Karen Szymusiak

Karen Szymusiak has walked in the shoes of almost every school community member – over the years she has met with colleagues as a teacher, parent, curriculum coordinator, staff developer and literacy specialist. Karen is the co-author (with Franki Sibberson) of many books and videos on teaching reading and assessment in the intermediate grades.

All Content
Pushing the Pause Button for Reflection: Literacy Chats

Principal Karen Szymusiak finds "literacy chats" are an effective structure for fostering ongoing discussions across grades about reading and writing instruction.

Planning Classroom Visits: Organizing Purposefully

Principal Karen Szymusiak has tips for getting the most out of classroom visits, including setting up master schedules that follow similar formats.

Creating a Master Schedule

Karen Szymusiak explains why large blocks of time for literacy instruction are crucial, and how she worked as a principal to develop a master schedule for the school that included them.

Second-Grade Team Meeting: Helping Students Choose Books Independently

In this five-minute excerpt from a second-grade team meeting, Principal Karen Szymusiak sits in on a discussion of the challenges of helping young readers learn to pick appropriate books independently.

Learning and Teaching Team Meeting

Principal Karen Szymusiak meets with her large and diverse "Learning and Teaching Team" which is comprised of specialists, grade-level team leaders, and administrators.

Easing into Assessments During the First Six Weeks of School

Franki Sibberson and Karen Szymusiak have suggestions for integrating observations and assessments of students naturally into reader's workshops during the first six weeks of school.

Hallmarks of Reading Workshop

Karen Szymusiak works with her staff to develop "Hallmarks of Reading Workshop," which is a succinct and concrete list of expectations for time, components, and organization of workshops. The list would be an excellent jumping off point for discussion in a staff meeting of bottom-line standards and allocation of time for literacy activities.

Teacher/Principal Conferring: Reflecting on Readers’ Notebooks

In this conference, Principal Karen Szymusiak and 5th grade teacher Liz Cramer discuss the ways Liz uses readers’ notebooks in her classroom.

Student Reading Interview: Assessing Ana Part 2

This is the second video in a two-part series. Principal Karen Szymusiak interviewed Ana, a second grader, to learn more about her strengths and needs as a reader. In this week’s installment, Karen will share her findings with Ana’s teacher.

Literacy Chats with Teachers: Routines and Guidelines

Principal Karen Szymusiak explains the format and goals of literacy chats at her school, and provides a video example of a grades 3-5 chat.

Finding Words: Linking Community and Classrooms

Principal Karen Szymusiak and 3rd Grade Teacher/Literacy Coach Pam Hahlen do a quick word search activity using dictionaries donated to the classroom by a local service club.

The Conversations Inspired by the Questions We Ask

Principal Karen Szymusiak shares her reflections and questions that cause her teachers to question their current practice and lead them to consider authenticity in the reading workshop.

 

Talking About Synthesis: Metaphors from 2nd Graders

In this remarkable discussion, Lauren Scott's second-grade students chat with their teacher and Principal Karen Szymusiak about metaphors for synthesis.

Tiger Teams: Mixed Age Student Groups

In this video, Karen Szymusiak (the principal at Glacier Ridge Elementary School in Dublin, Ohio) explains how “Tiger Teams” work. Tiger Teams are mixed age groups of K-5 students who meet regularly to talk about their learning and the school community.

Student Reading Interview: Assessing Ana

Principal Karen Szymusiak interviews Ana, a second grader, to learn more about her strengths and needs as a reader.

Case Studies in Professional Learning Communities

In this brief video, Literacy Coach Pam Hahlen and Principal Karen Szymusiak meet with two teachers in a professional learning community group to discuss ongoing case studies.

On Kidney Tables: Small Changes for Big Effects

When our environment aligns with our values, Karen Szymusiak considers what helps learners take charge of their experience in a successful learning community.

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