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Building Bridges Between Reading & Writing

It never fails. With some students, you can have the best time analyzing and talking about an informational source, but when they go to write a short response, they lose their grounding and start to fall. How do we help students bridge the gap between reading and writing? In our practice, making a plan for a written …Read more

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When Written Responses Lose Their Way

It’s frequently true. We have grand conversations about engaging nonfiction and then when our students write in response…well, the struggle is REAL. Here are some approaches I’ve found helpful in grades 2-6 — provide clear purpose for writing, respond to just a part of a text, plan for what they will write, engage students in …Read more

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P.R.I.D.E. Noticing & Naming Author’s Purpose

Recognizing an author’s purpose (or purposes) for writing or creating an informational source can help a student determine what’s important in a source, remember what they read (or heard in a video or saw in a graphic), and begin to think critically about the information in a source. Last week I had the honor of …Read more

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Hey, Mom! Guided Writing

“Who will you tell?” This is a conversation I’ve started having with students at the guided reading table before they write in response to an informational source. I usually start by saying something like the following: When you go home tonight and your mom asks about school, you could just say, “It was okay” OR …Read more

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Can they explain the main idea statement?

Can your students explain what their main idea statement means? Is a superficial understanding or misunderstanding of the main idea impacting their ability to identify or explain supporting details? We may need to give students time to unpack the main idea.  A few suggestions for helping students unpack a main idea statement: 1. Ask them …Read more

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Three Phase Lesson – Explaining Supporting Evidence

Do your students ever need help with explaining how key details support a main idea? Here are a few thoughts and artifacts from a three-phase lesson I gave. Phase One – Meet the Source The students read the article entitled “Tortoises battle it out with Marines for the right to stay put.” Suggestion – Before …Read more

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Creative Responses Analyzed – Persuasive Letter from the Roots to the Plant

A few posts ago I wrote about shaking up how we ask students to write in response to texts–creating hall of fame posters, designing two-page layouts for trade books, and writing letters. One of my colleagues in the field, Britany, a fifth grade teacher, gave this a go! She asked students who’d read the book …Read more

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Can your 6-8th grade students explain how two authors present the same info and reveal different points of view?

Here’s a lesson for teaching students to analyze how two authors writing about the same topic may shape their presentations of key information by emphasizing different evidence or advancing different interpretations of the facts (Common Core Standard 7.9). Go to Science News for Students and locate an article that cites a study. Most of these …Read more

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Writing with Mentor Texts – App Reviews in Grades 6-8

Is anybody else sick of the five-paragraph essay? The book Writing with Mentors (Marchetti & O’Dell, 2015) was so refreshing to read as I ponder how to keep students excited about reading and writing analytically. The authors provide insight into how we can engage students in writing for authentic purposes in a variety of non-five-paragraph …Read more

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Liberate your students! In the beginning, give them the main idea!!!

Do your students hesitate when you ask, “What is the main or central idea of this source?” Why? There may be a couple of reasons. Many students have not had enough experience with identifying main ideas to identify them easily.  And they may have only a superficial understanding of key vocabulary in a main idea. …Read more

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