Results
Navigating the Interpretation Process

“Wait.  What’s a symbol?” “I forget. Is the theme what happens in the story?” “Is the setting where the story takes place, or is that the plot?” Let’s face it:...

Observing Skilled Readers

I recently made an interesting observation in my middle school class. My most skilled students, who usually have to read things only once to have a decent grasp of concepts...

The Power of Teaching Journals

When I was in graduate school, we watched videos (yes, I’m old enough that these were VHS videos) of expert teachers instructing and sharing their thoughts and reflections. I loved...

Remembering the Big Picture in Reading Assessments

At bedtime, when reading to my three- and four-year-old daughters, it’s sometimes all I can do just to get through the books. Never mind reading with expression or reacting to...

Making Learning Stick: Learning Progressions and Student-Created Exemplars

As teachers, we have electrifying moments. Those moments when a student shares an interpretation and actually “grows her thinking” right in front of our eyes.  We think, My teaching is...

Can a High-Stakes Assessment Create Readers?

If I were to ask any educator which instructional practices create joyful readers, you might expect to hear any of the following: a rich classroom library, access to just-right books,...

Teaching Constructed Response Before Exams

I arrived in the fourth-grade classroom. The students were seated and  waiting with anticipation; it was not every day that the principal taught a lesson. “Good morning,” I said. “I’m...

Status of the Class: Reflecting on Reading Communities

I have used information from some sort of “status of the class” for most of my teaching years. Asking students at the beginning of reading workshop what they are reading...

A Better Status of the Class

The room was calm and quiet on this Thursday afternoon. Students were settling in to their reading spots and their books. The next 30 minutes would be dedicated to independent...

Releasing the Teaching to Students

I have watched my students grow in many ways since the beginning of the school year. They have picked up various skills, understand the standards and their use more competently,...

Forming Groups Using a Planner

It was late October, and I was feeling great about my one-on-one reading conferences. I was listening more than I was talking, taking succinct but valuable notes, and feeling like...

Don’t Forget to Marvel

“You’re here!” Lora Bieghler said as she bounced into my office. “I’m so glad, because I want you to see this first-grade response to Freckle Juice.” Lora’s arms were full...

Think Small

“Think small” is my new motto. It helps me handle the complicated too-muchness of it all.                                                     Maira Kalman (from And the Pursuit of Happiness) This year, when selecting a...

Secret Reader

I stay modest ’bout it, aye, she elaborate it, aye. —Kendrick Lamar, from “Humble” “I have a secret reader in my class,” Betsy told us at a recent professional development...

Assessing in the Midst: Using Charts and Exit Slips

Melanie Meehan shares some ways teachers can press the pause button in the midst of teaching to assess whether they are teaching the right lesson at the right time. The...

Google It!

“Mom, you’re awesome!” Jordan said as he bounded into the house after wrestling practice. Since Jordan is a teenager, I definitely didn’t let his sweet words go to my head....

Mindful Test-Taking

Have you ever lost yourself in a great book and become unaware of the sounds and events happening around you? Have you ever seen a child so engaged in playing...

Building Habits with Short-Term Goals

During the first two of weeks of writing this school year, we were busy teaching “gathering” minilessons to help students fill their heads and notebooks with writing. Since our first...

Reset

I am spoiled by my DVR. I can sit down and watch my favorite shows whenever I want. I can even skip over commercial breaks. However, every now and then,...

When Students Set Intentions

One of the things my yoga instructor always says at the beginning of class is “Set an intention.” Our intention could be to focus, or maybe to work on a...

Avoiding Flat Tires

This spring, I discovered a colossal flat tire on my bike. Not the kind that an air compressor will help, either—the tire, ripped and frayed, didn’t even adhere to the...