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December 6, 2019 Just Say Yes

This week we look at creative literacy instruction before holiday breaks.

Community Timeline Project

Katherine Sokolowski uses the Community Timeline Project to bring together students and older community members around history and writing.

Reading and Writing for the 100th Day of School

The 100th day of school has become an opportunity for classroom and schoolwide celebrations. Shari Frost provides many resources to ensure reading and writing are front and center on this special day.

November 22, 2019 Cue the Habit

This week we look at author studies in classrooms.

Teaching Theme Before the Holidays

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills take advantage of students’ knowledge of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer to teach the concept of theme before the holiday break.

A Quick How-to Writing Unit in First Grade

Bitsy Parks uses the short stretch before the holidays for a quick and fun how-to writing unit with her first graders.

Comparing Authors Minilesson

Jen Court uses text sets from three authors to help second graders ferret out different elements of the authors’ styles.

Scaffolding Instruction in an Author’s Study

Christy Rush-Levine scaffolds her middle-school students’ understanding of craft moves by moving from short stories to novels when studying specific authors.

Magic Connections: Young Adult Literature in a Social Studies Class

Mark Levine shows how young adult literature is a potent tool to drive learning in his middle school social studies classroom.

November 15, 2019 In Praise of Clutter

This week we look at how to use anchor texts in classrooms.

When Learning Gets Tricky, Go Back to the Pigs

Whenever a tricky literary concept comes up, Tammy Mulligan finds herself returning to a favorite mentor text to guide students. She explains the value of shared simple stories for understanding complicated literary elements.

Writing Endings Minilesson in Fifth Grade

A classic anchor text for many teachers is Charlotte’s Web. In this week’s video, Dana Murphy seamlessly integrates a brief excerpt from it into a writing minilesson on endings in her fifth-grade classroom.

Mentor Text Craft Guides

Melanie Meehan helps students see the craft moves in mentor texts by tucking brief guides into many of her favorite children’s books in the classroom library.

November 8, 2019 The Gift of Noticing

We look at reflection in this week’s newsletter.

The Freewrite Pause

Mark Levine finds his middle school students need more time to digest learning from brief articles. Freewriting provides the perfect pause for promoting more reflection and insight.

November 1, 2019 Romancing the Em Dash

We look at how to teach conventions in this week’s newsletter.

October 25, 2019 Candy Bombs

We look at how to develop and use text sets in this week’s newsletter.

Reinforcing Workshop Norms

In this quick video, Dana Murphy shows how she leads her fifth graders with a kinesthetic reminder of workshop norms before beginning independent work.

Fifth-Grade Small Group: Paragraphs

Dana Murphy meets with a group of fifth graders to help students develop paragraphing skills, using a peer’s mentor text.

Mastering Conventions

Even eight-year-olds are expected to master a dozen or more conventions. Melanie Meehan shares a process for helping students focus on the small steps needed to master any convention with peer support.

Text Set Resources

Melanie Meehan shares some of her favorite resources for developing text sets.

October 18, 2019 Offers and Offerings

We look at writing shares in this week’s newsletter.

Helping Students Understand What Works for Them

Want students to become more independent? Melanie Meehan recommends that you take each student through a reflective process to figure out what learning processes and habits work for them.

Whole-Class Reflection in Middle School

Mark Levine explains why whole-class reflection is an essential component of his middle school workshops.

October 11, 2019 Instagram vs. Google Selves

We look at building reader identities in this week’s newsletter.

Teaching Conventions in Small Groups

Dana Murphy finds it is best to teach conventions in small, targeted groups in her fifth-grade classroom. She explains how she designs and leads these groups.

Conferring to Connect: First Grade Reading

Bitsy Parks confers with first grader Ella about the Brown and Pearl book series, and then listens to Ella read. She closes the conference by encouraging Ella to make more personal connections to books.

Building Reading Identities Across the Year

The start of the school year is often all about building reader identities in classrooms. And then October comes, and many of the activities that help students celebrate their reading histories and preferences are forgotten. Tara Barnett and Kate Mills share ways teachers can continue to help students define, refine, and expand their reading identities all year long.

Text Sets: Reading Beyond Just Facts

Franki Sibberson explains how carefully curated text sets can help students move beyond a “just the facts” exploration of nonfiction topics.

Finding Time for Writing Shares

Finding time for writing share sessions may begin with trying out a few different options to see what works in your classroom. Melanie Meehan presents some of her favorites.

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