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The Other Buddy: How Partnership Programs Help Older Readers

“Hey! Watch where you’re going!” shouted a well-groomed, confident-looking boy. “Sorry,” muttered his assailant. The third graders were entering the classroom to read with their first-grade reading buddies. The “assailant”...

Opinion Exchange: A Workshop Activity for Study Groups

What do new teachers need to keep them going that difficult first year? In our first session with new teachers in October, our room was filled with the stories of...

Helping Young Readers Understand the Middle East: A Booklist of the Best Fiction Picture Books

I still remember the first time I read Day of Ahmed’s Secret. I showed the book to colleagues and friends, telling them, "He looks just like my uncle Girgi! " or...

The “All About Us” Board: Linking Literacy and Community Building All Year Long

One activity that supports our community building and literacy development all year is the “All About Us” bulletin board. In preparation I divide my largest bulletin board into as many...

Opinion Exchange (E-GUIDE)

An "Opinion Exchange" is a wonderful activity for a study group session or faculty meeting to explore beliefs and build community around an area of interest. The activity also fosters...

The Read-Around: Raising Writers

The read-around is the classroom equivalent to quilt making or barn raising. It is the public space — the zocolo or town square — of my room. During our read-arounds,...

Every Language Counts: Adding Multilingual Counting Activities to Morning Meeting

Every year I have children who come from homes with many different first languages. In the past year alone, first languages included English, Spanish, Hmong, Cantonese, Vietnamese, and Russian. One...

Let’s Get Some Attitude

"All our attitudes come out in language," says English maven Robert MacNeil. Not just thoughts. Not just ideas. Not just imaginings. Attitudes. Maybe that's part of what's missing in those...

Boys’ Book Club in Second Grade

    “The girls started it.” That’s how Linda remembers book clubs were born in second grade. Two girls had become interested in the Warriors series by Erin Hunter and...

The Difference Between Conferring and “Touching Base”

Sometimes when I talk with teachers about creating “the luscious feeling of endless time,” they look at me like I’ve lost my mind. They tell me they love the idea,...

Whole Class Interviews: Building Community in Writing Workshop (TEMPLATE)

As I begin to set up my classroom, I can’t help but think back to Jonathan’s comment on our last day of school a few years ago in June. We...

A Student Book of Awesome

What do working on trucks, potatoes, and Christmas morning have in common? They are all things deemed “awesome” by my students and which are now forever commemorated in the official...

Building Writer Relationships with Author Studies

“Could you announce that it is Dav Pilkey’s birthday today?” The second graders’ earnest request in my office was met with an “Of course!” from me. Pilkey’s birthday announcement was...

Book Matchmaker: Read Alouds That Invite Young Readers to Participate

There is nothing like a great story that naturally invites readers to join in. Our youngest students love those repeated phrases, and don’t need a prompt to jump right into...

Lifting the Quality of Peer Response

Helping children learn to listen to each other well and give feedback takes a great deal of time. For many years, I just assumed that kids intuitively knew how to...

Connecting with Students at Home

Our first three days of remote learning were a whirlwind. I created lessons for my third-grade students and posted them for the students to access and complete. Students did the...

Word Study Literacy Team Meeting

    The literacy team is a group of teachers who meet once or twice a month to study and discuss literacy across the whole school. The team consists of...

Classroom Tours: Learning from Colleagues

A few years ago we had someone from outside our school community do a walkthrough of classrooms in our building, to help us figure out how we could create better...

In Praise of Handwritten Notes

When asked what was the most important thing she wanted to teach her students, long-time kindergarten teacher Isabel Beaton replied, “The art of gracious living!” Whether you’re five or fifty,...

A Hand to Hold: Crying and Community in Preschool

It was January, the time when I look forward to being able to do more extensive, focused, and creative lessons with my preschoolers. By January, early fall’s focus on developing...