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Student Notes: Keeping Track of Many Characters

Tre uses lots of sticky notes to sort through and keep track of characters in a book with a whole classroom full of personalities.

Leads Minilesson

This fifth-grade minilesson from Franki Sibberson is a lovely mix of mentor texts, Franki's own writing, and honesty about the writing process.

Independent Project Hiccups

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills conclude their series on independent projects with advice on how to handle issues that often crop up as students design and work through writing their projects.

Group Meeting: Sharing Resources for Animal Study

Katherine Sokolowski helps her fifth-grade students expand their territory for their animal research projects by sharing information sources and peer connections.

Reimagining Reading Logs

Reading logs have fallen out of favor in many classrooms because they often become a rote activity for recording pages read. Tara Barnett and Kate Mills find authenticity with the logs comes when they move from emphasizing recording to goals and reflection.

Book Talk: “The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary”

Katherine Sokolowski demonstrates her book talk skills when she presents The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary to her students late in the school year.

Managing Independent Projects

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills continue their series on independent projects with nuts and bolts advice on management.

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.

Why We Like Independent Writing Projects

One way to get all students excited about writing workshop is through independent projects. Tara Barnett and Kate Mills explain why they devote many Fridays to independent projects. This is the first installment in a three-part series.

Backward Chaining

How do you help students who are far behind their classmates in tackling writing projects, and have had years of learned helplessness in approaching complex tasks? Melanie Meehan takes on the challenge with a backward-chaining model.

Big Question Minilesson

Katherine Sokolowski models how readers make choices as questions arise while reading independently. She also demonstrates how she moves between a novel and web resources.

Quick-Write with a Video Prompt

Katherine Sokolowski refreshes the quick-write routine in her fifth-grade classroom by using a video as a prompt.

Flexible Seating: Mid-Year Tweaks with Book Nooks

Have you revisited your classroom design since September? Andrea Smith and her fourth graders get over the midwinter blahs by refreshing classroom seating together.

“If You Like” Reading Recommendations Conference

Building "next-read" stacks with students before holidays is a great way to ensure they have books in hand that they will be excited to read over break. Katherine Sokolowski helps Taryn finds books that are similar to those written by Rick Riordan (Taryn's favorite author).

Writing Empathy

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.

Teaching Summary with Book Blurbs

Katherine Sokolowski finds her fifth graders can give detailed retellings during conferences, but struggle to come up with succinct summaries. Writing book blurbs is her creative solution for building summarizing skills.

Girls’ Book Share in Fifth Grade

Katherine Sokolowski demonstrates how she helps a group of girls in her fifth-grade classroom learn to help each other select books based on previous experiences and tastes.

More Nonfiction Read Alouds

Franki Sibberson shares strategies for incorporating more nonfiction into read-aloud times throughout the day.

Giving Graphic Organizers a Go

Mary Lee Hahn is skeptical about how her fifth-grade students might use graphic organizers. But once she tries them alongside students, she begins to see their utility.

Gradual Release of Responsibility in Small Groups

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills develop a process of pre-assessment, careful planning, and systematic recordkeeping to up the value of their small groups.

Super Teacher Reading Workshop

Mary Lee Hahn tries to be super teacher while she confers — juggling goals, assessments, notices and notes . . . and then it all comes crashing down. She shares what she learns from trying to do too much at once and failing.

Building a Reflective Community

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.

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.

Conferring with Spencer: Writing Notebook Topics

Katherine Sokolowski helps fifth grader Spencer brainstorm topics for his writing notebook.

Environment Small Group: Habitat

Katherine Sokolowski leads a small group of fifth graders who have chosen similar topics for their projects in an environmental unit.

Dabbling: Reviving a Focus on Play

Mary Lee Hahn finds a focus on play and "dabbling" renews student writers during a unit on narrative nonfiction.

Reading Workshop Non-Negotiables

Scott Jones finds working with a student teacher forces him to explain what the “non-negotiables” are in his reading workshop.

Sketchnoting as a Response to Reading

Dana Murphy tries sketchnoting during professional development, and soon finds herself sharing the fun technique with students. They hone their skills during read alouds and while annotating texts.

Building a Next-Read Stack

Katherine Sokolowski helps fifth grader Abby build her next-read stack of books.

Student-Designed Development Cards

Melanie Meehan finds that student-designed development cards are a great way to get students invested in literacy goals.

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