It's one of the big paradoxes of literacy instruction - students best learn how to read and write independently when they have a strong community of support in classrooms. How teachers build those thoughtful, kind, and challenging classroom communities is explained in these resources.
Jan Burkins and Kim Yaris explain how ending the year is all about making space for memories, and provide some texts to help in the process.
Gigi McAllister uses picture books to strengthen her fourth grade classroom community.
Melanie Meehan presents a fun activity for late in the school year that uses the format of The Voice television series.
Gretchen Schroeder finds group composing is a fun way to build community, writing skills, and understanding of how arguments work with her high school students.
Melissa Kolb shares some of her favorite mentor texts for helping preschoolers understand friendship.
When it comes to producing independent readers and writers in classrooms, it’s all about the language we use. Debbie Miller has practical suggestions for bringing out the best in children.
Jan Burkins and Kim Yaris connect their own working lives to those of students, and consider the value of play.
Melanie Meehan suggests some favorite classroom games for building literacy skills.
Prolific children’s book author Laura Purdie Salas explains why you should treat visiting authors like rock stars, with many tips and examples from her writing friends.
Katherine Sokolowski is discouraged when she observes that some students are off-task during literacy workshops. She decides a reflection sheet will be a useful weekly scaffold to support independent monitoring of behavior.
Franki Sibberson discovers we allow students to assess what reading matters most to them, we can learn a remarkable amount.
Shari Frost is alarmed when she realizes how rarely children of color are represented as main characters in book series. She decides to compile a list of multicultural series books.
Andrea Smith explains two routines, Daily News and Fact of the Day, which are key components of her morning meetings.
Some of our students lead such hard lives. Christy Rush-Levine explores how teachers can keep from being dragged into the undertow of the most difficult situations children face.
Gretchen Taylor’s overscheduled middle school students have almost no time for reading outside the classroom. She finds that some reflective inquiry helps them build reading habits at home.
Katie DiCesare’s first graders add to a blends chart during reading transition time.
Why save all the most enjoyable literacy activities for May or June? Gigi McAllister spreads out the fun all year long with literacy events and activities to break up routines.
Jennifer Schwanke has a student who just won't sit still and behave appropriately in her middle school classroom. She finally gives up. That's where the learning begins.
Mandy Robek compiles a list of her favorite books for brain breaks with young learners.
Sean Moore demonstrates two different quick kinesthetic movements to help his second-grade students focus and transition between whole-class instruction segments.
Beth Lawson uses an LCD, whiteboard, and magnetic clips in a clever way during the transition from minilessons to independent writing in writing workshop. Students tag whether they will be working on drafts or conferring with peers as Beth completes her status of the class on the board.
Students transition between home and school with the Community Board in Andrea Smith’s classroom. It’s a lively bulletin board that is updated and discussed daily in her fourth-grade classroom.
Help students transition back to school with minilessons that give children a strong sense of the purpose of literacy workshops.
Maria Caplin uses a getting-to-know-you activity in the first days of school to jumpstart research reading and writing with her fifth-grade students.
Susan Dee uses shoebox autobiographies to build community and relationships with students early in the fall.
Katherine Sokolowski advises teachers to ditch the search for the perfect management system, and instead focus on building relationships early in the school year.
Christy Rush-Levine introduces her middle school students to the complexity of reading on the first day of school.
Franki Sibberson finds an “I Used to and Now I” format helps her third-grade students understand how technology is changing reading habits.
Gigi McAllister finds the ever-popular six-word memoirs are a wonderful way to build community and help students get to know each other.
Mandy Robek shares her favorite texts for building understanding early in the year of writing workshop with young writers. These books are ideal for launching discussions about how writers find ideas.
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