Results
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...

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...

Transition Time in Middle School

In the past year, I’ve started taking what my husband calls “insanely hard workout classes.” I’ve never sweated so intensely, cursed (usually silently) so frequently, or struggled so mightily to...

Making the Most of Transitions

If you’re anything like us, September is exciting in its newness. It can also be challenging because of your memory of what it’s like to teach the kids you taught...

Reflective Transitions

Christy Rush-Levine helps her eighth-grade students launch the work period with a reflective question, and then returns to it throughout the morning during transition times.    

Building a Writing Community in Middle School

In this 12-minute video, Katie Doherty leads her sixth-grade students as they try the prompt "I am the one who . . ." during writing workshop. This is an excellent activity for building classroom community.

Student Interest Board

Katherine Sokolowski shares a wall display from her fifth graders that students build to celebrate who they are and people they love from home.

Creating a Space for Peace

A week after winter break, there were more tears than smiles in my classroom. Like most first-grade classrooms, we had our share of disagreements and upset feelings, but the difference...

Fostering Thinking Through Play

Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.                                                                                                        Fred...

Last Chance Workshop

The narrative writing unit had gone on for way longer than I had planned. I had a stack of papers that demanded feedback and not enough time to give them...

Nonfiction Research Group in Fifth Grade

Katherine Sokolowski meets with a group of her fifth graders who are all researching the use of nets in fishing and the environmental effects of the process. She works to...

Lester Laminack on Bullying (PODCAST)

In this podcast, Franki Sibberson chats with Lester Laminack about bullying. Lester is the author of beloved books for children and teachers, including Saturdays and Teacakes and Unwrapping the Read Aloud. You...

Writing for Reflection at the End of the Year

The end of the year is a struggle for me. I worry I haven’t taught enough, talked enough, or shared enough. I want to keep them with me. I know...

Amazing Race

At the end of the school year, I am always looking for ways to keep my students motivated. Anything that can inject some energy into a lesson, or better yet,...

Purposeful Partners

What teacher hasn’t experienced the subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) position shifting that happens when students are asked to turn and talk? If kids haven’t already chosen a spot on the...

A Place to Belong

It is early spring, and like all teachers, I am gearing up for the wild ride of school days that race like two-track roller coasters starting in April through the...

Picking a Partner: Demonstration Lesson and Debrief

In this demonstration lesson from a K-2 classroom, Joan Moser leads students through guided practice in picking a partner.

SITO: Self-Imposed Time-Out

Last school year was my most challenging in terms of classroom management. I was faced with more students who had greater emotional needs than ever before—students neglected by absentee parents,...

Stamina Bubbles

I sat down next to Sarah to listen in on her reading when she whispered, “Why do you always say ‘Happy reading!’ to us when we begin?” Her question caught...