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Shared Reading in the Intermediate Grades

Shari Frost explains why shared reading is valuable for older students, with examples of the practice in the intermediate grades.

Assessing Learning During Student-Led Book Clubs

When middle school students have choice and independence in book clubs they lead themselves, how do you assess their learning and thinking? Katie Doherty provides a variety of question prompts she uses with groups to spark reflection on learning.

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.

Just-Right Poetry and Individualizing Instruction

Shari Frost describes how a sixth-grade teacher provides a range of poetry options to meet the needs of all students.

Beyond Text Features in Nonfiction Instruction

Franki Sibberson considers how the demands of the Common Core and the complex mix of online and offline nonfiction texts are changing the skills she teaches students.

What Information Is Good Information? Smooth and Effective Transitions to Middle School

Gretchen Taylor explains her role in observing Maria’s fifth-grade classroom, and then building a relationship with students and their families.

Shared Reading and Annotation in 6th Grade

Gretchen Taylor explains how she uses that old chestnut The Outsiders with her sixth graders for shared reading and to build skills in annotating text. The article includes a video example of a small group.

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.

Thank You For Arguing

In the second installment of our teaching argument/opinion writing series, Heather Rader uses a continuum dialogue and modeled writing with intermediate students.

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.

I Love a Good Argument

As Heather Rader works with teachers and teams on opinion/argumentative writing, she’s considering the anatomy of an argument and engaging ways to teach it.

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.

What Anchor Charts Are Essential?

Katherine Sokolowski considers what anchor charts are essential in her fifth-grade classroom, and where they work best for posting.

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: Writers’ Notebooks

Writers’ Notebooks are an important tool for writers. Ruth Ayres designed a field experience to showcase how elementary teachers use notebooks with young writers.

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.

Field Experience: Craft Moves for Elementary Writers

This field experience invites us to consider a handful of craft moves to teach young writers in minilessons, conferences and share sessions.

Field Experience: Classroom Tours

Spend time noticing the details that reflect beliefs and influence instruction.  Ruth Ayres set up room tours for a field experience focused on more than trendy spaces.

Field Experience: Small Group Reading Instruction

Small group reading instruction is an important part of elementary literacy. This field experience is a sampling of a variety of examples.

Field Experience: Picture Books and Older Students

The value of picture books with older students is often questioned. Ruth Ayres assembled this field experience to allow insight into the depth and power of picture books for older students.

Field Experience: General Workshop Routines

This field experience invites us to consider the routines of opening the day, workshop norms, meeting areas and transitions to make workshop run smoothly.

Running and Middle School Reading Goals

Gretchen Taylor helps her middle school students analyze their needs as readers and set benchmarks for growth.

Finding a Place for Graphic Novels in My Classroom

Katherine Sokolowski listens to her husband’s sage advice and develops a new relationship with graphic novels that disappear off her classroom shelves.

Making Thinking Visible

A class blog proves to be a surprisingly successful tool for building academic connections within and across classrooms of Gretchen Taylor’s middle school students.

Guiding Groups in Middle School: Reading Poetry

Katie Doherty works with a small group of sixth graders who need extra support as they read the poem “Aspects of Autumn.”

Worldwide Cinderellas

Erin Ocon discovers that worldwide Cinderella stories are a wonderful tool for building community and cultural awareness in her seventh-grade classroom and with English language learners. Erin describes how she uses a range of Cinderella picture books with students, and provides an extensive booklist for expanding your library.

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