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Where’s Your Evidence?

I teach seventh grade. In my universe, citing evidence is not intuitive or automatic. It is a skill we work on all year with varying levels of success. Students love to say how they feel about something they’ve read. They don’t always love supporting that idea with evidence from the text.To be honest, I haven’t […]

Academic Discussion Norms

Class Discussions That Run Themselves

What I Was Thinking… Much of my classroom instruction revolves around the fifteen cognitive strategies Carol Booth Olson describes in her book The Reading Writing Connection.  If you have not yet heard of Olson’s strategies, they name and explain processes strong readers and writers undergo as they build understanding. For specific details about cognitive strategies, click […]

Open Mic End-of-Year Writing Celebration

  I am a big fan of blogging, Tweeting, online discussions, and collaborative wikis. However, in the end, nothing feels more special, more like a community of writing, than having students read their work in class. Out loud. No tech required. The type of oral publication I’m endorsing is not a formal process. I don’t think […]

Let ‘Em Talk: How to Facilitate Small Group Discussions

Overview You know what scares a lot of teachers? Letting students talk. We spend a lot of time shhhh-ing and waiting for students to stop talking so they can listen to us. The good news is that there is a way we can let students to talk and help them learn at the same time. It takes […]

Group Work: How, and More Importantly, Why?

Yes, group work is here to stay. I know, students dread it, and I suspect that most teachers do too. Having worked with seventh graders for many years, I can solemnly say that for each group assignment, there will be a group problem. Happily, I just finished some research about teamwork and it turns out that conflict is […]