The Engaging Classroom

    • Putting Books to Work

    Putting Books to Work: Where Things Come Back

    John Corey Whaley’s debut novel Where Things Come Back is the winner of the 2012 William C. Morris, and Michael L. Printz awards. The reader may struggle to see parallels between the different characters in the two stories, however, the plots eventually come to focus.
    • Teaching Tips

    Building a Foundation for Writing Success

    Students should start from a successful point and writing should increase in difficulty and rigor throughout the year. Each student will have individual starting points and individual growth, but class whole-group lessons will benefit all. Students may start with writing their names, progress to writing predicable text and repetitive sentences, to constructing stories at varying lengths.
    • In Other Words

    Hard-Copy Graphic Novels Are Vital for ESL Students

    The spread of apps on so-called ‘smartphones’ and other slightly larger handheld devices have enabled readers to view and read massive amounts of content online. But what about adolescent English language learners (ELLs), especially those emigrating and or fleeing from much poorer societies?
    • Teaching Tips

    More Ways to Pitch Graphic Novels

    Have you ever encountered a parent, a teacher, or a librarian who does not support graphic novels? I have. Whenever someone questions why I promote graphic novels, I pull one of the following resources out of my hat...
    • Quiet! Teacher in Progress

    Quiet! Teacher in Progress: Free Your Mind

    Back-to-school is a wonderful time to reflect on what works for you as a teacher as well as what you would like to do differently this year.
    • Teaching Tips

    Best Ever Literacy Tips for Teaching Informational Text Structures

    Focusing on text structures is worth the effort because research suggests that understanding text structure strengthens overall comprehension and may also provide students with models for writing.
    • In Other Words

    Teacher Leaders Drive Change

    The approach to public education is in the biggest reform ever. With Learning Focused Schools, Direct Instruction model, baseline data, teacher performance pay, Multi-Tiered System of Supports, and more, it is more important than ever to have the support of the people whom these reform efforts impact the most, the classroom teacher.
    • Teaching Tips

    Camp Digi-Lit: Using Transliteracy Tools to Counteract Summer Reading Loss

    Youngsters take over the Center for Literacy, the computer labs and the entire campus because it serves as their classroom during this engaging and fun-filled summer reading camp aimed at keeping kids immersed in literacy learning over the summer.
    • In Other Words

    Afif Can Read

    All I know to do with Afif is to keep plugging away with the basics. I set him up with lots of partner reading. I work with him on letter recognition and phonemic awareness activities. Still, in fourth grade, he can’t read a lick.
    • Teaching Tips

    Let Reluctant Readers Go to the Dogs

    Although everyone knows that kids and dogs are a winning combination I (as a former teacher of English and professor of teacher education specializing in literacy development) initially expressed skepticism that dogs trained to assist children with reading could help them become better readers. But then I learned about research-based international organizations, such as Reading Education Assistance Dogs program for registered therapy dogs.
    • Quiet! Teacher in Progress

    Classroom May Be Out of Sight, It's Never Out of Mind

    One of my favorite things about teachers is that if you ask most teachers what their plans are for the summer, many of them will say, “Reading!” Okay. Most teachers will say “sleeping late” and then they will say, “reading,” but you get what I mean, right?
    • Teaching Tips

    Say It With a Font! Students Create Fonts to Add Mood, Meaning to Writing

    Have you ever thought about where fonts come from? They’re just on your computer, right? But, how do they get there and who created them? Is it possible to make your own?
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