Tag Archives: Lucy Calkins

Making the Most of the End of the Year: How to Make Sure the Last Months of School Have Big Payoff

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by Anna Gratz Cockerille

In classrooms across the country, a sense of celebration is building. The feelings of joy and pride that come at the culmination of an entire year of daily hard work and dedication are unmistakable. This is is a time for a slight loosening of the reins, a time to reflect upon how far you and your students have come. It’s a time to enjoy the ease of routines you worked so hard to put into place, to watch students putting into practice the skills you’ve helped them to hone over and over. 

To be sure, along with this spirit of celebration comes the sense that the work is done. Many students seem to move into summer mode weeks (or months) before the summer is actually upon them. As teachers, our job, then, is to infuse the spirit of celebration with a sense of purpose, a sense that there is work left to be done in order for each student to truly become the best selves they are capable of being before the year ends. 

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Tips and Tools for Student Research, Grades 3-5

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by Anna Gratz Cockerille​

To research well, students must draw upon an array of reading and writing skills, flexibly, simultaneously, and confidently. They must skim through texts to locate relevant parts, read across and integrate information from multiple texts, accumulate knowledge and grow ideas, and read critically, considering the authorial intent of their sources. They must organize their thinking and their writing to communicate their learning with others. 

When students research, then, the full range of their literacy skills is on display.  Further, engaging in research is essential preparation for the kind of reading and thinking students will need to do as secondary and college students, and as informed citizens, attempting to make sense of the world around them. The opportunity for students to engage in research projects of all shapes and sizes is crucial.

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Purposeful Play: Igniting Joyful Learning Across the Day

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by Anna Gratz Cockerille

We believe there is play in work and work in play.

— Kristi Mraz, Alison Porcelli, and Cheryl Tyler, in Purposeful Play: A Teacher’s Guide to Igniting Deep and Joyful Learning Across the Day

Observe a classroom where children are engaged in purposeful play, and you’ll be staggered by the bevy of skills you will see on display. You’ll see children honing math skills as they count, divide, multiply. You’ll see them utilizing their oral language to the hilt as they negotiate, imagine, describe. You’ll see play that includes writing, play that includes reading, play that includes critical thinking. To be sure, you’ll see a teacher moving among the children, intervening with questions, tips, sometimes suggestions. But his or her intervention will be to guide, not to direct. For when children play purposefully, this time is sacred. This is a time in which they can truly become

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The Big 5: Vicki Vinton on the Books That Pushed and Influenced Her Teaching Practice

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Every so often we like to ask our authors about the books that most affected their teaching, the books that served as turning points in their practice or opened their eyes to a new way of approaching their work, thinking about education, or seeing children. In this installment, we bring you the professional book top five of Vicki Vinton, a literacy consultant and writer who has worked in schools and districts across the country and around the world.  She is the coauthor of What Readers Really Do: Teaching the Process of Meaning Making and The Power of Grammar: Unconventional Approaches to the Conventions of Language, and most recently is the author of Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading: Shifting to a Problem-Based Approach. You can also find Vicki online, at the popular literacy blog To Make a Prairie


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How to Strengthen Your Students’ Literacy Skills in History

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by Anna Gratz Cockerille

For many years, The Reading and Writing Project has engaged in research, staff development, and curriculum planning to support content area literacy. Infusing content area studies with rich literacy skills continues to be exciting and important work. To study history in particular requires a high level of facility in reading and writing. Students must engage in integrating information from multiple texts, close reading of primary sources, taking notes flexibly based on the information they are learning, and reporting on their learning in a variety of ways. 

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Reflect, Build, & Design Instructional Plans for Studying Classroom Libraries

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by Anna Gratz Cockerille

In A Guide to the Reading Workshop, Lucy Calkins writes, “Your classroom library holds a lot of power. It sends a strong message to the readers in your classroom, and it should convey that reading is important and that books are to be celebrated, treasured, and enjoyed.” 

Lucy outlines critical tips for organizing classroom libraries, including:  

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