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Quick and Easy Word Study Groups in First Grade

When I listened to Ellin Keene present at a workshop years ago, I was particularly interested in her information about how word study fits into a reading workshop model. She...

Grammar Games

In Tony Wagner’s book Creating Innovators, he talks about the importance of passion, purpose, and play for young learners. Although I can’t always infuse passion into the realm of grammar,...

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...

Word Walls in Preschool? Yes, You Can!

“What’s wrong?” I asked, spying Mona’s long face. She launched into a tirade. “They are insisting that I put up a word wall. They have a rule that all classrooms...

Quick Vocabulary Practice and Assessment

If I have learned one thing from my students, it’s that any activity, no matter how fun or engaging, quickly turns into drudgery if it is overused. I especially find...

Sentence Phrase Word: Student Independence for Word Learning

Gazing around our classroom community area, I could see that my fourth graders were ready to begin our third day with our latest read-aloud novel. I spotted Zoe waving her...

Envisioning Writing in First Grade

In this minilesson, Katie DiCesare helps her first-grade students "envision" their writing drafts. The lesson focuses on creating mental images to conjure up stronger verbs and adjectives while writing.

First Grade Guided Writing Group: Goldilocks and the Three Writers

Katie DiCesare leads a guided writing group in her first-grade classroom. Click here to download the workshop guide. COMMON CORE CONNECTIONS: L.1.4. Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and...

Student-Generated Vocabulary Discussions

While discussing read-alouds with a middle school colleague recently, the topic of vocabulary came up. The question “How do you choose the vocabulary to introduce in your read-alouds?” came up....

Noticing Interesting Words: Small-Group Vocabulary Lesson

In this brief video, Gail Boushey (of “The Sisters”) leads a small-group lesson on vocabulary. In the debrief following the lesson, Gail talks with Joan Moser about vocabulary instruction, and...

Toward More Meaningful Extension Activities

The Chanukah party was in full swing. Candles were burning. Dreidels were spinning. People were munching on latkes. Kids were ripping wrapping paper off of gifts. I stepped away from...

Getting to Know Writers: Using Quotes

One of the ways to jump-start the conversation about writing process is to read and reflect upon what other writers have to say about their own process. Information about authors...

Alternatives to Daily Editing as a “Bell-Ringer” Activity

“I just don’t understand it,” muttered David, a fourth-grade teacher, as he sat frowning down at some student writing. “The daily editing exercises have emphasized commas in a series almost...

Character Traits Through Word Sorts

Identifying character traits is an important skill for readers, and the need for precise word choice rises in third and fourth grade. Students are expected to pay close attention to...

Building Word Learning Routines

When working with readers who need extra support, it's not uncommon to need to do some work with letters, sounds, and words. Some students, for a variety of reasons, seem...

Vocabulary Instruction: Where to Start?

I have a confession to make: I’ve always struggled with incorporating vocabulary study into my high school English class. I’ve tried lots of different things over the years, but never...

Holding a Dictionary

As a little girl, I loved reading the dictionary. Actually reading it. My parents had a gigantic Random House dictionary that was likely bigger than me in height, weight, and...

Tutoring Carl: Sketching to Draft

I am sitting at a circular library table; this is my learning space. Retired from full-time teaching, I now tutor. Midafternoon is my new kid time. I look forward to...

Read Aloud: Vocabulary and Retelling Strategies

Stella Villalba scaffolds the language development of her first- and second-grade English language learners during read-aloud by highlighting vocabulary and providing a tool to assist with a partner retelling activity.

Raising the Quality of Word Work

Zane carefully wrote the word found on his paper with the blue marker. Then he traced over the word with the red marker, followed by the green marker, and finally...

The Power of Written Blind Word Sorts

Automatic pattern knowledge is critical to spelling and understanding how words work. Sorting words is an opportunity to examine words, search for common patterns, and categorize discoveries. Word sorting can...