Franki Sibberson explains how she watches students closely and adjusts her library based on what she sees all year long.
It’s not an invitation if students are required to accept it. Franki Sibberson explains how engagement depends upon true choice and lots of options in her fifth-grade classroom.
From length to heart, Tara Smith provides seven criteria for selecting the first read aloud of the year that can engage students right from the start.
Tara Smith shares many strategies for helping her sixth graders get to the heart of understanding themes in literature.
Justin Stygles questions his conferring routine during writing workshops, and the value of interrupting students early in the drafting process.
Tara Smith finds her sixth graders love historical fiction, but they often lack the background knowledge to understand texts fully. She launches her historical fiction unit with a careful mix of discussion, anchor charts, and shared texts.
Tara Barnett and Kate Mills close out the year in their eighth-grade classroom with a compliments activity.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kate Mills and Tara Barnett provide some practical tips for connecting students and goals.
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.
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.
Mark Levine finds that the secret to engaging students in what might be perceived as dry historical topics is to create curiosity with story.
Carly Ullmer ponders what it means to take risks in her middle school classroom as she and her students experiment with different response options.
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.
Justin Stygles wonders why a love of books doesn't necessarily translate into a love of reading for his fifth and sixth graders.
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.
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.
Ruth Ayres shares some of her favorite mentors and mentor texts for developing good writing processes and habits.
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.
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.
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.
Gretchen Taylor works from homework surveys to help her middle school students collaborate with partners to build annotation skills.
Christy Rush-Levine shows the power of using picture books with young adolescents to model close reading and deepen comprehension of sophisticated texts.
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