Category Archives: Grammar

Get to Know English Learners’ Interests

readingtolearnforels_mg5d6599Gaining knowledge from informational texts is an essential academic skill. Yet for too many English Learners, this skill is not developed sufficiently and as they move from elementary into middle school, the reading gap becomes a knowledge gap. In Reading to Learn for ELs, author Ana Taboada Barber provides models of her instructional framework for reading informational texts so that reading teachers, content-area teachers, and ESL teachers alike can take on the work of teaching English Learners how to succeed and gain knowledge through reading informational texts.

Continue reading

Heinemann Fellow Kate Flowers on Working Toward “Do No Harm” Feedback

lauren-mancke-60627

Like many English teachers, grading essays remains the part of my job that I enjoy the least. It isn’t just because of the time it consumes or the drudgery it involves. It’s because I’m afraid I’m going to do harm to a student writer under my care.

Years ago, my oldest son was in my sophomore honors English class filled with many of his friends. These were kids I had watched grow up since the second grade, kids who spent time at my house, played in my backyard, making crazy zombie movies that disturbed the neighbors, and now traveled with us to debate tournaments early on Saturday mornings. Perhaps because of my long connection to this group of kids, I put extra effort into grading these students’ essays, spending many Saturdays marking errors and giving copious feedback while I waited to judge rounds at debate tournaments. I knocked myself out for these kids.

Continue reading

PLC Series: Connections Between Writing and Reading


Welcome to the Heinemann PD Professional Learning Community Series. This month we look closely at creating opportunities for ourselves and our students to consider the power of the reading-writing connection. 

What if the first step in learning a new writing skill is not taken by… writing?

Roz Linder, author of The Big Book of Details, shares her thinking in the video blog below about how we need to engage students in a skill in the real world first—then model it and transfer this knowledge over to the writing on the page. She notes that “reading and writing are about communicating” and the more we experience it before putting the pencil to the page, the more success students will have with the transfer of knowledge. Take a look.

Continue reading

PLC Series: Making Writing Irresistible

Welcome to the Heinemann PD Professional Learning Community Series. This month, we discuss building lifelong literacy habits for all, from honoring the work of our smallest readers to our reflecting on our own practices as adults. 

Continue reading

Introducing The Writing Strategies Book Study Guide

Serravallo_Writing Strategies_2017_MG5D5795_SM


Jennifer Serravallo has created a helpful guide for The Writing Strategies Book for book study groups or individual practitioners. As an educational consultant, Jen is in classrooms all the time, and this study guide reflects the questions and concerns teachers have brought to her about how to use strategies within an instructional framework for writing and especially how to match them to instructional goals and methods. The study guide contains over 25 pages of resources, ideas for conversations, activities, and practices that will strengthen your strategic writing instruction, raise the quality and engagement levels of your student writers, and strengthen collaboration with your colleagues.

Continue reading

Language Study: Answering the Call to Action in the Classroom

annie-spratt-54462

Written by: Jen McCreight based on a section from her book Celebrating Diversity through Language Study.


In today’s climate, many of our students’ families are feeling anxious. Anxious about whether they are welcome in the United States. Anxious about escalating disagreements and protests surrounding immigrants from countries near and far. Anxious that loved ones may be deported. Regardless of our own political beliefs, as teachers, we are called to empathize with, support, and love our students. We are called to respond to their social and emotional challenges as much as their academic ones. I am reminded of this each day that I open the newspaper or read about current events online, and over and over, the following story pops into my head, as clearly as if I had experienced it yesterday.

Continue reading