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Writing

Making writing fun

Sometimes a new twist on an old assignment can change everything! Take a look at a birthday card for Copernicus, the mathematician and astronomer, written by a 10 year old.

The assignment: Research three facts about a historical figure. Incorporate those facts into a birthday card written by someone they knew.

The result: Searching for sources of information. Reading and discerning good facts to use. Choosing the "voice" for the speaker. Integrating facts in a meaningful way into a birthday card message.

Grounded in evidence. Part 3: Constructed responses based on evidence

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary describes construction as: "The art of construing, interpreting, or explaining." I believe the key word is interpreting. Before students delve into text, we first must teach them how to break it apart and look for evidence. It's just as critical to teach our students what to do once they have collected the evidence. The art of interpretation is hard to teach, but if we begin with the basics, and model, model, model — then students can begin to understand the thinking process behind the interpretation they are expected to achieve.

Rethinking Literacy, a Common Core resource

For a limited time, Education Week is offering a free digital edition of Rethinking Literacy: Reading in the Common-Core Era. There are several articles within the edition worth reading, each taking its own look at how the Common Core State Standards are changing the way we think about reading and writing, with a keen eye on informational texts.

Is it the good turtle soup or merely the mock? Choosing the best apps for your child

Which are the real, worthwhile apps, and which are the mock, to borrow from Cole Porter? With so many titles, how is a busy parent or teacher to know?

Although many apps for cell phones and tablets are advertised as having educational value, is that just marketing hype? Or is it true? Are they educational?

A national celebration

Tents have been growing on the National Mall for a few weeks now. Authors have been visiting local schools and bookstores this week, too. There's excitement building around D.C. — and it has absolutely nothing to do with elections. In fact, this is something that everyone can enjoy!

It's time again for the National Book Festival!

Putting reading and writing skills to work

Our daughter Anna is one of those kids that gets an idea stuck in her head, and she won't let it drop. This summer, she's had one thing on her mind: getting bunk beds for her room.

Authentic persuasive writing

So, we weren't that surprised when she announced that she had prepared a presentation for us on the topic, complete with a bar graph based on Amazon reviews.

Teachers Write: A virtual summer writing camp for teachers

Here's a great idea: Work on your writing craft over the summer for free, and online, with a group of other teachers and librarians. Then, apply what you learn with your students next year! That's the idea behind Teachers Write, an online virtual summer writing camp for teachers and librarians. Camp runs from June 4th to August 10th.

Project Write

If there's someone who knows about teaching writing, it's Steve Graham. He's a nationally recognized professor, teacher, and researcher in the field of writing. The bulk of his work is with students with learning disabilities. His writing is always clear, informative, and helpful.

Careful watching and listening during those first few days of school

First day jitters? First week jitters? Assessing kids those first few days and weeks of school probably isn't a great idea. Kids need a chance to settle in to school, to learn the new routine, and generally become more comfortable in the new classroom. Hopefully, by waiting, a child's assessment results more accurately reflect her true skills.

Keep them learning until the end of the year

I'm puzzled by conversations and blog posts that start with phrases about how little time is left in the school year. Comments like "there's just six weeks left," "just 43 more days," and posts about the slide into summer. Late spring and warmer weather means more sports, more time outside, more yawning from sleepy kids, standardized tests, and more planning for end of the year activities like school carnivals and fun fairs….but even with all that, there is still LOTS of instructional time left this year. Teachers need to teach until the end.

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"I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library." — Jorge Luis Borges