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#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.

#bookaday in Middle School

Jillian Heise rises to the challenge of reading a new picture book to her seventh and eighth graders each day all year long.

Practical Ways to Connect Students and Goals

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

Consistent Feedback in Writing Workshop

Carly Ullmer assesses how she can give consistent and meaningful feedback to every one of her many middle school students at least once a week.

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.

Literary Analysis: Tone and Scholarly Writing

Christy Rush-Levine shares how to help student writers understand and develop a scholarly tone. The feature includes a video example of small-group instruction.

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.

Literary Analysis: Counterclaims

Christy Rush-Levine shares how to present counterclaims, as well as a video example of a small group exploring counterclaims.

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.

Tracking Student Goals

Carly Ullmer transfers a messy goal-setting protocol to her seventh graders, and in the process finds they take on more accountability for individual success.

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.

Beyond the Comfort Zone: Books for Our Times

Christy Rush-Levine explains why she stocks some books in her middle school classroom library that can provoke concerns from families, and how she deals with conflicts.

The Pocahontas Ewww: Writing and Inquiry for Context

Mark Levine finds his middle school students are appalled by some of the cultural differences from times gone by, and shares how he fosters more understanding.

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.

Mentors for Process and Habits

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

Superpowers and a Middle School Classroom Library

Christy Rush-Levine explains how she gradually stocked her middle school classroom library, as well as how she uses student librarians to ensure books aren’t lost.

“What Are We Learning Today?”: Transitioning with Compelling Questions

Mark Levine helps his seventh-grade students transition to the learning of the day with a "compelling question" posted on the board before each class session.

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.

Beginnings, Middles, and Endings: The Power of Baseline Assessments

Carly Ullmer shares how much her seventh-grade students learn from examining their own growth as writers with baseline, midpoint, and final assessments throughout the year.

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.

Getting Teens Out of Reading Ruts: The Sampler

Carly Ullmer describes the activity she's developed for getting her middle school readers out of reading ruts by sampling different authors and genres.

A Formula for Great Book Talks

Christy Rush-Levine explains her formula for successful book talks in middle school that grab students' attention. We've also included a sample book talk.

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.

SITO: Self-Imposed Time-Out

Christy Rush-Levine takes an oddly shaped unused nook in her classroom and turns it into a charming space where students can choose to take a quiet break with a “Self-Imposed Time-Out” (SITO).

Building Stamina in Middle School Writers

Carly Ullmer finds herself wasting a lot of time because of interruptions during student conferences, so she makes building stamina in her middle school students a priority.

Invitations for Narrative Writing

Kim Campbell suggests activities and prompts to energize narrative writing with teens.

Visual Reading for Writing

Carly Ulmer uses visual literacy to build writing skills with her seventh graders through two powerful minilessons.

Literary Analysis and Authenticity in Middle School

Christy Rush-Levine finds the best way to help her middle school students learn to read closely for literary analysis is through student writing. They begin with analyzing student exemplars from the Common Core, and then move to shared texts as they hone their skills.

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