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Independent Project Hiccups

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills conclude their series on independent projects with advice on how to handle issues that often crop up as students design and work through writing their projects.

Compass Points and Empathy

Andrea Smith uses the “compass points” strategy to provoke better whole-class discussions and reflection during read alouds.

Reimagining Reading Logs

Reading logs have fallen out of favor in many classrooms because they often become a rote activity for recording pages read. Tara Barnett and Kate Mills find authenticity with the logs comes when they move from emphasizing recording to goals and reflection.

Managing Independent Projects

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills continue their series on independent projects with nuts and bolts advice on management.

A Community Reads “Wonder”

Katherine Sokolowski had a dream — her whole community reading and celebrating the same book. She explains how she helped coordinate, organize, and purchase hundreds of books for a community-wide reading of Wonder.

Why We Like Independent Writing Projects

One way to get all students excited about writing workshop is through independent projects. Tara Barnett and Kate Mills explain why they devote many Fridays to independent projects. This is the first installment in a three-part series.

Grammar Instruction in Fourth Grade

Melanie Meehan coaches a fourth-grade teacher who is trying to improve his grammar instruction.

One Text, Many Lessons

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills share how one book can serve as an anchor for lessons on everything from writer’s craft to test-taking skills.

Flexible Seating: Mid-Year Tweaks with Book Nooks

Have you revisited your classroom design since September? Andrea Smith and her fourth graders get over the midwinter blahs by refreshing classroom seating together.

Writing Empathy

Dana Murphy explains why teachers can have true empathy with student writers only if they write themselves, and chronicles the difference between a typical and an empathetic response in a writing conference.

Using Mentor Texts Across the Writing Process

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills describe how they use one mentor text, Owl Moon, to teach multiple lessons on craft during a writing unit.

Color-Symbol-Image: A Thinking Routine for Read Alouds

Andrea Smith uses the Color-Symbol-Image thinking routine during read alouds to promote deeper reflection among students.

Using Read Alouds to Build Fluency

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills find an ingenious way in the upper elementary grades to help their struggling readers develop fluency through read alouds.

Gradual Release of Responsibility in Small Groups

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills develop a process of pre-assessment, careful planning, and systematic recordkeeping to up the value of their small groups.

Talk Expectations in Reading Groups

Gigi McAllister assists a group of students who are trying out bookmarks of discussion prompts for literature groups.

Building a Reflective Community

Andrea Smith builds reflection into whole-class discussions in her fourth-grade classroom by beginning an anchor chart with four different illustrations from the covers of a read-aloud.

Sentence Phrase Word: Student Independence for Word Learning

Andrea Smith uses the sentence-phrase-word thinking routine with her fourth graders to show how potent one word can be in understanding complex themes.

Sharing and Celebrating Summer Reading

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills share how they use the first days and weeks of school to celebrate summer reading and build a classroom community.

Fourth-Grade Lunch Fan Club

Gigi facilitates one of her lunchtime author fan clubs, where everyone gets organized and brainstorms what they might explore in the group during this first meeting.

Reconsidering Reading Workshop Routines

Andrea Smith realizes her normal reading routine will not work within the constraints of this year’s schedule. She makes some radical changes to ensure she and her students can have enough time to find the joy in reading and building a literate community.

Sketchnoting as a Response to Reading

Dana Murphy tries sketchnoting during professional development, and soon finds herself sharing the fun technique with students. They hone their skills during read alouds and while annotating texts.

Practical Ways to Connect Students and Goals

Kate Mills and Tara Barnett provide some practical tips for connecting students and goals.

Digital Revision: Conferring with Aidan

In this week’s video, Gigi McAllister helps fourth grader Aidan revise his writing on the computer to flesh out character development.

Building Community and Family Connections

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills share suggestions for connecting with parents over the summer and early in the school year, including some fun uses of technology.

Monday Headlines

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills use Monday Headlines to energize students after the weekend, and get a peek into what’s going on at home.

Hosting Reading and Writing Events

Gigi McAllister explains why you have to be a bit choosy about reading and writing events since there are so many possibilities. Here are some she values in her fourth-grade classroom.

Minilesson: Writing a Mentor Text

In this week’s video, Gigi McAllister models writing in front of her fourth-grade class. She takes advice from students as she develops the characters in her story.

Exploring Goals in Fiction

Gigi McAllister meets briefly with a group of fourth graders who are all exploring theme in picture books.

Beyond the Acrostic Poem

Megan Skogstad finds the right mentor texts can help her fourth graders move beyond acrostic poems.

Good Questions for Group Discussions

Gigi McAllister helps a group of fourth graders evaluate questions for fostering good group discussions.

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