Category: Articles

Guest posts by expert educators

Renew Your Classroom Community in January

Taking time to refresh your classroom space, renew positive relationships and reinforce routines you established in the fall is time well-spent the first week back in January. Consultant Stacey Shubitz also recommends getting a head start on 2020 with some December prep.

Five-Step, Never-Fail Character Sketching

Why is NBCT Marilyn Pryle’s “never-fail” Character Sketch activity so effective? Because it asks students to use the people in their own lives as inspiration – a parent, grandparent, sibling, or friend. Pryle provides the teacher’s script, complete with student prompts.

Storytelling – The Heart of Teaching and Learning

Storytelling – speaking, writing, hearing, and appreciating our own and other’s stories – can be an equalizer for ensuring all students’ lives are respected, honored, and recorded, writes Literacy Essentials author Regie Routman. Learn about her new podcast series.

3 Ways We Can Offer Students More Choice

Having the ability to choose our own focus makes people, on average, five times more committed to the outcome. The classroom implications are clear, says teaching consultant Barbara Blackburn. “If students are more invested in their work, they are more likely to learn.”

Students Write Better for Authentic Audiences

Writing for authentic audiences motivates students to do their best work, says English department chair Kasey Short. Public audiences offer a practical reason to revise and edit and allow students’ ideas to have real impact. See her tips to transform routine assignments.

Conferring: A Powerful Tool Across Disciplines

Unlike quick teacher check-ins, teaching conferences allow for a deep conversation with a student in just 5 or 6 minutes. And they’re not just for ELA teachers and balanced literacy. Katie McGrath shares step by step conferring tips to target learning in any content area.

Teach Students to Build Up Ideas with Dialogue

Frequent high-quality class conversations make a huge difference in how far middle grades students advance academically, socially and emotionally, writes author and teaching coach Jeff Zwiers. Learn about five skills that can help students build ideas through dialogue.