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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.

Embracing Standards in Creative Ways

Christy Rush-Levine makes links between standards, video clips, and close reading.

Data That Matters

What information is gathered by a teacher sitting in a rocking chair quietly watching her students? Christy Rush-Levine discover it is plenty.

Just Reading?

Christy Rush-Levine challenges the notion that there is anything easy or natural about getting young teens to select and read books independently in classrooms.

Speed Dating Books

Carly Ullmer presents a fun activity for introducing teens to new books and each other as readers, capitalizing on their interests.

The Beginnings of a Middle School Literacy Community

What do you do on day one? Christy Rush-Levine describes the routines in her middle school classroom.

Feed Forward

Carly Ullmer learns a powerful lesson about teaching her middle school students to respond to peer writing.

Student-Created Text Sets

Jillian Heise’s middle school students design text sets late in the school year. It’s a great activity for discovering how they have grown as readers, as well as a gift to next year’s class.

Closing Out the Year with “Where I’m From”

Jillian Heise shares a marvelous poetry writing activity for students who are transitioning from elementary to middle school, or middle to high school.

Student Learning Targets

Christy Rush-Levine finds she has to rethink learning targets for her middle school students if she wants students to pursue complex and lifelong reading goals.

Book Blurbs in the Middle School Classroom

Jillian Heise uses the quirky genre of book blurbs in her middle school classroom to model summaries and glean information about students’ comprehension, reading interests, and writing skills.

Giving Students a Notebook Tour

Melanie Meehan finds a notebooks tour is a terrific minilesson for helping students expand the ways they use notebooks.

Blackout Poems and Paint-Chip Haiku: Two Fun Ways into Poetry with Adolescents

Jillian Heise uses the lowly paint-chip board to inspire poetry in her middle school students.

Teaching Search Skill Basics to Students

Bill Bass has advice for teaching web-based search skills to students.

Exploring Literary Nonfiction with Middle School Students

Holly Mueller and her middle school students have fun exploring the creative aspects of literary nonfiction.

10 Ways to Publish Student Work

Erin Ocon compiles a list of the ways she publishes writing of her teen students.

How to Get a Book to Catch Fire

If your goal is to get teens more excited about independent reading, Gretchen Schroeder has suggestions to help.

Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover: Teaching Book Choice Strategies to Middle Schoolers

Katie Doherty helps students make choices for independent reading.

Supporting Introverts in Literacy Workshops

Kim Campbell has suggestions for ways teachers can help introverts have more say in literacy workshops.

Peer Evaluation of Student Writing

Megan Ginther found she was spending too much time responding to student writing, and just as important, taking on too much of the responsibility for improvement. She tackled the issue by developing a new program for peer evaluation of student writing.

My Middle Schoolers Still Can’t Spell!: Focusing on Individual Students

Gretchen Taylor concludes her two-part series on spelling instruction in middle school.  In this installment, Gretchen visits a colleague in the primary grades to get advice and practical insight.

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