Getting Ready for a Short Story with Pre-Reading Learning Stations

As you know, I love trying new learning activities and strategies.  I'm teaching a formal short story unit this year for the first time in years, and I wanted to do something fun and meaningful to kick off our first whole class story study.  This summer I purchased this bundle of awesome activities from "Write … Continue reading Getting Ready for a Short Story with Pre-Reading Learning Stations

Playlists with Stations Are Music to My Ears—Best Ever First Days of School FTW!

In my last post, I shared a preview of my playlists with stations first days activity.  We used the first three days of class to engage in a variety of literacy learning tasks to engage students in classroom community building, engage in some reading and writing, and knock out some beginning of the year tech … Continue reading Playlists with Stations Are Music to My Ears—Best Ever First Days of School FTW!

A Playful and Powerful Twist on Stations: Playlists

Today was our first day of preplanning, and we engaged in three breakout meetings to tackle beginning of the year topics.  Our administration divided faculty and staff into three groups, and we completed three rotations of 45 minute session.  The first session I attended was led by Assistant Principal Libbie Armstrong ; she introduced a teaching … Continue reading A Playful and Powerful Twist on Stations: Playlists

Inquiring into Argumentative Writing: Deconstructing Text Structure with Kernel Essays

Last week we moved from our exploration of features of argumentative writing to text structure.  On Wednesday, we began with the following writing activity using these images I projected onto the board with the LCD projector and these prompts: Once students had time to think and write, we came together for whole class discussion to … Continue reading Inquiring into Argumentative Writing: Deconstructing Text Structure with Kernel Essays

Introducing Claims with Task Card Walk Goodness

Last Wednesday, we began our formal exploration of claims, counterclaims, and rebuttals, some core concepts I felt needed to frontload with my 8th graders based on the results of a survey they had completed about 10 days earlier. One of my favorite ways to use task cards is for an gallery walk style learning experience.  … Continue reading Introducing Claims with Task Card Walk Goodness

Active Learning and Thinking: Walk and Talk Partner Discussions

Right after the first of the year, one of my favorite teachers and literacy leaders, Sarah Brown Wessling, posted this video about taking her class on the move.  Last year, I crafted and incorporated many learning activities for my high school students that involved movement, and I've continued that with my 8th graders during the … Continue reading Active Learning and Thinking: Walk and Talk Partner Discussions

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 2: Organizing Prep Work, Learning Activities, and Conversation Structures

In my last blog post, I shared how I used book tasting to help students pick one of five books for our American Lit book club project.  There are many ways teachers may structure book club meetings and assignments---some choose a path that is very open and flexible while others may provide more structure.  I … Continue reading Adventures in American Lit Book Clubs, Part 2: Organizing Prep Work, Learning Activities, and Conversation Structures

Book Tasting: A Recipe for Designing Student Book Clubs in Language Arts Classes

I've done many variations of book tasting activities over the years, but this past Wednesday (February 21) I did one that did not involve as much planning and was structured differently.  However, as simple as this format was, I think it was one of the most effective variations I've tried. I began by working on … Continue reading Book Tasting: A Recipe for Designing Student Book Clubs in Language Arts Classes

Give Them Something To Talk About: Collaboration and Conversations with Reflection Squares

Like many of you, I am always looking for ways to engage students in conversation with each other.  After we finished reading Act II of Macbeth together last week, I wanted to give students a conversation structure to help them discuss their review questions as well as some bigger questions related to theme, what they … Continue reading Give Them Something To Talk About: Collaboration and Conversations with Reflection Squares