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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Understanding the Middle East Through Children’s Literature (BOOKLIST)

Sheiks, harems, and terrorists — the stereotypes of the middle east from popular culture may not be realistic, but they sure are pervasive. Ruth Shagoury and Andie Cunningham find authentic alternative views to present to children in their new booklist.

The Truth About Building a Writing Community in Middle School

Building a sense of community is complicated in middle school classrooms. Katie Baydo-Reed considers her eighth graders, and is surprised at what endures most with these young teens.

Student-Selected Vocabulary in Middle School

Katie Doherty shares many ways to make vocabulary learning fun in middle school, beginning with students working together to select words to study each week.

Curating the Classroom and School Library

As classroom budgets get tighter, teachers rely more and more on school libraries for books. Erin Ocon describes how she has changed the way she matches books and readers in her middle school classroom, depending more on school library resources and helping her middle school students navigate them.

Eyes on the Fries: Just-Right Books and Reading Peer Pressure in Middle School

Gretchen Taylor addresses the issue of "peer-pressured reading" in middle school reading workshops, with a practical example of how she helped her students move beyond the fad book of the moment to more thoughtful previewing and independent reading choices.

Book Matchmaker: Fairy Tales for Older Readers

Renew older students' interest in fantasy and fairy tales with these suggestions of recent titles from Franki Sibberson.

Value-Added: Moving Assessments from “Inflicted” to “Student-Owned”

Gretchen Taylor looks closely at the superficial reading responses of one student, and then uses a mid-year assessment to challenge all of her middle school readers to think, talk, and write more deeply about their reading.

Creating Anchor Charts with Multiple Classes

It’s a dilemma many middle school teachers face. How do you construct anchor charts with multiple groups of students, when only one chart will be hung in the room?  Katherine Sokolowski explains how she ensures all classes have input and a “clean slate” in constructing charts.

The Apple Doesn’t Fall from the Tree: Nurturing Critical Thinking and Choice with Middle School Writers

Katie Baydo-Reed has to try, try, and try again to get high quality writing and thinking from her eighth graders, but the effort builds independence and reflection.

Opening Doors to Parents in Middle School

Gretchen Taylor finds middle school parents enjoy hearing about their child’s day — it’s just a matter of getting creative in dealing with the large number of families.

Helping Middle School Readers Set Goals

In the final installment of a two-part series, Gretchen Taylor explains how to help middle school readers set goals.

Field Experience: Social-Emotional Learning in Workshop

Compassion and understanding are as important to workshop instruction as strategies and routines. Ruth Ayres compiled a field experience to highlight the way understanding the social-emotional needs of students (and ourselves) allows for safe learning environments.

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