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The Importance of Correct Examples

I have not had many struggles with spelling and conventions in my life. That being said, there are a couple of words I know are hard for me. Embarrass is...

Practical Advice for Dealing with Messy Handwriting

Do struggles with handwriting matter? They do when a student can’t even decipher his own words. Katherine Sokolowski confers with fifth grader Sauvi to help him find solutions to the...

Building Habits with Short-Term Goals

During the first two of weeks of writing this school year, we were busy teaching “gathering” minilessons to help students fill their heads and notebooks with writing. Since our first...

When Students Set Intentions

One of the things my yoga instructor always says at the beginning of class is “Set an intention.” Our intention could be to focus, or maybe to work on a...

First-Grade Writing Conference: Celebrations to Suggestions

Katrina Edwards begins her conference with first grader Allen by celebrating all he is doing well in his writing. She highlights his language and details in writing before moving on...

Sharing Writing in a Class Celebration

Does celebration matter? Is celebration essential to the business of developing meaningful, conventional, and powerful writers? When there is more to teach and meeting all the needs of students as...

Past Midnight

                                    —remembering Eva         she rides a river of words  like a floater in a rip tide.  Rogue waves strain for space  outside the breaking zone.  ...

The Power of Similes

Write a good simile for me. Go ahead; I’ll wait. Not so easy, right? You can come up with a bad simile in a minute or two or rattle off...

Being a Teacher Writer Is More Than Being a Teacher Who Writes

I began writing alongside students so I could experience the work as a writer. I was doing the writing work because I needed it for the thing I cared about...

Hidden Treasures

Bruce Howdle was an unofficial ambassador for our small city of Mineral Point, Wisconsin. A local artist and university instructor, he was often seen walking up and down our main...

Evidence Claims in a Middle School Small Group

Christy Ruth-Levine leads a small group of eighth graders as they explore how to include textual evidence in their literary analysis essays.    

Readers’ Guides: Helping Students Think About Informational Text

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.5With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.  Teachers are often waging a small...

Teaching Tone: Deal Me In

Supply List for AP Literature: Sticky Notes Binder Composition Notebook Deck of Cards I’m sure that many of my students were surprised to see a deck of cards on their...

Planning a Student-Led Minilesson

Franki Sibberson helps Lucas plan his minilesson for his fifth-grade classmates on how to connect words and facts from two different sources.  

Student-Led Minilesson: Connecting Facts from Different Sources

Lucas leads a minilesson in Franki Sibberson’s fifth-grade class on connecting facts from different sources.  

Does the Pencil Still Have Power?

All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered. The point is to discover them.                                                                                                                             Galileo Galilei An enormous supply of graphite was found in northern England in...

Reader Response as an Entry to Conferring

“How often do you confer with readers?” I get asked this question a lot. In fact, I work with a close friend of mine who, before I can answer that...

Organizing for Middle School

Ask any middle school teacher what they hope to accomplish with their students every year, and you will likely find “organization” somewhere in their top five choices. Ask a sixth-grade...

Doing the Writing in a Unit

It may seem simple to you, but every time I look at that shelf, I am filled with pride. The shelf hangs—perfectly straight at eye level in my bedroom. On...

Writing on Someone Else’s Topic

An email message in my inbox said, “Shari, can you write something about why it’s good for children to touch their foreheads? I think it has something to do with the...

And This Makes Me Think

If you could see me right now, you would know I’m sitting cross-legged on my unmade bed, my hair up in a messy knot, with three tabs open on my...