The Engaging Classroom

    • 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?
    • In Other Words

    Develop a New Attitude about PD

    In schools around the world, teachers and administrators are participating in professional development. It is a term beginning to be thrown around lightly. “I think I am going to take off Friday so I can skip PD.” “The students have the day off so we can attend yet another pointless professional development.” Although professional development is aimed towards improving teaching practices, some teachers see PD as a common time where teachers can catch up on grading papers, check their emails, or use the time to scroll their cell phones to see the latest trends in social media.
    • Putting Books to Work

    Putting Books to Work: 'Superworm'

    "Superworm" is the story of an ordinary worm who chooses to use his talents in unusual ways. The book has a wonderful sense of rhyme and plays well into repeated reading for the children to join in. The lively, moving story will capture children's attention as the summer time gets closer and help pull them in to reading and activities.
    • Teaching Tips

    Kindergarten Strategies to Meet Everyone's Standards

    I would like to address how all kindergartners can learn the alphabetic principle (sound to letter correspondences and vice versa) in the easiest (developmentally appropriate) manner, so it will transfer to writing and reading. The alphabetic principle is a critical important reading standard and foundational skill kindergartners must learn if they are to be writers and readers.
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    Because Pictures Say a Thousand Words: The Value of Wordless Books

    Wordless picture books are great for English language learning classrooms. Those with a limited grasp of the language can create their own stories using the images on the page. The books promote storytelling as everyone can add to the illustrations they see.
    • In Other Words

    Growing a Love for Reading: It's Never Too Early

    Last week, the American Academy of Pediatrics released an important policy statement, "Literacy Promotion: An Essential Component of Primary Care Pediatric Practice," reiterating what reading teachers have known for a long time: Reading regularly with young children builds language, literacy, and social-emotional skills that last a lifetime.

    • Teaching Tips

    Six-Word Memoirs in the Classroom

    Together, we came up with a list of how they might use six-word memoirs with the students they came to know and care about over the course of the semester, and how they imagine using six-word memoirs with students they have not yet encountered.

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