Something bad was happening in Katie Doherty’s middle school classroom—it was time to rebuild the class community with a reality check.
There's so much to do during the first weeks of school, but it's important not to skip the most important thing – building a sense of community with your students.
How do teachers bring new students up to speed with ongoing assignments? In this video from Katie Doherty’s middle school classroom, Katie presents the latest “Literary Letters” assignment to her 6th graders. It is early spring, and all but two of the students have experience with this writing assignment.
Want to get your middle school students’ attention on the first day of school? Read a book about how to ruin it for them.
In this first video in a three-part series, Katie Doherty leads her 6th graders through a response activity. The text they are reading was written by a middle school student over a decade ago, and its themes of popularity and belonging still ring true for students.
Erin Ocon and her middle-school students observe some political activists passing out pamphlets outside the building for a few moments. Voila – the pamphlet project is born.Â Pamphlets are the perfect genre for teaching persuasion and summary, two key skills highlighted in the Common Core.
In this quick take video, Franki Sibberson gives advice for dealing with "book hogs" — those students who try to grab any new book when it appears in the classroom library.
Erin Ocon finds pamphlets are a terrific format for teaching her middle-school students persuasive writing and summary skills. In this essay she explains how to use pamphlets for book recommendations. This is the second installment in a two-part series.
In this second video in a three-part series, Katie Doherty leads her 6th graders through a response activity. In this installment, the students respond orally and share some of their writing, making links to pop culture and other books from reading workshop.
Katie Doherty works closely with a student who has an unusual request – he wants to take home a basal anthology for "pleasure reading." She puts a different text in his hands, and uses what she learns from the experience to design a for lesson her 6th grade students.
In this third video in a three-part series, Katie Doherty leads her 6th graders through a response activity. The text they are reading was written by a middle school student over a decade ago, and its themes of popularity and belonging still ring true for students. In this installment, Katie debriefs with students about the value of the writing activity.
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.
In this first video in a two-part series, Katie Doherty meets with her sixth-grade students who will be sharing their book recommendations with the class.
In this second video in a two-part series, Katie Doherty's sixth-grade students share their book recommendations with the class. Students work from a template provided by Katie to ensure their presentations are brief, thoughtful, and connected to reading workshop.
Choice Literacy readers share some of their favorite read alouds for the last days of school.
Choice Literacy readers share their favorite gifts for students to make and take home at the end of the year.
What teenager doesn't enjoy critiquing everything in the world? Erin Ocon puts that judgmental passion to good use in her classroom with a book review assignment.
Choice Literacy readers share more of their favorite end-of-year gifts for students to make and take home.
Choice Literacy readers share their favorite end-of-year activities that circle back to events from the start of the school year.
The care and use of the lowly pencil in classrooms says a lot about what we value and our relationships with students.
Choice Literacy readers share their favorite read alouds for the start of the year.
In this 12-minute video, Katie Doherty leads her sixth-grade students as they try the prompt “I am the one who . . .” during writing workshop. This is an excellent activity for building classroom community.
In this two-minute quick-take video, Katie Doherty explains the choices students have in her sixth-grade reading workshop.
Many students in the upper elementary and middle school grades shun all picture books, yet they are an invaluable resource for teaching sophisticated literacy concepts. Franki Sibberson explains how to teach the concept of theme using picture books in this booklist.
ERP. The sound can't help but make you grin. It's Heather Rader's acronym for Explicit Revision for Peers, a series of one-minute kinesthetic writing routines to help students learn how to help each other kindly during writer's workshop.
Are your students getting bored with vocabulary routines? Katie Doherty invents a quick and fun game, Vocabrity, to help her middle school students learn words.
Carol Wilcox prepares her struggling intermediate readers for state exams, and finally experiences a breakthrough in linking vocabulary learning to authentic reading.
Ann Marie Corgill switches from a 1st to 6th grade classroom, and finds herself immersed in rethinking the “learning landscape” as she unpacks boxes and sets up her classroom. While the room looks a little different, the principles for classroom design are the same. She shares her process in this photo essay.
How does sarcasm hurt students? Heather Rader counts the ways.
Katie Doherty and Ruth Shagoury present a fun way to launch (or close) the year with middle schoolers and discover the best-loved books of students from previous years. This project can be adapted for any age level.
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