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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.

The Power of Reading Habits

Gretchen Taylor’s overscheduled middle school students have almost no time for reading outside the classroom. She finds that some reflective inquiry helps them build reading habits at home.

My Middle Schoolers Can’t Spell!

Gretchen Taylor has a common teacher's lament about spelling, so she decides to do something about it. This is the first installment in a two-part series.

Close Reading and Multiple Layers in Middle School

Christy Rush-Levine uses striking texts that inspire multiple readings by her middle school students.

Using Close Reading to Analyze Propaganda

Propaganda, word clouds, and close reading engage students in Holly Mueller’s sixth-grade class.

What Kenny Taught Me

Jennifer Schwanke has a student who just won't sit still and behave appropriately in her middle school classroom. She finally gives up. That's where the learning begins.

Can Books Harm Children? Support and Censorship

Shari Frost asks a provocative question: Can books harm children? She explores practical ways for teachers to walk the fine line between support and censorship in matching books to students.

Effective Organization

 Ruth Ayres has tips for organizing desks, tables, chairs, and materials to support literacy learning.

Giving Audio Feedback to Student Writing

If you find yourself buried in student work that needs a response, you’ll enjoy suggestions from Bill Bass for using a nifty new online tool.

First Shared Text: Fishing for Many Meanings with Adolescents

Christy Rush-Levine introduces her middle school students to the complexity of reading on the first day of school.

30 Books in 30 Days

Justin Stygles uses the 30 Books in 30 Days project to introduce his sixth graders to a wide variety of authors and genres.

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