Tips, Titles and Tools for Teachers

Resources for Reading and Writing Workshop

As most of you know, I'm a fan of Twitter, not just for book recommendations, but also for professional reading. I've read this post "Breathing New Life Into Our RTI Heart" by Dr. Mary Howard a few times and I continue to find lines that confirm or stretch my thinking.

Here are the 5 Hearts of RTI with a few of my favorite quotes from the post.

Classrooms with HEART

"Never lost sight that we may be the only place a child is celebrated. That thought alone should inspire us to celebrate from the HEART."

Practices with HEART

"Time is a precious gift and we shut down our HEART each time we waste even one minute. ... Daily HEART MUSTS include read aloud, independent reading, and one-to-one conferring."

Interventions with HEART

"... thoughtfully responsive experiences with books that inspire engaging conversations enriched by teachers who let their HEART lead the way."

Data with HEART

"We must stop using numbers to define children and start using the child's name and our knowledge of that child based on real life learning day-to-day experiences."

Schools with HEART

"What we buy are only 'things' until a knowledgeable teacher breathes life into them in the best interest of children."

I encourage all of you to take a few minutes this week to read this post. In this time of data collection and analysis, I think it contains some important reminders for all of us about what matters most of all.

Happy Reading,


Blog Posts to Support Writing Workshop

Keeping the 'Mini' in Mini Lessons

Although this post is from a middle school teacher, most of her her tips can be applied to any K-5 classroom. Katie's suggestions may help you shorten your teaching time so that students can spend more time writing.

Language to Convey Choice vs Assignment

This blog post from Elizabeth Moore includes great phrases to include in your writing mini lessons!

Great quote from this post:

"There are many things we can't control in the classroom: the amount of time we have, the number of students, the size (and sometimes temperature) of the classroom space. But one thing we can control is the language we use that conveys choice, vs language that conveys assignment."

Don't Forget the Compliment

A good compliment can accelerate learning. ~ Lucy Calkins

Imagine being in the writer's shoes in a conference ... we would all want to hear something we did really well in our writing! This blog post includes great tips on how to ensure your writing conferences include a clear compliment for each writer.

Rethinking Graphic Organizers for Writing

I think we've all noticed that the Units of Study program doesn't include a graphic organizer recommended for each type of writing. In this post, Dana Murphy explains the scaffolds that are included in the program to support writers.

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Second graders at Atwood primary school are writing informational books including text features. Here's a chart from Rachel Bickford's room of the features students are working to include in their books! As I visit classrooms in the next few weeks, I will be collecting more photographs of anchor charts to share. Your anchor charts are a great support to your students after mini lessons!

Interactive Read Aloud

During our last team days, we sorted instructional practices based on their effect size. If you remember, classroom discussions were near the top of our sort with an effect size of 0.82. Interactive read aloud is one of the best ways to ensure that a rich classroom discussion is part of every day in your classroom. It's worth preserving your daily time to read to your students each day!

Tamra Wight Author Visit ~ February 7!

On February 7, Maine author, Tamra Wight, will visit Williams to share tips on descriptive writing connected to her awesome Cooper & Packrat mystery series! WES grade level teams shared their PTA enrichment day funds to make this day possible!

Here are some links that Tamra recommended to support her visit!

Tamra's Pinterest Board for Cooper and Packrat in the Classroom

Mystery on Pine Lake Inspiration

Tamra's YouTube channel with wildlife videos

Loon Watch Blog Posts

This is a list of Tamra's Loon Watch blog posts from 2016 that you can share with your students. Amazing photographs!

Last week I also shared the Curriculum Guides for each book. Enjoy!

If you are interested in ordering the books from the Cooper and Packrat series, remember you can order with Islandport Press and use the discount Williams17 for 30% off your order!

Shelly Moody

Instructional Coach, K-5

Atwood Primary School

Williams Elementary School