Our Blog

Questions Please!

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • March 31st, 2016

Learners who are invested in the learning naturally question as they process new ideas or concepts.  They ask interpretive, literal, evaluative, and universal questions. 

Whoever asks the questions, does the learning. 

Here are some ways to scaffold your students’ thinking over time so they become more aware of the act of questioning to learn. 

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How am I Suppose to Teach Grammar?

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • March 8th, 2016

Many times during our workshops we are asked about what the best way to teach grammar and mechanics is. We all know that grammar skills are important, especially in this day and age where your grammar skills are up for the world to see on social media. So what is the best way to teach essential grammar and mechanics rules and skills in an authentic and rigorous way? Here are 3 ways to teach grammar that STICKS with students!

 

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Spring Lesson: The Rigorous Bunny

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • March 7th, 2016

Using Youtube in the classroom is a powerful tool for student engagement and authentic instruction. I love to use Youtube with adults and students to increase the complexity of thinking in a unique way. Here is an example to use in your classroom this spring!

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Strategy Focus: Close Reading

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • February 11th, 2016

Close reading is the act of careful and purposeful reading (and rereading) of a text. We reread texts several times to focus on comprehension, text structure, elements, rhetorical devices, and author's craft. The students' knowledge of genre is crucial for close reading. Texts must be brief because the amount of thinking and reading is heavy and their focus needs to be narrowed.

 

"Repeated reading improves comprehension." -Doug Fisher

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The Academy Awards of Reading

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • February 11th, 2016

It’s that time of year again! The Academy Awards are coming for the best books in your classroom library! Have your students nominate the best books, articles, poems, and authors they have read this year.

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The Power of Journaling

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • February 9th, 2016

Many people practice the art or skill of journaling on a daily basis. Some look at journaling as a way of relaxing, while others see journaling as a way to keep memories for years to come. Either way, journaling is powerful when used in the classroom!

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Goal Setting & Action Planning

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • January 9th, 2016

What are your resolutions this year? Knowing that we can start fresh rejuvenates our students as much as it does us.

Great leaders set goals and create action plans from the start. Teddy Roosevelt set goals to make the United States strong in the areas of economics and defense. He created an action plan to see his goals through and in effect he increased our production of natural resources and built up our Navy defense. Resulting in a stronger country as a whole.

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Teaching Students to Develop a Theme or Thesis

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • January 4th, 2016

One of the hardest skills a developing writer must learn is how to establish and convey a message about their experience, topic or belief. This seems especially difficult when students seem to lack background knowledge and vocabulary needed to articulate the message. In narratives, there must be a theme. In expository and persuasive writing, a central or controlling idea serves as the thesis or position statement. The writing should be focused on conveying this message from the beginning to the end on this message. Unfortunately, the writing of so many students in elementary, middle, and high school lack a clear message or ramble on with only broad references to a focused message.  Are we doing enough to help students focus on "the message" during the planning stage of writing?

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Students Taking Action

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • January 4th, 2016

One of the best pieces of advice I've ever been given in my teaching career is "Whoever does the thinking, does the learning." Students need to process the learning in order to develop comprehension of the concept or procedure. Here are some quick ways to get students to think through writing.

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Tween Tribune- A Great Online Reading Resource

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • December 29th, 2015

Tween Tribune, powered by The Smithsonian Institution, publishes an online collection of news articles for K-12th grade students and teachers.

Articles can be found on four sites:

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