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.
Gretchen Taylor considers how she handles hard transitions as an adult, and questions how she can make transitions more efficient and valuable for her middle school students.
Tara Barnett and Kate Mills share strategies for meaningful transitions in their fourth-grade classroom.
Christy Rush-Levine helps her eighth-grade students launch the work period with a reflective question that sets a tone for productivity, and then returns to it throughout the morning during transition times.
At a time of escalating violence throughout the world, children need peaceful spaces. Katie DiCesare creates a "peace table" in her first-grade classroom as a safe place for working through everything from playground squabbles to emotional distress.
Katherine Sokolowski shares a wall display from her fifth graders that students build to celebrate who they are and people they love from home.
Katie DiCesare repurposes materials for her first graders to play with, and finds that encouraging play early in the year is a great tool for building reflection skills.
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.
Katherine Sokolowski meets with a group of fifth graders who are all researching the use of nets in fishing and the environmental effects of the process. She works to build connections among classmates as well as research skills.
Katherine Sokolowski reflects on ways to extend the learning from an end-of-year activity all the way to the fall.
Gretchen Schroeder uses the format of the Amazing Race television show to help her high school students master materials for final exams and get moving throughout the school for a fun break.
Tara Barnett and Kate Mills find the young learners in their classroom have mastered the art of turning and talking only with close friends. They provide practical suggestions for expanding the circle of peer response.
Andrea Smith reflects on preparing to say goodbye to students and her teaching partner of many years. If you have a favorite colleague who is retiring, you may want to get a hankie ready before you read this one.
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).
“Why do you always say ‘Happy reading!’ to us?” This question from a first grader leads Katrina Edwards to develop visual support tools for building stamina during reading workshops.
Katherine Sokolowski’s students love writing fiction, but their skills don’t match their enthusiasm. A field trip helps bridge that gap.
Andie Cunningham and one of her kindergarten students share something in common at the start of the school year — tears as they struggle to find their place in a new community.
Carly Ullmer presents a fun activity for introducing teens to new books and each other as readers, capitalizing on their interests.
Sarah Klim presents a booklist for Grandparents Day, with many suggestions for read alouds to promote the September event.
Ruth Ayres finds the brain research is grim when it comes to the needs of neglected children, but there is still much that teachers can do to support healthy growth in students from challenging home environments.
Mary Lee Hahn begins the year with honest and open discussions with her fifth-grade students about diversity.
Stella Villalba rethinks the seemingly innocuous “What did you do last summer?” writing assignment at the start of the year, especially for children who may have more limited experiences than peers.
What makes a teacher memorable? Recognizing a child's passions from the very first day of school. Jennifer Schwanke recounts how her second-grade teacher did just that.
This quick and silent time-lapse video shows the arrival routine in Leslie Lloyd’s third-grade classroom.
Things start to fall apart in a classroom when a beloved teacher is replaced with a long-term substitute. Deb Gaby shares how an analogy helps the class get back on track.
Katherine Sokolowski uses read alouds early in the year to help students reflect on how to be kind and thoughtful members of a classroom community.
What do you do on day one? Christy Rush-Levine describes the routines in her middle school classroom.
Franki Sibberson explains how scheduling big events can do important work in building the reading community.
Leslie Woodhouse discovers a dollar store find takes on a life of its own in her preschool classroom in this delightful essay.
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