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Clapping Syllables Routine in First Grade

Bitsy Parks works with her first graders early in the year to teach them the basics of how words are constructed, by clapping through syllable counts.

Grammar Games

Melanie Meehan shares two of her favorite games for teaching grammar, including templates and web resources.

January 18, 2019 Wins and Losses

We look at collaboration and teamwork in this week’s Big Fresh.

Writing Partner Feedback in Fifth Grade

Fifth-grade writers in Franki Sibberson’s classroom encourage each other and suggest revisions to their opinion writing drafts in partner teams.

Picture Books to Teach Digital Citizenship

Students aren’t just collaborative in our classrooms—they are connecting with others all over the world. Stephanie Affinito shares her favorite picture books to teach digital citizenship.

An All-School Writing Project: Six-Word Memoirs

If you want to bring everyone in your school together around writing, you can’t beat the simplicity and fun of six-word memoirs. Jennifer Schwanke describes how she sparked enthusiasm for the project in her school.

January 11, 2019 Stand Next to Me

We look at how to change struggles to strengths in this week’s Big Fresh.

The Importance of Correct Examples

Melanie Meehan explains why it is important to mentor students who are struggling with correct examples, and why she cautions writing teachers to avoid “find the mistakes” exercises.

Practical Advice for Dealing with Messy Handwriting

Do struggles with handwriting matter? They do when a student can’t even decipher his own words. Katherine Sokolowski confers with fifth grader Sauvi to help him find solutions to the problem.

The Magic That Might Go Down

Christy Rush-Levine decides to slow down in her classroom and engage more fully with a student who is a wiseacre and resistant reader. What happens next can only be described as magic.

January 4, 2019 Reset

We consider ways teachers can reset routines and expectations early in the new year in this week’s Big Fresh.

Building Habits with Short-Term Goals

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills explain why short-term writing goals can help students reset expectations for their writing on a daily basis, and how they make these goals an integral part of their writing workshops.

Beyond Plot: Conferring with Ian

Andrea Smith confers with fourth grader Ian, who is plowing through a book series. She helps him look at the bigger picture of characters, themes, and how the series might end.

Reset

Christy Rush-Levine finds her students sometimes need to stop and be challenged to think in more positive ways about their reading abilities. She describes how she designs minilessons for impromptu resets in her middle school classroom.

December 28, 2018 Celebrations

We consider how literacy celebrations might be woven in the fabric of classroom and school life.

When Students Set Intentions

When students set intentions, reflection and celebration go hand in hand. Melanie Meehan explains how teachers can help students become more explicit about intentions with practical cues from bulletin boards and index cards.

First-Grade Writing Conference: Celebrations to Suggestions

Katrina Edwards begins her conference with first grader Allen by celebrating all he is doing well in his writing. She highlights his language and details in writing, before moving on to new strategies to try.

Sharing Writing in a Class Celebration

Do celebrations matter? If you know Ruth Ayres, you know her answer is always a resounding YES. Here are her best tips for sharing writing in a class celebration.

November 17, 2018 Heat Maps

Writing poetry is the focus of this week’s Big Fresh.

Poetry Connections

Poetry writing always has the potential to spark some magic in students. Christy Rush-Levine finds this magic requires a few conditions to be in place first in her middle school classroom.

Past Midnight

Shirl McPhillips shares a poem she’s written about her grandmother Eva, and the fragments of memory that inspired it.

The Power of Similes

If you want stronger poetry from students, a good starting point might be to explore how to write a powerful simile. Gretchen Schroeder explains how she helps her high school students play with and create better similes.

The Big Fresh November 10, 2018 Just Keep Pedaling

Reading poetry is the focus of this week's Big Fresh.

The Big Fresh November 3, 2018 The Second Choice

We look at how teachers can use their writing to influence student writing in this week’s Big Fresh.

Reading The Crossover: Fourth-Grade Reading Group

Gigi McAllister leads a group of boys who are just starting the novel in verse The Crossover in her fourth-grade classroom.

First-Grade Conference: Finding Seeds in Writing

Katrina Edwards confers with a first-grade writer and helps him unpack a narrative to use as seed writing.

Hidden Treasures

Matt Renwick describes the process of paying attention to telling details, and gives practical advice for teaching this skill to young writers.

Pick a Poem

David Pittman delights in a student’s enthusiasm for poetry, leading him to reflect on how teachers often need to overcome their own negative history with poems to spark student love of the genre.

Being a Teacher Writer Is More Than Being a Teacher Who Writes

Ruth Ayres explains how the distinction between writers and teachers who write is subtle but essential for understanding mentoring in workshops.

The Third (or More) Time Is the Charm

Gretchen Schroeder finds helping her students see the value in rereading poems is all about helping them pay close attention to imagery.

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