Category: Articles

Guest posts by expert educators

When Should We Skip the Graphic Organizer?

When it’s time to analyze a fiction or nonfiction text, don’t let students coast through the lesson by simply filling in a graphic organizer. Author and teaching coach Sunday Cummins has ideas that will help learners think about text structures conceptually and flexibly.

A Graphic Tale: Remote Teaching with Mr. Fitz

David Lee Finkle teaches English and creative writing in a Florida public school. For 20 years in local newspapers and online, his comic strip Mr. Fitz has shared the realities of teaching and school life with humor, empathy and irony – as you’ll see in this selection of recent ‘pandemic strips’.

5 Steps Toward Cultural Competence in Schools

The slow burn of racial injustice has once again erupted in a blaze of protests – illuminating long-standing social, economic, and educational disparities and divisions. Only this time is different, writes Vernita Mayfield. And it demands cultural competency from every educator.

Sharing the Joy of Reading with Students

To motivate students to embrace independent reading, Kasey Short recommends we help them find the right books, use authentic assignments for accountability, and provide the time to read – all to help build a classroom climate where reading is valued, enjoyed and celebrated.

Staging ‘Story in a Bag’ in Your Room or Online

Get kids engaged in narrative writing using Story in a Bag. ELA consultant Lynne Dorfman shows how this hands-on activity enlivens in-class and distance learning as it helps students build their writing fluency and encourages them to learn problem solving on the spot.

Adding Simulations to Your Lesson Plans

Simulations involve tactile or kinesthetic participation and offer a way for students to be actively engaged in lessons and experience another dimension of learning. Barbara Blackburn and two colleagues share online and in-class SS, ELA, and STEM ideas.

Picture Books Help with Standards and Mastery

Jennifer Sniadecki and Jason DeHart dive deep into using picture books in upper level classrooms to meet state standards and increase student mastery. In this 3rd post on the topic they share examples, research, and stories from their own teaching experiences.

Becoming the Virtual Teacher My Students Need

In March, when her physical classroom vanished, NBCT Kathie Palmieri knew she had to embrace her career-long passion for professional growth. Here’s how she tapped into best practice research and her own skill set to design online learning that kept kids and parents engaged.

Helping Kids Travel the Bridge to Joyful Reading

Reading teachers work hard to meet the needs of individual students in small groups. Yet many students struggle while reading self-selected books. Meghan Duermit and Sunday Cummins offer ways to build stronger bridges of support from guided instruction to joyful independent reading.

When Elections Bring Controversy to Class

How might you bring the 2020 presidential election into your fall classes? Learn how Emily DeRiso transformed her 4th grade social studies curriculum into a successful election immersion experience in 2016, setting clear boundaries in support of participatory democracy.