It's one of the big paradoxes of literacy instruction - students best learn how to read and write independently when they have a strong community of support in classrooms. How teachers build those thoughtful, kind, and challenging classroom communities is explained in these resources.
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.
Heather Fisher finds the key to independence for many first graders is lots of visual reminders in classrooms.
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.
Gigl McAllister explains why she hosts optional lunchtime author studies, with practical tips on getting started.
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.
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.
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.
Jillian Heise rises to the challenge of reading a new picture book to her seventh and eighth graders each day all year long.
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.
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.
Cathy Mere finds that a Reading Ambassadors program pays big dividends in building confident and conversant young readers.
Bitsy Parks finds building excitement for book awards works in tandem with generating enthusiasm for reading in her first-grade classroom.
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.
Katherine Sokolowski was that shy child hiding behind a tall classmate in the back of the room when she was a student. As a teacher, she makes sure there are many ways she helps bring out the voices of introverts in her fifth-grade classroom.
Bitsy Parks shares how she starts the day with literacy in her first-grade classroom.
Bitsy Parks teaches her first graders to write sticky note reminders throughout the day, and is delighted by the learning and community building that ensues.
Jennifer Schwanke shares her experience of having read-aloud go awry in a middle school classroom.
If children can choose just-right reading spots, they will have more stamina for reading. Heather Fisher explains how she works with first-grade teachers and students to build this skill.
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.
Tara Smith shares some of her favorite online resources for keeping up with new books, as well as organizing tips for classroom libraries.
Mary Lee Hahn is a bit flummoxed when a parent asks about her management system at an open house. The experience sparks reflection on what makes a classroom community gel.
Jennifer Schwanke finds that a scavenger hunt for errors to add to a bulletin board is a great way to build editing skills and a writing community all year long in her seventh-grade classroom.
Katherine Sokolowski describes a wall display with guidelines to ensure students are respectful and aware of the pitfalls of posting online.
Katherine Sokolowski finds that electronic charting of learning with Padlet has almost endless possibilities for use in her fifth-grade classroom.
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.
Katrina Edwards shares her plans for presenting children's literature to help her first-grade students acquire the skills needed for being positive and proactive problem solvers.
Christy Rush-Levine and some struggling eighth-grade readers consider misogyny in a popular children’s book.
Katherine Sokolowski considers how classroom design says a lot about the relationship between students and teachers.
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.
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