Holidays

Memorial Day Activities

For most Americans, Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer.  Sunny days, pool parties, and hot dogs. But in reality, Memorial Day is a much more somber and serious holiday to honor those who have died in their service to our country.  This year, let’s teach students about the true meaning of Memorial Day through age-appropriate activities. Here are some great ideas to get you started.

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Educational Resources, Educational Topics, Reading

Don’t Ditch That Book Just Yet: Anthologies and Basals

Anthologies and basals are arguably among the most hotly debated of textbooks–and for good reason.  The basals of our childhood were too simplistic in their approach, biased, not diverse, and made teaching formulaic and boring.  Today’s anthologies and basals, lumped together for the purposes of this article (although they have different features), are nothing like what you remember from your childhood.  

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Educational Resources, English Language Learners, Reading

Criteria for Selecting Multicultural Literature

Including multicultural literature in the classroom is a prudent choice for teachers of all students, not just those who teach ELLs.  We live in a world where students of all races and cultures are represented in today’s classrooms. In order to give those students voice–and to show them that they matter–providing these students with examples of literature that reflects their experiences, beliefs, and challenges gives them space to belong.  For students who aren’t themselves diverse, multicultural literature acts as a window–a teaching tool–for teaching about differences, tolerance, acceptance, and education.

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Reading, Strategies for the Classroom, Writing

Connecting Reading and Writing

Reading and writing are related processes.  Practice in one area deepens understanding in the other and vice versa.  Writing is a great tool for clarifying thinking about reading, and reading strengthens writing ability.  Obviously students benefit from reading about writing and writing about reading. Here are a few ideas to get reading and writing connected in your classroom.  

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Educational Topics, Professional Development, Reading, Writing

The Reading-Writing Relationship

When I began teaching English, I toyed with the idea of having separate days for reading and writing instruction.  I look back on that time and laugh at myself–how could I even conceive of separating the two?! Now that I’m wiser and more knowledgeable of the ways of teaching and learning, I want to share with you what I didn’t know then, about the connections between reading and writing.  

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Reading, Strategies for the Classroom, Teaching Methods

Scripted Read Alouds Aren’t Just For Elementary Students–But They’re Good For Them Too!

As a teacher of all things literacy, I’m a big fan of the scripted read aloud.  Call it what you will: read aloud, directed reading thinking activity (DR-TA), or directed reading activity (DRA), the purpose is the same.  The teacher reads aloud to the student and regularly checks for comprehension, asks high level questions, and encourages students to think deeply about the text.  

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