Results
Integrating Student Teachers into Literacy Workshops

Entering my 17th year of teaching, I have had my share of student teachers in the classroom. Since transitioning to a workshop classroom for language arts several years ago, I...

New Teachers: The Power of Inexperience

Recently, some teachers in my school were discussing books our elementary students have loved over the years. Someone brought up Harry Potter. “Oh I remember that,” said a first-year teacher....

Evaluating the Literacy Classroom

In my career as an educator, the way teachers are evaluated has changed dramatically.  I have a clear memory of my first evaluation.  My stomach was clenched in first-year teacher...

Discussing Observations with New Teachers

Jennifer Allen’s new teacher group discusses what they learn from classroom observations in this video taped early in the fall.  

Assessment and Curriculum Mapping

In this video from a new teacher study group for grades 3-5 teachers, Jennifer Allen demonstrates how teachers can use assessment data to develop instructional plans for individual students, and create curriculum maps for an entire class.

Word Choice Lesson: A Collaborative Coaching Session

Jennifer Allen collaborates with a new teacher, Jessica, early in the fall to teach a lesson in Jessica’s 4th grade classroom. Click here to download the workshop guide. COMMON CORE...

Making Assumptions

It had been a rough morning. I'd spent the last two-and-a-half hours in jaw-tightening silence, watching a novice teacher making misstep after misstep in his classroom. In my capacity as...

Literacy Coaching and Student Work with Diane Sweeney (PODCAST)

Diane Sweeney is the author of Student-Centered Coaching: A Guide for K-8 Coaches and Principals. In this podcast with Heather Rader, she talks about the dangers of focusing too much on...

You’ve Got to Be Joking

Kai’s class was “obnoxious” (in his words). I’m accustomed to working with high-energy kids in need of redirection, but some days even I had to admit they knocked the wind...

Literacy Groundings

One thing I find educators cannot talk enough about is their personal literacy histories, that fundamental grounding of how they became literate. What happened in their lives that impacted who...

Supporting New Teachers and Appreciating Their Gifts

The research is clear and the statistics are grim. The most important factor which influences student achievement is the skill of the teacher, yet we lose more than 50% of...

On Their Own (Almost): Coaching and Classroom Demonstrations Mid-Year

In this video filmed in mid-January, Jennifer Allen observes new teacher Jessica, and explains how she struggles to redefine her role in the classroom.    

Can I Quote You on That?: Capturing Classroom Conversation

Sometimes inspiration for my teaching life comes from seemingly disparate experiences in my personal life. I spent a recent Saturday afternoon surrounded by a gaggle of giddy women who had...

The Superpower of Reflecting

What is your superpower? Are you a great listener, storyteller, misconception spotter, advocate, or feedback giver? Educators have a multitude of superpowers, and we'll focus here on one that takes...

What’s the Evidence?

The first and most brutal fact that must be confronted in creating professional learning communities is that the task is not merely challenging: it is daunting. It is disingenuous to...

Conferring with Parents (Part 2)

Here are some suggestions from Choice Literacy Contributors about the best ways to have high quality parent conferences, with everything from pre-conference connections to electronic adaptations. This is the second...

Working with Adults: Structuring Effective Conferring

Most of us acquire the ability to run shortly after we learn to walk. Although the movement is second nature, given the choice, many of us choose not to engage...

Acquiring Knowledge Two or Three Strategies at a Time

"Hey, Papi! What is that crop growing over there?" My dad responds patiently to repeated requests by my nine-year-old son, Jack, to identify exactly what is growing in the fertile...

Books with Overlooked Potential for Launching the School Year (and Ideas for Using Them with Students)

Editor’s Note: Teachers often have cherished favorite books for launching the school year, and it’s no wonder. We know how students will respond based on our experiences in previous years, and...

Favorite Short Mentor Texts for Demonstration Lessons

Teachers and coaches often ask us for a list of mentor texts to teach a particular strategy or genre unit of study. While we certainly have some favorites, we truly...

Lesson Structure: Building a Strong Foundation

The experts will tell you, “Add sand to water, but not water to sand,” when building structures on the beach. You must have a strong foundation for a sculpture that...