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Free-Range Learning with Nonfiction Part 2: Infographics and Maps

Andrea Smith shares the final installment of her series on the value of free-range learning in helping students explore nonfiction.

Free Range Learning with Nonfiction (Part 1)

Andrea Smith's students explore nonfiction through free-range roaming. She explains how she sets up expectations and resources early in the year in this first installment of a two-part series.

Minilesson: Tips for Book Talks

Gigi McAllister gives a minilesson on engaging book talks to her fourth graders.

Setting Weekly Goals

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills share the process of helping students set weekly goals and then reflect on their progress every Friday.

Quick Take: Evolving Beliefs About Goals

Gigi McAllister gives a brief explanation of how her thinking on goal setting has changed, as well as the ways she uses student goals to connect with parents.

Minilesson: Measurable Reading Goals in Fourth Grade

Gigi McAllister has her fourth graders consider what makes a reading goal measurable.

Celebrating Completed Books and Presenting New Ones

Gigi McAllister shares a quick daily routine of asking students to celebrate books they have finished reading before she introduces a new book to the class.

Growing Writing Stamina

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills have a confession to make: in the first weeks of school, many of their fourth-grade students didn’t write much at all in workshops. It was only after tackling the issue of writing stamina head-on that they saw rapid progress.

Getting Started with Voice Recorded Responses

Gigi MicAllister gives step-by-step advice on how she set up voice-recorded response as an option in her fourth-grade classroom.

Supporting Brave Writers

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills use the Sara Bareilles song “Brave” to help their fourth-grade students move from bed-to-bed stories to more emotive writing early in the year.

Partner Conference: Audiobooks to Support Comprehension

In this week's video, Gigi McAllister meets with two fourth graders who are reading the book Paper Things, talking about how using an audiobook can support comprehension.

Branding Blogs (Part 3)

Andrea Smith concludes her series on the power of branded student blogs in her fourth-grade classroom.

Best First Drafts

Ruth Ayres confers with fourth grader Nicole and reinforces advice from her mom about capitalizing proper nouns, as well as the importance of applying what you know about conventions in first drafts.

Previewing a Book with Zoe

Andrea Smith uses a reading conference with fourth grader Zoe to preview a book.

Bridging the Gap Between Intervention and the Classroom

Kate Mills and Tara Barnett share strategies for building bridges between intervention and classroom instruction.

Charts as Tools, Charts as Teachers

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills give three principles they use to help avoid the “charts as wallpaper” syndrome in their fourth-grade classroom.

Mentors for Process and Habits

Ruth Ayres shares some of her favorite mentors and mentor texts for developing good writing processes and habits.

Introducing the Classroom Library

Andrea Smith shares a sequence of lessons she uses to introduce the classroom library to her fourth-grade students.

Prepping the Meeting Area for Success

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills describe how they set up their meeting area with the right supplies to build community and student independence.

Student-Centered Room Setup

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills describe the principles they use to design a student-centered classroom.

Trying on Books for Reading Groups

Gigi McAllister finds taking time to have students browse texts before forming book clubs makes all the difference in the quality of the discussions.

A Place to Belong

Andrea Smith reflects on preparing to say goodbye to students and her teaching partner of many years. If you have a favorite colleague who is retiring, you may want to get a hankie ready before you read this one.

An Individualized Conventions Checklist

Melanie Meehan finds that a flexible conventions checklist that students develop according to their own needs is the best way to ensure conventions are taught in the context of authentic student work.

Strategies for Elaboration in Opinion Writing

Melanie Meehan works with fifth graders who are struggling to elaborate on themes in their opinion writing.

Weaving in Poetry

Gigi McAllister shares suggestions for infusing poetry throughout classrooms and the literacy curriculum all year long.

Owl Research Brainstorming: Partner Work

Andrea Smith’s fourth graders are working on an Owl Research project that integrates reading, writing, talking, listening, and content literacy.

Alternatives to Home/School Reading Logs

There may be few literacy homework assignments more despised by families than the dreaded reading log. Gigi McAllister proposes some alternatives, and explains how she keeps families in the loop on reading progress.

Reorganizing the Classroom Library

Gigi McAllister reorganizes her classroom library checkout system, and finds that a little upfront investment in time pays big dividends all year long.

Restarting a Writing Draft in Fourth Grade

Beth Lawson confers with Michael, a fourth-grade writer who struggles with focus and basic conventions.

Using Reading Notebook Covers for Reflection and Goal Setting

Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan are using reading notebook covers in ingenious ways.

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