Play is our brain’s favorite way of learning.
“Eeeek! A shark!” Josue points to the page Dianna is working on in writing workshop.
Dianna keeps coloring with an ocean-blue crayon and says, “Watch out! He’ll eat you!”
Josue jerks his finger back. “Bad shark!” he reprimands.
I’m in a kindergarten writing workshop at West Goshen Elementary School in northern Indiana. It is a bustling place.
Often I go into workshops where a soft tone has been established. I’ve written about these classrooms. There are twinkling lights, and quiet music plays while a fire crackles on the smartboard. Children sprawl on the carpet in front of the “fire” while others hole up under tables. They are writing and there is a gentle hum of conversation.
There is nothing quiet about the writers I’m hanging out with at West Goshen today. They are animated. They are chatting about sharks and fun at the mall. They are discussing spaces between words and ending sounds. They gather around their tables and share crayons and pencils. Some stand, some sit, most wiggle. They are writing, and there is a roar of conversation.
There are many ways to establish a culture of writers, but the first step always begins with the heart. It isn’t about the noise level or the soft lighting, but rather a group of people who write together and grow together.
This week we look at word learning. Plus more as always—enjoy!
Editor, Choice Literacy
Bitsy Parks shares some of her favorite strategies for quick and meaningful word work groups in her first-grade classroom.
Gretchen Schroeder finds that any vocabulary routine eventually gets stale in her high school classroom. She presents a couple of favorite options for reinvigorating word learning.
The snap word train is a fun activity to help young learners master high-frequency words.
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Tammy Mulligan finds shared writing is her go-to strategy for teaching young learners online.
Melanie Quinn reconsiders how she teaches spelling in her fourth-grade classroom, establishing a new whiteboard routine.
In this week’s video, Melissa Atwood leads a first-grade guided reading group. The focus at the start of the lesson is on blends in words. This is the first video in a two-part series.
In an encore video, Dana Murphy meets with a group of fifth graders to work on strategies for understanding unknown words.
Teacher Tara Barnett and Literacy Coach Kate Mills create a “labsite” for exploring vocabulary development—a classroom-based inquiry plan for a group of teachers to observe instruction with young learners.
Julie Wright designs a half-day professional development session to help teachers analyze assessment data and design a schedule to address word learning needs.
Holly Hagman shows how simple changes in teacher vocabulary can make a world of difference in how students approach challenging tasks.
All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind.
That’s all for this week!