Motivated Readers

Important Factors for Improving Your Student’s Reading Motivation

When children choose books that interest them their motivation to read, and make sense of the texts improves. In addition to a rich classroom library children also benefit from a well-designed space where they are comfortable reading and interacting. Additionally, providing them with choices in where they sit, and how they read will further raise their motivation. Be sure you’re …

Immersion to improve student writing

Don’t overlook this critical aspect of genre studies…

Pre-Writing, Drafting, Revising, Editing and Publishing. While these are the five steps most closely, and most generally associated with the writing process, we must not forget one critical aspect of genre studies, the “Immersion Phase”. It was early in my teaching career when I engaged in the planning of a genre study with my grade level counterparts. I was eager, …

Publishing Party Presenter

How to Celebrate Student Writing with Publishing Parties

There Destiny stood, all of four feet tall, holding a single piece of paper tightly in her hands.  She smiled proudly, anxiously awaiting her audience members’ attention.  She gently brushed her freshly curled hair away from her face and carefully groomed the front of her dress as if to smooth away any lingering wrinkles. “Writers,” Mrs. Burns announced enthusiastically, “please …

When Marion Sang

Books for National Women’s History Month

March is National Women’s History Month. What better way to celebrate the legacy of female resilience, ingenuity, and limitless possibilities than with rich, diverse, picture books? A good book has the power to shift our thinking and challenge preconceived notions. Intentional Read Alouds provide the opportunity for students to think about and discuss great books while exploring big ideas, themes, …

Supporting Our Newcomers with Literature

Stories of the journeys taken by refugees touch all of our lives. Perhaps we have neighbors, friends, or family who are refugees. Perhaps we have read about the global crisis in the news. Perhaps refugee children are new to our schools. The moment a newcomer walks into a classroom, the journey that student took to reach that doorway becomes a …

Lesson Study

Lesson Study Inspires Teachers

The first, and highly successful lesson study cycle at Grissom Elementary (Houston Independent School District) inspired its kindergarten through 3rd grade teachers to collaborate within their grade level teams, and across languages of instruction. The process of planning an Intentional Read Aloud (IRA) lesson together, and watching a colleague teach that lesson, allowed the teachers to develop effective practices they …

Turn and Talk

6 Easy Ways to Improve Turn & Talk for Student Language Development

Turn and Talk, in which children are partnered up to take turns listening and speaking with one another, is a common classroom practice with many benefits.  It allows all children to share their thinking with one another, it helps children develop their oral language skills and the pragmatics, or social conventions, of discourse.  Turn and Talk also provides teachers with …

Teacher Validating Silly Words

How to Validate “Silly” Words with No Nonsense

As teachers of young children, we all have encountered learning scenarios in which a child makes up a word. How do we effectively handle these teachable moments? We need to find a way to validate the child’s offering, without muddling the difference between words that are real and words that are not real in their impressionable minds. We may be …

Lesson Study

Lesson Study Improves Instruction & Builds Collaborative School Culture

Lesson study is a valuable tool for schools as they continue to look for ways to improve teaching and learning. Lesson study is a form of long-term professional development in which teams of teachers collaboratively plan, research, and study their lesson instruction as a way to determine how students learn best.  Teachers focus on understanding the content of the lesson, …