Latest Content
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.

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.

Explanatory Grammar Moves: Right-Branching Sentences

Jeff Anderson continues his Explanatory Grammar Series with a feature on the power of right-branching sentences.

Spelling Cycles: An Alternative to Weekly Spelling Lists

Max Brand developed Spelling Cycles as an alternative to weekly spelling tests. He explains how they work with an example from a third-grade class.

Exploring Winter with Short Texts

Middle school teachers Megan Ginther and Holly Mueller focus on winter in short texts as the theme of their December Literacy Contracts in the latest installment of their year-long series.

Powerful Conferences

Ruth Ayres explains how deciding the purpose of conferring in advance can lead to more powerful conferences.

November Contract: Family and Memoir

The November installment of Megan Ginther and Holly Mueller’s yearlong literacy contract series has a theme of family and memoir.

She Wants to Be Katniss for Halloween: Courageous Girls in Books

Shari Frost celebrates a tomboy who finally finds a female character she wants to emulate with a booklist highlighting courageous girls.

Exploring Explanatory Moves Writers Use

Jeff Anderson explores the difference between informational and explanatory writing, and what that might mean for teaching craft moves to students.

October Literacy Contracts: Fear and Conflict

Megan Ginther and Holly Mueller continue their monthly series on using literacy contracts in middle school. The October literacy contracts have a theme of fear and conflict.

Keeping Kids Safe on the Internet

Julie Johnson provides helpful tips and a letter for parents to help keep students safe on the Internet.

Emphasizing Empathy: September Literacy Contracts

Megan Ginther and Holly Mueller are Emphasizing Empathy in their September literacy contracts for middle school students.

How to Eat an Elephant One Bit(e) at a Time: Reading Complex Texts

Maggie Beattie Roberts and Kate Roberts present a step-by-step process for close reading in the middle and high school grades involving multiple passes through the same text.

Literacy Contracts: Introduction

Megan Ginther and Holly Mueller present Reading Contracts, a system for middle and high school teachers that involves students contracting to complete specific texts and tasks each month.

The Cure for Value-Added Grief? Teacher Research

Gretchen Taylor goes through the stages of "value-added grief" when her sixth-grade team receives disappointing test scores from the state. Teacher research helps her find joy again in her classroom, as well as some useful strategies for helping a group of struggling readers.

Using Pinterest for Professional Development

Franki Sibberson finds Pinterest is a useful tool for professional development.

Helping Students Evaluate Online Video for Research

Even if your district is blocking web video now, it's not going anywhere. As time goes on, schools will rely more and more on video available from the Internet for research and learning. Bill Bass has practical advice for helping middle and high school students assess everything from suspect sources to appalling comments on the Wild Wild Web.

First Read Alouds (ROUND-UP)

Choice Literacy contributors share their picks for the first read aloud of the year.

A Summer Reading Camp for Middle School Students

Katherine Sokolowski has tips for a "book club" summer reading camp for middle school students.

Death in Books: Finding Our Way After Loss

Books can help children deal with the toughest challenges in life. In a new booklist, Andie Cunningham shares her top picks for stories about characters grappling with the death of a loved one.

Independent Reading By the Numbers Is NOT Text Complexity

How do you guide students to select books for independent summer reading? Aimee Buckner challenges teachers who are requiring middle students to pick books based solely on Lexile scores.

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