My Favorite Way to Get Students Discussing & Defending

Growing up, I was a little obsessed with lists, to the great annoyance of my big sister. A list was often the cause of vast stretches of silence during our family car trips. The preliminary back-and-forth went something like... Read More


How to Make the Most of Your Classroom Library

It took me about six years before I actually liked my classroom library. And it was important to me to like my classroom library, because if I didn't, who the heck else would? Certainly not my students... Read More


Turning Around a Turn and Talk

A turn-and-talk is a structure to get students talking to a partner for a few moments. I use turn-and-talks a lot during whole group instruction, especially reading, because it allows for more communicating than me just calling on particular students... Read More


9 Ways to Differentiate Your Whole Group Instruction

Differentiating your instruction can be overwhelming. I get it. When you hear the word "differentiation" do you automatically start breaking your class into small groups? Or maybe you start scouring Pinterest for ways to differentiate the task students will do after you teach a lesson... Read More


Organize Your Literacy Block, Without the Headache

Let me see how close I am... You woke up this morning, made a cup of coffee, maybe... Read More


Setting the Tone in the First 10 Minutes of the First Day of School

On a normal, middle-of-the-year day, I want my students to come into my room in the morning knowing it is a calm place, a cooperative place, a place where we work hard, try new things, and have fun. A couple of years ago, I asked myself a question I thought was a bit unrealistic: Could I get that "middle-of-the-year" tone started within the first ten minutes of the first day of school?... Read More

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