and early in the school year, including some fun uses of technology.

Monday Headlines

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills use Monday Headlines to energize students after the weekend, and get a peek into what’s going on at home.

Hosting Reading and Writing Events

Gigi McAllister explains why you have to be a bit choosy about reading and writing events since there are so many possibilities. Here are some she values in her fourth-grade classroom.

Minilesson: Writing a Mentor Text

In this week’s video, Gigi McAllister models writing in front of her fourth-grade class. She takes advice from students as she develops the characters in her story.

Exploring Goals in Fiction

Gigi McAllister meets briefly with a group of fourth graders who are all exploring theme in picture books.

Beyond the Acrostic Poem

Megan Skogstad finds the right mentor texts can help her fourth graders move beyond acrostic poems.

Good Questions for Group Discussions

Gigi McAllister helps a group of fourth graders evaluate questions for fostering good group discussions.

Free-Range Learning with Nonfiction Part 2: Infographics and Maps

Andrea Smith shares the final installment of her series on the value of free-range learning in helping students explore nonfiction.

Minilesson: Tips for Book Talks

Gigi McAllister gives a minilesson on engaging book talks to her fourth graders.

Free Range Learning with Nonfiction (Part 1)

Andrea Smith's students explore nonfiction through free-range roaming. She explains how she sets up expectations and resources early in the year in this first installment of a two-part series.

Setting Weekly Goals

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills share the process of helping students set weekly goals and then reflect on their progress every Friday.

Quick Take: Evolving Beliefs About Goals

Gigi McAllister gives a brief explanation of how her thinking on goal setting has changed, as well as the ways she uses student goals to connect with parents.

Minilesson: Measurable Reading Goals in Fourth Grade

Gigi McAllister has her fourth graders consider what makes a reading goal measurable.

Growing Writing Stamina

Tara Barnes and Kate Mills have a confession to make: in the first weeks of school, many of their fourth-grade students didn’t write much at all in workshops. It was only after tackling the issue of writing stamina head-on that they saw rapid progress.

Celebrating Completed Books and Presenting New Ones

Gigi McAllister shares a quick daily routine of asking students to celebrate books they have finished reading before she introduces a new book to the class.

Getting Started with Voice Recorded Responses

Gigi MicAllister gives step-by-step advice on how she set up voice-recorded response as an option in her fourth-grade classroom.

Supporting Brave Writers

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills use the Sara Bareilles song Brave to help their fourth-grade students move from bed-to-bed to more emotive writing early in the year.

Partner Conference: Audiobooks to Support Comprehension

In this week's video, Gigi McAllister meets with two fourth graders who are reading the book Paper Things, talking about how using an audiobook can support comprehension.

Branding Blogs (Part 3)

Andrea Smith concludes her series on the power of branded student blogs in her fourth-grade classroom.

Best First Drafts

Ruth Ayres confers with fourth grader Nicole and reinforces advice from her mom about capitalizing proper nouns, as well as the importance of applying what you know about conventions in first drafts.

Previewing a Book with Zoe

Andrea Smith uses a reading conference with fourth grader Zoe to preview a book.

Bridging the Gap Between Intervention and the Classroom

Kate Mills and Tara Barnett share strategies for building bridges between intervention and classroom instruction.

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