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Monday Headlines

A few years into our teaching career, we came across the idea of using time on Monday mornings to have our students tell stories from their weekend. The idea was...

Reading Ambassadors

This year I decided to try something new. I thought there was a need for students to hear their peers talk about reading. I had noticed that students would read...

Building Excitement for Book Awards

I get excited about the American Library Association announcement of book awards at the end of January. I love to read through blogs and websites to find out which books...

Hosting Reading and Writing Events

“Is it true that we get a copy of the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid book next year?” an incoming fourth grader askd on step-up day. He was referring...

Supporting Introverts in Fifth Grade

I was the quiet child in your classroom. I liked to sit in the back, ideally behind a tall classmate, and didn’t speak unless it was required. Because of this,...

Starting the Day with Literacy

The halls have cleared and I’ve said goodbye to my last former student who stopped in for a visit on his way to his class. I walk into my classroom...

Reminder Notes

This sweet invitation—"you can come to my basketball game"—greets me after children have been dismissed for the day and I’m cleaning up my teaching area. It is common to find...

Read-Aloud Gone Awry

Some years back, I was reading a book aloud to my seventh graders. We weren’t yet to the halfway point, and I was happily enjoying the whole thing—I loved the...

In Search of Just-Right Reading Spots

Think about your favorite reading spot. Maybe it’s the lounge chair by the window, the recliner in the den, or the rocking chair on the porch. Whatever and wherever it...

Supporting Brave Writers

Say what you want to say, and let the words fall out. —Sara Bareilles, "Brave" Usually, when we look at the on-demand writing prompts that we give our fourth graders...

Introverts and Reading Share Sessions

In this brief video from a reading share session in first grade, Katie DiCesare has three students describe strategies they used during reading workshop.

Creating a Culture of Book Love

Readers are made, not born. Few students spring out of the ground fully formed as readers. They need help, and we cannot assume that they will get it from home,...

An Identity of Success

In the first few days of school, I overheard teachers, fingers hovering over electronic tablets, warning students who weren’t standing quietly enough in line that they would be losing points...

An Unconventional Scavenger Hunt: Finding Errors

I have always been flummoxed when I see simple, silly errors in grammar and spelling that is presented to the public—particularly when done by professionals. From advertising to journalistic print,...

Guidelines for Posting Online

Katherine Sokolowski describes a wall display with guidelines to ensure students are respectful and aware of the pitfalls of posting online.  

Padlet Possibilities

Far and away the most-used technology resource in my fifth-grade classroom is Padlet. Padlet is simply a website. I think of it as an online bulletin board. There are two...

Opening the Year with Optimism

It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.                                                            Henry David Thoreau In early August I invited my students from last year to meet up with...

Better Mondays Through Quick-Writes

It was one of those Mondays. My students came to me with that glazed-over, deer-in-the-headlights look, and it didn’t seem like they were going to engage with me. I asked...

Critical Thinking and Captain Underpants

Unfortunately, middle school students who are considered struggling readers are often treated as if they are also struggling thinkers. However, in my experience the two rarely go hand in hand....

Who Owns the Room?

A professor in my graduate work in elementary education taught me many years ago to look at the classroom and ask, “Who owns the room?” She cautioned that was “our”...

“What Are We Learning Today?”: Transitioning with Compelling Questions

"What are we learning today?" I used to hear this every day, every class period, from at least half of my seventh-grade social studies students. It was frustrating. I used...