I am convinced that talking is one antidote for the “I don’t know what to write about” blues that our young writers sometimes face. That feeling often comes during writing workshop when children settle into their spots, stare at the blank page in their notebook, and anxiously wait for ideas to come flowing out. The good news is that there are intentional strategies that we can use as part of the minil...


My three-year-old is quick to tell me that she can do things by herself without any help from me. Whether it is dressing herself or pouring herself something to drink, she usually responds confidently with the phrase, “I can do it myself.”  If you have had the pleasure of spending time with three-year-olds, you might agree that this phrase is commonly used by children in this age group. It represents...


I confess that many years ago I underestimated the power of story retelling as a strategy to strengthen children's reading and writing. Retelling shows up in most early childhood reading lesson plans week after week.  However, this strategy often translates to superficial practice and can be easily taken for granted in the realm of literacy instruction.  For example, retelling becomes the “after readi...

Shared reading has always been one of my favorite components of the balanced literacy classroom.  This format is full of instructional possibility and provides a framework for modeling and teaching young readers how reading works. When Don Holdaway (1979) introduced shared reading, he described it as an event that “connects students through shared feelings and shared experience.”  If we zoom in o...

Can you recall a time when you were learning to do something new and someone showed you how?  Maybe they didn’t just simply show you how.  Maybe they extended their hand out for you to hold and invited you into the learning.  Perhaps this gave you the opportunity to rehearse the skills you needed to give it a try all by yourself.  This just right level of s...


The summer months have motivated me to de-clutter, to organize, to sift and sort through cabinets and closets, and to add a few special touches to liven up the spaces around my home. A personal read that inspired my “mission organization” this summer is a practical guide by Marie Kondo for creating spaces in the home that “spark joy."

This idea led me to think about the importance of creating joyful le...

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Training Spotlight

1st-3rd grade educators worked together to learn engaging ways to develop number sense. Students will develop fact fluency while playing games that use their number sense strategies. By learning their facts in this way, students are not merely memorizing, but rather learning to work with numbers flexibly.  “Low achievers are often low achievers not because they know less but because they don’t use numbers flexibly – they have been set on the wrong path, often from an early age, of trying to memorize methods instead of interacting with numbers flexibly.” Jo Boaler,  Stanford University, 2009


April 8, 2019

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