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 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.
Katie DiCesare thinks about what language supports student independence early in the year and how to share this in an anchor chart with her first graders.
Melanie Quinn finds it is worth taking time for community building in schools and classrooms, because the practice pays dividends all year long.
Melissa Kolb explores what needs to be in place for our youngest students to learn how to converse kindly.
Melanie Meehan recommends linking goal setting to small celebrations as a great way to build community and skills at the same time.
Gretchen Schroeder finds the classic dinner party assignment is a fun way for her high school students to explore kindred spirits in literature late in the school year.
Jillian Heise shares a marvelous poetry writing activity for students who are transitioning from elementary to middle school, or middle to high school.
Jan Burkins and Kim Yaris explain how ending the year is all about making space for memories, and provide some texts to help in the process.
Gigi McAllister uses picture books to strengthen her fourth grade classroom community.
Melanie Meehan presents a fun activity for late in the school year that uses the format of The Voice television series.
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