June 15, 2016

I worked with a colleague who, on the last day of school, after the last kindergartener gleefully bounds out of her room, stands in her empty classroom, breaths deeply, looks around and says aloud, "Well. That was that."

The end of the year brings up many emotions for t...

January 4, 2016

Most of the teachers I've been working with this past fall are knee-deep into the (relatively!) new Units of Study for Writing Workshop put out by Lucy Calkins and her brilliant team. One of the most common questions I've been asked these last few months is about the d...

October 21, 2015


During the past three months, I've worked with teachers in four global capital cities- Paris, Dublin, London and Washington, DC. And no matter where I go, I hear the same thing from teachers: "But I know my students learned this last year!"


Fear not. While Summer Slid...

August 31, 2015

We've all been there. You deliver what you feel is a fantastic minilesson only to look out into sea of young children rolling on the rug, digging in their nose or just staring blankly at you as if to say, "I want to try out this writing strategy, but really, that lesso...

March 13, 2015

Now that I find myself working in international settings, the question I hear most frequently is, "How can I build my students' vocabulary?" In turn, much of my work has focused on teaching vocabulary in an integrated, authentic, meaningful way. Vocabulary is a key pre...

January 20, 2015

The first mother wheels her shopping cart down the produce aisle, where her Kindergartner spots an eggplant and asks what it is. The mother shushes her child, ignoring the question. 


A second mother, faced with the same
question, responds curtly, "Oh, that's...

November 11, 2014

Analyze structure, sight text evidence, interpret words and phrases, compare points of view, analyze and develop ideas and themes. These phrases are found repeatedly in schools, professional literature, and standards of learning. We are on strategy overload for teachin...

October 13, 2014

In Finland, students have a 15 minute recess after each 45 minute class. In China, children partake in calisthenics every morning. But in the US, physical education classes are being reduced and many schools are still using the "sit still and listen" model of education...

September 4, 2014

Every fall since I began teaching, or really, going to school, I have loved the look, smell and feel of a freshly sharpened pencil. Maybe because it holds a magical new beginning - a new story, the scratching attempts at a never-before-seen math problem. Maybe it's tha...

May 7, 2014

With the inception of the Common Core State Standards, poetry has taken a bit of a back burner in fourth grade. In keeping with the theme of my last few posts, I wanted to take some time to outline how I´ve been using our poetry mini-unit to enhance my students´ vocabu...

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"Well, That Was That."

June 15, 2016

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