Tag Archives: Teachers College

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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Studying Reading Process and Development K-3: A TCRWP Twitter Chat

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by Anna Gratz Cockerille 

In Kindergarten and sometimes even in Pre-K, teachers in reading workshop classrooms give several assessments so they can understand what children know about how reading goes (These are available free on The Teachers College Reading and Writing Project website.) They include: 

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Building a Toolkit for Social Justice: Ways to Fire Up the Conversations in Your Classrooms K-8

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by Anna Gratz Cockerille​

Starting at even the youngest ages, students are well aware of social issues. Even before they begin school, they know what is fair and unfair, what it means to take care of each other, and what it means to behave in ways that aren’t socially accepted. Through the elementary school years, students begin to understand the power of social groups as they feel the effects of bullying and cliques. 

In middle school and high school, students begin to care about social issues that exist outside of their school and home environments. Poverty, race, gender, and class become topics of conversation. Students also begin to understand that they can take a stand on issues and that their voices matter. 

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Beyond a Score: On-Demand Writing for Powerful Instruction

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By Anna Gratz Cockerille

When they are motivated, children naturally engage in deep reflection and goal-setting. An example is when they are trying to get better at their favorite sport or video game. They understand exactly where they rank compared to other players. They study other players carefully, trying to emulate their moves. They take in what coaches say, they make small tweaks to improve. They practice, practice, practice. With the right conversations and the right tools, we can teach students to approach their writing with the same level of reflection and goal-setting. 

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Standing on Shoulders

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By Jennifer Serravallo

The Writing Strategies Book started shipping this week. I’ve been overwhelmed and humbled by the positive responses and enthusiasm from so many. Before you all get this book in your hands, though, I need to get something off my chest:

This book would not exist were it not for a community of friends, mentors, colleagues and teachers—giants—whom I’ve been lucky to know. I want you all to know them, too.

My most immediate teacher and mentor around the teaching of writing is Lucy Calkins. I first read her books in college, leaned on them heavily throughout my years in the classroom, and eventually was lucky enough to spend years with her at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. Her contributions are deep-reaching—not only in writing curriculum and workshop methods of instruction but also as a mentor to so many who have gone on to inspire others. If you asked Lucy, though, she’d probably tell you she stands on the shoulders of her mentors, chief among them Don Graves. I came to Graves’ books, such as Writing: Teachers and Children at Work, many years after being introduced to Lucy’s books, but through Lucy, I was learning from this work years before going directly to the source.

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