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The Power of Reading Habits

Gretchen Taylor’s overscheduled middle school students have almost no time for reading outside the classroom. She finds that some reflective inquiry helps them build reading habits at home.

My Middle Schoolers Can’t Spell!

Gretchen Taylor has a common teacher's lament about spelling, so she decides to do something about it. This is the first installment in a two-part series.

Close Reading and Multiple Layers in Middle School

Christy Rush-Levine uses striking texts that inspire multiple readings by her middle school students.

Using Close Reading to Analyze Propaganda

Propaganda, word clouds, and close reading engage students in Holly Mueller’s sixth-grade class.

Can Books Harm Children? Support and Censorship

Shari Frost asks a provocative question: Can books harm children? She explores practical ways for teachers to walk the fine line between support and censorship in matching books to students.

What Kenny Taught Me

Jennifer Schwanke has a student who just won't sit still and behave appropriately in her middle school classroom. She finally gives up. That's where the learning begins.

Effective Organization

 Ruth Ayres has tips for organizing desks, tables, chairs, and materials to support literacy learning.

Giving Audio Feedback to Student Writing

If you find yourself buried in student work that needs a response, you’ll enjoy suggestions from Bill Bass for using a nifty new online tool.

First Shared Text: Fishing for Many Meanings with Adolescents

Christy Rush-Levine introduces her middle school students to the complexity of reading on the first day of school.

30 Books in 30 Days

Justin Stygles uses the 30 Books in 30 Days project to introduce his sixth graders to a wide variety of authors and genres.

Giving Up Television

Gretchen Taylor finds giving up television enables her to reconsider many habitual behaviors.

Final Literacy Contracts: Student-Generated Themes

Megan Ginther and Holly Mueller close out the year with their final literacy contracts. It’s time for students to take ownership of their learning, so they select the themes.

The Data Wall Debacle

Shari Frost has a suggestion for what shouldn’t be on classroom walls: student assessment scores. She explains why this practice can be harmful to students.

April Literacy Contracts: Discovery

Megan Ginther and Holly Mueller choose a theme of discovery for their April literacy contracts.

Creating Video with Students: Tools and Tips

Bill Bass gives advice and provides resources for creating video with high school students.

March Literacy Contracts: Nonfiction Curiosities

This month’s literacy contract for middle school students focuses on nonfiction texts and growing independence in the classroom.

Sentence Combining in Workshops

Heather Rader has strategies for using sentence combining in literacy workshops.

The Power of Mystery Series for Teens and Tweens

Ruth Shagoury shares her top picks of mystery series for teens and tweens.

A Tool Worth Exploring: Sentence Combining

Heather Rader begins a new series on sentence combining, an alternative to traditional drill and kill grammar instruction.

Deeper Writing: The Story Behind the Selfie

Gretchen Taylor taps into a cultural phenomenon with her seventh-grade writers to help them deepen their writing and reflection.

no i don’t think you need to shave

Katie Baydo-Reed lays down the law for her eighth graders about capitalization and the use of periods, with excellent and hilarious results. This piece will make you laugh out loud at the gaps between the ways teachers and teenagers think.

Making Classics Relevant for Middle School Students

Jennifer Schwanke helps middle school students make connections between classics and their current reading.

Explanatory Grammar Moves: Getting Verbal with It

Jeff Anderson concludes his series on explanatory grammar moves by exploring participles, included in the Common Core eighth-grade standard covering the use of verbals.

Middle School Design: Cozy Reading Spaces

Katie Doherty has design tips for creating cozy reading spaces in middle school classrooms where there is no space or budget for a whole-class rug area.

Liberty and Dystopia: February Literacy Contracts

Megan Ginther and Holly Mueller focus their February Literacy Contracts on dystopias.

Streamlining Research Check-ins

Gretchen Taylor finds streamlining research check-ins in her middle school classroom is easy to do when she uses a simple online tool to eliminate a mountain of paper.

Keep Going

Ruth Ayres has advice for moving forward, staying positive, and focusing on what’s important.

Journeys and Quests: January Literacy Contracts

Middle school teachers Megan Ginther and Holly Mueller focus on journeys and quests as the theme of their January Literacy Contracts in the latest installment of their year-long series.

Tell Me More

Gretchen Taylor finds the three little words “tell me more” provide breakthroughs in helping her middle school students respond to reading.

Middle School Design: Reading Gutters

Katie Doherty explains how reading gutters, an inexpensive design feature, dress up her middle school classroom and build community at the same time.

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