Nicole Hewes

21 Articles

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Women can be president, too!

With the 2016 presidential election just a few months away, news from the campaign trail continues to dominate the headlines. Our students are thus very likely hearing names of candidates and snippets of information about politics and elections. While discussing politics in school is often viewed as taboo, the campaigns...

Reading groups -- homogeneous or heterogeneous?

As teachers, we know that small-group instruction can be extremely powerful. It allows us to work with just a handful of students at time, to differentiate our instruction to specific student needs, and can help students listen to and learn from one another.An often taken-for-granted assumption is that we should...

Does leveled reading create life-long readers?

Imagine you’re in the library, looking for a new book to read. You see the covers and spines of many books with intriguing titles and related to topics about which you care deeply or desire to learn more. Your excitement mounts as you take in the seemingly boundless possibilities. But...

What’s in those leveled book boxes?

Recently, I was reading an article called “The Character of Our Content” in an archived issue of Rethinking Schools. In this piece, a concerned mother critiques representations of gender and race in a basal anthology that her daughter was reading at school. The article got me thinking how incidents such...

The pros and cons of leveled readers

These days, if you enter any elementary school classroom, the chances are good that you’ll encounter leveled readers organized into colorful bins with letters or numbers indicating the challenge level of the books contained inside. With the rise of literacy approaches such as guided reading, many hail leveled readers as...

Punctuation: the junction between reading and writing

At a recent training on fluency, I found myself discussing strategies about how to help the “racing reader” — the reader who, when asked to read aloud, whips through the text on a page as fast as possible. One of the key strategies that I discussed with the tutors that...

Who do your students see reading?

At a recent literacy training that I facilitated, we began the session by asking all of the participants to read for fifteen minutes. The room fell silent as everyone began reading a book or other text of their choice. As the sound of pages turning spread through the room, there...

The schools that need libraries the most

A few months ago, fellow Lolly’s Classroom blogger Randy Ribay made a compelling argument about why schools still need libraries and the wonderful librarians who keep them running smoothly. I agree wholeheartedly with his conclusion that “a school without a library is like a body without a soul.” Further, I...

Trimming down a classroom library

I recently found myself facing the dreaded task of packing up my entire classroom. Trying to see this as an opportunity to reduce the number of boxes labeled only with question marks, I sorted through papers and miscellany, recycling and tossing with gusto. Math papers that I never used? Recycled...

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