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A Community Reads “Wonder”

Katherine Sokolowski had a dream — her whole community reading and celebrating the same book. She explains how she helped coordinate, organize, and purchase hundreds of books for a community-wide reading of Wonder.

Leveraging Read Aloud

Christy Rush-Levine finds administrators are questioning the value of read alouds, especially with older students. She shares how she uses the picture book Love in her middle school classroom to launch challenging discussions about timely themes.

Tips for Student Podcasting

Mark Levine details a podcast assignment he used with his middle school students to explore civil rights topics, including software options, a template to help students get organized, and a realistic timeframe.

Writing Empathy

Dana Murphy explains why teachers can have true empathy with student writers only if they write themselves, and chronicles the difference between a typical and an empathetic response in a writing conference.

Assessment Refresh

Christy Rush-Levine considers how her rubrics do not acknowledge different levels of support some students need to accomplish tasks. She rethinks her rubric design to include support, and in the process fosters more independence and reflection in students.

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.

#bookaday in Middle School: Nuts and Bolts

Jillian Heise shares advice for teachers who want to try a #bookaday challenge of sharing at least one picture book each day with older students. She gives criteria for book selection, as well as examples of books to read at the start of the school year.

Practical Ways to Connect Students and Goals

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

Expert Students

Christy Rush-Levine uses a quick assessment during writing workshop conferences to connect expert students with peers who might need assistance. She includes a video example of the practice.

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.

Creating Curiosity with Story

Mark Levine finds that the secret to engaging students in what might be perceived as dry historical topics is to create curiosity with story.

Student (and Teacher) Risk-Taking

Carly Ullmer ponders what it means to take risks in her middle school classroom as she and her students experiment with different response options.

Not Just in April: Poetry All Year Long

Tara Smith finds that the 20 minutes she spends on poetry reading, analysis, and response in her sixth-grade classroom each week pay dividends all year long.

Loving Books or Reading?

Justin Stygles wonders why a love of books doesn't necessarily translate into a love of reading for his fifth and sixth graders.

Better Mondays Through Quick-Writes

Mark Levine uses quick-writes with his middle school students to set the expectation at the start of the week for work together that is independent, thoughtful, and conversational.

Pulling Weeds

Leigh Anne Eck works to overcome years of student reliance on a reading incentives and rewards program by fostering reflection and intrinsic motivation with her sixth graders.

Mentors for Process and Habits

Ruth Ayres shares some of her favorite mentors and mentor texts for developing good writing processes and habits.

Transition Time in Middle School

Gretchen Taylor considers how she handles hard transitions as an adult, and questions how she can make transitions more efficient and valuable for her middle school students.

Reflective Transitions

Christy Rush-Levine helps her eighth-grade students launch the work period with a reflective question that sets a tone for productivity, and then returns to it throughout the morning during transition times.

Book Talk: Trouble

Christy Rush-Levine previews the book Trouble by Gary D. Schmidt.

Last Chance Workshop

Christy Rush-Levine breaks her routine of responding to student writing, and instead calls on students to guide and support peers. She shares some surprising results.

Building Annotation Skills with Partners

Gretchen Taylor works from homework surveys to help her middle school students collaborate with partners to build annotation skills.

Deep Reading of Picture Books in Middle School

Christy Rush-Levine shows the power of using picture books with young adolescents to model close reading and deepen comprehension of sophisticated texts.

Strategies for Elaboration in Opinion Writing

Melanie Meehan works with fifth graders who are struggling to elaborate on themes in their opinion writing.

A Thesis Statement: Conferring with Connor

Ruth Ayres confers with sixth grader Connor about constructing a thesis statement.

Nonfiction Scrapbooks

Justin Stygles finds Nonfiction Scrapbooks are a fun way for his fifth-grade students to explore their reading interests and artistic talents with the classroom community.

Using Reading Notebook Covers for Reflection and Goal Setting

Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan are using reading notebook covers in ingenious ways.

Conferring with Boys in Sixth Grade

Katie Doherty confers with boys in her sixth-grade reading workshop. This is the second installment in a two-part video series.

Conferring with Boys in Middle School

Katie Doherty circulates among sixth-grade boys in her reading workshop. These quick conferences and conferring tips are the first installment in a two-part series.

Strategies for Using Reader’s Notebooks

Melanie Swider enhances read alouds and the entire reading workshop with creative uses for reading notebooks.

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