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.
Gigi McAllister explains why you have to be a bit choosy about reading and writing events since there are so many possibilities. Here are some she values in her fourth-grade classroom.
Katherine Sokolowski was that shy child hiding behind a tall classmate in the back of the room when she was a student. As a teacher, she makes sure there are many ways she helps bring out the voices of introverts in her fifth-grade classroom.
Bitsy Parks shares how she starts the day with literacy in her first-grade classroom.
Bitsy Parks teaches her first graders to write sticky note reminders throughout the day, and is delighted by the learning and community building that ensues.
Jennifer Schwanke shares her experience of having read-aloud go awry in a middle school classroom.
If children can choose just-right reading spots, they will have more stamina for reading. Heather Fisher explains how she works with first-grade teachers and students to build this skill.
Tara Barnett and Kate Mills use the Sara Bareilles song Brave to help their fourth-grade students move from bed-to-bed to more emotive writing early in the year.
Tara Smith shares some of her favorite online resources for keeping up with new books, as well as organizing tips for classroom libraries.
Mary Lee Hahn is a bit flummoxed when a parent asks about her management system at an open house. The experience sparks reflection on what makes a classroom community gel.
Jennifer Schwanke finds that a scavenger hunt for errors to add to a bulletin board is a great way to build editing skills and a writing community all year long in her seventh-grade classroom.
Katherine Sokolowski describes a wall display with guidelines to ensure students are respectful and aware of the pitfalls of posting online.
Katherine Sokolowski finds that electronic charting of learning with Padlet has almost endless possibilities for use in her fifth-grade classroom.
Katrina Edwards shares her plans for presenting children's literature to help her first-grade students acquire the skills needed for being positive and proactive problem solvers.
Mark Levine uses quick-writes with his middle school students to set the expectation at the start of the week for work together that is independent, thoughtful, and conversational.
Christy Rush-Levine and some struggling eighth-grade readers consider misogyny in a popular children’s book.
Katherine Sokolowski considers how classroom design says a lot about the relationship between students and teachers.
Mark Levine helps his seventh-grade students transition to the learning of the day with a "compelling question" posted on the board before each class session.
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.
Katherine Sokolowski shares a wall display from her fifth graders that students build to celebrate who they are and people they love from home.
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.
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.
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