Life as a Teacher
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4 Tips for Successful Active Involvement in a Minilesson

4 Tips for Successful Active Involvement in a Minilesson | Life as a Teacher | Scoop.it
In a minilesson, we work to not only demonstrate a strategy sometimes employed by professional writers, but also to provide a quick opportunity for young writers assembled before us to apply it, either in their own writing or in a co-authored class composition.  This short segment of the minilesson during which writers 'give a strategy…
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Plan Boxes as Management Tools

Plan Boxes as Management Tools | Life as a Teacher | Scoop.it
Do you struggle with students working -- rather than socializing -- during independent writing time? If so, here's a solution to keep your kids engaged as writers so you can maximize the number of students you meet with during independent writing time.
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The Mathematics of Core Sampling: Division of Fractions –

The Mathematics of Core Sampling: Division of Fractions – | Life as a Teacher | Scoop.it
About the Co-Authors Keely Zaientz and Corey Levin teach 6th and 8th grade math in an integrated co-teaching classroom at Yorkville East Middle School. They have a progressive, constructivist classroom, centered around students developing and identifying their own strategies to approach problem solving. They are huge fans of number strings and spend a lot of…
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Conferring with Writers: Beyond the Fundamentals of Writing Workshop

Conferring with Writers: Beyond the Fundamentals of Writing Workshop | Life as a Teacher | Scoop.it
    "How about we read Goodnight, Gorilla?" Raising my eyebrows, I gazed hopefully at my two year-old daughter.  "Or maybe we could read The Grouchy Ladybug? You love that one!" "No!" Her brow furrowed, my youngest was emphatic. "That one! That one!  Moon!" Using her tiny pointer finger, she pointed to Margaret Wise Brown's…
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Student-Led Small Groups: Beyond the Fundamentals of Writing Workshop

Student-Led Small Groups: Beyond the Fundamentals of Writing Workshop | Life as a Teacher | Scoop.it
Small group instruction allows for efficiency and strategy sessions with more than one student. Allowing students to lead these groups and sessions gives purpose and opportunity to not only further the understandings of the leader but impacts your community of writers as they grow.
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Independent Writing Time: Beyond the Fundamentals of Writing Workshop

Independent Writing Time: Beyond the Fundamentals of Writing Workshop | Life as a Teacher | Scoop.it
Last week I met with a teacher about a writer who worries her. “Where’s his writing?” I asked. She pulled out a piece with a date on it, and the date was from over a month ago. This second grader had written a few words on each page, and when we looked closely, many of…
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Inquiry Minilessons: Beyond the Fundamentals of Writing Workshop

Inquiry Minilessons: Beyond the Fundamentals of Writing Workshop | Life as a Teacher | Scoop.it
There are many ways to teach a minilesson effectively. Many people think inquiry minilessons are stickier than demonstrations since kids "discover" things on their own. As a result, learning stays with kids longer since they've come to the learning on their own.
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Do You Ever Wonder?

Do You Ever Wonder? | Life as a Teacher | Scoop.it
How do you respond to the recursive "I'm done," and every other form of the phrase? Maybe it isn't about them.
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Argument Writing Toolkit- Transitioning In and Out of Quotes (Unpack)

Argument Writing Toolkit- Transitioning In and Out of Quotes (Unpack) | Life as a Teacher | Scoop.it
Picking up right where I left off from my previous post... We can help students who plop quotes into their writing with no introduction or explanation by teaching them how to both set-up and unpack the quote.  I've already shared a strategy for how to transition into quotes.  You can see how to transition into…
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Argument Writing Toolkit- Trimming Block Quotes (Ellipses)

Argument Writing Toolkit- Trimming Block Quotes (Ellipses) | Life as a Teacher | Scoop.it
My last post outlined one strategy to help students trim long block quotes from their writing pieces (see that post here), and this post will show another.  Remember these strategies are for students who struggle with cutting down a long quote because they feel that their reader needs all the information in the quote.  Therefore,…
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Argument Writing Toolkit- Trimming Block Quotes (Paraphrase)

Argument Writing Toolkit- Trimming Block Quotes (Paraphrase) | Life as a Teacher | Scoop.it
Hello!  Happy New Year! I hope that everyone had a happy and healthy holiday season.  It sure was a busy one!  I promised to post after the holidays and had every intention of getting back to you last week.  However, as you may know the East Coast was hit with a "bomb cyclone" and my…
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Argument Writing Toolkit- String of Quotes (Ranking Evidence)

Argument Writing Toolkit- String of Quotes (Ranking Evidence) | Life as a Teacher | Scoop.it
Following up from my last post, another strategy to help eradicate a string of quotes in student writing is to evaluate/ rank evidence.  The idea is that not every piece of evidence needs to be presented within the argument, but rather the piece of evidence that packs the most punch.  So in this small group…
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Argument Writing Toolkit- Shortening Quotations

