Teaching with The Comprehension Toolkit for Successful Summer School Instruction

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Summer school offers a wonderful opportunity to deepen student comprehension of nonfiction texts and build knowledge across the curriculum.

The Comprehension Toolkit series from Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis guides your teachers and supports your students in an active literacy classroom that’s fun and effective—and it’s ideal for use in summer school settings. Here Stephanie and Anne answer a few frequently asked questions about summer literacy learning with The Comprehension Toolkit: (For more tips, and a free 49-page summer pacing guide, click here.)

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Teaching Toward the Goal: Using The Writing Strategies Book to Support Learning

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When determining how to best organize The Writing Strategies Book, Jen Serravallo considered many different approaches. She considered organizing it based on the stages in the writing process, or by genre, but In the end came back to organizing the book around eleven writing goals. This likely comes as no surprise to anyone familiar with Jen's Reading Strategies Book or any of her other recent work. In Jen's own words: "Helping kids to articulate clear goals for their work, and supporting them with strategies and feedback to accomplish those goals, makes a huge difference in their ability to succeed."

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Teaching Beyond The Re-tweet: Digital Argument Instruction for Real World Literacy

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There are many good reasons to teach Argument. In Argument in the Real World, Kristen Hawley Turner and Troy Hicks outline the main rationale for Teaching Digital Argument. 

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Studying and Thinking about Powerful Whole Group Instruction: Minilessons, Shared Reading, & Read Aloud K-3

Calkins Read AloudStudying and Thinking about Powerful Whole Group Instruction: Minilessons, Shared Reading, & Read Aloud K-3

See below for a full transcript of the chat

Written by Anna Gratz Cockerille

One power of reading workshop is the way in which instruction can move seamlessly from whole-group, to small-group, to individual and back again in the span of a class period. Certainly, a reading teacher’s best chance of really moving kids further in their understanding is while working with small groups and individuals, where instruction can be differentiated to meet the needs of the each student. It is not as possible to meet every student’s needs during whole-group instruction. Inevitably, there will be students who are beyond or not quite at the level of whole-group lessons. But these lessons serve a very important purpose, nonetheless. They serve to rally students’ energy around a single, worthy cause. They serve to create classroom community-wide goals for reading and common language to talk about these goals. They serve to get students jazzed up about a new line of thinking, or a new trajectory in their path of work. 

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PLC Series: The Essential Benefits of Free Play

Welcome to the Heinemann PD Professional Learning Community Series. This month, we share conversation about the role and necessity of play in learning.


"The skills that are hard to learn, and far more important, are how to get along well with other people, how to control our own emotions and behavior, and how to think creatively yet logically. "  -Peter Gray


What is the effect of the decrease in play on children? 

Children learn through play by nature; they need play to experiment with problem solving, deal with fear, exercise imagination, learn self control and so much more. In this powerful article from the Heinemann Digital Library, Boston College research professor of psychology Peter Gray makes a strong case for the essential benefits of play.  Continue reading

Choice Time and Student Agency

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How do you define play and choice time in early childhood classrooms? According to Renée Dinnerstein,“During choice time, children choose to play in a variety of centers that have been carefully designed and equipped to scaffold children’s natural instinct for play.”

Renée reveals what can happen when you embrace a culture of inquiry, providing opportunities for children to be explorative and creative in their thinking. She believes that, “A child’s engagement is the most powerful asset we have for teaching and learning.” Give your students choice time, and watch them engage in joyful, important, playful, age-appropriate work that will empower them to become lifelong learners.

"The bottom line is when children are at play, they’re not just playing––they’re learning machines, and play is the engine that drives them.” —Renée Dinnerstein