Reading to Write

Middle School Girl WritingWhile pondering the direction of this blog post, I realized that Ed Jr., my son, loves to read, but Emma, my daughter, is much happier writing. In fact, Emma’s goal is to be a published author someday. What should Emma be doing as a student to get ready for a career in writing? What are best practices for writers?

Academic Language in Our Schools

Group of teenage students talking in classroom

Strategies to Engage Reluctant Student Writers

"How do I support my students who struggle with writing?” is a common question teachers often ask me. Walk into any classroom during writer’s workshop, and you will notice a wide range of student engagement.

Summer Professional Development

"School's out for summer..." As the days get longer and the temps are creeping up, I find myself humming that song to myself.  "Summer time and the livin' is 2016 Summer Professional Development flyer covereasy..." I look forward to summer every year - a chance to rest, relax, and recharge.  Rest and relaxation are important and needed, but I also eagerly look forward to recharging my brain.  The NWESD ha

Picture Books: A Powerful Resource for Students of All Ages

Recently, I was a guest teacher in a middle school classroom that was learning about the Civil Rights era. Imagine the students’ reactions when, instead of having them open their textbook or handing them an article to silently read, I pulled out… a picture book!  “Isn’t that a book for LITTLE kids?” one of the students asked with a look of disdain clearly evident on her face.

Question Formulation Technique - Daylight Savings

Daylight Savings TimeI was with a school principal in one of our districts recently, and had the chance to spend a few minutes in an upper elementary classroom.  The students were working on a writing assignment in which they had to state their opinion on an issue discussed in class and defend it with additional details.  The topic they were asked to write about was: should we continue to have daylight sav

Disciplinary Literacy and Content Area Learning

Student ReadingAfter a recent day-long visit to a local middle school, I came away with the (happy) realization that reading, writing, listening, and speaking occurred in every class I observed. I observed 7th grade students closely reading informational texts from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health about antibiotic resistance.

Speaking, Listening, and Student Engagement

Group WorkTo be “college and career ready,” today’s students must have regular opportunities to take part in a wide range of conversations and reflective thinking tasks in order to build their content understanding and become active participants in their learning.


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