Argument Writing Toolkit- Shortening Quotations | Life as a Teacher | Scoop.it
A common struggle for students when incorporating text evidence into their arguments is they choose quotes that are too long.  Then the piece becomes dominated by a voice other than the author's.  It's important to strike a balance between one's own voice and that or the article quoted.  In argument writing, the author should highlight…
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Three Tricks for Smoother Classroom Transitions

Three Tricks for Smoother Classroom Transitions | Life as a Teacher | Scoop.it
There are a hundred ways precious minutes can be wasted during those pesky transitions, and a hundred ways a rough transition can make for an uphill battle for the rest of writing workshop. Here are three tricks that you might try.
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Argument Writing Toolkit- Transitioning In and Out of Quotes (Set-up)

Argument Writing Toolkit- Transitioning In and Out of Quotes (Set-up) | Life as a Teacher | Scoop.it
This strategy was created to address a common gripe that many of the teachers I work with have.  The struggle is that students just plop quotes into the middle of their writing without any precursor or explanation to its relevance.  These students lack the skill of how to transition into and/or out of quotes.  In…
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Inquiry Minilessons: Beyond the Fundamentals of Writing Workshop

Inquiry Minilessons: Beyond the Fundamentals of Writing Workshop | Life as a Teacher | Scoop.it
There are many ways to teach a minilesson effectively. Many people think inquiry minilessons are stickier than demonstrations since kids "discover" things on their own. As a result, learning stays with kids longer since they've come to the learning on their own.
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Thinking Aloud When Coaching in the Classroom

Thinking Aloud When Coaching in the Classroom | Life as a Teacher | Scoop.it
Thinking aloud is a coaching move that increases the metacognition and reflection that occurs throughout a lesson. It most commonly occurs when a coach is co-teaching in a classroom.
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Student-Written Mentor Texts: Beyond the Fundamentals of Writing Workshop

Student-Written Mentor Texts: Beyond the Fundamentals of Writing Workshop | Life as a Teacher | Scoop.it
While many teachers seem knowledgeable about mentor texts and teacher-created texts, it is my hope that focusing on student-written mentor texts will lead more teachers to realize students can be mentor authors, too.
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Getting Started with Student-Centered Coaching

There is nothing better than building a coaching program from scratch. We can help districts avoid all of the unnecessary mistakes, and ensure that everyone understands the vision.
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Addressing Knowledge Issues in Informational Writing

Addressing Knowledge Issues in Informational Writing | Life as a Teacher | Scoop.it
If we do not possess a good amount of background knowledge, if we are not interested in the topic, and we were not given a choice, our writing typically suffers. Lack of knowledge in particular, as Mary Ehrenworth suggests, manifests quickly as writing weakness and writing problems. As writing workshop teachers, how might we think…
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Argument Writing Toolkit- Adding Compelling Evidence

Argument Writing Toolkit- Adding Compelling Evidence | Life as a Teacher | Scoop.it
This is the last post of this blog series!  Phew! It's been a ride- 8 posts!  Each detailing a different strategy for helping students who struggle with adding evidence to their argument writing.  Let's recap what's been covered so far: If students quote chunks of text that are too large... ...then use this strategy, Allowing Your…
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Writing Checklists: Tools for Independence and Goal-Setting

Writing Checklists: Tools for Independence and Goal-Setting | Life as a Teacher | Scoop.it
I am a list person. I have lists by my computer, by my bed, in the kitchen, in my car console-- And I love crossing things off my lists. One of the reasons I like lists is they tell me what to do, but my lists serve different purposes; sometimes they help me remember what…
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Slice of Life: Thinking About Social Justice at Teachers College

Slice of Life: Thinking About Social Justice at Teachers College | Life as a Teacher | Scoop.it
Every Tuesday, the  writing community of   Two Writing Teachers  hosts Slice of Life. All are welcome to participate by linking up posts o
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Literary Essays: Setting the Stage

Literary Essays: Setting the Stage | Life as a Teacher | Scoop.it
As part my MFA program, I've had to write eight page papers on a paragraph or two of text. That's a lot of words about not too many words. I've also watched my daughters draft critical analyses on literary works in both high school and college. Writing a literary essay is a lifelong skill that…
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Argument Writing Toolkit- String of Quotes (Create Variety)

Argument Writing Toolkit- String of Quotes (Create Variety) | Life as a Teacher | Scoop.it
Sometimes in student writing you will see a string of quotes, where students move from one quote to the next to the next without a break in between.  These students are usually struggling with how to create variety in their inclusion of text evidence or how to evaluate and choose the most effective piece of…
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