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August 08, 2018

Why We Might Consider Teaching Less This Year

We really don't need to be in the front of the room talking--pointing at a slide, rapidly firing questions at students and cold calling to make sure they are paying attention--in order to be "teaching." We know this, yet we still do it so much of the time. Just take a quick walk through the halls of your school and peek into each classroom. Where is the teacher? Who's talking?

July 26, 2018

Tips For Selecting a Book For the Whole Class

There is little more difficult than trying to engage a whole class of students in reading a novel that is a poor match for the group. There are things teachers can do to influence the experience in one direction or another, but a great deal rests purely on the book itself...Once we have some possible titles in mind, we need to think through our decisions very carefully, going in with as clear an understanding of what might work really well about the book and what might be challenging or disappointing about it. Below is an excerpt adapted from Whole Novels For the Whole Class: A Student Centered Approach (2014) about five key factors I weigh when I select a book for my whole class to read.

April 19, 2018

10 Tips For Helping Students Open Up to Poetry

Every year I have some students who arrive to my class with a fear or dislike of poetry. Spending some time away from deconstruction of meaning of poems has always worked to put these students at ease and allow them to open up to poetry anew.

April 15, 2018

Four Dichotomies in Education Worth Interrogating

Language can be limiting; it can also be liberating. With that in mind, I wanted to look at some of ways we categorize people and ideas in education, and how they might represent false dichotomies that need to be opened up.

February 27, 2018

Our Students Know More Than We Think

There's a strange power children and adolescents can derive from watching adults be clueless about something they know—it's the role reversal that makes it a novel event.

February 14, 2018

The Difference One Sentence Makes to a Student

I share these two stories for the chance they offer to think about the power of our words to students. What sentence will you say to a student--intentionally or not--that will stay with them for the rest of their lives? That might, for better or worse, reframe how they see themselves? How do we show students we see them?

January 31, 2018

For Valentine's Day, Students Can Lead the Way

If we provide structure and support for students to raise their voices and take action, they can astonish us with their capacity—and show us a good time!

January 06, 2018

Try a Simple Speaking Assessment to Close the Semester

Around the end of the semester, I like to use a simple speaking activity that accomplishes several things at once.

December 06, 2017

How Teams Can Work Together to Improve Student Reading

Reading is a skill necessary in pretty much any academic subject, so we all need to teach it. The eye rolls, however, remind us that we can say this all we want, but that doesn't make it clear how we should go about it, especially when content area teachers are struggling with their own content, pacing calendars, and the same staggering diversity of readers that challenge us in the ELA classroom. And that PD in June? It didn't help teachers make actionable plans, and it hasn't been discussed since. I've witnessed a version of this cycle in every school I've taught in.

November 08, 2017

Seven Tips for Student-Driven Discussions of Novels

My favorite part of a whole novel study is the week we hold student-driven discussions of the book. Students have completed reading the whole novel and are eager to share and investigate what they experienced. These inquiry-oriented tips have can also be used with other kinds of texts.

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The opinions expressed in Teaching for the Whole Story are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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