Results
A Fiction Writing Field Trip

Every year in writing workshop, my students beg to write fiction. They are well versed in narratives, memoirs, and informational texts. I know I have to teach these units; the...

Like Teacher, Like Student: Finding Emotional Support in Schools

I walk back to my kindergarten classroom and noticed my entire shirt is damp. Gabe’s panic attack before physical education class ignited many other students’ anxieties, and as we waited...

Speed Dating Books

I come back from lunch to join my second block of students, whom I always greet with “Did everyone have a good lunch?” There are the usual grumblings about the...

A Booklist for Grandparents Day

Grandparents are special people for many children. Sometimes they are baby-sitters or day care providers. Sometimes grandchildren live with their grandparents. Sometimes they live far away and only get to...

Why I Stopped Asking, “Where’s Your Pencil?”

In college I became a brain research junkie. I blame my dad. He was an elite pistol shooter, winning national and international titles and obliterating records. He believed in practice...

What Difference Does Difference Make?

One of the most important conversations I have with my students at the beginning of the year is about being different, embracing the ways we are different from others, and...

I Don’t Want to Know What You Did Last Summer: Rethinking Narrative Nonfiction

Maria is already on her second page of writing. She has a lot to say about that family vacation to the beach. She is eager to share the shells she...

Growth Lines

When we began to remodel our home recently, we realized that the opening between the dining room and the kitchen had pencil lines vining up the wall from the late...

Doodlebug

Mrs. Cox was my second-grade teacher. Tall and lean, she had a wide grin and a crazy mess of bright red hair that matched a smattering of freckles all over...

Easing into Workshops: Routines in Third Grade

This quick and silent time-lapse video shows the arrival routine in Leslie Lloyd’s third-grade classroom. Students arrive at different points during a 15-minute stretch each morning, and read the board...

Perfect Frosting and Workshop Routines

The grandkids were coming over for a Sunday meal. The meal would not be complete unless it ended with something chocolate. I wanted to keep the meal simple and child-pleasing...

Read Alouds as “Third Things”

Many things are unpredictable each day in our classroom, but one thing my students can count on is that they will be read to every single day. I read aloud...

The Beginnings of a Middle School Literacy Community

I already missed last year’s students as I led my first-hour class from the gymnasium to my classroom on the first day of school. I was nervous about facing a...

More Than Dr. Seuss Hats: Why Events Matter

I am not usually a fan of reading activities and events. I do not enjoy the days when everyone in the school wears a Dr. Seuss hat, and I do...

Potato the Crow: Blurring the Lines Between Reality, Fantasy, and Play with Young Learners

One fall day as I strolled through the aisles of the dollar store looking for classroom curriculum, I came across an artificial crow.  It was realistic looking, with feathers over...

Anchoring Language

By learning you will teach, by teaching you will learn.                                                               Latin Proverb This spring I walked back into my classroom after being out the day before at a professional...

Worth the Investment

Building classroom community and supporting students as they work out their conflicts with each other is hard work. With today’s pressures in education, opting for quick, teacher-directed consequences and rewards...

Words with Friends

Walking quietly among my preschoolers, I pause to listen to their words flowing around me. I hear children using words they have learned to negotiate play (“Tony, now it is...

Setting Goals During Mini-Celebrations

Last week, I spent some time working in one of our second-grade classrooms. As part of a unit on writing about reading, they are developing opinions around the books that...

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

The other night, I watched the final episode of Mad Men, and even though the characters came out with mostly happy endings, I cried. I cried because I had been...

Closing Out the Year with “Where I’m From”

For nine of the ten years I’ve been teaching, I’ve been in a classroom with eighth graders. Part of what I love so much about this age group is that...