Category: Articles

4 Vocab Steps Help Kids Grasp Information Text

Understanding concept words like ‘innovative’ can help students to make sense of complex sources. Britany Harris and Sunday Cummins share a four-step process to introduce a few new vocabulary words before reading an information text and then focus on them as kids read, talk and write.

Ready for Genius Hour? Do This, Not That.

Genius Hour is a popular strategy for deepening student learning by promoting passion, creativity and engagement. Paying attention to the do’s and don’ts of effective implementation can help you make it a regular part your instruction, writes author Barbara Blackburn.

Peer Conferences Keep the Writing Momentum Going

Students need more writing support than we can possibly offer them, writes literacy consultant Lynne R. Dorfman. Peer conferences are a safe, supportive structure that will help writers grow in their problem-solving capacity while experiencing the joy of collaboration.

Help Students Get the Most Out of Infographics

While infographics can be engaging, students may not access the content in a way that leads to deeper understanding. Using NASA images, literacy consultant Sunday Cummins shares four ways to help readers create pathways for sticky learning from this type of resource.

Using QR Codes as a Public Speaking Activity

Looking for more ways to have your kids “speak” to real audiences beyond your classroom? NBCT Marilyn Pryle, the 2019-20 Pennsylvania TOY, describes how she added community displays and a Vocaroo/QR code strategy to one of her major ELA projects. Student handout included!

Our Students Need a New Definition of Writing

The narrow “alphabetic” definition of writing found in many school classrooms actively disengages youth, says literacy author Shawna Coppola. Students simply prefer to compose using forms that incorporate visual, aural, and multimodal texts as a way to make or enhance meaning.

How School Leaders Can Handle Decision Fatigue

We lead busy lives and even the best leaders and the most astute decision makers are subject to “decision fatigue.” Author-educators Ron Williamson and Barbara Blackburn believe it is imperative for school leaders to “adopt strategies to minimize its negative impact.”

Effective School Leaders Are Guided By Values

To be the education leaders our society needs, operational expertise and pedagogical know-how are necessary but not enough, says author and mentor principal Toni Faddis. It’s by walking our ethical line and adhering to core values that we’ll achieve our school missions.

Conferring Moves That Help Readers Open Up

To better understand what readers are thinking, Gravity Goldberg and Renée Houser urge teachers to reflect on current conferring questions, collaborate with colleagues on deeper questions that align with goals, and allow their teacher curiosity to help guide the conference.