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ELAR Resources for Secondary Teachers

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • March 17, 2020, 5:56 a.m.

As you create learning experiences for your students, here is a list of reading and writing resources to use for ELAR learning in the secondary classroom. 

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March Madness in the Classroom

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • March 9, 2020, 10:05 a.m.

Written by Randi Anderson

I've always been a sucker for a good theme. Every March, there is always buzz around the men's NCAA basketball tournament. Educators can tap into that buzz and use it in the classroom to get students motivated.

Ideas for Using March Madness in Your Classroom:


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Discussion Circles are Powerful!

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • March 9, 2020, 9:58 a.m.

Written by Randi Anderson

Throughout the past year I've spent extensive time talking, collaborating, and brainstorming ideas all focused on classroom discussions circles. The research around discussion circles is astounding for student growth. In fact, classroom discussion has an effect size of .82 which translates to a TWO YEAR gain in student achievement. See Hattie's Effect size chart for reference.

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Academic Teaming

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • March 9, 2020, 9:53 a.m.

Written by Ashley Taplin

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend a conference by Steve and Michelle Ventura focused on growing our teams through data, strategies, and teacher clarity. We dove into Visible Learning research, founded by John Hattie, which synthesized instructional influences and ranked their effect size on learning. Hattie found that .4 was the average effect size of a year’s growth and thus, the strategies that are identified as .4 or higher can have an even greater impact on student learning.

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Reading Assessment Practice Ideas

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • Feb. 10, 2020, 1:49 p.m.

By Randi Anderson


Assessment season is right around the corner and we know you are working tirelessly, preparing lessons that pack lots of punch (instruction wise). It is important to remember that we must model the types of thinking processes that are essential for proficient reading and writing, as well as provide time for students to repeatedly practice those thinking processes for the majority of our classroom time. Here are few ideas to use in your classrooms.


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Assessment Capable Learners

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • Feb. 10, 2020, 1:40 p.m.

By Ashley Taplin

In the fall, I had the opportunity to attend a Visible Learning Institute in which John Hattie and Peter DeWitt dove into the topic of assessment capable learners. They explained that students need to be able to answer three questions: where am I going, how am I doing, and where to next? (download this classroom poster I created here). Furthermore, there are 6 key characteristics of assessment capable learners:

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Black History Month Read Alouds

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • Feb. 4, 2020, 2:51 p.m.

February is Black History month. During this month, we celebrate the achievements of African American men and women. Here are some read aloud texts for your students!

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Storytime for Feb. 1, 2020

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • Feb. 1, 2020, 9:28 a.m.

The theme this week is "You are unique!" This week we are learning about the parts of the body.  Each book, song, and rhyme is thematically linked.  The questions we are exploring is "How are we the same? How are we different?"  Here is a google slide deck with book and song suggestions.

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Lesson Planning

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • Jan. 22, 2020, 12:27 p.m.
Anyone else in the midst of writing lesson plans? Here are a few things that run through my mind as I plan:

    1. How will students' thinking change over the course of the lesson? Is this initial learning or are we going deeper on a topic or skill they already know something about?
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Writing During Reading

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • Jan. 10, 2020, 12:31 p.m.

By Randi Anderson


Integration is key for being able to fit all the things in that we have to teach! Here are some ways to get students talking and writing during your reading block.


  • Interactive Reading Responses

After reading a selection, pose an open-ended question about the text to the students. Have students STOP (think time) and TALK (discussion with peers) about their responses to the question about the text. Allow students time to share (in a small group setting) their answers and reasons to the question. Then, have students STOP (revise their thinking) and WRITE to answer the text question. Make this writing time no longer than 5 minutes.


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