M. T. Anderson is my favorite punctuation teacher

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I suppose I am a “writing person.” I study it, and teach it, and teach about teaching it pretty regularly. The most common question I get, over and over, no matter what level teachers I am with, is about the best way to teach conventions. In my experience, teachers have often tried things they don’t […]

Summer reading remixed

summmerreadingcircle_300x300

Far too many of our students enter as ninth graders reading woefully below level. Part of the problem, we believe, is due to the Matthew effect. The gist of this theory is that kids who struggle with reading for whatever reason avoid it all costs, causing them to fall even further behind. And of course, […]

Picture books for launching mathematicians

Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday

My school uses a play-based approach to teaching math, which is advantageous because as an early childhood teacher, my students still love math and they love to play games. They enjoy learning and working with numbers and I can build on this through math games. For me, teaching math is often challenging because my own […]

Trial and error: lit circles

Breathing Underwater

Since my inaugural post here, my class has changed quite a bit. We began with a few rather difficult classics, but I began to feel rather desperate about introducing my students to great accessible reads without emptying my pockets. This is where literature circles come in. In general, lit circles are scaffolded reading clubs. Each […]

Open mic and the classroom

perkins_open mic

I confess that I have been known to say that many, many books are my absolute favorites, to the extent that sometimes people roll their eyes and avert their attention. And I think that as a reader, this is true — I fall in love a little with story after story. But it is not […]

Graphic novels

Wonderstruck

I am a college professor working with students who are aspiring teachers of deaf and hard of hearing students at the University of Tulsa, and this year I have launched, with the support of my colleagues and students, a free reading clinic for deaf and hard of hearing students in the Tulsa area. The clinic […]

Reading a book you dislike

Skippyjon Jones

For about ten years now, I have taught Pre-K. One of my favorite parts of the job is reading stories to the children during circle time. I am far from a great entertainer, but I try my best to make the stories entertaining or engaging to the children in some way; however, making a story […]

Historical fiction — why didn’t I use it more?

One Crazy Summer

A librarian friend of mine* recently asked me why historical fiction doesn’t make its way into social studies and language arts classrooms more often. The thought keeps rattling around in my brain. First, I should say that I don’t know for sure that there aren’t tons of classrooms where historical fiction is a great pillar […]

Core values

Go-to Guide

Narrative nonfiction is on the lesson plan in Lolly’s Classroom today. Is anyone else worried that the CCSS demand for more nonfiction reading does not seem to be translating into more nonfiction publishing? I have the feeling that publishers are mostly sitting this one out. (As well they might, now that no one seems to […]

Narrative nonfiction in middle school

Phineas Gage

You may have inferred from my first post in February that I am spending a lot of time thinking about nonfiction for middle school readers. We all know now that nonfiction figures prominently in the Common Core State Standards. In fact, we are told that 60% of a 7th grader’s reading diet ought to be […]