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Voila! Best Writing and Entry Slips in Second Grade

The word voila in French literally means “see there.” Linda Karamatic puts time and reflection into creating a binder, or “voila book,” that will ease the bulging writing workshop folders and preserve the best of her second-grade students’ writing.

Sorting Students for Flexible Groups Across Classrooms

Jennifer Jones explains how one team of second-grade teachers formed guided reading groups across classrooms to marshal resources and expand their collaboration.

Planning Small Groups to Teach Phonetic Skills

The gap between a child learning a phonetic rule and actually being able to apply it is one that often vexes teachers.  Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan find systematic planning and routines for focused small-group work help many of their colleagues succeed in their phonics instruction.

Ready for Guided Reading? A Second Look

Shari Frost updates her original essay on guided reading with her latest thinking and criteria for placing students in guided reading groups.

One Book/Four Hands: Mentoring Younger Readers Using Picture Books

Paul Hankins describes the power of pairing high school and elementary students in a partner reading program.

Readers’ Theater Revisited

Katie DiCesare becomes reacquainted with an old curricular friend.  But in trying reader’s theater again in her primary classroom, she finds ways to streamline the process and foster more independence in students.

First Grade Guided Writing Group: Targeting Common Spelling Needs

In this video of a 1st grade guided writing group, Katie DiCesare works with children to address common issues with spelling and conventions. By grouping the students together, she is able to use her time well in addressing common needs among students.

Science Writing: Small Groups

In this second video in a three-part series, Jennifer Morgan leads her grades 3 and 4 students as they work together in small groups on a science and writing task.

When to Group?

Reading groups are such an ingrained element of our teaching culture that teachers can feel guilty if they choose other instructional methods. In this conversation with fourth-grade teacher Rachel, Joan Moser and Gail Boushey (“The Sisters”) talk about when it makes sense to group students.

Book Clubs: Setting the Stage with Conferring

We want students to discuss books in thoughtful, sophisticated ways in book clubs, but those skills don’t always come naturally.  (Wait – do those skills ever come naturally?) Beth Lawson explains how she confers with individual children in her third-grade classroom to prepare them for independent book clubs with peers.

Guiding Readers in Kindergarten: A Planning and Assessment Template

If you’re considering guided reading groups in your kindergarten classroom, you’ll want to read Mandy Robek’s advice for getting started and keeping track with a simple planning and assessment form.

When Does Level Matter? Being Efficient with Small Group Instruction

When does level matter in grouping students for reading instruction?   Franki Sibberson shares her latest thinking and a template to use in organizing groups.

The Importance of Book Clubs for Learners of Any Age

Karen Terlecky brings lessons from her adult book club to her structure of book clubs in her 5th grade classroom.  The article includes launching and management tips.

Ready for Guided Reading?

Shari Frost writes about the “Level A Purgatory” many kindergartners and young students endure when teachers assign reading groups too early. Her feature includes other instructional options beyond small groups for early in the year that may be more appropriate for our youngest learners.

Knitting, Independence, and Small Group Routines for Intermediate Readers

Franki Sibberson uses a knitting analogy to reflect upon alternatives to guided reading in the intermediate grades that promote more student independence.

Overcoming Tears and Fears: Developing Criteria for Flexible Groups

Katie DiCesare comforts a student in tears at the end of the day, and realizes part of the problem may be that she moved the child into a guided writing group too quickly.

Rethinking Writing Centers – Winter Follow-Up

Shari Frost questioned the amount of writing going on in many elementary writing centers. She decided to work with a team of literacy coaches and teachers to explore ways to increase writing in classrooms – through better use of centers, or alternative programs. In this follow-up article, Shari presents two different solutions that are working well – one involves introducing writing tools in a more systematic way in centers, and the other is an implementation of a different program entirely for independent work.

Assessing Spelling in Writing Workshop Part 3: Embedding Instruction

In the last installment of this three-part series, Katie DiCesare shows how she translates the findings from individual students into instructional plans when she uses a spelling assessment in her 1st grade classroom.

Small Group After Demonstration Lesson

In this small group after a demonstration lesson in a 5th grade classroom, Clare Landrigan talks through strategies for inferring the meaning of new words while reading.

Running and Reading Logs

In this first video in a two-part series, Clare Landrigan meets with a group of fourth graders to talk about reading logs and goals. In this excerpt, Clare uses the analogy of how runners use logs to chart progress and set goals.

Running and Reading Logs Part II

In this second video in a two-part series, Clare Landrigan meets with a group of 4th graders to talk about reading logs and goals. In this excerpt, Clare confers with students over their logs and debriefs with their teacher.

Staying Focused in Literacy Workshops

Clare Landrigan meets with a group of fifth graders to talk about what’s going well in literacy workshops, and to set individual goals.

Making Predictions and Finding Evidence in Text

In this video from a fifth-grade small group, Clare Landrigan talks with students about making predictions and finding evidence in text.

“If You Like Matt Christopher” Student Book Share

In this video from Franki Sibberson’s grades 3-4 classroom, boys share books that are similar to ones written by Matt Christopher.

Open Book Clubs

Shari Frost shares the nuts and bolts of setting up open book clubs in your school. These clubs are a great way to expand the reading community, as well as connect school libraries and classrooms.

What Are Reading Centers?

Kathy Collins gives a detailed definition of how reading centers are connected to the goals of different reading units of study.

Rethinking Writing Centers

Shari Frost finds writing centers are beloved by many teachers and students. There’s only one problem – very little writing appears to be going on in the centers.

First Grade Small Group: Chunking

In this small group from Courtney Tomfohr's first-grade classroom, students work on their "chunking" skills.

First Grade Guided Writing Group: Goldilocks and the 3 Writers

In this video of a first-grade guided writing group, Katie DiCesare works with three girls on spelling issues that have emerged in their writing.

4th Grade Small Group: Writing Paragraphs

In this video, Aimee Buckner uses a mentor text to demonstrate how writers construct lively nonfiction paragraphs.

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