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From Title to Theme: Conferring with Jadev

Christy Rush-Levine confers with Jadev about how the title of a book often gives clues to its theme.

Understanding War: Conferring with Cam

Christy Rush-Levine confers with Cam, an eighth grader who seeks to understand the complexity of war through the experiences of main characters in novels.

Using a Storyboard for Reflection and Comprehension

Christy Rush-Levine shows a group of three students how they can use a storyboard to help track thinking while reading.

Spreading Love with Compliments

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills close out the year in their eighth-grade classroom with a compliments activity.

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.

Peer Support in Writing Workshop: Conferring with Jaden

Christy Rush-Levine meets with eighth grader Jaden, who talks through his struggles in writing a conclusion to his literary analysis, and how his peers helped him improve the writing.
 

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.

Writing Workshop Bingo

Carly Ulmer develops a bingo board to use with her middle school students to give them more choice and foster independence while crafting writing in specific genres.

The Importance of Context Minilesson

Christy Rush-Levine uses a vivid anecdote from her youth to teach her middle school students about the importance of context in literary analysis.

Revising Thinking Through Multiple Readings

We’ve all had that student — the one who blurts out a misreading of a text, only to have classmates agree with the analysis. Christy Rush-Levine explains how she uses “first-, second-, and third-draft readings” to help her middle school students develop stronger comprehension skills.

Stop and Inquire

Mark Levine capitalizes on what captures his middle school students’ attention with his Stop and Inquire routine.

Flash Forward with New Students

The dark days of winter may be the best time to plan for spring step-up events to introduce students to next year's teachers. Christy Rush-Levine has a new goal of using the day to promote summer reading.

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.

Teaching Revision in Middle School

Christy Rush-Levine finds her middle school students are adept at planning for writing with notes and visuals, but rarely revise their drafts. She develops a minilesson sequence to help them hone their revision skills.

Writing a Strong Conclusion to a Literary Analysis Essay

Christy Rush-Levine helps eighth grader Katherine sort through tools and strategies for writing a strong conclusion to her literary analysis essay.

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.

Daily Reflection Rubric

Mark Levine always has a few students each year in his middle school classroom who are stunned by their poor grades, even when they clearly aren't meeting expectations. He develops a rubric to enable students to monitor and reflect on their learning behaviors daily.

Eighth-Grade Conference: Empathetic Reading

Christy Rush-Levine confers with eighth grader Julian about his strengths as an empathetic reader.

Reflecting on the L

Mark Levine wonders if his middle school students are spending enough time reflecting on the L in K-W-L, so he creates a form to help.

Sketching Your Way to a Big Idea

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills work with eighth graders who struggle to articulate big themes in literature. A breakthrough comes when they have the option of sketching their thoughts.

Push Pause: Dealing with Failure in the Midst

Christy Rush-Levine discovers it’s important to “push pause” to deal with failure in the midst of teaching.

Balancing Reading and Talk

Mark Levine finds that the best way to deal with controversial topics like slavery in his middle school classroom is with open and focused whole-class discussions.

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.

Building Community with a Shared Text

Christy Rush-Levine finds a community of new teachers bonds over a text highlighting addiction struggles. The experience leads her to think through what elements are essential for whole-class texts in her middle school classroom.

#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.

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