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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 Worldwide Cinderella stories are a wonderful tool for building community and cultural awareness in her 7th 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.

Quick Take: Using Timers in Middle School Writing Workshops

In this video quick take, Katie Doherty explains why she finds a timer helpful in her middle school writing workshop.

Middle School Conferring About a Series

In this video from Katie Doherty’s sixth-grade classroom, Katie confers with a student who has returned to a series book she had previously rejected. Katie weaves in talk about strategies, particularly inferring (a focus of whole-class minilessons).

Conferring About Inferring

This reading conference from Katie Doherty’s middle school classroom builds on the whole-class lesson, and demonstrates the value of partner reading for older students.

Matching Students to Nonfiction Texts in Grades 3-6 (BOOKLIST)

In this booklist, Mary Lee Hahn offers creative categories for considering readers in new ways.

Sixth-Grade Lesson: Editing for Conventions

In this lesson with her sixth graders, Pam Pogson talks about a goal many students have mentioned during writing conferences: editing for conventions. This brief lesson gives everyone a chance to brainstorm common errors and fixes.

Extreme Makeover: Revision Edition

Heather Rader finds short text and shared modeling of revision strategies are just the scaffolds students need to see the power of revision for improving writing.

Getting Started with Sentence Observations

Karen Terlecky details the assessments and preparation that goes into the design of her sentence observation program.

Conferring with Tweens: Boys and Series Books

In this conference from a 6th grade classroom, Katie Doherty confers with a boy who is reading a book from a series she is unfamiliar with – watch how she engages the child to learn about the series and refocus the discussion on skills and goals.

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