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Prompting and Support

Mandy Robek demonstrates the strategies of teach, prompt, and reinforce when conferring with kindergartner Jeri.

An Individualized Conventions Checklist

A refrain I hear all the time is “I teach conventions, and they don’t show up in student writing.” As the writing coordinator for our district, I am in classrooms...

Read Alouds and Standards

“Oh, man, you missed the best part yesterday!” “I couldn’t believe I never saw that happening.” “My prediction was all wrong, and I totally had to revise it.” Read-aloud is...

Invitations for Narrative Writing

I remember the stunning memoir written by a high school freshman titled “I Don’t Want to Write About Last Summer.” In it she captured the highs and lows of her...

Literary Analysis and Authenticity in Middle School

Literary analysis essays are scary. They sound so serious and formal. Although I know it is the style of writing that will be required of my eighth graders most often...

Close Reading for Comparison in Fifth Grade

I am always on the lookout for a great picture book to use in a minilesson. One skill my fifth graders struggle with is comparison, in texts, across texts, which...

Embracing Standards in Creative Ways

I am learning to let go of my frustration over new standards that leave a gaping hole between where we were in the past and where we need to be...

Big Idea: First-Grade Lesson

Bitsy Parks introduces her first graders to the concept of theme.    

Student Learning Targets

I recently came across this comic from Baldo by Cantú and Castellanos via a family member whose hobbies include archery. In the comic, a young girl is using a bow...

Infographics and the Common Core: Resources and Standards

Infographics are intentionally selected or designed visual images such as graphs, charts, or diagrams used to represent ideas, information, or data. Using both text and images, well-designed infographics help writers...

Frog and Toad and Tina and Maya: A Precocious Kindergarten Reading Group

In March, Ms. Kelso invited me into her kindergarten classroom to work with some of her advanced readers. The end of the school year in Honolulu was bearing down on...

Using Lord of the Flies to Teach Argument

The Common Core’s push for greater focus on argumentative writing has made me reexamine how and why I use certain texts in the classroom. I have, like many other high...

Explore: Time for Nonfiction

My desire for intentional time set aside to read nonfiction led to the development of a routine in my class called Explore. I set aside time within our weekly schedule...

Shorter Research Projects: Rethinking Notetaking Strategies

Research in fifth grade can be mind-numbing. Add notetaking into that equation, and you are in for an exhausting unit. Notetaking in the world of fifth graders is always tricky....

Addressing Conventions: Conferring with Jack

Katie DiCesare works with a first grader on the strategy of rereading one’s writing to address conventions and revise the title and ending.

Using Close Reading to Analyze Propaganda

Dystopian literature was wildly popular in my sixth-grade classroom last year, and I anticipate it will continue to be, so I decided to capture that enthusiasm and build a unit...

Kindergarten Moments Count: Morning Message

The morning message is an activity I use to introduce and reinforce several different skills in my kindergarten classroom. It is also a process that evolves as the year progresses....

March Literacy Contracts: Nonfiction Curiosities

Spring is arriving in March, and with it, a renewed sense of curiosity and enthusiasm. Spring gives us a bounce in our step, more energy, and a desire to learn...

Bracketology

It was March 2013. Brackets were everywhere you turned. March Madness had taken over NBA basketball. I was participating in Madness poetry-writing tournament. Our fifth graders were writing persuasively and...

Stuck on a Thesis

In this conference with a 4th grader, Beth Lawson works with a student who has chosen a challenging essay topic and is struggling to develop his thesis.

Making the Most of Short Texts

The Common Core State Standards are still on the horizon for 5th grade in my district. But, like the first time you see the distant, shadowy shape of Pikes Peak...