Listening and speaking—it's the art at the heart of literacy workshops. But there is also a science to how these skills are taught and learned. These resources will show you how to build communication skills in your classroom and school communities.
ERP. The sound can't help but make you grin. It's Heather Rader's acronym for Explicit Revision for Peers, a series of one-minute kinesthetic writing routines to help students learn how to help each other kindly during writer's workshop.
Andrea Smith writes about how she uses wonder questions in her science curiculum.
Heather Rader explores the fine art of asking specific questions during coaching debrief sessions.
How does sarcasm hurt students? Heather Rader counts the ways.
We're teachers and we have a tendency to talk too much. Heather Rader explains how she coaches a teacher through the problem.
How can we help students be more reflective in our classrooms, giving us the feedback we need to make them better places for learning? Heather Rader has suggestions.
If you’re looking for routines that meld community building and learning essential skills, you might enjoy Andrea Smith’s “Our Daily Question” activity with her 3rd and 4th grade students. Classmates share interests and build data gathering and analysis skills together.
How much is too much support while conferring? Terry Thompson explores the language of scaffolding and rescuing.
Aimee Buckner chats with colleagues about notebooks, and finds herself rethinking what she puts in her notebook (as well as what she requires of students).
Tammy Mulligan and Clare Landrigan share their top tips for improving team meetings.
Nothing beats an engaging and fun text to spark conversations among young children. Here are some suggestions of terrific read-alouds to get the chatter started in classrooms.
When is sarcasm appropriate in classrooms? Never, yet more is popping up all the time in schools, even from teachers. Here is some advice for dealing with sarcasm.
Suzy Kaback provides a template for helping students note and reflect upon their talk.
Franki Sibberson has suggestions for read-alouds that encourage kids to participate.
Helping volunteers understand the importance of listening to young learners is one of Andie Cunningham’s goals. Here she gives tips for preparing volunteers to confer with children.
Shirl McPhillips’ poem “Ode to a Sweet Snowy Day for Two” is designed for paired reading. Shirl also gives advice for celebrating poetry as an oral art in classrooms.
If you believe it’s challenging but “possible to be tactful without being inauthentic,” Jan Miller Burkins will guide you around the thorniness of the language of coaching.
Jan Miller-Burkins explores the “how” of shifting language so that it is less judgemental in discussions with colleagues.
Principal Karen Szymusiak shares her reflections and questions that cause her teachers to question their current practice and lead them to consider authenticity in the reading workshop.
Shari Frost sorts through the changing world of audio books, and their resurgence in popularity with smaller, cheaper, and trendier MP3 players. She shares some of the innovative ways literacy coaches and teachers in her network are using audio books.
In this remarkable discussion, Lauren Scott's second-grade students chat with their teacher and Principal Karen Szymusiak about metaphors for synthesis.
Brenda Power explores the differences between “rapport talk” and “report talk” and what to do when communication breaks down with female colleagues.
This article offers possibilities for observing classrooms focused on talk as an alternative to traditional observation notes.
In leadership positions, the first conversations with students about who you are and what you believe can set the tone for the year. Franki Sibberson has helpful advice for talking with readers — big and small.
Words matter. Tried-and-true templates and strategies in this E-Guide focus attention on classroom talk in ways that help grow professional conversations.
Brenda Power shares trade secret phrases for communicating with colleagues.
Jesabel Centeno helps her emergent bilingual learners respond orally to texts and share favorite books with classmates.
Interviews early in the year are a potent tool for building a class community.
Tony Keefer discovers that his fourth-grade students need focused instruction and support to strengthen their peer conferring skills. Tony shares tips and two video examples from his classroom.
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