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Reinforcing Workshop Norms

In this quick video, Dana Murphy shows how she leads her fifth graders with a kinesthetic reminder of workshop norms before beginning independent work.

Circle Share

It had been an intense day of finishing the rough drafts of our memoirs. My students were really putting themselves on the page, and I had been moved nearly to...

Minimizing Interruptions During Workshops

I have two young children at home, so believe me, I am accustomed to interruptions. I am used to the call of “Moooommmm!” right when I sit down to fold...

Raising Student Voices: Mentor Texts

I’ve never really gotten over watching A Muslim and Jewish Girl’s Bold Poetry Slam on YouTube. Amina Iro and Hannah Halpern share their poem about the way the world sees...

Moving from Interactive Read Alouds to Book Clubs

The first time I met with my neighborhood book club, I was nervous. I wondered, Should I bring notes? Will my ideas be “literary” enough to share with the group?...

Read Aloud in Middle School

My first 20 years of teaching were spent in elementary school. Over that time period, from a few years at lower elementary to 16 at fourth and fifth grade, one...

More Thoughtful Read Alouds

Franki Sibberson shares strategies for deeper reflection from students during read aloud to help them move beyond “like/don’t like” responses to books. The strategies include pausing for written reflection, partner...

Grand Conversations and Read Aloud

“Wait a minute. Is there a turtle in this book or not? Are you saying that the turtle shell is a way to describe the preacher’s feelings? I completely missed...

Jane Goodall Inquiry: Introducing Expectations

At the start of the school year I like to ease my students into the type of learning we will do throughout the year. In seventh grade we share text,...

Interactive Read Aloud and the Whole-Class Notebook

There are moments during read aloud that feel almost magical: when students lean in as the plot twists and turns, or when they snicker as they understand the author’s play...

Student Greeting

Students in the first-grade classroom of Bitsy Parks lead a morning greeting at the start of the day. It’s a quick activity to check attendance, build reading skills, and help...

Linking Literacy and Community at the Start of the Year

At the start of the school year, teachers everywhere strive to build community. A sense of community is vital to our literacy classrooms, so we search for activities to launch...

Strategies for Sustaining Student Attention

Last October, my family got a puppy. I have extensive experience with dogs from my childhood and pre-parenthood days. I know a few things about training a puppy into a...

Forgetting and Remembering

Mr. Pim, my seventh-grade math teacher, had a trademark phrase he used when a student forgot something—a homework assignment, a parent signature, the required brown-paper-bag textbook cover. “I forgot,” the...

Setting and Using Classroom Norms

The fifth graders are sitting in our meeting area, some sitting cross-legged on the carpet and some perched on surrounding stools and benches. The minilesson is coming to a close...

Homework: I Challenge You!

Excitement filled the air. Through every hallway, in every classroom, students were brimming with joy. It was Fun Run time once again. During this two-week fund-raiser, students remained eager to...

Becoming More Inclusive

We are having more and more conversations in our district and beyond that address the importance of inclusive practices in all aspects of education. At a recent faculty meeting, we...

Whose Point of View Matters? Considering Multiple Perspectives

As the students transitioned from the minilesson to independent reading, I saw one student kick another student’s book. It was a soft kick—basically a tap—but it happened. One student was...

Fewer Books and More Options at the End of the Year

As the end of year approaches, we all receive that dreaded email. The one that reads something like this: Dear Friend, It’s hard to believe it is already May 1....

Who Owns the Learning?

Author Gary D. Schmidt visited our school this morning. I have known for a long time through books like Okay for Now, What Came from the Stars, and Trouble that...

Slowing Down

During the rush to retrieve my class after lunch, I saw Olivia crying as she was running to get a spot in line. Her arms were cradling a coat, food...