PD Session for Teachers: Helping Students Generate Questions for Inquiry and Deeper Thinking

Our school district returned on January 2 to begin a new semester, and our first day back was one with a focus on professional development.  At my school, four sessions were offered for our faculty that touched on each area of our school improvement plan.  My principal asked me to lead a session on helping … Continue reading PD Session for Teachers: Helping Students Generate Questions for Inquiry and Deeper Thinking

Scaffolding Student Prep Work for Birds of Feather Reading Club Meetings

In my last post, I outlined how I organized a topic tasting, how birds of feather interest groups were formed, and the planning that student groups did collaboratively to divide and assign readings within their topic area from the text set.  In today's post, I'll share the prep work we did over four days to … Continue reading Scaffolding Student Prep Work for Birds of Feather Reading Club Meetings

Forming Birds of Feather Reading Clubs with Informational Texts and Topic Tasting

Our district pacing guide calls for a focus on informational reading and writing during the second nine weeks of the academic year.  Originally, 8th grade had planned to do nonfiction book clubs, but after realizing the books would not arrive in time to do that in the fall, I suggested to my fellow 8th grade … Continue reading Forming Birds of Feather Reading Clubs with Informational Texts and Topic Tasting

Learning to Fly with Notice and Note Nonfiction Strategies

In my last post, I shared how I introduced Probst and Beers' Three Big Questions and Nonfiction Signposts strategies to my 8th graders.  After reading about the way Julie Swinehart introduced the nonfiction signposts to her 11th graders, it seemed logical that 8th graders should be able to do something similar with a partner with … Continue reading Learning to Fly with Notice and Note Nonfiction Strategies

Introducing Nonfiction Notice & Note Stances, Signposts, and Strategies to 8th Grade Readers

This past week we began our study of informational text and writing for Quarter 2.  I am so excited that our pacing guide pairs informational text with informational writing and then allows a second round of study in Quarter 3 to build student stamina with informational text and argumentative writing (we'll be engaging in nonfiction … Continue reading Introducing Nonfiction Notice & Note Stances, Signposts, and Strategies to 8th Grade Readers

Seeing the Big Picture with Theme: Collaborative Work + Learning Stations

In my last two posts, I wrote about some of the learning activities we did in my 8th grade Language Arts classroom to set the stage to do some collaborative work with theme.  Using the structure and materials from this "Discovering Theme" activity with learning stations as my framework, we spent roughly 4.5 days of … Continue reading Seeing the Big Picture with Theme: Collaborative Work + Learning Stations

Days 2 and 3 of Inquiring Into Theme: Introducing Purposeful Annotations + The Note and Notice Contrasts and Contradictions Signpost

In my previous post, I outlined how we dipped our toe into deconstructing a piece of literature to take apart the "puzzle pieces" with a short text and then put them back together to see a big picture of theme.  On Day 2, we did a quick recap of the previous day's activities and concepts … Continue reading Days 2 and 3 of Inquiring Into Theme: Introducing Purposeful Annotations + The Note and Notice Contrasts and Contradictions Signpost

Day 1 of Inquiring Into Theme: Deconstructing “Harlem” and Constructing Possible Thematic Concepts and Statements

This past Tuesday we began the third and final "bend" in the Calkins Deep Study of Character unit of study for middle grades reading.  I personally did not care for the mini-lessons and the methods for framing/introducing theme, so I decided to keep the key concepts but design a different path to the same ends. … Continue reading Day 1 of Inquiring Into Theme: Deconstructing “Harlem” and Constructing Possible Thematic Concepts and Statements

Join Us at ILA 2018 for “It’s Sketchy! Visual Notetaking for Every Classroom”

I am honored to be presenting with Tanny McGregor and Paula Bourque at the 2018 International Literacy Conference in Austin, Texas this July!  If you are attending, please join our fun and interactive two hour workshop on Sunday, July 22 in Room 18B from 4PM-6PM.   This session is geared for classroom teachers, coaches, and administrators … Continue reading Join Us at ILA 2018 for “It’s Sketchy! Visual Notetaking for Every Classroom”

Adventures in American Lit Book Clubs, Part 3: Connecting Themes Across Texts with Peeling the Fruit

In my last post, I shared the nuts and bolts of the student book club work and meeting structures.  After our May 14 book club meeting, I wanted the remaining class sessions leading up to the week of final exams to be meaningful for students and engaging.  I wanted positive energy and for students' final … Continue reading Adventures in American Lit Book Clubs, Part 3: Connecting Themes Across Texts with Peeling the Fruit