Latest Content
How Do We Know Small-Group Instruction is Effective?

Heather Rader considers how to assess the effectiveness of groups.

Assessing Gifted Readers

Michelle Kelly has an unique problem: what to do with readers who already exceed the standard. With grace and good instruction in mind, she considers alternative assessments.

Coaching Monkey

Heather Rader has advice for literacy coaches looking for honest appraisals of their work from colleagues.

Transitioning to Guide on the Side: Facilitating Collaborative Scoring

Heather Rader wants to transition to more of a guide-on-the-side role as she coaches colleagues.  Here are some simple strategies she uses to move offstage during collaborative scoring workshops.

The Power of Checklists in Primary Literacy Workshops

Knowing our most sophisticated professions use checklists to get it right, Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan share and explain checklists that work well for students.

More Thoughtful Test Preparation: A Conversation with Patrick Allen (PODCAST)

How can teachers connect thoughtful literacy workshops with test preparation?  Patrick Allen has suggestions in this podcast.

Sense of Little Engines

Heather Rader writes about "agency" – the challenge of letting students and teachers take charge of their learning.  In concrete examples from a third-grade classroom and a professional development scoring session with teachers, Heather shares the subtleties of learning to trust, wait, and celebrate when learners of any age are responsible and independent.

Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan on Assessments, Data, and Balance (PODCAST)

As the data pours in throughout the year, it’s hard to keep a sense of balance and purpose.  Tammy Mulligan and Clare Landrigan chat with Franki Sibberson in this podcast about data and balance.

Language in the Classroom: Using a Recorder as a Teaching Resource

Ruth Shagoury provides tips and strategies for analyzing language in the classroom.

Spring Slump

Audrey Alexander takes a close look at a couple of the students in her self-contained resource room, and finds the observations renew her flagging energy.

Coaching for the Test

Two teachers are disappointed in student assessment results, but they have very different approaches to tackling the problem. Heather Rader shares her role as a mentor in assisting her colleagues.

Spring Reading Interviews (TEMPLATE)

Kindergartners may be too young for reading interviews early in the fall, but Mandy Robek finds spring reading interviews are an excellent bridge to families and summer reading suggestions.

Balancing Assessments Through Better Classroom Notes

Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan explain how literacy coaches can validate and support teachers by helping them refine their classroom notetaking skills.

Seven Minutes of Listening

What can we learn by listening closely to children? Plenty — Andie Cunningham shares insights from seven minutes with a young English language learner.

Assessment Conferences: Listening to and Learning from Our Students

Research, decide, and teach – Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan use Lucy Calkins’ wise advice in assessment conferences with children.

Guiding Readers in Kindergarten: A Planning and Assessment Template

If you’re considering guided reading groups in your kindergarten classroom, you’ll want to read Mandy Robek’s advice for getting started and keeping track with a simple planning and assessment form.

Draft Stamps: Moving Learners at All Levels Forward

The draft stamp is a simple tool for tracking and accountability, no matter the age of the learner.

Language Patterns: Reflecting with Transcripts and Wordle

If you are familiar with Wordle, you already know it is a great free tool on the web for creating “word clouds” – visual representations of language.  Heather Rader uses Wordle in her literacy coaching to give new and veteran teachers a succinct and powerful visual representation of their teaching language.

Uncovering Reading Behaviors

Teachers value the assessment of student skills and needs that come from close observation in classrooms, but may not know how to focus those observations.  Ruth Shagoury documents some of those behaviors that put students on the path of becoming accomplished independent readers in a middle school classroom.

Assessment Beyond Levels: The Reading Grid

Is there a great divide in your classroom between numerical data from assessments and your anecdotal notes? Cathy Mere bridges the gap with her class reading grid, a nifty tool for recording and analyzing a whole classroom’s worth of student assessment data on one page.  A template is included.

Making Data Analysis a Motivating and Worthwhile Process

Tammy Mulligan and Clare Landrigan have ideas for staying motivated while analyzing data.  If you’re drowning in assessments, there are a few lifelines in this piece.

It’s Not the Assessment – It’s How You Use It

Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan discuss ways teachers can get the most out of any assessment data collected early in the year, moving beyond numbers for insights into how to structure and target instruction.

Creating Data Teams

Literacy leaders are spending more and more time organizing, compiling, and storing assessment data, often leaving little time to analyze the findings with teachers.  Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan explain the value of enlisting tech support to assist with the data load.

Understanding Students in Intervention Programs

Using data to make wise decisions about students who are struggling is one of the most important tasks in schools. In this series, Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan take you through the process of linking data to instruction plans in intervention programs.

Sharing Data with Families at Parent/Teacher Conferences

How can teachers use assessment data in conferences with parents, without overwhelming them with information?  Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan recommend a "data snippets" approach.

Implementing RTI: Keeping Students at the Heart of Our Conversations

Jennifer Allen provides some prompts for staff discussions about Response to Intervention to  help you connect long-term goals and beliefs with short-term strategies.

Assessment in Writing Workshops: Considering Students

What does formative assessment look like in practice? Katie DiCesare shares her assessment insights in these brief case studies of two first-grade students.

Getting and Giving Student Feedback

How can we help students be more reflective in our classrooms, giving us the feedback we need to make them better places for learning? Heather Rader has suggestions.

Countdown: Keeping Children at the Center of My Plans for the New Year

Cathy Mere reminds us that the excitement of facing new students is always tempered and enriched by the lessons from last year’s students we carry with us.

The DIBELS Divide (LITERACY COACH CONFIDENTIAL)

A curriculum coordinator loves DIBELS; a first-grade teacher doesn't.  We provide a range of suggestions from our contributors on dealing with disagreements over assessment.  This article is useful for teachers and literacy leaders who are working together with assessment data early in the year, no matter what evaluative system your school or district has in place.

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